INTERVIEW: Alex Lahey

The last couple of years have been a little bit of a whirlwind for Alex Lahey. The Melbourne singer-songwriter has been on the road ever since the release of her debut EP ‘B-Grade University’ which rolled into the release of her highly acclaimed debut album ‘I Love You Like A Brother’ which took her all around the world. Her unique blend of indie-rock with emotional and quirky storylines showcases not just her insane musical talent but also showcases her very cool personality. She manages to effortlessly include quirky ideas that intertwine with emotional undertones. I expected her to take some time off in-between releases but apparently I was wrong. Her sophomore record ‘The Best Of Luck Club’ will be released on May 17 and hears her diving deeper into this anthemic rock sound. The first single ‘Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself’ is a bold and definitive taste of what is to come with her even throwing in a saxophone solo before the final verse. And that’s only the beginning of this new neon-rock world she’s exploring, so you better hold on. She will also be returning to Australia for a massive run of shows in June which will see her playing her biggest shows yet which are expected to sell out very quickly.

I recently chatted to Alex Lahey about how the creative process of ‘The Best Of Luck Club’ differed from her debut record, the origins of the saxophone solo in ‘Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself’ and we discuss how she keeps herself motivated when she feels down or unmotivated in her crazy schedule. Check it out HERE;

TB: When heading into the studio to start working on ‘The Best Of Luck Club’, did you have a distinct vision of how you wanted this album to sound and feel compared to your debut? 

AL: I don’t go into the studio with any expectations about how a recording is going to sound sonically, but I did try this time to parallel process the stories of the songs with the overall message of the body work. Like most debut records, my first record was a collection of songs that came from various points of my life and were pooled together to create an album. Given that, I had to start from the ground up with ‘The Best Of Luck Club’, it was a really awesome opportunity to create a whole new space that could inform the songs, rather than the other way around.

TB: The imagery and branding of ‘The Best Of Luck Club’ record is very retrospective. So what was the inspiration behind this cool concept?

AL: When I started to write this record, I found that all the songs existed on a very broad spectrum of moods and stories. The heavies were heavier and the lights were lighter. I came to this realisation when I was doing a intensive stint of writing in Nashville, which is home to some of the world’s best dive bars. I found that these bars were open to all, no matter what kind of day or path lead you there. but you just had to find them. I felt that the songs I was writing were like patrons at a dive bar – all so different in their experiences but all supposed to be in that one place. Hence the title ‘The Best Of Luck Club’. 

TB: ’Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself’ was written as a reminder to your girlfriend to not be so hard on herself during hard times and reconfirms that it is okay to have a bad day every now and then. So with your schedule also being very hectic and non-stop touring, how do you personally deal with those self doubting thoughts when you don’t feel as confident? 

AL: I just allow myself to be open about them with people I trust. If I’m feeling worn out, self-doubting, tired, lost or under pressure, I make sure that I tell someone who I love and who loves me. I’m a big communicator and discussing things is how I synthesise them. So I tend to feel a lot better after a solid D&M.

TB: There is a very funky and dominant saxophone solo on ‘Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself’ which adds a different layer to your sound which I found really cool. So where did this idea and inspiration originate from? 

AL: Thank you! It was kind of a joke to begin with which involved me playing the solo and Catherine crying with laughter in the control room *laughs*. Then Catherine and I showed it to a few people who all unanimously responded with “keep it”. So we did! And we’re both really glad about it!

TB: Your music has always had a very cool quirk to the songwriting as well as a very honest approach. So reflecting on the new record what would you say is the most venerable moment for you as a songwriter/artist? 

AL: Thank you, that’s very kind of you to say! I think my involvement in the process speaks more to my development as an artist and songwriter over the course of making this record, rather than a particular song on the album. It was a lifelong dream to put my producer hat on and get to co-produce the album with Catherine Marks who is one of my musical heroes. Being able to work alongside someone like Catherine in that capacity taught me so much about making music and using the studio as an instrument in itself, which I think has really informed me as a songwriter and artist.

TB: Over the past couple of years you’ve done a lot of touring and played a lot of festivals. So what is one thing that you’ve learned about yourself and grown as an artist from playing such a varied collection of shows?

AL: The thing that I think has been the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is to know your boundaries and surround yourself with people whose energy you want around you. I’m not really much for “energies and vibrations” but if someone is in a crap mood around you, it’s contagious. A great show isn’t about playing all your parts just like they sound on the recording, it’s about connecting with the people you’re playing with and playing for, and committing to that. That’s where the real magic happens.

TB: With this upcoming leg of Australia dates you will be playing your biggest run of shows yet. So how are you planning to take this live show to the next level? Are you bringing a saxophonist on the road? 

AL: More songs! Bigger productions! More band members! And me on the sax!

TB: There is quite a big political shift and movement at the moment which sees women getting a much needed spotlight. And your music has always had a vert strong and empowering stance to it. So what is some advice you would like to give to young women who are worried to show their vulnerability or be their authentic selves in this slightly confusing political state of the world?

AL: No one should have to get the green light from a political situation to be their authentic selves. That should be a given no matter what. If anything, a time of confusing political circumstance is the time to push the boundaries and make room to ensure the world has a space for every single individual. As devastating as things are at the moment, politically speaking, I genuinely believe that the world is in a state of flux and that the dust will settle away from the bullshit that’s going on now. Maybe that’s naive of me to say but given these circumstances, there is space for people who haven’t historically had a platform to push their way to the front, be heard and create the next wave of change.

TB: Let’s play a little game of rapid fire questions where I’m going to ask you some questions that you just need to answer with the first thing that comes to mind. 

AL: Okay!

TB: My morning pump up song is… 

AL: this morning it was ‘The Dude’ by Quincy Jones

TB: Pineapple on pizza is… 

AL: Not as bad as pineapple on chicken parmas

TB: The emoji that best describes my new album is… 

AL: The door

TB: This morning I… 

AL: Was relieved to see that there was lactose free milk in the fridge, otherwise I would’ve been in trouble *laughs*

TB: My one thing I can’t tour without is… 

AL: Noise cancelling headphones and A Good Attitude!

 

The Best Of Luck Club Australian Tour 

Thursday June 06 – The Governor Hindmarsh – Adelaide

Friday June 07 – Rock Rover – Fremantle

Thursday June 13 – The Tivoli – Brisbane

Friday June 14 – The Basement – Canberra

Saturday June 15 – Metro Theatre – Sydney

Saturday June 22 – Forum – Melbourne

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