Interview with Alex the Astronaut

Sydney-born singer-songwriter Alex the Astronaut can best be described as a storyteller with a talent for lyricism similar to the likes of Paul Kelly and Bob Dylan, a style that Australian music listeners have long been yearning for. As a twenty-two-year-old, she has already been making a big name for herself off the back of her debut EP To Whom It May Concern which was released back in March of this year and featured the well-received singles ‘Already Home’ and ‘Rockstar City’.

With so many songs floating around in her head, eager to come out, she has already released the follow-up EP See You Soon – read the piece I wrote on it here. The differences in the stories told from each EP released display the various stages of life Alex the Astronaut was living when she wrote them. To Whom It May Concern describes both the stress and excitement of living away from home in New York City on a soccer scholarship whilst studying maths and physics, whereas See You Soon shows Alex the Astronaut allowing herself to reflect and hints at the shellshock of coming back home after experiencing the world.

Along with releasing See You Soon, Alex the Astronaut also revealed the music video for ‘Not Worth Hiding’ – the hit single off the latest EP. With the help of director Sarah Adamson and cinematographer Tom Black, Alex the Astronaut has managed to make the video as personal to herself as the song is. It showcases many of the things that she enjoys doing most, this includes hanging out with her friends, playing AFL, swimming in a pool, having dinner with her family, playing guitar and singing, and much more. Make sure to immerse yourself in the life of Alex the Astronaut by watching the music video for ‘Not Worth Hiding’ below.

I caught up with Alex the Astronaut earlier in the week to ask her a few questions about her newest releases as well as her music and life in general.

Hi Alex! How are feeling so far since the release of the See You Soon EP?
I’m feeling great! Yeah! It’s been a really good reaction and I was happy to get the songs out there.

What was thinking behind the name ‘See You Soon’?
Well, most of the songs are kind of about how I left America and had to move back home to Sydney, so It’s kind of about saying goodbye and new opportunities and getting introduced to them.

Do you have a favourite song off the EP?
‘Not Worth Hiding’ is probably the most personal one but I really like playing all of them on stage and stuff, I don’t know, it’s like picking one of your children.

Courtesy of Nadia Achilles

How did the collaboration with your grandma on the track ‘Reflector’ come about?
Well, I wanted to put in a speaking bit, at first, I was looking at this AFL commentary stuff then I was thinking maybe I should get someone speaking. I interviewed both of my grandparents on my mum and dads side and we kind of just recorded everything – I called them on the phone and got them to record it on their voice memos and yeah, grandma’s little quotes made it in!

Along with releasing the EP, you also released the music video for ‘Not Worth Hiding’ which looked like it was a lot of fun to film! What made you decide on the concept for the video?
I think because it is such a personal song, I wanted to do all things that were important to me, so like we’re around the house and in areas where I kind of grew up, playing footy, swimming in the pool and playing guitar in my room. It was just all things that were pretty natural to me.

What were your first thoughts after finding out that Elton John had given you and the song a shout out?
I didn’t believe it, I didn’t think it was the real Elton John! Someone told me that he was going to play it and I was like, “you mean like a tribute or something show?” They were like, “no the real Elton John”, and I was like, “what?!” It was crazy, I was in London so it was like 3 am and I had my little alarm set and woke up like “aaah!”

Courtesy of Ian Feder

Did you know that ‘Not Worth Hiding’ would make as much of an impact as it has? Especially with the plebiscite on marriage equality happening in Australia at the moment.
No, I didn’t realise the kind of connection. It’s just kind of my story so I didn’t know that so many people would connect with it. It’s been pretty magical, I don’t know, I was pretty nervous about it because people obviously are split minds about it at the moment. I was worried that people would be homophobic I guess but I haven’t really gotten any negative feedback. It’s all been very overwhelmingly positive and not too serious, people are taking it lightly still and not politicising it in a way that I don’t think it needs to be. It’s my story and we didn’t know that the plebiscite was going to happen.

You studied in New York City for a while, did living in another country change your music in any way?
Yeah! It was my first living away from home experience so I got to learn a lot of new different things. You learn to be completely kind of independent and that definitely changes your mindset and how you perceive the world. So yeah, I think that had a huge impact on my writing.

Courtesy of Ivan Sajko

The subjects you studied are quite different to music, and you have many different interests such as sports and science, how do you manage to have time for them all?
Well, I’ve graduated now so that kind of helps, I just have to do things late at night or wake up early. It can be a mess sometimes but if you really want to do something you’ll be able to just make it work.

Is there an event that you would be most excited to perform at in the future?
I would probably die if I played at Glastonbury, I think that would be my biggest goal.

This final question is more for myself as a dog lover, I have noticed a few posts on your social media pages about dogs so what is your favourite thing about dogs?
My favourite thing about dogs is that they’re just so unconditionally loving and adorable! They’re just so beautiful, fun, kind and cuddly, I love them, I love all of the dogs.

Buy/stream See You Soon EP here

Follow Alex the Astronaut on her FacebookTwitterInstagramtriple j Unearthed and Soundcloud