Alex Lahey on finding her voice and taking risks

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Alex Lahey on finding her voice and taking risks

Over the last decade there has been a growing and tangible need to label or apply a genre to music (often a hyphenated hybrid), whether it is a journalistic or consumer driven practice is hard to say. Ultimately this is a restricting habit for the artist, although it does allow the listener to ride the short-lived and highly-sought after crest of social relevance, of whatever neo genre has appeared today. Alex Lahey’s 2017 debut album, I Love You Like A Brother has been characterised across the spectrum from surf rock to doo-wop. The album could be all of these things, listeners’ choice, but on the question of genre and influence, especially suburban-Melbourne playing a role in her sound, Lahey instead looks at closer influences.
“I think that all artists are products of where they’re from and who they grow up with and I’m no different from that,” she says. “I think that my music, my sound, lyrically and performance style are pretty direct and to the point which I think is quite reflective of my own personality and the people closest to me. My Mum and my best friend are two of the most direct people I know and I think that bleeds into my music. It’s not to say that it’s abrupt or anything, but I think there is something quite direct about the songs that I write.”
When it comes to comparisons however, Lahey neither rebukes nor embraces. Instead she celebrates the individual talent of her supposed comparison, while acknowledging the graft it took them to get through the closed doors and ceilings, glass or otherwise. Of more importance to her is the freeing impact these artists have had on her own creative output and engagement.
“I would say being genuine, or not being scared to be genuine, that probably came when I was around 21. I remember listening to a lot of those artists, the Melbourne dudes back then like Courtney Barnett and Dick Diver and hearing them say things in their songs and thinking ‘Wow you can really say what you want’. I think that taking that approach to song writing really empowered me and in turn helped me find my voice to take my own risks.”
Lahey’s accolades are many. Countless appearances on 2017 album of the year lists in worldwide, playing on US late night shows as well as Splendour and this year’s Groovin’ The Moo. The young woman’s love and dedication to the art cannot be underplayed, but what about downtime? Something artists are infamous for their battles with.
“I’m always writing, not always with purpose but taking notes of what’s going on around me and the banks of melodies that end up in the music. I’m also someone who’s very capable of relaxing which is a good quality to have especially when you run yourself ragged on tour for months otherwise you’d be a shell of a woman.”
After her Alex Lahey and The Belligerents East x West Tour, Alex will be taking to the road once again on her Huge and True Tour, wrapping up with the final night at The Barwon Club in Geelong.
“It’s good to get out of the city. We’re stoked to be coming back to Geelong, it’s become a staple of our tour when we’re in Australia and it’s got such a great local scene.”
When & Where: Sooki Lounge, Belgrave – April 12, 170 Russell, Melbourne – April 20 & Barwon Club, Geelong – April 21
Written by James Mac
Image by Ian Laidlaw