Revealing the behind-the-scenes songwriter from South Wales who’s behind folk-pop band Ticking Tree and an initiative to find ‘lost songs’
Name: Alun Davies aka ADMAN
Location: London, England
Style: Optimistic, folk-tinged pop
Look out for: Ticking Tree’s album Underneath The Fairy Teeth out November 2015
ADMAN is the acronymic pseudonym of South Wales born songwriter Alun Davies, formed by his initials coupled with ‘Music And Numbers’, reflecting his passion for songwriting and his past interest in business. Alun spent much of his life as a company director in London, before retiring last year, which gave him more time for music. He had always written songs to entertain family and friends but they needed contributions from more musicians to do them justice, so he formed Ticking Tree – a group of musicians who would become the vehicle for those songs. “I’m not actually in Ticking Tree because although I write all the music and lyrics,” explains Alun. “I’m also kind of old, so you wouldn’t want me in the group. You’d have these young, bright things and then you’d have me and they’d think, ‘What’s he doing on stage?’ It would be like Mick Jagger with S Club 7!”
As well as the age difference, Alun points out his surrogate band’s musical advantage: “I play guitar and piano, but Ticking Tree are almost entirely session musicians, or have been, so they’re all much better than I am.” It was the Chiswick-based recording studio Metropolis who facilitated the recording of Ticking Tree’s Butterfly Wings EP and an album Underneath The Fairy Teeth, which have been released this year on the studio’s M:89 Records.
Outside of his own songwriting and Ticking Tree’s output, Alun has been instrumental in establishing the Lost Songs initiative with Metropolis Studios – a project to discover untapped songwriting talent. “A lot of people are out there writing songs just as good as mine, but, unless they get a break, those songs will never see the light of day beyond their family and friends. Unlike The X Factor, it’s not about the singer – it’s about the song.” Alun goes on to explain the process: “The best 16 songs submitted will be put on an album entitled Lost Songs Volume One, to be released early in 2016. It’s a very exciting thing for me because we could find a classic song out there – it’s like panning for gold!” The submission period for Lost Songs ended in October 2015 but, if you missed it, Alun and Metropolis are planning to do this all over again next year.