It's late February, and though Alex Lahey has only just returned home from a UK tour supporting Tegan & Sara ("It was a very luxurious introduction to international touring"), already her bags are packed for her first U.S. run of dates in March. Somewhere in the middle of it all – and a headline tour of Australia in May – she's trying to complete her debut album, the follow-up to last year's B-Grade University EP.
"The reality is that I'm at a point in my career where I can't be taking three months off to make an album," she shrugs. "I would love to do a Bon Iver and be like, 'I've got to go into a winter shack and record this album', that'd be sick. But I'm not in a position to do it."
Just prior to flying out to the UK in early February, Lahey and her band spent four days in Melbourne's Head Gap Studio with producer (and Holy Holy guitarist) Oscar Dawson recording the basic tracks on seven songs (the album will likely feature 10). She's aiming to have the LP completed by May, and is eyeing a September release.
The 24-year-old's EP paired anthemic indie-guitar pop with relatable slice-of-life stories, an approach she looks set to continue with the as-yet-untitled full-length.
"The EP ended up being this accidental concept record in a way, hence the title. It was very much the life of a disenfranchised uni student in song. And I think with this record, the concept will emerge as the recording process goes on, but there are some themes [about] the nature of relationships." Song titles include "I Love You Like a Brother' ("I have a younger brother, and in the last couple of years we've actually become friends"); "I Haven't Been Taking Care of Myself' ("which is about me looking out for myself"); and "Perth Traumatic Stress Disorder" ("which is about getting dumped in Perth").
Lahey is dealing with the pressure of making her first record pragmatically. "I didn't start making music to please anyone but me, and I think as long as that ethos of why I'm doing this stays with me, then I should be OK. One of the biggest things that came to me while we were in the UK was, you're in the back of this van for hours, you don't actually see much of any of the places, and it's really tiring and exhausting. And you do think to yourself, I'm doing this cos I fucking love it. And there's no other reason that validates it other than that. I'll keep doing this until I don't love it."
From issue #786 (May 2017), available now.
Topics: Alex Lahey