Inverness singer-songwriter Justboy (aka Dale Sutherland of Alt Rock duo Alkanes) has announced the release of his debut single Better Off across all major digital platforms on 29th January 2021. Inspired by indie-folk luminaries such as City and Colour, Hozier and Bon Iver, Better Off explores the bittersweet nature of having to let go of that person we once thought was going to be ‘the one’. Dale spoke with The Fountain about the new track as well as his hopes for 2021.

TF: You have a new single out, what has the reception been like to Better Off

From the few people that I’ve let listen to the track so far, it’s been extremely positive feedback. It’s a song that’s very different to anything I have done previously with my band Alkanes and I feel like it’s a deeper look into my soul . It’s more honest and authentic compared to anything I’ve written before so there has always been a sense of apprehension in letting anyone hear the song. There’s even still some minor anxiety as the release date approaches! 

TF: How would you sum up the track in one sentence?

Better Off is a delicate alt-folk waltz that builds to a soaring climax with a barrage of emotion, sprinkled with a glimmer of hope.

TF: What is your plan for 2021, after this release?

The world is obviously still a surreal place to be living right now so I’ve held off on making any plans because I don’t want to face the disappointment of not being able to reach any targets or get out and play for people. I’m taking each day as it comes. I’ve also struggled for any motivation to be creative, despite having the single coming out, but I do hope to write and hopefully record more with this project at some point in the year. 

I  also hope to hit the ground running and write an Alkanes record and take it to the studio. I’ve been sitting on some ideas for some time. I just need to get in a room with our drummer Connor and work on them, whenever that may be! I’ve potentially got an acoustic livestream around the release of the single but that’s yet to be confirmed. 

TF: Where is your favourite venue for playing live, where is the next place you look most forward to gigging? 

My favourite venue just now is The Tooth & Claw in Inverness. The venue has become a hub for the alternative scene up here. It’s a nice intimate setting and shows are always fun there. You always get a good crowd with an energy you can bounce off. I love the place, even if it is a sweat box! So I’m really looking forward to getting back there to play again, but in the current circumstances I’ll take any gig at this point! 

Better Off is out on 29th January