Melbournian, 'Indie Pop' sextet Alpine are due to grace the stage at WOMAD 2016 in a few short weeks and we couldn't be more excited. Having continued to evolve since the release of their ARIA chart topping debut 'A is For Alpine', Lou James (Vocals), Phoebe Baker (Vocals), Christian O’Brien (Guitar), Tim Royall (Keys), Ryan Lamb (Bass) and Phil Tucker (Drums), follow up with harmonious sophomore album 'Yuck'.
We took some time with charming, vocalist Phoebe to chat about all things Alpine.
BNKR: How did Alpine come about? Phoebe: We’re all friends now, well we’ve been friends for ages...but I guess you’re not friends before you’re friends. I was at school, forming a band and Christian was a guitar teacher. He sort of got locked in to looking after the band and helping us write songs. We were a pretty shit band! [laughs] But we just got along musically and that’s kind of how we started writing music. The music kind of kept developing harmonies so we were like, “shit we need another singer”. Then we got Lou involved who was a friend of mine. Then Lou’s friend Timmy from uni came in. It was all sort of random meetings. Ryan the bassist was backpacking through England and we met him while we were travelling. And Phil grew up with Christian. So it’s a family affair...but not really family. It feels like family!
For someone who’s never heard your music, what would you say Alpine sounds like? That is a hard question! It’s really hard to define your own sound. I guess obviously it’s pop music, to an extent. But it’s different. Indie pop or alternative pop?
Who are you biggest influences as a band? Like, musicians that I love? I have a lot of musicians that I love; but I’ve been having a massive few years of listening to Caetano Veloso. I think he’s from Brazil…I should know this! Somewhere in South America. He’s been writing songs since the '60s, just incredible music! I’ve been having a big South American phase. Same with a guy called Jorge Ben Jor. Oh my gosh. So much good music. But yeah - South American, Latino vibes are on my radar right now.
Having toured with other acts like Grouplove, Empire Of The Sun and Crystal Fighters…is there anyone you particularly clicked with or might like to collaborate with in future? So many bands we toured with were awesome and lovely! I mean we learnt different things from each of them. Like Empire Of The Sun were incredible. It was so fun to be able to watch their show every night and they put on such an epic show. With dancers and crazy lights and crazy outfits. But all of them were lovely! The Jezabels are legends, Matt Corby, Lisa Mitchell. Yeah, too many!
‘Yuck’ is quite a shift from ‘A Is For Alpine’. Is this the kind of sound we should expect to hear in the future? You know I think it's an ever-evolving musical journey. We got to a certain stage with ‘Yuck’ and the sound was definitely changing...but we feel like you can tell that it’s us. It’s got a particular sound that is ‘Alpine’ - kind of a consistent thread.
Can you tell us about some of your real first world problems, which inspired ‘Yuck’? Oh my gosh! There’s so many! Well there’s the obvious one, which is using your phone too much. Interacting with your phone rather than what’s around you. Yeah, I think about it and it’s not that long ago that it wasn’t a thing but suddenly it’s our whole world. It’s weird. It’s fascinating.
The lyrics for this album seem to be quite personal. Was it a very cathartic experience for you? Totally cathartic! There were some ex-boyfriends that needed venting. My ex-boyfriend actually loves it.
That’s awesome. Were you a bit worried about the reaction he was going to have? Nah, I think he got a bit of an ego boost actually.
There are some pretty big acts headlining WOMAD this year, alongside yourselves. Is there anyone in particular you're hoping to meet? So many! De La Soul…oh my god. That’s a pretty obvious one. There’s heaps though, Ainslie Wills, Sarah Blasko…there’s a lot I don’t know so I’m excited about just experiencing it, getting inspired hopefully.
What about new music for Alpine? Can we look forward to hearing anything new soon? Or other tour dates? I can’t think of any other dates for shows but new music will be coming. I can't put a timeline on it at the moment though. You’ll have to wait and see!
F A S T Q S
I hear they call you the ‘Chief’ of the band… would you agree with that?Me? No I’m not the chief. We call Christian the chief…I don’t call him chief though. He’s the chief, I’m not a chief.
Anything made you go ‘yuck’ yet today? Yes! Being woken up early.
The best thing about going on tour? There are so many good things! Being free, meeting new people, going to exciting new restaurants and playing shows. It’s just exciting to be somewhere new.
The worst thing about going on tour? Probably performing on no or very little sleep. You want to do a good job and you just feel a bit delirious and your voice might not be working as well as it can. Rest is important!
It’s hard to do anything without sleep! I sound so lazy! I’m like, "I hate being woken up early...".
Me too! I also hate going to bed late. I’m always in bed at 9:30 or something ridiculous like that, if I can... Total grannies!
Your favourite song to perform live? It really depends on the night. It totally varies so it’s hard to pin it down. You know, I think ‘Foolish’ has been awesome to perform. There’s something about it. It’s so satisfying to sing “Yuck”.