Ali E has been making music for many years fronting the likes of Little Athletics, Damn Terran and Heavy Beach. She has recently released her debut solo album producing her own brand of shoegazer / grunge rock full of atmosphere, imagery and emotion. We caught up with Ali to ask her about her various music projects.
After performing with a number of bands what made you decide to release a solo album?
After one of my bands broke up around 2009, I started writing solo songs. This was just meant to be an ‘in-between’ thing, while I was trying to form another band. I wasn’t seriously thinking about taking the solo stuff anywhere, but I just kept playing gigs and writing and eventually I made an album.
How does performing solo compare to being part of a band?
Performing solo is the most terrifying thing. Some gigs I’ll be thinking to myself ‘What the hell am I doing!?’ But it’s a great challenge. I try to mix it up now and have at least one other person on stage with me, whether it be a backing vocalist or a bass player. I also do get a full band together when I’m organised.
Where are you driving in the video for Landless?
Ocean Grove and Thirteenth Beach, Victoria.
What made you pick Landless as the title of the album?
I spent a lot of time in the air (flying from place to place) when I wrote all the songs, so it was pretty fitting.
Your lyrics on the album are full of vivid imagery, where did you get the inspiration for the words?
I draw a lot of inspiration from books and literature, and also words/sentences I see when I’m walking down the street or driving somewhere
You also produce very atmospheric sounds, is this hard to achieve?
Not really – I have many guitar pedals that help out with this!
Your music has a certain early ’90s nostalgic feel, was this intentional?
I was a teenager during the 90s and I have a great love for 90s music. It wasn’t intentional that my music has a similar feel, I guess it just subconsciously came out that way!
You have also recently been making music with your bands Heavy Beach and Damn Terran, are there any releases planned from either of these bands this year?
Yeah. Heavy Beach have just released our first single – ‘1963’. We’re launching in on May 26. It’s available online and we are probably going to release another on before we release the album at the end of 2012. Damn Terran have just released a 7″ single called ‘Rebels’ and we’re releasing another one before the album in early 2013.
Is it hard to juggle your various bands and your solo music at the same time?
Sometimes. It’s harder to juggle work actually. It’s just about being a bit organised and keeping everyone updated with what’s going on.
You’ve entered music from your various bands on Triple J’s Unearthed page, has this had any impact on your music’s coverage?
Triple J unearthed is a really good platform as it is a central place for bands to upload music and reach a wider fan-base and potentially be played on radio. Yeah, there’s been a large impact for all my music — from being played on national radio to just having them make you work harder to get them to notice your music.
When did you first start writing music?
Can’t really remember. I think when I was about 16…
What was the first album you bought?
I have terrible memory so I’m pretty sure it was something like this: With my parents money – Madonna – The Dick Tracy Soundtrack. With my own money – i think it was The Breeders, Last Splash. But it could’ve been Nevermind….
Do you ever listen to your own music?
Only when I’m recording/mixing/mastering it!
What music do you listen to?
Well, quite a lot. I’m into garage punk – like Jeff the Brotherhood, Heavy Cream, Deer Tick etc. and a lot of Psychedelia, like Endless Boogie, Earthless. These are only a few examples. My friends own a record store – that’s where most of my money goes and where i get a variety of different music/bands to listen to.
Now that your debut solo album is out what do you plan on doing next?
I’m writing for the next one. I’m half way there. Just need to finish paying off the last one before I can record it!! I’m also going to be touring around Australia towards the end of 2012.