INTERVIEW: Wax Witches, ‘I’m like the God of the Universe…’
WAX WITCHES is the unique brain-child of the multi-talented Alex Wall. We first met the man when he fronted BLEEDING KNEES CLUB but now the musician has moved to Brooklyn, New York to advance his solo project.
With WAX WITCHES second full-length album, Centre Of Your Universe, dropping on July 4 through Inertia and after listening to ‘Social Introvert’ and ‘Serotonin Syndrome’, the new album looks like it’s going to be great. We thought this would be the perfect time to have a chat to Alex Wall about recording the album and his life in Brooklyn.
Are you excited to finally have the second Wax Witches album released?
Yeah I’m pretty excited. I finished it like ten months ago and now we’re just doing the press stuff.
The cover art is very interesting, what inspired it?
I kind of came up with it and I was living with the set designer at the time. We just kind of worked together on it and built a little set together and shot it. She painted me.
What was the general idea behind the final design?
Well the album’s called Centre Of Your Universe, which means that I’m the centre of your universe. I’m like the God of the universe on the album cover.
The sound on your recent singles is a lot less raw than your previous Wax Witches work, did this change happen gradually as you recorded?
Well I never chose to record lo-fi, i just couldn’t record well. I’ve been practising so now I can record a bit better. Plus I bought some better equipment, it’s way cheaper over here.
‘Social Introvert’ has attracted a lot of new listeners, would you say that’s because of the tracks relatable lyrics?
Maybe, I don’t know. I don’t know why anyone likes any of my music [laughs]. I think it’s a pretty fun song, not so serious, so it’s easy to listen to.
Are there serious songs on the new album?
Yeah there’s a few serious songs on there. There’s maybe three serious songs… They’re all kind of serious actually. They’re all serious other than like, two.
And ‘Social Introvert’ is one of those two?
Yeah that’s not very serious.
When I listened to your second single, ‘Serotonin Syndrome’ to me it sounded similar to a ballad, are there many slower ballad-like songs like this on on the album?
Yeah there’s only like three slow songs on the album. That one, I just wanted to put out early so people didn’t think the whole album was a pop album. Really it’s a bit of everything, it’s got more atmospheric songs and pop songs. It’s a pretty versatile album.
Since you moved to New York have you noticed a difference between the music scene there, to the scene here in Brisbane and the Gold Coast?
Yeah it’s a completely different world. New York’s a pretty massive place, to get attention you have to do something pretty good you know? You have to work a lot harder. I’m definitely a really small fish in a massive pond, but the thing is there’s heaps of room to grow which is what I kind of got frustrated with living in Australia. In California there’s a pretty awesome scene that you can see, like the whole Burger Records scene is pretty big over there. It’s cool going over there and some people know my bands and stuff.
From the photographs you post on your photography blog I can see that a lot of the venues you visit are quite different too..
I feel like half the places I go here, would be shut down in a day in Australia [laughs]. It’s crazy, but it’s awesome. I get inspired by really weird stuff, which is a lot of stuff over here so it’s good.
You seem to have found a very comfortable place in New York..
I have been lucky to meet some pretty awesome people and get to hang out with some pretty inspiring people, so it’s really good.
Have you had any desire to come back to Australia and return to some old projects like Bleeding Knees Club for example? Many fans have been wondering if there will be new material..
Well [Jordan and I] are both doing our own things now, I do want to come home to tour and say hey to my family, but I don’t want to come back and live for a while. I’ve got a lot of stuff I want to achieve here before I come back.
What would you like to achieve?
Well I have music goals. Of course my music that people know over in Australia isn’t the greatest, it’s pretty beginner and I have the talent to do better stuff. I’m just kind of working on that over here, I’ve got a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes that I’m working on. Then I have other interests like photography and art, stuff that I want to pursue as well. Especially living in a place like New York where everyone’s insane and crazy, you’ve just got to have a camera all the time.
I’ve seen that your photography has steeped into fashion here with you shooting for labels like Rhythm, are fashion and photography blended in New York?
I work in a pretty high fashion photo studio. I’ve also been assisting on a lot of fashion shoots for CR Fashion Book and VOGUE. It’s cool, but it’s a bit out of my league [laughs]. I’ve learnt so much stuff from working with them.
But back to the music of course, has work started on a third Wax Witches album?
My friend Liam, who used to used to play in the band The Scare and in Faker, he’s playing guitar in Wax Witches now and we’ve been doing some writing together. We’re trying to do some more demos for a follow-up album, but I write songs everyday so i’m always writing. We’re still trying to figure out what to do next. Probably won’t come out for a year and a half or even two years.
Will you be touring outside the US between now and then?
Yeah I really want to go back to Europe, I haven’t been to Europe in a while. I really want to go to Japan and Brazil, I really wan to go to Mexico too, I want a Mexican show.
Words by Lauren Payne