Five Minutes With Alex The Kid
We caught up with the triple j Unearthed ONS winners ahead of the release of their debut record.
It's been a breakout year for punk outfit Alex The Kid, with the fellas grabbing the attention of the entire radio-listening nation in April when they won triple j's Unearthed One Night Stand competition. The skate-punk five-piece won the best possible prize, playing to a raucous crowd of thousands in their home town of Geraldton. Now, five months on, the home town heroes find themselves days away from releasing their highly anticipated, debut record, Speak Up. We caught up with Alex The Kid guitarist Dale Barker to chat about the wild ride that has been 2016, and the joy around finally getting the band's first full-length out there.
Your new record, Speak Up, drops in a few days’ time - what can you tell us about the overall vibe of this release?
Thanks for having us! Overall vibe I’d have to say is fun and energetic. There’s some fast songs, some faster songs and there’s quite a few fun songs. We wanted to mature a bit with the full length but keep the fun aspect to it. I hope that comes through for people when they listen to it.
What were you guys listening to when you wrote Speak Up? Are there any major influences from other bands on the way the record sounds?
For me personally, a lot of early 2000’s hardcore (Go It Alone, Bane, Blue Monday, Miles Away), Iron Chic and an album in particular, The Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever Told. It’s been a staple in my music library and there’s not a week where it hasn’t been in my CD player.
Are you able to fill us in on some of the lyrical themes you guys delve into on the album?
Trent and James covered quite a bit of ground with their lyrics, from the fun side of things right through to the other side. Quite a few positive, fun songs about partying, getting loose with your mates and generally having a good time, but there’s also a couple of tracks that delve into the darker side of things such as depression and anxiety, lost love and failed relationships.
One song in particular, James wrote about disappointing people close to you and hoping they can forgive you.
You had Speak Up mixed and mastered over in Boston by Dan Florez, were you pretty happy with the way it sounded after he got his hands on it?
Absolutely! We heard about his work with other bands that we really liked and had to hit him up. He mixed a couple of singles for us before the album and we loved what he did. We had to get Dan to do the album as well!
Skate Or Lie is a serious skate-punk anthem, are the guys in the band all pretty handy on a deck?
Trent and I grew up skating our weekends away, with our anti-skip Discmans and burnt CDs of our favourite artists. The right backing track can make all the difference for making that trick, hope one day some kids use one of our songs for their pump up track.
I do occasionally jump on my board after a few beers, had some injuries in the past few years so I’ve gotta be careful, getting old haha!
You recently signed to Pee Records, how have you found things since joining a label? Has much changed for you guys?
It’s awesome. Pete is such a legend, very stoked he has adopted us into the Pee Records Family! Quite a few things have changed for the better, having our music in places we didn’t think we’d get it is great. We saw our CD on the JB Hifi online store, that was a trip. I’m still getting used to running things by Pete before going ahead with them though, I’ve got that DIY mindset still. It’s a good feeling knowing there is someone like Pete who has been doing this for years, thinks that what we have created is good, and has our back.
You won triple j's One Night Stand Unearthed comp earlier this year, what was it like playing to thousands of people in your home town of Geraldton?
It was amazing, an absolute thrill. The lead up to the big day was so nerve racking. We didn’t expect a few thousand people rushing through the gates to catch our set, it was just surreal. Everything went so well that day, not for a second did I stop smiling haha
And you head out on the Speak Up Album Tour in a few weeks’ time, you guys must be pretty damn pumped for those shows?
Pretty damn pumped is an understatement. We toured the east coast back in 2014, so we’ve waited a bit to do this one right. The bands we’ve been lucky enough to add to the bills are some of our favourite Aussie bands at the moment. Adelaide in particular we’ve been lucky enough to be asked onto Stonecutters Fest, safe to say that show is going to be mental!
Are you playing any exciting new cities or venues when you head out on those dates?
We are doing Wollongong for the first time, and we’ve got a pretty good lineup for both NSW shows!
What's the go for you guys once the Australian tour wraps up, any plans to try and take Alex the Kid overseas?
Fingers crossed! Playing The Fest in Gainesville would be a dream come true for us!
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