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Resurrected Interview With Alex!
April 5, 2016
Below is an interview that Alex did in January with an American publication that’ll remain unnamed for now. It’s yet to be published; hence it going here... take the power back!
Q: First of all, congratulations on New Waves of Hope; we’ve been aware of and fans of you guys for a couple of years but the record exceeded even our expectations. How does it feel to put an album out to such a groundswell of positivity?
A: It’s cool. What’s really cool is that people are really getting inside the album. We hoped for that; but didn’t really expect it. To have people connect to things in the music that we thought were exclusively internal drivers is pretty gratifying. People were like ‘Alex, how did you persuade those magazines to let you write the reviews?!’.
Q: You worked with some amazing people on the album – did that make the difference you thought it would?
A: More so. Firstly, huge props to Frankie Siragusa (NWOH’s producer and owner of theLAB); Frankie was a man who I had worked with before - way back when he and his partner, Jay had just built and opened their first studio. So I knew his caliber as a person, his ethic and had had a glimpse into his talents as a music man. It’s a very difficult thing for me to hand over some of the creative reigns to someone outside the band – because I am just so particular about what I love – but Gav and I made the decision to put our faith into Frankie and the reward was beyond commensurate.
Frankie is the kind of guy who embodies not just music but the whole gestalt; he gets it in such a way and to such a point that at times I was thinking ‘who wrote this song, him or me?’. He totally assimilated our vision and guided it to places we wanted it to go but would not have been able to take it to ourselves. I’d be just as confident in his involvement if I wanted to make a record that sounds like Nick Cave as I would be if I wanted to ape Led Zeppelin – he gets it all and lives it like he owns it. He’s also an amazing project manager; and he had to be – I mean we tracked a 70 minute album in two and a half weeks and he never suggested dropping a song or cutting corners. I've also had a few people tell me that I'm not the easiest person to work with; but he managed to keep me in tow - no mean feat!
Nicole Fiorentino was a fabulous surprise. She’d just finished touring with The Smashing Pumpkins and was busy making music with her and her wife’s band ‘The Cold and Lovely’ – who are really great and so you should all check out. I emailed her saying ‘here we are, wanna sing on our album?’ and she responded the same day. We had another female vocalist lined up but that didn’t happen for one reason or another and so I thought to myself ‘we’re here, I may as well email my favourite bass player/vocalist from a band I’ve loved since I was 12 – nothing ventured, and all that’… I probably wasn’t expecting any response. Anyway, we hooked up in Echo Park and hit it off instantly. I then had a couple of acoustic sessions at her place – more pizza and wine than we intended I think! – before she came in to track. Frankie and I were high-fiving in the control room because she was just smashing it off the bat. She’s a consummate pro and a wonderful person to boot. I was eager to get her playing bass on Mi Perro Blanco – but she’d already given us much more than initially agreed.
Initially Frankie was gonna do the drums on the album; but when we sent over the demos he didn’t think he’d be right for the job; that we needed someone with a freer, more expressive style. Eric Gardner was just stupendous. We knew he would be operating at a level, given his CV (Morrissey, Iggy Pop, Tegan & Sarah, Tom Morello, Moby, Cypress Hill) but what he did was bordering on superhuman! Frankie had us do three demos for each song so that Eric could come prepped with the songs mapped out. Guess what – he turned up having not listened to one of them! And so we spent a day mapping. This included Eric and Frankie wrestling with ‘We Meet in Dreams’ without me - because I’d totally lost faith in that song!
Eric then tracked all 14 songs the next day. Most were done in one take, i.e., no comping and there a few where what you hear is Eric playing the song for the first time! One of my favourite moments was as he was tracking ‘The City Was Cruel to Our Love’, I heard this fill in my head for the second chorus, so Frankie ran into the live room and gestured it to him. He nailed it perfectly in exactly the right spot too!
What a pleasure it was to work with such wonderful, talented people. Gav and I have a fantastic relationship and having these dudes involved justified our decision to represent TMD as just the two of us.
Q: Any plans to tour the album? I’ve heard nothing but great reviews of you as a live band and would love to see you on these shores.
A: Thanks :) That’s a tricky one because we currently have restrictions preventing us from hitting the road, which of course has been damaging – not touring on a debut album is unheard of. We can’t really go into details/specifics - but yes, we absolutely want to play in every town in every country and will make that happen ASAP.
Q: There’s so much going on on this album, if you could only play one song to someone to have them ‘get’ The Microdance, which one would it be.
A: I’m not sure that’s doable because NWOH is really one facet of our sound; but if I were trying to distill that facet into one song, it’d be Smithereens.
Q: What next for The Mighty Microdance?
A: More heavy metal, more new wave, more shoegaze, more pop, more spooky gothy songs, more riffs. Definitely more riffs!
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!