Meet Bobby Alu

Bobby Alu, the musical alter ego of Charles Wall, will be performing in the Queen Street Mall this month. Imagine a tropical drink sipped from a coconut and you’ll start to get the feel of Bobby Alu’s music. Afro rhythms, smooth harmony and good vibes - his self-titled album sparked an immediate following after being aired on triple J, and this month he’s launching his second album “Take it slow”.

You’ve toured the world playing music, what is it that keeps you coming back to play at the Queen Street Mall?

I love the fact that you’re in the heart of The City, and it’s not often you get to play to completely random people from all over; people who don’t normally listen to music come and see you. It’s a really different gig … you’re really exposed because it’s not your crowd; there’s no hiding at all. But we usually sell a lot of CD’s. It attracts a lot of different characters and you never know what you’ll get and I really like that.

How do you rate The City Sounds program?

Since it was launched, it’s been really good. It’s really supportive of the arts and puts bands that not many people would know are out there. It’s raw and it gives a lot of artists an opportunity which is what they need.

Do you think it will help make Brisbane a powerhouse for music?

I think it already is in some ways. In terms of music it’s a group effort. It needs quality venues, quality bands and people getting behind the program. It can’t be one-sided. 

Where do your musical influences come from?

When I first came to Brisbane I was really into roots music like reggae, funk and soul - bands like George and Regurgitator were doing well. They are the bands that really inspired me in my late teens to get into music.

Can we here their influences in your new album?

It’s been a really exciting process creating this album. The producer is a guitarist in the band and his name is Paulie B, and he’s the bass player in George. I used to go and watch George so it’s really great to have him involved in the album. It’s very much a roots album. I’m bringing a ukulele and cruisy island sound but the other musicians are bringing this sort of “edgy-ness” - it’s really exciting to be part of the Brisbane Scene and to release something.

Is there such a thing as a Brisbane sound?

It’s petty eclectic. Brisbane has a really strong underground roots scene. There has been a lot of quality that has come out of Brisbane – bands like Dubmarine and King Fisher are doing really well. We played together at the roots festival in Melbourne and were high up in the popularity list, so it was comforting to know that Brisbane was well represented. 

Top Five Brisbane Picks ...

1. Regurgitator - ! (The song formally known as)
2. Avaberee - Lover of mine
3. Kingfisha - Digging for fire
4. Jordan Rakei - My Time
5. Laneous & the Family Yah - Oh She