When Alpine released their first album, A is for Alpine in 2012, they really burst onto the music scene in a flash of bright, shimmering pop. Now that they’ve come back with their second album, Yuck, vocalist Lou reveals that their performance and writing style has evolved over the years, bringing a new approach creatively to the same older themes that they loved exploring, like figuring life out. I got to chat with Lou about the new album and the band’s adventures touring in America, and it seems like this album is just as fun as the first…
E: Describe your new album in five words.
L: RnB, Yuck, Assured, Heartache, Courage.
E: What were the best ideas that came out of brainstorming for Yuck?
L: We finished touring end of 2013, and then we had a three month break where we went back into the studio. We knew exactly what was going on in each other’s lives, so a lot of the time in terms of what was inspiring lyrically, it was about being in your late 20s, in comparison to A is for Alpine, when we were in our early 20s. There was always kind of hope that when you get older, all these awkward feelings just kind of figure themselves out.
We noticed that from being about 27 years old, it’s sort of accepting that life is always hard and unexpected, but looking at it in a funny way. And that’s why we called the album Yuck because it’s kind of this ratty, just “Yuck!”, but it’s also kind of amazing because the more you face these challenges in life, the more you figure out about yourself, which is a really beautiful thing. I like to think of this album as a stage of our lives which is like Alpine in the truer sense.
E: What do you think you and Phoebe’s greatest strength as a team of vocalists is?
L: In terms of the writing of our vocals, I guess it’s funny – when we first started I had a very different style of singing, and now sometimes when we listen back to tracks, we can’t even tell who’s singing what! And because we’ve been together for so long, performing and always warming up, you start to create a unison sound. We’re very inspired by Kate Bush – she uses her vocal range in really different ways, and we try to push different sounds.
E: Do you prefer touring or writing?
L: They’re both so different – writing, it’s such a different part of your brain. It’s like you’re writing journal entries and trying to create a piece of artwork, and then when you’re touring it’s like bootcamp, you’re travelling around, you’re never at home, it’s quite exposing when you’re performing, and sometimes there are days where you might want to go to a friend’s party but you’re feeling really sad, and you’re like “I might just stay at home”. You can hibernate. But sometimes when you’re doing a show you feel like that but you have to do a show.
Emotionally, it’s way more challenging, but then the writing process is more therapeutic. The touring is still fun! But it’s such a different part – very yin and yang.
E: What’s your number one ‘yuck’ moment of all time?
L: I was having a long distance relationship with someone – and my reaction to anyone being in a long distance relationship was ‘yuck’, but then I ended up being in one! That was kind of unexpected. Just trying to make a long distance relationship work, and then when it ended, that was the yuckest experience. But obviously it was also the most beautiful because it was the first time I really ever felt in love.
Yuck is out now, and Alpine are touring all over Australia (including Splendour in the Grass)! They’ve got a super fun sound, so be sure to check them out.
By Erin Rooney