Since releasing their self-titled debut EP in November last year, New Zealand indie-folk band Alae have not only announced a third additional member to the band and an Australasian tour this spring, but they’ve blessed us with a fantastic new single From 1 To 3 and music video to follow. We caught up with vocalist Alex Farrell-Davey to find out more about the catchy ear-worm.
Starting from the beginning, can you tell us a little bit about ALAE.. Who it is, how you formed?
Allister [Meffan] and I have known each other since college, we were in numerous Rockquest bands together and then finally decided to give the music thing a go properly.
The meaning of us wanting a drummer was so we could experiment more with the songwriting side of things and show people what we’re like as a band rather than a duo. We kind of knew we would always end up with one, so when Jayden [Lee] came along, it just worked immediately.
Do you come from a musical background originally?
Yeah, I was brought up into the musical theatre and acting world so I started from a very young age, but the songwriting and guitar side of things happened when I was about 15 years old, which is when my personal adventure of what I wanted to gain from playing music kicked in.
For those that aren’t too familiar with your sound, how would you best explain it?
There’s definitely very big jazz and country influences in there. The structure of the songs are conventionally pop as we know it, hence why they’re compatible with radio, but it’s just our own sound we’re trying to create.
Who are some of your musical inspirations?
The really important ones to me are Wilco and Ryan Adams. Then there’s other great bands like Fleet Foxes and the XX. There’s just so many!
Can you tell us about your new single From 1 To 3?
At the time we were listening to a lot of Prisoner, Ryan Adams new album, so the big electric guitar that’s running through the whole thing is definitely inspired by that idea. The song itself is vaguely existential, it’s about accepting the fact that you’re no more important than anyone else which doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. It just means that you’ve got all the time and ideas in the world, so just be happy with what you’ve got. There’s this very preconceived idea of who or where one should be, just be happy.
We’re big fans of the colours and silhouette style throughout the video.. How creatively involved are you in your music videos, from the initial ideas through to the execution?
Sometimes it’s just about what we can do that looks really cool, but it is also cheap as hell [laughs]. We discuss everything with our team, then they do they hard part. The visual aid to a song is such an integral part for music now because people will automatically associate that visual imagery with the tone of the song itself.
This was your first time working with a producer too.. Can you tell us about what that experience was like?
We worked with Jol Mulholland who is a very talented guy. He managed to channel the people we told him we were listening to and he helped emulate certain sounds we were after which was really cool. Usually I don’t gel with other people when trying to write on the spot, but he was very open, so the whole process was very collaborative between us.
So how does the songwriting process generally work within the band?
Essentially the majority of the song structures and lyrics are me but then we work together on the production as a group, so by the time the finished product comes along it’s very different to how it began.
Without giving too much away, What can expect from your upcoming debut album?
There’s going to be a lot of new sounds and progressions that we have been experimenting with as musicians!
What are you most looking forward to about hitting the road throughout Australasia over the next few months?
I think just performing to a whole bunch of different people. It’s so nice to get outside of Auckland sometimes. We haven’t personally toured Australia before but we opened for Hollie Smith over there, so we’re very pumped to get back on the road!
Last of all, is there anyone that you’re listening to right now that we should know about?
There’s this awesome album that I love, it’s really depressing but very beautiful, called La’more by this guy called Lillas. It’s very intense and you can’t really decipher anything he says, but he was a businessman whose family all died in a tragic car crash, so he spent all of his money recording this album, cooped up in a hotel room. It’s hauntingly realistic.
ALAE are on tour throughout NZ this August / September. Tickets on sale now