Alpine formed in 2009 and have gone from strength-to-strength ever since. Likened to Phoenix, Lykke Li and The xx, they’ve held the mantle of triple j Unearthed Feature Artist and have found friends online, on air and on paper. Fusing synths with honeyed harmonies, hypnotic rhythms and bright beats, Alpine appeared on the scene with a set of demos that quickly caught the attention of music lovers across the country.
2010 saw the release of their debut EP Zurich as well as tours alongside the likes of Cloud Control, Jinja Safari, The Naked and Famous, Tim and Jean and Catcall. They’ll be releasing their debut album in 2012.
Ryan Lamb of Alpine accepted to answer some of our questions :
How was the group formed?
We‘ve only really been together a couple of years as a real band, but before that Phoebe, Lou and Christian had been writing songs together. They got offered a show, and asked the rest of us to play. Phil grew up with Christian, Tim was friends with Phoebe and Lou already, and I met everyone while I was backpacking in Australia. We learned how to play the four songs that they had originally written, then started writing new ones together.
How did you come up with the name Alpine?
We actually had a different name, but there was another Australian band with a really similar name so we had to suddenly change. Alpine kind of fit with the feel of what we had been writing for the EP. We got very into that kind of clean, European aesthetic, so Alpine felt right.
Hands is your new single. Please describe the track and its whole vibe?
It’s one of the first things we wrote for the album, and it came about really quickly. We wanted to make something dramatic, but really kind of simple and natural. It’s one of favourite songs to play live now. Phoebe and Lou can vent their anger through it.
Can you describe the Alpine music making process? Lyrics first then melody or vice versa or random?
It’s become a complex process, it’s not like we write music and then put lyrics to it. We take a long time to work on each song, and try it live, record a bunch of different versions. Everything changes a lot from when we first start working on something to when it’s released. You don’t realize how a song is supposed to sound until you’ve lived with it for a while and tried it a hundred ways.
Do you remember the first time you heard your song on the radio? What was that like?
It was actually a demo recording that got played on the radio first, and we weren’t expecting it at all. The station heard it and played it the same day, and we were totally dumbstruck. I think I was the only one who heard it as it came on, and I was frantically calling everyone to see if they’d heard it or if I’d imagined it.
Your fist album will be released in 2012. What can we expect from the new tracks?
I guess it’s more varied than the EP. There’s more room to breathe, and the way we write now lets us bring in more unusual influences. I mean, it’s still very pop and it’s still driven by the harmonies, but we’ve definitely tried to push ourselves more in our writing.
You’re very pop, there are a load of indie bands around at the moment, are you bringing pop back?
It’s not a conscious thing really, we just all listen to a lot of pop music. We never really think of the distinction of being a pop versus indie artist. I think the lines are so blurred now that it’s hard to know which is which.
If you weren’t a musician, what would your second career choice have been, did you have a plan B?
It would still have been something in music… I’d like to run a record store. I might still do that.
Hopes for 2012?
Hopefully just touring a lot! We’ve got the album coming out, and then hopefully we want to go overseas and see what people think of us over there. We’re really just excited to get the album out and see what people think. There are some songs on there that we’ve never played to people, and I really want to see how people react to them.
Any closing words for TEEZ’FM listeners?
Bonjour, et au revoir!
Thanks to Ryan and Alpine. Thanks to Sophie
Interview by Thierry Jaussaud