Alexalone: (ld) Alex Peterson, Sam Jordan, Mari Maurice, Andrew Hulett and Hannah Read (Photo by John Anderson)
Driving south on I-35 during the precise onset of flash floods and rush hours last month, I was not optimistic. I was worried that the rain would prevent all the members of Alexalone from making it to our interview on the next album Alexaloneworld, because at the time, I did not understand what an uppercase Alexalone is. When I arrive, the five-piece unit is waiting for me instead.
Drummer Sam Jordan even comes out with two umbrellas to accompany me to the home of new member Hannah Read, known in independent music circles as the artist Lomelda, a folk-accented singer-songwriter on the label. by Brooklyn Double Double Whammy. Her living room serves as a workout space, with pegboard hooks for cables. A few days later, Read was inviting me and a large crowd of muddy relative strangers again to the hot space when another unexpected storm interrupted a backyard show.
But today Alexalone and I gather around the kitchen table. The group supports Austin native Alex Peterson’s songwriting project, quietly taking a corner seat. The soft-spoken principal explains the origins of the current lineup, following a guitar-centric outing dating back to 2016 through waves of drone, noise and shoegaze.
“We acted as a trio for a while, then Drewsky [what the band calls multi-instrumentalist Andrew Hulett] came into the fold playing bass, ”says Peterson, last heard on the 2017 EP Sadness3 and album 2016 We can be alone together. “We wanted to bring him to the guitar, because that would be really fun. It was like, ‘Now we need a bass player. I bet Mari [Maurice] would like.”
Before I figured out what an Alexalone band is, I asked their publicist if I could only interview Peterson, and I was rightly pushed in the joint direction. The publicist – whose posts indicate the Austinite is influenced by literary visionaries Tolkien and Murakami alongside indie rockers seminal Low and Yo La Tengo – followed Peterson’s signing to Polyvinyl Records. Janelle Abad, local artistic director of the big indie label, messaged Peterson last summer after watching an Instagram livestream of their vast improvised solo guitar loops.
“We were doing [distribution] for um, and the response has been amazing, “Abad said last May when I visited the new Austin Polyvinyl office., That would be really cool.”
“With the connection with Lomelda, it made so much sense,” she added, referring to Peterson’s years of touring as a bassist on this latest project alongside the Austin Hovvdy band.
Lomelda and Alexalone are now one, with the lineup supporting both Peterson and Read songwriting. After moving to Texas from Los Angeles last year, the latter only attended one training session with Alexalone before proposing the idea of a joint tour, starting in January 2022. “We are talking about it. it says, ‘Hannah, do you wanna play heavy tracks?’ “recaps Jordan, a longtime companion from Peterson to Ama, also known for his local percussion through bands like the Infinites and The Hermits.
“We all really love Alex’s music so we all made our way into the band,” jokes Read, who takes care of guitar / bass / synth and backing vocals.
The list includes sonic texturist Hulett, a guitarist alongside other instrumental functions, who has worked with Read since meeting as students at Baylor University. There is also Maurice, the bassist / synthesist from Alexalone who makes his own electronic music under the name More Eaze. She recently received a Pitchfork nod for the ambient album. an afternoon moan, in collaboration with San Antonio artist Claire Rousay.
Read says the crew’s next tour in 2022 will put an end to “the very diabolical and normal thing of having the main band close up on someone” with an underpaid opening slot. It sounds like a workable idea, as there are a lot of things Alexalone members agree on. I can tell when, between two respectful eavesdropping at the table, they all start laughing and intervening.
Common idea n ° 1: Alexalone brings together a very obsessive and detail-oriented group, for which some may use another word.
“It’s a very old-fashioned group,” says Maurice. “Our practices can very quickly turn into deep diving on any equipment we work with.”
If you zoom in, the equipment used on Alexaloneworld is scrupulously listed on the front cover, including hi-hat, avocado shaker, and a collection of recording programs on Pro Tools, Ableton, and various iPhone models.
“It screams: pandemic, done on the Internet,” said Jordan, one of the many collaborators to exchange files with the conductor throughout the process.
Peterson adds: “There was this Premier Guitar article with Boris with pictures of all their equipment. It’s really interesting to me, because I think about the way they do what they do, but it’s not an advertisement. It kind of makes me wonder what’s the right thing about the equipment. “
Agreed idea n ° 2: The best part of the adorable video game-based video for “Ruins” strikes when the whole group, represented by cartoon sprites drawn by Peterson, rush through a tunnel in a pack. In collaboration with illustrator Karolina Asadova (@minipete_), the songwriter has developed a whole fantasy world present throughout the packaging of the album. On the single, Peterson sings: “I’m a ruin / I’ll be okay / Eventually. “
“Much of the world-building on the cover was definitely inspired by the lyrics,” says Peterson, who identifies as non-binary. “I try to write songs the same way I speak, and not use pronouns. A lot of times these are reminders of who I have been, things that I want to remember.”
Agreed idea n ° 3: The volume must be used for a specific purpose. Specifically, Maurice says the band aspires to “sound like a giant, massive guitar”. On a live recorded video for “Eavesdropper”, after playing his electric guitar with a violin bow, Hulett holds a tape recorder to the strings.
“[Each person] is responsible for covering a small orchestra, ”he explains. ” One of the [album contributor Blake Robbins’] tape loops is on this song, so I recorded the loop on my tape recorder and played it on my mic. It’s like shouting into your guitar. “
The austere “Eavesdropper”, alongside a few others on the record, was originally recorded years ago by Peterson’s previous act, Smith + Robot. The sound of the guitar shark changed when a friend, Jeff Mertz, asked them to create a soundtrack for a documentary on local gentrification through the lens of barbecue establishments. The 2015 project generated subtly relentless Alexaloneworld opener “Electric Sickness”, as well as the nuanced solo outing for Peterson.
“A lot of the elements of Smith + Robot were more based on noise, but you don’t want to hurt people’s ears with comments,” says Peterson. “Performing in other bands has changed my perspective on what volume means. [Alexalone] is not as strong, but our strongest point is … not calm. It’s like a feeling, instead of a constant thing. “
To complete our kitchen table assembly, the quintet is already anticipating material beyond its debut LP. Peterson says the writing process will change completely with a constant set of contributors. For upcoming concerts, the group includes a piece beyond Alexaloneworld, their last opus.
“[This first album] is a world of its own, but there’s this new song that says, “Okay, we’re entering a new world,” Read decides.
“It’s 12 minutes,” Peterson adds. “We trained a lot.”
Alexaloneworld arrives August 13. The group celebrates on August 14, 7:30 p.m., at While Brewing with local melodic rap project Tåsi and Dallas bedroom band Teethe (featuring members of Crisman and Dead Sullivan).