Getting the vibe right: A chat with Alice Ivy
ALICE IVY is the globe-trotting, currently moon-booted, sampling darling of Australia. Currently in Germany, Alice Ivy (real name Annika Schmarsel), has been non-stop touring all over the world with her solo project that blends together soulful samples, intense drum patterns and horn-driven hooks into some of the grooviest music Australia has to offer.
Alice Ivy is a non-stop force, even after breaking her leg, she continued to play, at first on crutches and then in a good old trusty moon-boot. With over 40 shows in 2016, it’s easy to say that 2017 can only get bigger for her – read below for a snapshot into her upcoming album, how her leg is doing and what’s next for Alice Ivy.
First off, How’s the leg? Has performing in a cast affected your performances (as a notably energetic performer)?
Hello! The leg is actually doing ok now. I’m in Germany at the moment and I’ve been doing a fair bit of walking in a moon boot which has been super fun through snow.. I did play a few shows in a cast and crutches when I first broke it though, I usually jump around a lot on stage but I was pretty restricted on one leg and a set of crutches, but it’s all good I made it work!
You are working towards your debut album and have said you’d like it to be a non-stop mix. What kind of shape is it taking? And how has that changed from when you started creating it?
Yeah, I’m working on a non stop mix! It’s actually got a fair bit of a new material on it that I haven’t played live which I’m super excited about. I’m also working on some pretty cool collaborations which I can’t wait to share. Piecing it all together is the fun part.
You’ve been travelling the world performing for a while now, how do you manage constant travelling?
I looooove travelling. My parents used to take my brother and I on massive trips when we were younger, so I guess I’m kind of used to spending a lot of time at airports. I’m quite proud of how I manage my gear and luggage on tour, it all fits into one suitcase so it’s not like I’m stuck carrying a whole of shit.
When you are back in Australia, do you have any places that hold a special place for you?
Yeah totally, the Evelyn on Brunswick St, it’s just home.
Your sound focuses heavily on blending old sounds with new sounds of your own invention, have you considered sampling current music? Do you have any current artists you would like to sample?
I actually have sampled some current music on some of the material I’m working on at the moment 😉 I’ve been listening to a lot of Badbadnotgood lately, they just have soo much good stuff out, a lot to work with.
As of yet, you have not released any music videos and you have a very distinct style, both in dress and in photos – do you have any plans or desire to incorporate that into future music videos?
I have one music video out, but yeah it’s an animation and I’m not in it. It’s definitely something to look out for in the future! I focus a lot on branding, I try to tie a similar vibe in all artwork, performing, clothing and imagery.
Previously, you have said you like to take tight samples from songs and build around them – are there any samples you are currently hoarding, waiting for that moment of inspiration?
Totally! I have this massive list in my phone’s notes, whenever I hear something cool out I make a reminder for myself to listen to it when I get home. I also have a lots of beats that I have began working on, and scrapped because I got bored with them. They usually reappear sometime down the track, or I strip them and use parts in other tracks.
Do you have any ambition to rap on your own tracks?
Haha, no I’m not very good!
What artists have you been listening to? Have you found any standout artists on your travels?
At the moment I’ve been listening to a lot of Anderson Paak and the new A Tribe Called Quest album. I try to see as music as possible whilst travelling, especially local stuff. Last show in London I played a show with a band called Geowulf. It was their first show but they absolutely blew me away.
In your travels, you’ve surely met a lot of interesting artists – have you had any starstruck moments?
I met some of Solange’s band in New York at a party last year, that was very cool.
You often speak of ‘getting the vibe right’ when collaborating with artists, can you elaborate on what that feeling is? How do you know when it clicks?
I know when something’s right when I get super excited when listening to it. It’s the best feeling when going into the studio alone or with another artist and things come together like glue. I always find it good to give the track a rest for a couple of days, then reassess it. If you get those feelings again it’s a winner.
What’s next for Alice Ivy, any big plans on the horizon?
I will be releasing some new material soon, heading on a 17 date national tour with UrthBoy, and heading to Canada in April to play Canadian Music Week. SO EXCITED!
Get tickets to Alice Ivy and UrthBoy’s Gig here
Catch Alice Ivy at the Mountain Goat Valley Crawl
Image: Dominik Schmarsel
Intro by Lloyd Crackett