Exceptional young songwriter, producer & multi-instrumentalist Alex L’Estrange has released his debut EP, Auchenflower. Following several vibrant singles which have gained the attention from a bunch of large tastemaker blogs including DIY (UK) and Hilly Dilly (US), L’Estrange’s debut EP Auchenflower is a clear, confident collection of songs, named for the sleepy Brisbane suburb in which they were written. L’Estrange has just finished traveling around the country supporting Holy Holy on their Darwinism national tour and will launch his EP with a hometown show at Black Bear Lodge’s Last Party Before Lockout on January 28. TICKETS here
Jen had the chance to find out more about Alex and his Top Ten Mo’s of all time. Alex has an impressive tache of his own!
Cool Mo, how long as it taken to reach the perfection of your mo?
It’s only really hit its stride in the last year or so. Before that it was a little thin. I recently shaved it off to start again because I made a mess of it. It’ll be back soon though.
Best Moustaches of All Time – Alex L’Estrange
1.Tom Selleck .Magnum P.I. is number one for obvious reasons. With a mo like that, he can leave his slippers under my bed any day of the week.
2. Salvador Dali. It enhanced his balance when he was painting. Also, the amount of times people have compared my very moderate French-duke moustache to this masterpiece is embarrassing. How does the human body even allow this kind of thing to happen?
3. Kip Dynamite It seems Napoleon’s older brother Kip has become a style icon. A lot of the boys at gigs look like this now. They even own similar t-shirts. We are a beautiful, special generation.
4. Charlie Chaplin. The toothbrush. Very iconic, very slick. Someone else unfortunately ruined this one forever though.
5. John Lennon. Around Sgt Pepper’s era his top lip was flourishing with a lush and distinguished moustache. His music was too.
6.Samuel L Jackson. The handlebar mo brings strength and tenacity to his character in Pulp Fiction.
7. Clark Gable. This pencil moustache can so easily become the creepiest thing about you. Watch Gone with the Wind and witness a rare instance of it being charming.
8. Borat. This is the icing on the Kazakhstani journalist’s cake.
9. Friedrich Nietzsche. God died when he saw what this Übermensch had grown on his upper lip.
10. The Monopoly Man His moustache is as ivory as the tower he sits in. He gives you free parking and then slams you in jail. I hate this guy.
Great answers! I hate the Monopoly man too.
Ok so some questions now on your music. Nothing to Hide has just come out. I was wondering how you feel now that all your hard work has been set free to the public?
It actually feels like a big relief. Now that it’s out it’s not really mine anymore. I can start to focus on new stuff again. I do hope that people like it though; it’s an amazing feeling when someone else resonates with a song you’ve written.
I love Holy Holy, not just their music but they are great guys. How was the tour with them and do you think that you learnt anything from them?
They are the best! It was so much fun, and I learnt a lot about
touring life. It was great to see such a high calibre band play so brilliantly each night. They are so consistent! They also constantly had me laughing my arse off in the tour van.
Any funny stories?
One of the most amusing things about them is that they’ve developed their own language. Below are a few examples:
Donald – People
How are you? – A jovial phrase used to conclude a statement. Usually not a question.
Bertation – A mistake
Haha! Interesting! Next year, it seems will be a busy one for you. Are you still writing songs now or having a break? Do you write when inspiration hits you rather than sitting down thinking yep I have to write a song today.
Now that the EP is out I’ve finally felt inspired to properly write and record some new stuff. I’m definitely not the most prolific writer, I really have to be in the mood to create a song. I also never know when inspiration might hit.
The music video for Nothing To Hide is a great concept. ‘A Delicate Gem’ it was called in your press release. I totally agree. Can you explain to us why you choose this concept of the lady turning into a mannequin?
It was actually a concept brought to me by the director Corey Donaldson. I loved his interpretation of the song. His reasoning for the protagonist changing into a mannequin was to show how social pressure changes people, and that people aren’t what they seem on the surface. It was a privilege to work with him.
I have listened to you EP a few times now and I can’t stop listening to ‘Favourite Star’ I thought it had tinges of Ball Park Music then I read that Sam and Dean are part of your line up! It is a fantastic opening song, was the plan always to have this as the opener and ‘Nothing To Hide as the closing song?
Thanks! I’m a very lucky boy having those guys in my band.
I never had any plans on track order until I had to figure something out for release. I guess once ‘Favourite Star’ was finished though it did seem like a first track. It just comes in all guns blazing at the very start.
Playing with them live, do you mix things up? I can imagine these songs being played live in fact I am really looking forward to it!
We definitely re-interpret the songs for a live setting. It’s so fun to play off a crowd and only go into the show with a rough idea of set lists etc.
I’m looking forward to our next show at Black Bear Lodge on the 28th of Jan.
Do you know what song is going to be the next single?
I have no idea. It might not even be written yet.
What plans do you have for early 2017?
I’m hoping to get over to the UK for a bit and maybe play some shows there. I’ve never been to England so I’m pretty excited.
Hope you have the chance to get there, that would be great! Thanks for your time.
SAT JAN 28 | ‘LAST PARTY BEFORE LOCK OUT’ BLACK BEAR LODGE, BRIS | 18+ | TICKETS here
Nothing To Hide is hazy, evoking a nebulous feeling of early Tame Impala, or even The Beatles of Revolver times. L’Estrange’s voice sits defiantly atop an intoxicating, guitar-driven instrumental that pulls towards the magnetic, soaring chorus. L’Estrange reflects on the track, “It was written on one of those strange days that felt more like a dream. I’d been working away at this tune, I knew it had something about it that I’d never felt before, but I didn’t find out about what that really meant until later that night. That evening, a stranger visited me at the house I was living at in Auchenflower. I ended up going back to her mansion that she lived at alone. She divulged her life story. When I finally got back home, the song made sense. It was for her.”
The video for Nothing To Hide is a delicate gem, framing the track with finesse. Directed by Corey Donaldson (Cloudfall), the clip depicts a young woman living in a lifeless world, inhabited by mannequins. Eventually conforming, she transforms into a mannequin herself, leaving the audience to wonder whether she can maintain a sense of individuality in a world where everyone looks the same. Of the clip, L’Estrange says, “It’s clear that deep within her mind there is an original voice struggling to get out, she’s questioning her environment, and trying to understand why she feels so disconnected…(Lead actor) Cecilia Griffiths’ incredible expression really created the atmosphere of the clip and brought an air of mystery to the role. She has an innocence that is both charming and devastating.”
L’Estrange has arrived at a conclusive new juncture with the upcoming release of his debut EP, Auchenflower. The thoughtful collection of songs is natural, personal; the result of years of practice, years of listening, writing, and learning. Lurching guitars thread themselves around towering choruses, while quieter moments are buoyed by oblique acoustic arrangements and introspective lyricism. For the most part, Auchenflower was self-produced, however Australian music industry veterans Matt Redlich (Holy Holy, Ball Park Music, Ainslie Wills) and Andy Aubin (MTNS) both played a part in the production of the stunning debut. Reflecting on the ideas explored on Auchenflower, L’Estrange says, “Each song tackles a different thing. Some of the themes are focused inwards and concern feelings of fleeting love. Some of them concern others around me, like troubled relationships or exciting, enigmatic people. I’m often more interested in the listener’s interpretation of a song – A song like Nothing to Hide evokes a whole range of different moods and atmospheres within different people.”
L’Estrange has been on the road with Holy Holy on their Darwinism national tour this month, wrapping up at The Triffid in Brisbane on the weekend. Excited to be on the road playing live, L’Estrange enthuses, “Playing live has shed a whole new light onto the songs. I’m lucky enough to have some of my best friends (and some of the best musicians), play on stage with me. My line up at the moment usually consists of Sam Cromack and Dean Hanson (Ball Park Music) on guitar and bass, and Zac Moynihan (Mid Ayr) on drums. We try and recreate the feeling and atmospheres of the songs in a live setting without just replicating the recordings. We change stuff up and play off the crowd. Each show is different and unique.”