Northern Transmissions recently caught up With Lou James from ‘Alpine’. Yes it’s true, they are from Australia and not from a Scandinavian country.
NT: Alpine is an Australian band. Your music sounds like you could easily be from Denmark or Sweden. Do these influences just come out in the writing process, or did the band evolve from it’s love of Scandinavian music?
LJ: We don’t really listen to Scandinavian music to be honest. So our style of music develops from the writing process and six very different musical influences, which is a little unusual but works really well. Christian tends to write a guitar riff or a basic instrumental idea. Phoebe and myself individually write melodies, harmonies and lyrics over it, then when we’re both happy with something we’ve created, the three of us sit down over whiskey and cake and listen to each other’s demos and pick what we like and then the three of us develop the song further. So in each song there are three very unique styles in the very early stage of the song’s development. Then we flesh the song out with the rest of the band and really collaborate! It’s a very organic process.
NT: People actually thought Alpine was a Swiss band during a certain period. Was this partially because of the Zurich EP?
LJ: I have no idea why although I kind of like that we’ve created the fantasy! We did a national festival here in Australia recently and part of the festival we would do a meet and greet at a signing tent, funnily enough a few people asked if we were enjoying our stay in Australia! We just said yes and didn’t correct them.
NT: Where does the love for all these Nordic themes come from?
LJ: It’s the sense of freedom, the freshness and feeling awakened. We deal with a a lot of personal emotions in our songs and we try to analyze those feelings whilst being in the present. Most are both confronting and uplifting.
NT: Can you tell us a bit about the video for “Hands”, what kind of reactions did it receive when it was first released?
LJ: So many reactions and you know it’s a good video when it becomes a talking point which is definitely has. Many people thought it referenced the movie Dogtooth or Virgin Suicides, some people were confused, some in awe, others offended but it’s just seems to keep generating attention. I can’t believe how many views it’s had! It’s one of those videos that you watch once, then again and again and each time you discover something that you may not have noticed before. It really is bizarre and beautiful!
NT: The handclap has made quite a comeback, what’s your interpretation on this?
LJ: I love it! Why not? Sounds cool! We use cowbell, which is also pretty cool!
NT: Is it satisfying to know that people are grooving along to Alpine’s music on other continents?
LJ: Totally satisfying and humbling. Why is our planet so big?! I feel so guilty and sad when people ask us to come to their country and we still haven’t been. But at the same time, the fact that there is a demand for us is definitely one of those pinch yourself moments. I wonder if people are grooving differently to our music from continent to continent? I’d really like to see that.
NT: You guys have played SXSW a couple of times and other high profile gigs stateside. How important to the band to achieve success in the US.?
LJ: I think it’s pretty important considering we all want to eventually live there. Success for us is being able to tour the US and getting our music played on the radio and hoping people enjoy it. So we already feel pretty successful. Not every band from Australia gets to release their music in the US – we’re crazy lucky! There’s still a long way to go but we’re prepared to work hard for it.
NT: Which five albums always go with Alpine on tour?
LJ: We listen to a lot of songs but these two albums are pretty much on repeat!
Kendrick Lamar – good kid, M.A.A.D city
Milton Nascrimento – Clube da Esquina