When it comes to music, I like what I like. I don’t care about the genre or style, I care about songwriting. If it reaches me, I like it. I’m also a big sucker for a pop hook and a good lyric.
This is where Melbourne, Australia’s Alex Lahey comes in.
With her debut EP just released – B-Grade University, (Lahey sold her beloved blue Toyota Corolla to finance the project.more on that below) the singer/songwriter has been making some noise with her songwriting.
The 23 year-old Millennial writes with the vulnerable, bittersweet generational irony of Paul Westerberg, who penned lines like “Look me in the eye and tell me I’m satisfied” and “God, what a mess, on the ladder of success. You take one step and miss the whole first rung.”
Westerberg spoke to a collective of disaffected and directionless Gen Xers (including me), and I get the feeling that Lahey answers the call for the detached and indebted Generation Y.
“Hey, remember that time
That we slept together?
And we just slept”
she writes in Let’s Go Out Tonight.
“All I want is to have cleanskin wine
And watch Mulholland Drive with you
But in the morning through your sleepy eyes
You tell me that I’m not for you”
You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me.
It easy to forget that Westerberg wrote most of Let It Be when he was just 23 or 24. Lahey also has the same knack for hook filled choruses. Every song on the 5-track EP is a keeper.
It’s also easy to simply say that Alex Lahey is an artist to watch, but I think she’s a little more than the next indie-hyped artist. Alex Lahey is the real thing and her recent nominations for The Triple J Unearthed Artist of the Year J Award and The Heatseeker Award and Victorian Live Voice of the Year would say that I’m not alone in thinking that.
Tell us about the 1999 blue Corolla. What are you driving now?
The Corolls Royce was my first ever car which I sold last year in order to fund the recording of my EP. It was the best shit car in the world! Now I drive a silver Honda Accord that I inherited off a family member, which has nowhere near as much character. I scraped it against a pylon in a carpark the other day – mum’s going to kill me…
When you think about your path in music, whose career do you look at as ideal?
Bruce Springsteen – pushing 70 years old and fanging four-hour long stadium shows. I’ll have what he’s having.
Why did you decide to go solo?
It wasn’t really a decision, it just kind of happened. I basically had a bunch of songs that didn’t fit into any of the bands I was in at the time so I decided to release them as part of a solo project and here we are!
Tell us about your gear, guitars, pedals etc.
I have a pretty “economy” standard set up. I play a MIM Fender Telecaster, which I love – it’s set up just the way I like it and is so reliable. Also, I don’t have reservations about throwing it around on stage and it tours really well. My amp of choice is a Vox AC30, but I also own a Fender Deluxe and have been known to use a Twin Reverb and/or Princeton in the studio. As for pedals, my live set up consists of a Boss Blues Driver, Fulltone Soul Bender, Zvex Fat Fuzz Factory, EHX Memory Boy (always on vibrato setting) and TC Electronics Hall of Fame, all running through a One Touch Crocodile Tail Loop.
Tell us about your hometown scene…
The Melbourne scene is big enough to always be able to find a gig to play/attend and see new bands all the time, but also small enough to know everyone in it and make friends for life. It’s a great place for any band to get their start – so supportive, receptive and with plenty of opportunities.
What influences you lyrically?
Things I’ve done, thoughts I’ve had, conversations I’ve engaged in, people I know, relationships of all kinds, being me.
What song do you remember most from your childhood?
Probably ‘Alice the Camel’ – you know, that song where (spoiler alert) Alice the camel ends up having no humps because she’s a horse of course?
If you could tour with any band/artist right now who would that be and why?
Hmmm, right now? Probably Catfish and the Bottlemen because my band and I are so into their latest album.
What would you do with $100,000?
Put it towards international touring, inclusive of generous per diems so I can eat all the food.
Give us your 10 song playlist for the tour van/bus/plane?
Ok, so this encompasses the bangers my band and I are currently indulging in on the road:
- Smooth – Santana ft Rob Thomas
- Girlie Bits – Ali Barter
- Not the Same – Bodyjar
- T-Shirt Weather – Circa Waves
- 7 – Catfish and the Bottlemen
- In the Fog, In the Flame – Bec Sandridge
- Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ – Michael Jackson
- What’s My Scene – Hoodoo Gurus
- Edge of Town – Middle Kids
- Drive – Gretta Ray
What’s up for the rest of 2016 and 2017?
Playing more shows in more places, our first international tours, writing lots and lots, and having a really good time while we’re at it