A quick chat with Alex Lahey
With the release of her second single You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me (which we recommended here) garnering plenty of attention, it’s fair to say Alex Lahey has come a long way in a short space of time. The Melbournian, who doubles up as the vocalist for the band Animaux, only released her first single as a solo musician late last year. With a tour fast approaching for her new single, I had a chat with Alex about her songwriting process, the joys of touring and handball in the schoolyard.
Matt: Firstly, congrats on the release of the new single! You must be thrilled with the reception it’s received over the last fortnight or so.
Alex: Thanks! It feels great to have it out there. I’m happy people seem to be connecting with the song.
Matt: This track, along with your first single Air Mail, focuses on love in multiple forms. Lyrically, are they based on personal experiences or just general ideas that come together for you?
Alex: All of my songs come from some sort of personal experience. I think those experiences become somewhat heightened or exaggerated when they’re unpacked during the writing process, but I can only write about what I know at a fundamental level.
I guess this record is a bit of an introduction to this project and who I am as a writer and musician.
Matt: You recorded YDTYLPLM, as well as the rest of your upcoming EP, with Oscar Dawson from Holy Holy. What was that like? What ideas or lessons did you learn from working with Oscar?
Alex: Working with Oscar has been one of the best things that I could’ve asked for as a musician. I feel as though I leave our studio sessions a better musician. He has taught me a lot about playing guitar and finding tones, as well as adjusting my vocal deliveries to reflect the lyrical content or general vibe of a song. He really understands that the song is the most important thing for me and it can’t get lost. The fact that he can recognize this and work to it makes him an amazing producer and collaborator.
Matt: And what should we expect from said EP, out sometime in May I believe?
Alex: Yeah, we’ll be getting that bad boy out in May. I guess this record is a bit of an introduction to this project and who I am as a writer and musician. Hopefully it shows a bit of versatility while giving a good, solid idea of my musical identity.
Matt: Your band Animaux contains a fair amount of members, seven at last count. What are some of the best and worst things about performing and touring with such a large contingent?
Alex: Best things: always someone to drink with, heaps of ideas and personalities, easy to get lifts to gigs, lots of gear to share around, and everyone is best mates. Worst things: touring costs, cramming into the tour van, lots of gear, too many ideas at times.
Matt: What changes do you have to make recording your solo material compared to recording with Animaux? Is there anything you do differently or prefer when going solo?
Alex: With my solo material, the responsibility falls on me to really dictate what I want to get out of the recording process and the type of songs I want to make. This means arranging all the parts and having a clear vision of what the end product is, which means a lot more work. Animaux, on the other hand, is a very collaborative beast, which is both a blessing and a burden. Both have their merits – it’s just two different ways of going about making music.
With my solo material, the responsibility falls on me to really dictate what I want to get out of the recording process and the type of songs I want to make.
Matt: You’ve been teasing the film clip for YDTYLPLM since you released the track – were you a big wallball or handball player in the schoolyard? Or was music always something you followed at a young age?
Alex: Oh look, I was partial to the odd game of four-square in the primary school playground, but I was no star player. Music has always been a huge part of my life since I was in kindergarten. I told my mum I wanted to play the saxophone when I was 4 years old and gradually worked my way up to getting my first horn when I was 12. The sax will always hold a special place in my heart, but I’m no shredder! These days I play a lot more guitar and am currently in the tone vortex. Life (or my bank balance) will never be the same.
Matt: Late last year you supported the likes of Gordi and The Pierce Brothers with only one single to your name, in addition to your first gigs in Byron Bay and Brisbane. What’s in store for Alex Lahey in the near future?
Alex: With the release of the EP, there should be a bit of touring happening, some more shows with great bands. It has been a mammoth couple of months being in the studio and releasing music, so I’m also really looking forward to knuckling down into some writing in the next few weeks. And just generally having a good time. I’m all about the good times.