Allan has also worked as a broadcaster, executive skydiver, digital music pioneer, and various other roles - none of which make any use of his degree in Rocket Science. He was a key player in the early days of the digital music revolution, opening the eyes of the music industry to the potential of a brand new unknown format called the "MP3" which nobody had ever heard of, nobody believed would ever work and he described showing it to people as being like "Trying to push water uphill". This led to him becoming the founder of a pioneering digital music store, from which he also went on to produce and present a web radio station, "Waking Up the Neighbours!" drawing 20,000 listeners per week. He has travelled the world as a producer broadcasting live events and has worked as a live sound engineer with artists such as Belinda Carlisle, Jesus Jones, Shed 7 and Hawkwind to name a few.
When he's not working as a musician he is also a keen aviator and occasionally dabbles in film production. His glass is always half full and he is always interested in working with other musicians.
We could write many paragraphs about him, but instead we thought we'd reproduce this interview with Ultimate Band Review, in which he succinctly tells his own story with his usual dry wit!
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTO PLAYING MUSIC?
I was fascinated by my grandfather's piano playing as a child, so I started piano lessons at 7. By the age of 13 I discovered girls and guitars and formed a high school rock band and started gigging after a few months.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PERFORMING?
Since before you were born. I'm far too old for Radio One. Don't be cheeky, look away.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR SOUND IN ONE SENTENCE?
Thought provoking rock that doesn't compromise to someone else's judgement of what sells.
WHAT MAKES YOUR MUSIC UNIQUE?
I don't really follow the rest of the flock, I don't go where my music takes me, I take it where I go.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO WRITE SONGS?
Life, love, people and reality.
WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR BEST AND WORST GIG EXPERIENCES?
The worst was probably when we asked the bass player in my first band to organise a gig, since myself (lead guitarist) and the singer seemed to be booking most of them for a while. He booked us into the Royal Air Force Association. After the bingo had finished and we were setting up to get started, it quickly became apparent that the main bar room was in fact where we were going to play our heavy metal show, all the old dears were in fact going to stay and listen, and it would be a bit of a squeeze if any of our fans thought they were going to come along too... oh and could we keep the volume down quiet enough for people to talk? Not likely! We launched into our usual show and after about half an hour the manager said "Yeah well done I think that's about enough now lads".
The best was taking the roof off a packed venue in Camden after getting the audience so psyched up it was like a Beatles concert - that makes all the struggles worth it!
IF YOU HAD TO LISTEN TO ONE ALBUM FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Slash - Slash
WHAT DO YOU GET UP TO WHEN YOU’RE NOT MAKING MUSIC?
Flying planes, driving fast cars, four jobs.
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS AT THE MOMENT?
To reach a level of success and recognition for my music that reflects the level of work I have put into it over the years.
WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING ON LATELY? ANY NEW TRACKS OR GIGS LINED UP?
Writing and recording demo's for albums four and five. I have also been getting out from time to time and doing impromptu acoustic open mic gigs.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF UNSIGNED BAND REVIEW?
I think its good to see a community developing for the UK independent music scene. Times are changing and we need to move with them. Hopefully UBR will be an instrumental part of that. "The Industry" is a bit lost in space at the moment. The panacea of opportunity is staring them in the face but they are still living in 1979 somewhere and are collectively clueless, desperately hanging on to short lived ways of making money that had their heyday in the 20th century and clinging on to utterly meaningless words like "signed" and "unsigned". The industry needs sites like UBR to help it gather the data it needs to see how it could have made a fortune ten years ago.
WHAT IS THE NAME OF THE LAST TRACK THAT YOU WROTE AND WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
The last one I wrote is still too new to discuss publicly, but the last one I finished is called Flying High. It is about doing something that has never been done before. It was inspired by my great uncle who was a pilot in the first world war, back in the days when most people had no concept of the idea of flying. I thought about the feelings I had when I first flew an aircraft by myself and tried to imagine how that would have felt for him, at a time when it was such a new idea.
WHAT WAS THE MUSIC SCENE LIKE WHERE YOU GREW UP?
It was very easy to get gigs because we were young, plucky, we could play well and we had a great following. There weren't a great many bands around and there was a bit of rivalry between some of them, but the fans loved it because there wasn't much else to do anywhere.