“So I was kind of playing with sounds,” Alice Ivy tells me as she thinks back to how her latest single ‘In My Mind’ first began to take shape. “What comes out is how I’m feeling and that’s how I collect all the sounds, then I’ll make a loop and that sort of sparks what the song is about.
“When I write a song, I go into the studio and I lay stuff down on synths and make a loop, and then when I get to the point of it sounding pretty good, I expand it out into a song length.
“[In My Mind] kind of just reminded me of being a kid,” she continues. “You know, that feeling when you were a kid, still in primary school and you’d go on school holidays and it would be like six weeks off, and it’d be summer, and you’d just be like ‘ye-ah, the only thing I have to worry about is me going back to school in four weeks.’ It’s the endless feeling of summer and its awesome. That’s the main story behind what the song is about.”
After getting the instrumental for ‘In My Mind’ down – a batch of deliciously dreamy pop grooves – it was time for Alice to find a vocalist to fully realise the vision she had for the track, and Ecca Vandal was someone she’d had in mind ever since a particular poultry party.
“Ecca and I met at a Nando’s conference… as in like the chicken,” she laughs. “We were both asked to speak, and we were on a panel and we were just getting asked questions about the music industry.”
The two knew of each other already from around the Melbourne music scene, and Alice hit her up straight away to get some studio time in, but Ecca was just about to leave for a long stint overseas, so Alice tucked the contact in her back pocket until Ecca was back in the Southern Hemisphere.
“It was literally a week after she got back, and it was a week before Christmas, she was so exhausted. I sent her the demo and she’s like ‘this is sick, let’s do it!’ and so she came in and, yeah, we smashed it out! She’s amazing. She’s a real perfectionist, in everything she does. I really, really respect working with artists that really value what they do and really take care of producing art.”
Accompanying the new single, which came out earlier in July, is a music video directed by Claudia Sangiorgi Dalimore, and features Alice Ivy and Ecca Vandal guiding you through a surreal desert dreamscape. Alice Ivy wanted to work more with Claudia after appearing in her documentary ‘Her Sound, Her Story’.
“[Her Sound, Her Story] showcases the talent of the amazing hard-working women and non-binary people that work in the industry, and it’s a really important documentary and it’s really incredibly directed, and so I was like ‘I really wanna work with Claudia.’ She’s worked on a lot of stuff with Thelma Plum and Moju Juju; she’s always done an incredible job.”
The choreography for the clip was inspired by the Way Alice Ivy moves on stage during her performance. Dalimore told Ivy ‘the one thing that I really loved about watching you play live is that you just like have this energy that is your own, like you just go nuts and you move in a certain way that’s completely natural. That’s amazing and I really want to try and capture that.’
“So I shot her a video of me at home just dancing, and I’m like, ‘okay this is weird’ …and I showed it to her and she’s like ‘oh yeah this is perfect’. We’re gonna base the whole film clip choreography around how you move naturally.”
‘In My Mind’ is the latest for a musical project that seems to be building stupid amounts of momentum. Alice has only been producing music for approximately five years, but neither her meticulous, off-beat pop style nor some of the highlights of the whole experience so far (including supporting Billie Eilish before she became the mega-star she is today, and performing at last year’s Splendour in the Grass) would point to her career being so fresh.
“Splendour in the Grass last year was my favourite set I’ve ever played in my life, but I wasn’t thinking that at the time. I was like ‘oh my god, I’m doing this right now. Oh my god. This can’t fuck up! Oh my god’. I played that set solo, I had Birdy on for like two songs, and the whole mix-up stage was full… And we were like the first band on, so that was like a pretty incredible moment.”
Alive Ivy’s debut album ‘I’m Dreaming’ came out last year, and has been extremely well received, sending her on tours and writing trips all over the world, and even earned her a spot on triple j’s hottest 200. I asked her if the success of the album has given her confidence to explore and experiment going forward:
“Not really… I mean it’s scary,” she says. “I guess it kind of puts more pressure on you, because you know, you release an album and it’s well-received and it’s a playful, colourful sound, but then it’s like ‘okay, shit, I need to back it up now,’ you know? And people are probably expecting like a playful, fun sound from me and I feel like we kind of did that with the last two singles, but some of the other stuff is pretty sad and really kind of emotional.
“I feel like in this day and age as a producer, as an artist really, you have to be able to adapt your sounds. You can’t just be releasing the same sort of stuff over and over and over again because it gets old, you know?”
Despite her success so far there is still a sense of nervousness for Alice moving forward. I reckon she’s going to kill it though. Plus, the nerves still don’t trump the pleasure of being an artist.
“I reckon I would probably go fucking crazy if I worked a nine to five job,” she reveals. “Look, sometimes it’s scary, but I love it. It’s exciting. Every week is never the same, and I just really appreciate being able to work with amazing people and getting to travel a lot and see bands and just have a good time sometimes. Sometimes it’s hard, but it’s really amazing I really appreciate where I am in my life right now.”
‘In My Mind’ is available now via Dew Process. Alice Ivy is supporting the Northeast Party House ‘Magnify’ Tour at The Forum, Melbourne – October 4.
Written by Liam McNally