Alex Lahey announced herself to the world in 2016 with her debut EP ‘B-Grade University’. The EP saw the Melbourne singer-songwriter catapulted into popularity with fans around Australia.
Now in 2017, she is ready to release her debut full-length album, I Love You Like A Brother, set for release on Oct 6 with an Adelaide show at Fat Controller on Oct 13.
We caught up with Alex before the album release and tour to see how she feels about the new album and what fans can expect before she debuts it around the country.
Upside: This is your debut album, how exciting! How do you feel? When you release your music do you feel confident getting it out there because you know it’s finished, ready, and good? Or are you more unsure in what the reaction will be?
Alex Lahey: I’m genuinely really, really excited to have it out. I will admit, it has taken me a little while to get to this point after months of riding the waves of nerves as the record has been done for a while. My mantra towards the whole thing is that I’ve done my very best, I’m proud of the outcome and I’m really looking forward to the album taking on its own life and for people to interpret it in whatever way they like.
Upside: I’ve listened to the whole album a few times now and I’m loving it, it sounds familiar like B-Grade University but you’ve taken it to the next level with the instrumentals with new and unfamiliar sounds. For example, it sounds like ‘Backpack’ has so many new instruments and synth inspirations, what was your favourite instrument that you brought into the album?
Alex Lahey: Thanks, man! ‘Backpack’ is a track I’m really proud of as it branches out quite a bit from the EP, as you mentioned, but also from the album itself. That track has a lot of orchestral percussion in it – timpanis, glockenspiel, marimbas etc – and that was a really fun day of recording. My producer Oscar and I went back to our old high school and just made full use of all the gear they had there. It was awesome.
Upside: How would you describe I Love You Like A Brother’s sound from your previous music? To me, the lyrics and themes sound a notch more personal this time.
Alex Lahey: To be honest, there were no conscious decisions made during the writing and recording process to try to differentiate the album from previous releases. That said, I think the record that has come out of that process is definitely a step up from what I’ve put out in the past – I think that just comes down to practice and spending time writing songs and becoming more used to being in the studio. I also went head first into doing all the pre-production for the record while writing it, which I think made recording the album a smoother process.
Upside: I remember first hearing ‘You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me’ on Triple J for the first time. That was only a year ago and so much has happened since then, what’s been the best experience for you so far?
Alex Lahey: It has been a pretty crazy 18 months. It’s pretty hard to pick one moment, but I think being able to quit my job last year and just spend my time writing, touring and recording has been the most incredible thing to come out of it all. I honestly never thought I would be able to do that – everything else that comes with it is a bonus.
Upside: A personal favourite of mine is Perth Traumatic Stress Disorder, what experience lead you to write this song?
Alex Lahey: I wrote that song after my first ever trip to Perth where I got dumped. It was a funny time because even though I had to go through the impending ‘dumpage’, I really, really liked Perth and overall had a really good time – so I guess the song is about my conflicted relationship with Perth. These days I 100% love Perth. No bad blood at all.
Upside: ‘There’s No Money’ is an epic end to the album and it’s a really beautiful song and sounds quite different from anything else on the album and prior. How did it come together?
Alex Lahey: That was the last song I wrote for the record and I wanted to write a song to close the album. I went into writing it with a vision to present a bit of a sonic departure from the rest of the album, which is why there are some programmed drums in there and very few lyrics. It’s a bit of a “what’s next?” moment.
Upside: With your lengthy tour ahead can fans expect to hear most of your discography in your headline performances, have you thought about playing the album in full?
Alex Lahey: Yeah, for sure! Playing the album in full is a challenge I’m setting myself. Let’s see how we go.
Upside: I’m sure this is changing with each listen, but currently, what’s your favourite song on the album?
Alex Lahey: It changes all the time and will definitely change as we start playing the record live, but at the moment, my favourite track would have to be ‘Awkward Exchange’. It’ll be different tomorrow – I can guarantee it.
Upside: With that being said which song are you most looking forward to performing live?
Alex Lahey: Just all the songs that have never been played live before – it’s going to be so refreshing to have those moments to look forward to in the set and I hope that the people who have been coming to my shows for a while have a new experience of an AL gig!
ALEX LAHEY ‘I LOVE YOU LIKE A BROTHER’ TOUR
Wed Oct 4 – 48 Watt St Newcastle
Friday Oct 6 – OAF, Sydney
Sat Oct 7 – The Zoo, Brisbane
Wed Oct 11 – Karova Lounge, Ballarat
Thurs Oct 12 – Workers Club, Geelong
Fri Oct 13 – Fat Controller, Adelaide
Saturday Oct 14 – Republic Bar, Hobart
Wed Oct 18 – Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Thurs Oct 19 – Rosemount, Perth
Friday Oct 20 – Mojos, Fremantle