Alex Lahey is a champion for the under-valued, student-budgeted millennial who studies some form of an arts degree and lives off a diet of two minute noodles and canned beer. Her debut EP B-Grade University is a five track anthem to the student lifestyle and a favourite here in our little red-doored office. Hot off the back of her ‘Let’s Go Out’ Single Launch and a killer Splendour In The Grass set, our resident rascal Tom Bloomfield, sat down with the Melbourne native for a cheeky chinwag on everything ranging from her cat to heading out on the town.
G’day Alex! How are you? Still buzzing from all the recent craziness?
Hey Bloomers – I’m good thanks! It has been crazy, that’s for sure, but I’m having heaps of fun working hard and experiencing all sorts of new things. It’s a good time!
From an outsider it seems that all this success has fallen onto you in one big heap! Is that what it feels like to you, or has this been a long time coming with lots of preparation?
Yeah, I can definitely see how some would think that! I guess they’re kind of right – things have been going a lot better than I could have ever anticipated, but I definitely have “a past” haha. The reality is that I’ve been writing songs for over 10 years and playing gigs in various bands around Melbourne for the last six years with this ‘solo project’ beginning to take shape two years ago, so I guess it has all been brewing for a while. That said, I certainly never predicted some of the really cool things that have come out of this project, but at the end of the day, I just really love writing songs and for as long as I continue to do that it’s kind of business as usual to some degree!
From an artist’s perspective what was your highlight of Splendour? How does attending as an artist differ from going as a punter?
The highlight was easily having the opportunity to play. It was such a new and exciting experience – everything from the stage to the production to the crowd was like nothing we’d ever seen or worked with before. This was my first time at Splendour, so I didn’t really have much to compare it to. But I guess one of the biggest differences between attending a festival as an artist compared to being a punter is having to wait less time in a queue to use the toilets backstage. A BIG benefit.
You’ve recently signed with Caroline Australia and you’ve got a great team together now, how are you finding working with proper industry support? Does it make it easier taking some of the pressure off yourself?
Yeah, I’m super lucky to have the Caroline Australia crew distributing my record via my own label, Nicky Boy Records. Having the enthusiasm, support and resources of the people in my team is invaluable. I can’t do what I do without them. My job is to write songs, and if I had to do all the work that they help me out with, I literally wouldn’t have to the time to be an artist. Needless to say, I would also do a way shitter job.
Sooo I peeped that Tegan and Sara tweet! That must have been a nice surprise, are you a big fan?
I’m a very big fan, so it was extremely humbling for them to have taken the time to check out my music, let alone tell the world that they enjoyed it! I actually met them at Splendour, which was a massive highlight of my time there. They are incredibly generous people. I told them that I taught myself how to play guitar by learning all the songs on The Con when that came out. It was kind of this weird full circle thing with how they happened to be on the line up of my first “big gig” and I’m so lucky that I was able to say hi!
If you got to book the three headliners for Splendour next year, and could pick anyone you wanted, who would you choose?
Bruce Springsteen – how fucking amazing would the Boss be at Splendour? They would have to give him a three hour set, at least. Ra Ra Riot – only because I’ve been so into their music for soooooo long and they never come to Australia. Surely a Splendour offer would be some good bait. Also, Beyonce. But with no announcement (in typical Bey fashion) – she just appears on stage as a “secret headliner”. People would lose their shit.
The debut EP is a cracker, what kind of message do you want listeners to take away when they put your music in their ears?
Oh thanks so much! I’m so glad you like it! That’s a very good question. I’m a normal person who does normal people things like everyone else and I write about those things. So guess, if someone can come away from listening to my songs having related to it in some way, that would make me a very happy chappy.
Since I assume you like going out, where is your favourite going-out-destination in Melbs? And why?
Oooft. There are many, but I do love seeing and playing gigs at the Northcote Social Club. That’s definitely a fave. Their chip quality is currently at an all-time high, so having a parma and a pint before slithering into the bandroom is a frequent past-time of mine.
What’s next for you Alex?
Touring, writing, seeing bands, hanging out with my cats, finishing the second season of Chef’s Table, drinking beers, listening to records, seeing friends, making cups of tea, and of course, playing Maroochy Fest!
CATCH ALEX LAHEY HEADLINING THE CHAMPAGNE & OYSTER GARDEN STAGE
AT MAROOCHY MUSIC & VISUAL ARTS FEST.
STREAM ‘B-GRADE UNIVERSITY’ BELOW