Alex Lahey, musician
Sometimes things get hard, but if you can remind yourself why you do it, then it’s all worthwhile and you can get through those challenges ...
To say 2016 was a big year for Alex Lahey would be an understatement. The musical wunderkind exploded onto the scene with one of the most impressive debuts in recent memory. Alex’s EP B Grade University offered up a bunch of incredible singles such as ‘You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me’, ‘Let’s Go Out’ and ‘Ivy League’, which have all racked up hundreds of thousands of streams online and earned a ton of national airplay. Alex Lahey is primed to achieve even more in 2017, which as already seen her tour the United States and play alongside Blondie and Cyndi Lauper at A Day on the Green. Ahead of Alex’s appearance at The Blurst of Times Festival, we spoke to Alex about new material and how she is adjusting to the big time.
It’s pretty safe to say that 2016 was a massive year for you – looking back, how has the past 12 months been?
The last 12 months have been pretty life changing to say the least! I’ve gone from working part-time jobs to being a full-time musician, which has been the biggest dream come true. All the opportunities that have come with this – such as touring overseas, meeting legendary artists and becoming more comfortable in a studio setting – have been amazing for my own creative and personal development. I am so grateful!
What was the biggest learning curve you experienced once your music career started gaining serious momentum?
I think understanding that you have to really be sure you know why you’re doing what you’re doing in order to succeed, and that’s something that changes and is important to come back to from time to time. Sometimes things get hard, but if you can remind yourself why you do it, then it’s all worthwhile and you can get through those challenges.
You just got back from a run of massive shows over in the United States and you just toured with Blondie and Cyndi Lauper. We want to live vicariously through you – can you share your best story from those tours?
Haha, sure! Touring the US was really wonderful for many reasons. I think doing SXSW was a bit of a bucket list kind of thing and it was really awesome to make ‘the pilgrimage’. As for the Cyndi and Blondie tour – talking to Deborah Harry was pretty amazing. I felt I was literally having a conversation with a piece of history or a work of art. It was totally surreal! And Cyndi is just a dead-set legend – we’d regularly run into each other at catering. One can spot her casual attire of a leopard print turban from a mile away.
Your upcoming national tour is called the Wes Anderson tour – which of the auteur’s films resonates most with you?
Well, my song ‘Wes Anderson’ was written after I saw The Grand Budapest Hotel, but my favourite Wes movie is The Royal Tenenbaums!
We’re very excited to catch you at The Blurst of Times Festival this month. Are there any acts on the bill that you are keen to catch if you have time?
My choices definitely include Jarrow, Royal Headache and Jack River.
B-Grade University was one of our favourite releases from last year. Can you give us any hints as to what you are working on next?
Thank you! I’m actually typing out these answers in the studio as I record my debut album!
Oh, how exciting! Can we expect a few newbies in your upcoming tour set list?
You betcha! My band and I will be debuting a bunch of new tunes this tour, fo sho!
We’d love to know how an Alex Lahey song forms – how does the process typically begin?
I tend to go through different processes over time. At the moment, I’ve been starting arrangements with drum patterns and then building the rest of the parts over that. As for lyrics, I tend to look for lyrical hooks rather than consciously looking for melodic hooks in vocal parts.
And conversely, when do you know a song is complete?
I think when there is a well-considered arrangement and song without it being overcooked – that’s what the studio and touring is for!
What would you consider to be some of the major influences in your life and work?
Relationships of all kinds, travel and reading.
Finally, do you have any words of wisdom for any up-and-coming musicians hoping to have a crack at the Australian music scene?
Be yourself, don’t create anything because you think it’s what people want to hear. If you think or act that way, you’re already behind the 8-ball.
You can catch Alex Lahey perform at The Blurst of Times Festival on Saturday April 29 alongside Skegss, Ngaiire, The Creases, Royal Headache and more.