A Huddersfield musician is to play on the main stage at a top music festival after beating 25 other bands in a competition.

Alex Spychalski won a Battle of the Bands competition to grab the spot at Bingley Festival this weekend (August 4-6) and with more than 20,000 people attending last year’s festival he’s sure of a big audience.

Alex – who plays under the name Alex Spy – was in one of eight heats and then triumphed in the final to win the opportunity to play in front of thousands of festival-goers.

The band is a duo featuring 32-year-old Alex and drummer Stephen Derych from Lindley.

Alex said: “Winning the competition was amazing and I can’t quite believe it as we were up against some great bands. I’ve been playing for years but winning this was definitely the highlight and I admit me and my dad shed a tear when they announced the result.

“Around 25 people had travelled over to support me in the final which was brilliant.”

Alex Spy (left) and drummer Stephen Derych

Alex, of Bolster Moor, doesn’t know which slot he’ll have during the festival but it will be for 30 minutes. This year’s three-day festival features such big names as Noel Gallagher, Travis, Ian Brown, Kate Nash, New Model Army, Razorlight and The Cribs.

Alex has been inspired by the music of Muse right back to when he was a pupil at Lindley Junior School so perhaps Muse playing the John Smith’s Stadium in June was a good omen.

Alex went to Salendine Nook High and then Huddersfield New College before achieving a degree in model-making and special effects at Hertfordshire University which led to him working on films such as the sci-fi thriller Edge Of Tomorrow starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt.

But music was always Alex’s real ambition and, as he could see movies moving away from physical model-making to more computer-generated special effects, decided to leave to concentrate on his music.

He formed a band with called MKII with Huddersfield drummer Andy Hind and started gigging across the north, especially Manchester and Leeds, until Andy left to concentrate on a career in accountancy and then the pandemic struck.

Alex used the time and isolation to concentrate on improving his guitar playing and writing more songs and came out of it looking to restart gigs with a new drummer.

Stephen answered a Facebook advert and the two have been together ever since, playing their first gig at the Parish in Huddersfield just six weeks after first meeting.

Alex said: “It’s been hard getting gigs away from Huddersfield. The pandemic changed everything. Pubs had closed or changed hands and staff were different so no-one really knows me now and if I email them to do a gig in Leeds or Manchester many ask what my fanbase is in the cities.

“It’s the old chicken and egg scenario – I won’t have a fanbase there unless I can play in the city to show them what I can do.”

Winning the Battle of the Bands in Bingley has already brought in some gigs over there – four in Shipley.

“Hopefully the crowd at Bingley Festival will love what we do,” said Alex. “We’ll soon be recording a new track and aim to bring out an EP early next year.”

Alex records his music at 6dB Studios in York run by highly experienced sound engineer Dave Boothroyd.

Alex already has 9 tracks out on Spotify. To listen to them go to https://open.spotify.com/artist/7BsICe25ZgAJdsiOVJfk7V

Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.