Aussie rules: Alex Lahey

Neu Aussie rules: Alex Lahey

This Australian newcomer’s songwriting is anything but ‘B-Grade’.

When looking back on her time in higher education, Alex Lahey doesn’t beat around the bush. “I went and studied sax at uni for a few years and just fucking hated it,” she bluntly states. But as it transpires, dropping out might have been one of the best things to ever happen to the Melbourne musician.

Her recent academic experience may have been a drag, but Alex owes much of where she is today to the saxophone – which she started playing in high school. Her five years spent in jazz-pop-funk-soul “party band” Animaux was “the biggest learning experience of my life,” she reflects and, she concludes, “there is no way that I’d be doing what I’m doing now or doing it at this sort of level without that time in that band.”

The aim of Animaux was “to just give people a really fucking good time.” She’s still achieving that now, only she’s traded “horns and shit” for “the pop/rock world” she’s “always been a listener and appreciator of more so than jazz.” A solo career – which began just over two years ago – comes with a new purpose. “Now, my objective is to write really great songs that really speak to people and can be translated into different parts of people’s lives or experiences that they’ve had, while also giving a part of myself over to the listener.”

“I went and studied sax at uni for a few years and just fucking hated it,”

— Alex Lahey

The fullest exhibition of that so far is recent debut EP, ‘B-Grade University’. A five-track collection of distinct yet cohesive stories from her student days, she describes it as an “accidental concept record.” The fact she’s made something so vibrant and altogether fun out of a concept as straightforward as “being in your early 20s and just figuring shit out” speaks volumes about her ability to put her own thoroughly entertaining spin on the ups and downs of the everyman. The EP is arguably defined by ‘You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me’. A near four-minute succession of immediate hooks that’s equal parts charmingly specific and relatable, it’s an instant hit. No idea what “cleanskin wine” is? No problem. Everything’s an effortless sing-along affair where Alex Lahey is concerned. FYI, though, it’s Aussie speak for wineries’ excess stock sold on the cheap.

Alex only left her day job in September, and she’s still caught somewhere between reality and the surreality of her rise. “I live with my mum,” she says, “because it’s not like I’m making enough money to pay rent or own a property or anything like that. In that sense, it feels surreal – the music is doing so well but when I actually look at my own life, it’s a bit of a reality check”.

But having to make small sacrifices like that won’t dampen Alex’s upbeatness. “I’m having a really good time,” she plainly states, “and I can’t wait to see what else happens.”

Alex Lahey's debut EP 'B-Grade University' is out now. She's set to support Tegan and Sara on the UK leg of their tour next February.

Taken from the November 2016 issue of DIY, out now. Subscribe below.

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Tags: Alex Lahey, From The Magazine, Features, Interviews, Neu

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