Delivering the energetic youthful abandon of garage rock with a hefty pinch of poptastic melody, Alex Lahey is back on the horse and releasing some of her best tracks to date.
Taking to the stage at London’s Omera, the Aussie dips into cuts from both of her albums, joined by her band of three. Lahey’s set is received with tangible warmth from those present; a large division of which cheer with an I was there pride when she references her last, pre-covid, London show.
Positivity radiates throughout a performance which makes up for the lost time, with dedication to a killer light show and a palpable sense that Alex is loving her return to the capital.
The years since those last London shows have been rather good to the artist. Collaborations with Christian Lee Hutson and Maggie Lindemann have held a torch to the opposing ends of Alex’s genre touchstones, and 2021 saw the songwriter soundtrack the Oscar-nominated Netflix release The Mitchells Vs The Machines.
We asked Alex about her last couple of years and the video for new single ‘Congratulations’; which was conceived upon hearing the news that two of Alex’s exes had gotten engaged within a short space of time of one another.
You’re returning to your own project after co-writing for a range of other artists; do you find yourself writing from a different place when you pen songs with other people? Or could your co-writing contributions fit comfortably within the Alex Lahey discography?
I think when you’re writing for an artist that isn’t yourself, you have to write from a different place. I feel like being a good collaborator in that context is about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and working out how best to get the artist’s story across in a way that speaks to them and their project. It’s a really good exercise in empathy to really get it right.
Have you seen any of Christian Lee Hutson or Maggie Lindemann’s sound rubbing off on you since your collaborations?
One of the best things about working with other artists is coming away from the experience with more than just a song. When I work with Chris, I feel like I get an amazing insight into how to turn the mundane into something beautiful and also being open to “massaging the truth” for powerful images. With Maggie, she always gives me some wild music to check out. She’ll be like “this anonymous Russian goth drone duo go SO HARD” and I’ll have my mind blown by something I never would’ve found on my own.
The video to ‘Congratulations’ is the perfect accompaniment for the track. How well do you think you’d get along if you were to genuinely marry yourself?
Haha, probably not great! I like the company of others far too much for that.
Your videos are always high energy and well put together, is that that a part of the process that you relish? How much creative control do you take over your vids?
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with making videos, as I know a lot of other artists do. Recently, I’ve become far more involved in the early stages of making a video – coming up with concepts and gathering references. To be honest, I think watching a lot of movies and tv during the pandemic actually has made me more interested and vision oriented when it comes to making videos, which is kind of cool. It’s nice to come into this new chapter of releasing music with that new perspective.
‘Congratulations’ has a 90s slacker rock jangle to it, whereas ‘This Kiss’ is full of power-pop energy, what other genres can we expect to creep into your next tracks?
There’s the usual nods to punk and emo, for sure; but there’s also a bit of slide guitar and a lot more acoustic guitar. I’ve really tried to push myself sonically and explore some new things since the last record.
Does the release of new music imply that there’s a new album on the cards?
photo credit: Nick McKk