INTERVIEW: Alex Lloyd

Alex Lloyd is a name that dominated the Australian music industry throughout the early 2000’s. Winning two ARIA Awards and topping the charts with his gold certified number one single ‘Amazing’, he was touring non-stop and maintaining the momentum he had grown. But now Lloyd has taken a backseat in music and after releasing an acoustic greatest hits album in 2016 he’s just been playing small solo shows and returning to the roots of everything to find his creative spark again. 

2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the release of his debut album ‘Black The Sun’ so to commemorate the massive milestone, Lloyd is hitting the road for a run of celebratory shows across the country throughout October and November as well as joining the nostalgic line up of Scene & Heard Festival in Cairns, Brisbane and Newcastle. 

I recently chatted to Alex Lloyd and chatted about the 20th anniversary of ‘Black The Sun’, revisiting the album in it’s entirety for the upcoming live shows and how he feels about being labelled as a nostalgic artist. Check it out HERE;

TB: 2019 sees you celebrating the 20th anniversary of your debut album ‘Black The Sun’. So reflecting back on the album as a collective what is the strongest and weakest thing about it?

AL: As an album I think it’s pretty strong! I listened back to it recently in it’s entirety, in preparation for the tour and I really enjoyed it which I guess is a good thing because I wrote it *laughs*. The weakest thing I would say would have been the visuals. I’ve never really had much idea about visuals or aesthetics. I’ve tried to in the past but it didn’t really work out. 

I don’t really have any regrets about it because the past is the past and it is what it is. You can’t change it and it was a real moment in time for me. That album was based on a break-up, regardless of what it did or what success it had, I had to do it for myself. But as a body of work I feel like it’s pretty solid.

TB: Did you find releasing that album was really cathartic for you? And it must be so rewarding seeing people still relate to it 20 years later?

AL: Yeah! It was a nice feeling then and it’s still a nice feeling now. It was the first body of work I had that people would come along to the live shows and sing all the lyrics. That was pretty empowering, and because it was the first time it was even more incredible. It was an honour and privilege for me to experience and feel that. 

TB: It must be kind of surreal to look back at that break-up and think about where you are at 20 years later? 

AL: She was the first love of my life so I don’t think I will ever forget her *laughs*. But putting out that record was just one of those things because I felt the way I felt and I did what I did and it came out really beautifully and changed my life. I wish things were the simple these days *laughs*.

TB: From the release of ‘Black The Sun’ to where you are now as an artist, what is the biggest thing you’ve learnt about yourself as a musician? 

AL: I don’t know if I’ve learnt anything to be honest *laughs*. I guess, everything and nothing. I just keep learning because music keeps evolving and changing. Throughout my journey I have dabbled with a lot of different styles and I don’t know if I have a clear, definitive road to take. I think I’m just trying to work that out with each album. 

TB: Reflecting on ‘Black The Sun’, what was your vision because it was obviously intended to explore your heartbreak but did you want there to be a sense of hope too?

AL: I’ve always liked to have a silver lining in my music. It can’t be all doom and gloom *laughs*. There has to be a ray of sunshine for me. But it was a very emotive record and the music is quite layered. I was really embracing production and trying different things. I worked with some talented people that added a lot. It was an add and subtraction thing that took over a year and a half. 

TB: When you listened to the album in it’s full again in preparation for the tour, what were the mental notes or thoughts you had about the record?

AL: To be honest, I just related to it again *laughs*. It’s strange to listen to it 20 years later because it’s as if we are two different people in two different times. But I really like it. 

TB: To celebrate the 20th anniversary, you will be embarking on a massive national run of shows including appearances at Scene & Heard Festival. So as an artist what appealed most to you about hitting the road to play this record live?

AL: It was a really good excuse to get the band back together. I hadn’t done a full live band tour in a long time. I had been doing a lot of solo acoustic shows and little three piece performances but this is the first time I get to get up there and play some relatively loud music in a long time. I get to have some beats going and just have fun. I’m so excited to play around with it and bring this tour to life. This is the bells and whistles tour that I’ve been longing for. 

TB: This also marks the first time that you’ve ever played the album in full as well as the first time you’ve played some of the songs live. So what songs have never been performed live and why had you never played them until now?

AL: A couple of songs on the album were never really played live because of time but we are finally going to give it the time it deserves and play the whole record from start to finish. And then we will do an encore of songs from other albums of mine including ‘Amazing’ which is always one people want to hear. 

‘Backseat Clause’ and ‘Gender’ were songs from ‘Black The Sun’ that I haven’t played a lot live before, so I’m really excited to perform them on this tour. 

TB: Scene & Heard Festival is an event that is full of nostalgia thanks to it’s reflective format. So how do you feel about being labelled as a nostalgic artist now and being marketed as “reliving your twenties’?

AL: Look, I don’t know if I feel wonderful about it *laughs*, I would prefer to be in my twenties. But yes and no, it’s kinda good and bad. You start getting some grey in your beard and you realise you’re getting old *laughs*. But I feel privileged to be onstage with all of those different acts like The Dandy Warhols and Sneaky Sound System. The music from that era is some of my favourite music of all time, so it will be really fun. 

TB: You’re no stranger to the touring circuit, so reflecting on your tours throughout your career what is one of your favourite or weirdest touring memory?

AL: My favourite and weird one is actually combined! I was doing a show at a football stadium in Milan in Italy and I was supporting this Italian artist and his music is kinda like Italian Powderfinger. The shows were HUGE. We did two shows of 60-70,000 people each, back to back and it was such a bizarre gig. They had this Elvis impersonator who would introduce all of the bands and it was so strange and out there. The main act even came on stage and started his show by pretending to be a roadie with his bum crack hanging out and then all of a sudden kicked into a song, it was so weird. 

TB: ’Amazing’ is a song that has been played everywhere. And I mean.. everywhere. So where is one of the weirdest places you’ve heard that song played?

AL: I don’t know, I’ve heard it in plenty of shopping malls over the year *laughs*. I was actually once in Singapore and ‘Amazing’ came on and this guy came up to me and was like “You’re Alex Lloyd Webber” *laughs* and I just went along with it because he had a few beers and I wasn’t going to win that argument. 

TB: Following the end of this tour, what do you want to do next? Can we expect new music? 

AL: Yeah! I’m working on new music at the moment and it’s very beat oriented with a 90’s hip-hop element but with no rapping *laughs*. But who knows where it will sonically go before I release it because by next year it could have evolved so differently.

I tried to write a Country record last year and didn’t really get there. I wrote 3 or 4 songs and it just didn’t feel like me. So who knows what it will be but I’m definitely trying to work on something.

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: Sure!

TB: My morning pump up song is…

AL: Like A Prayer’ by Madonna

TB: Pineapple on pizza is…

AL: Okay

TB: The emoji that best describes my debut album ‘Black The Sun’ is…

AL: Probably a sad face *laughs*! Actually, the happy sad face with a slight smile just to show that there is a bit of hope but that I’m still sad deep down.

TB: If I could have any superpower it would be…

AL: Time travel!

TB: My go to snack on tour is…

AL: Oysters *laughs*. 

Black The Sun Australian Tour

Thursday 17 October – Prince Of Wales, Bunbury 

Friday 18 October – The Dunsborough Hotel, Dunsborough

Saturday 19 October – Freo.Social Perth

Wednesday 23 October – The Gov, Adelaide 

Thursday 24 October – The Croxton, Melbourne 

Friday 25 October – Matthew Flinders, Chadstone 

Wednesday 30 October – Dalrymple Hotel, Garbutt 

Thursday 31 October – Mount Pleasant Tavern, Mackay 

Friday 1 November – Harvey Road Tavern, Gladstone

Wednesday 6 November – The Basement, Canberra 

Thursday 7 November – Waves, Wollongong

Friday 8 November – The Highfield Hotel, Caringbah

Saturday 9 November – The Factory Theatre, Sydney

Scene & Heard Festival Dates

Sunday 27 October – Barlow Park, Cairns

Saturday 2 November – Eatons Hill Hotel, Brisbane 

Sunday 10 November – Wickham Park, Newcastle