A FORMER bandmate of X Factor favourite Matt Cardle says he would love to play with him again.

Ali McMillan, 27, and Matt set up their band, Darwyn, with Richard Grace, of Star Stile, Halstead, five years ago.

The school friends gigged in Bush Hall, Shepherds Bush, and Covent Garden, in London.

They recorded two albums, and have lots of unrecorded material, but were never signed to a record label.

More recently Matt, 27, and Ali performed in local venues, including the Cherry Tree Inn, in Belchamp St Paul, and Scenarios and the Bull Hotel, in Halstead.

Performing arts teacher Ali, who lives in Sudbury, said: “We had small bits of interest from really local labels, but nothing happened.

“We still have a lot of unrecorded stuff on my MP3 player.

“I don’t know if Matt and I will be playing many more gigs, but I would love to perform with him again.”

Speaking of Matt’s X Factor success, Ali said: “Matt’s a really good singer.

“They seem to be polishing him up a bit.”

Ali described his pal as a really kind and genuine guy who is “off in the clouds with music”.

When picking Matt up from his house in Little Maplestead, Ali said there were occasions when his pal would dash upstairs to grab his coat and then become distracted by the guitar and start playing a tune.

Matt will appear in the first live X Factor show of 2010 on ITV tomorrow.