Australian musician Alex Lahey has made a splash with her pop-punk debut album, I Love You Like a Brother. Lahey, who's on the largest United States tour of her career and performed the single “Every Day’s the Weekend” on Late Night With Seth Meyers, will play Denver on Saturday, December 2.
While riding around in an Uber through Dallas, Lahey found some time to chat with Westword about influential artists, the perfection of tacos, and whether people in Australia care about Denver.
Westword: How’s the tour going?
Alex Lahey: Yeah, great, thanks. It’s really fun. We’re sort of on the tail end of it now. I think we’re about two and a half weeks off from getting back home after about two months on the road. It’s sort of like — you know, you have little humps on the road every now and then, and it feels like all of those are over and it’s just a matter of coasting away to the end and having a good time. It’s nice. Yeah.
Is this the longest tour you’ve done in the U.S.?
Yeah, it is. We were here over South by Southwest [earlier this year], and that was only for like twenty days or something. We’ve been going for like four and a half weeks or something this time around. It’s definitely been longer.
You know, there’s so many cool things and places. You could go [tour the U.S.] for twice as long, you know what I mean? And it’d still be worthwhile.
Have you noticed any differences between your fans here in the United States and fans in Australia?
One of the things that I’ve noticed is — especially in the U.S., and I feel this generally — there’s just such a broader demographic of people that go out to see live music. The ages of people who go out to see gigs isn’t restricted to the 18-to 25-year-olds or whatever. You get older people coming to shows, and also, depending on the gig, the younger people coming as well.
Your new album, I Love You Like a Brother, is full of sad songs that make listeners happy. Were there specific musical influences during this album-writing process?
I don’t know so much about during the writing process, but definitely during the recording process. I’ve had a big sort of playlist of references that I wanted to reflect on — like the sonic references rather than actual lyrical, or melodic or anything like that.
It was really sort of fun to try and emulate all those kinds of things, like when we were in the recording studio, and I enjoyed the challenge of trying to articulate what I wanted to get out of it as well.
It seems like you have a pretty strong voice as an artist and storyteller. Where did that come from? Have you always had that?
I don’t really know. It’s nice to hear you say that, and it’s a massive compliment, but it’s always been about being authentic and being myself and not compromising my voice for the sake of trying to please anyone else or sell records or anything like that. That’s so far from my psyche when I do that sort of stuff. So, yeah, I think that might be more reflective of that than anything else, and having to express myself in that way, that sort of process of things happening in my life.
Let’s piggyback off of that. Who were you listening to while growing up in Australia? Which artists got you into songwriting in the first place?
There’s this one artist in Australia who I believe is basically singled-handedly responsible for this generation of — especially female songwriters in our country — and that is Missy Higgins. She released [The Sound of White], that was just massive and basically encouraged young women to write songs in Australia with a very Australian voice.
You hear a lot of people my age who are doing the same thing that I’m doing, and we all reflect on that record. It was a pretty seminal Australian songwriting kind of album — not so much like a legacy act; it was current with the times.
Historically, women have not been adequately represented in the pop-punk music scene. How important is it to be a voice that female fans can relate to and feel represented by?
I think it’s really important. I think in an ideal world there wouldn’t have to be someone at the top representing us, and it would just be a given that we exist and have equal grounding like anyone else. But I think it’s important to be. There’s a responsibility that comes with it, and there are some amazing artists that do really take that seriously and make sure that they are good role models and all that sort of stuff.
The one artist that first comes to mind that I highly admire is Hayley Williams [of Paramore.] She’s a very strong, powerful young woman making sure that music is a wonderful experience for everyone, and [she's] very conscious of social issues as well.
Being a musician affords you lots of time on the road. What has gotten you through this tour during the downtime?
Currently, I have my first full day off on this tour, and I’m about to go smash a bunch of tacos. So, I’d say food. Put “food." [Laughs.]
Have you had good food or drinks while touring the U.S.?
I love tacos. I love them. They’re the perfect meal. Three tacos. It’s just the right amount.
Do people in Australia have any thoughts on Denver? Do people from Australia care about Denver at all?
I don’t know. I haven’t really encountered it much in conversation, to be honest. I’ve got some friends that have family in Colorado and that sort of thing, but you know, if you’re going to do the drive from the West Coast all through the canyons and through to the Southeast end, Denver is usually a place you run into, isn’t it?
Yeah, it is. Definitely. So in the song “You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me,” you mention the film, Mulholland Dr. If I’m being honest, I don’t like that movie. What am I missing?
You want to hear me being honest? I’ve never seen it in my life.
Oh, okay. I was going to ask if this is the difference between being an artist and writing about music.
I don’t know! I just thought it was a good lyric. I’m waiting for the right person to watch Mulholland Dr. with and drink cleanskin wine with.
You made your American television debut the other night on Late Night With Seth Meyers. How was it?
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It was the best. It was a dream come true. It was a perfect day. I had one of the best days of my life. My best friend was there, and my brother was there, and my band and all my best mates as well, and we just had this shared experience, and it was wonderful, and all the people at NBC were just really accommodating and kind. Seth himself is just a sweet, wonderful person. It couldn’t have been a better experience, and I can’t wait to do it again.
I’m sure playing a late-night show is pretty high up on a musician’s to-do list.
Yeah, yeah. It was one of those things that never occurred to me until it happened, and I’m so glad it did, and I just want it to happen again and again.
Alex Lahey, 9 p.m. Saturday, December 2, Lost Lake Lounge, 3602 East Colfax Avenue, $12-$15.