After spending much of last year on the road with Neil Finn, Alex Lloyd returns with his second album "Watching Angels Mend" this week. Its a giant step on from the debut "Black The Sun" which was essentially a collection of demo's recorded in his bedroom. Over the years Lloyd has seen comparisons to everyone from Elliot Smith to Beck, but its easier to pin it down by saying well crafted guitar pop tunes. His next single out over here in the UK is "Amazing", a track which in his native Australia gained the title of 2001 Most Played Song on National Radio beating a host of Nu-Metal and manufactured pop acts.
Q: The new album "Watching Angels Mend" seems a lot more complete and seamless than "Black The Sun". Was it the intention to write a more song based album this time round?
A: "Black The Sun" was essentially a bedroom record. I was sourcing loops from my bedroom and using an Atari, a sampler and an 8 Track for a lot of that record. And then I converted it into tools at the end. I didn't even know about Tools when I started making "Black The Sun" and by the end of it I was well into it.
What I'm doing now is getting closer and closer to what I did when I first started which was being in a band. I was in a band back in Sydney, then I went fully into technology and away from bands and now I'm starting to get back to bands and live music.
I was writing those songs while I was touring, so I kind of had to write on a guitar so get my feelings out. So all the songs were written before I went into the studio and I had a good idea of what I wanted to do. When I wrote "Black The Sun" all the song were recorded as I went along and they'd usually be written off a bass line or something like that.
Q: Throughout the last 12 months you've travelled the whole world. London, New York, Milan. Do you pick up sounds and styles throughout the world that you wouldn't necessarily hear back home in Australia?
A: You pick up records as well that aren't necessarily selling well, but are awesome albums all the over the shop. Even just off the radio or something like that because each country has different tastes. But its more so the people and the lifestyles and the way people kind of do things. Because essentially we all do the same stuff, but as you go from different country to different country they all do them a slightly different way. Its really interesting for me.
I'm still pretty young and I like coming over here for brief periods of time because then I really appreciate it. I noticed that when I made the album over here last year that after about three or four months I started to walk with my head down everywhere. Whereas if I come over for 2 or 3 weeks I walk round with my head up looking at everything and its a f**king interesting place. It really is an interesting place because if you live here you get into a normal life, like I do in Sydney, and you don't really get to appreciate what is good about that place.
Q: Is it true what they about Australia that people listen to about 50% American music and 50% British music and hardly any Australian music?
A: There's actually a lot of Australian bands, but I guess not that many of them travel. I guess its up to the band if they want to come out. I mean some people don't even know where Australia is so you've got to get over a few barriers and a few hurdles.
I kind of just love coming here for myself because I love soaking up the history. And some of my favourite bands come from here so that's where I get my inspiration from. My mums Irish and my dads a weird combination of German and Russian so we listened to Bob Dylan, David Bowie and the Beatles.
Q: In Australia you got the biggest airplay single of 2001 with "Amazing". When you come over to Britain is it like starting over again in a sense?
A: Its really big over there and it just gone really big in New Zealand. Its not so bad over here when I'm playing 1000 seats...so its not that bad really. In Australia its 4 / 5,000 a night usually but I have played up to 25,000 people in this big outdoor show once.
I can see how some people would see "Amazing" as a really commercial sort of song, but its all good at the end of the day. I don't hate it and I wouldn't have it on the album if I hated it and I think it does possess some sort of intelligence.
Q: The middle 8 of "Amazing" sounds just like Travis. Pure coincidence or a big Travis fan?
A: I wrote that songs about 3 years and someone told me that so I went and bought Travis' record. I was really scared whether it was too much like that or whatever and I listened to it the other day and I thought I can get away with it.....it's just one of those freaks of nature!!! I didn't deliberately do it and maybe it happened subconsciously but I never remember hearing it when I wrote it.
Q: There was a massive leap from "Black The Sun" to "Watching Angels Mend". Are you thinking of that all important third album yet?
A: I'm going to start making another record at the end of the year and I've got pretty strong ideas of what I want to do with the next album. And then I think after that I might go for something twisted!!! I've written some strong songs and I enjoy getting radio play....its a challenge for me to write something half intelligent that people can get easily enough as well. Its the ultimate challenge to me to make intelligent pop songs so to speak and that's what I've always tried to do.
Bowie is my idol and I think in the early stages of his career he always tried to do that....to make something that was accessible, but f**king extremely intelligent. I'm sure he was better at it than I but I giving it a shot anyway.
"Watching Angels Mend" is out now on EMI:Chysalis
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