Still enthused and energised from their Tasmania and Queensland tours , Alice Blu are ready to take the industry by storm with their debut Extended Play Album Still Tortoise Nothing.
The boys have been working hard in the studio with the very experienced producer Sam Bartlett and have only recently emerged with upside down frowns and a long awaited record that has been dubbed ‘Math Pop’. Co-Produced by James Lyle and James Boundy, Still Tortoise Nothing is set somewhere between the tides where comas fly like lucid dreams.
Alice Blu is Jo Loewenthal (guitar/vocal) Shaun Johnston (Bass) Tobias Tunis-Plant (Guitar/Keys/Vocals). The boys are young, fresh and exceptionally talented, bringing a unique take on alternative rock to their audience. Having supported big acts such as ‘The Beautiful Girls’ and ‘Daryl Bratithwaite’ the band is set for a bright future.
The lads are getting ready to smash it up at their CD launch at the Mullum Civic Hall on Saturday.
Tell me a little about your cryptic album title – Still Tortoise Nothing…is that a young person’s take on education?
Basically the title is stating that although we are taught things our whole life, all the things we are taught are based on an opinion and most things that are taught are later proven wrong by someone else.
So although we think we know a lot, we still know nothing.
What about the recording process – where did you do it? Who produced?
We did the recording in two studios in Byron Bay with producers James Lyall and James Boundy.
The process was relatively quick and easy because there were so many people working on the project with us and everyone was putting in extra time and effort.
The recording only took one week but, having said that, some of the sessions would start at 9am and finish at 2am the next day. So by the end of it all we were pretty exhausted.
How did you prepare for the album?
Initially we just went into the studio intending to record three songs but because we got through each track surprisingly quickly we just kept doing more.
We hadn’t planned on making an album at first but because the process was so easy and enjoyable, everything just escalated and now here we are with our debut EP.
Was there a lot of material to churn through?
We had between 20 and 30 songs to choose from.
So every time we finished a track we just chose the next most fun song to play and recorded it: we figured that if it’s fun to play then there would be more energy in the recording and it would be more interesting to listen to.
So we ended up with eight recordings, five of which are on the album and the rest of which will be online for our fans.
Were you happy with the production decisions you made?
Yes indeed. Working in the environment in which we recorded made it easy because there were usually at least four guys throwing us production ideas, sometimes there were eight to 10 people in the studio (not including us) giving us input.
A large part of the production was after the recording process in the mixing stage when we left the tracks to James Boundy and Andy Downer.
What are the songs you are proudest of?
To be honest, there is not a song that we like more or less than any other on the album. We are proud of them all in different ways.
What are the moments you captured recording which were unplanned…did
you keep them or did they almost make it and go to the bin?
In the studio there were lots of jokes caught on tape which are no longer in the tracks but it was a good laugh in the studio.
A lot of the parts that are on the tracks now, were initially mistakes in the studio.
How much of what you do has to be intuitive, and how much is planned?
I’d have to say it’s about 50/50, the songs themselves are planned, but there are lots of layers and parts in the songs which were created in the studio.
On the song ‘Comas Fly Like Lucid Dreams’ we had not planned it to have piano or a string section.
After we had recorded the basic idea of the song, Marley (drummer) asked his mother Cleis Pearce to come in and play violin and viola on the track, all of a sudden the song opened up and we began to hear the possibilities.
On the last day, in the dying hours of the sessions, Toby (one of the singers) jumped on a piano and just played what came to him.
What is the musical aspiration, shared or otherwise, for Alice Blu?
If you looked at each of our iPods, you would see that we all have very different musical tastes, but because of this, we each give a varied input into every song, which ends up sounding like Alice Blu.
At the moment we’re just trying to gather a following, but the main aim is to use the music as a vehicle to explore the world.
How has growing up in the Byron Shire shaped your attitude as young musos?
Byron Shire has given us a faith in the ability to live off our music because the community is very supportive of the arts; for example, Mullum Music Festival’s mentorship program, which gives opportunities to young musicians to play on a professional stage.
What should we expect for your Byron launch?
The EP Launch has had lots of time and effort thrown at it, so we are expecting a pretty big turn out.
Ku promotions have been working hard promoting the show, we’ve got Coffee Oasis catering on the night, we’ve had CDAT donate money and great support from the Byron Shire Council.
With Local band ‘Capcha’ and Tasmanian act ‘Dali and the Paper Band’ supporting, it’s going to be our biggest show yet.
It’s also our last show in Mullumbimby before we move Alice Blu to Melbourne.
BTW can you legally drink a beer now?
Yes indeed we can.
Doors: 7.30pm / Show: 8pm
Tix: $12 Pre / $15 Door
www.kupromotions.com.au, Barebones ,
Byron Music, Mullum Books,
All Music & Vision Ballina / Lismore