ARTICLE NATASHA STAGG
ALPINE IS ONE OF THOSE INDIE BANDS WHO FORMED THROUGH PERSONAL CONNECTIONS AND PLAYED MUSIC IN ROOMS TOGETHER BEFORE SHARING IT ONLINE. YOU KNOW, THE KIND THAT HARDLY EXISTS ANYMORE. WE CAUGHT UP WITH SINGER PHOEBE BAKER AT THE DAWN OF THE AUSSIE GROUP'S WORLDWIDE DEBUT. CHECK OUT THEIR NEW VIDEO (ABOVE), THEIR FIRST ALBUM, A IS FOR ALPINE (RELEASED THIS WEEK), AND A MAJOR TOUR NEXT MONTH
Hi Phoebe. So, who else is in the band, and what are their best traits?
Phoebe Baker: You got Tim; he plays keys and does most of our artwork. He's the sexy bookworm and travels light. Phil, he plays drums and has even tattooed himself with a quote from the song Doctor Worm (They Might Be Giants) professing that he loves to do so. He has fabulously soft hair. Christian is the guitar man. He can tell awesome jokes at 4 in the morning and gives great hugs. Ryan's the really English bassist. He's in love with his girlfriend, who he calls Girl. She's really called Anna. Lou is the other singer. If she could be Kate Bush's sister, she would. She's a wild one and we've been friends for 11 years now. I'm Phoebe, I also sing. I'm a romantic, I guess. I've read all the Tintin comics.
How did you meet?
PB: I was in a band at school. Christian taught guitar at that school. We shared ideas on memory sticks and eventually formed probably three or four songs. Realizing we needed another vocalist we got Lou on board. She had amazing untapped writing resources. Then came Phil, who had grown up with Christian in the country. We stole him from other bands. Then came Timmy, who knew Lou from university, and lastly, Ryan, who we met backpacking at a bar on ACDC lane. We are now siblings.
Your sound might be described as shoegaze, although I'm not sure anyone uses that term anymore. Is there a genre people usually fall back on when talking about you?
PB: I love shoegaze. I never would have though of our music as being that. Makes me think of Jesus and Mary Chain… We often get called dream pop, or indie, or Scandinavian. I'm happy for people to call us whatever they want.
I hear Blonde Redhead and Cibo Matto, and those bands were sometimes lumped in with trip-hop or that second or third wave of garage rock, or even electroclash. I wouldn't necessary describe you as any of those, though. I might choose the powerpop genre. How do you feel about that?
PB: Powerpop sounds grand! Two powerful lead singers and powerful writing and powerfully strong men who carry gear. It sounds empowering.
Maybe it's not any of those, and I'm forgetting some of the more contemporary genres. There is definitely something very, very new about this record. At the same time, it's nice to hear the classic elements of it. This record sounds like it knows what it's talking about, if that makes sense.
PB: Thank you!
Sometimes it's scary realizing some of the less commercial bands might become jokes, now that it's so popular to ridicule a self-serious project online. Have you seen the tumblr "Who are the Stone Roses"?
PB: No, I hadn't seen that before! That’s amazing. I love the Stone Roses. Ah, the youth of today… I am one of them.
It's crazy that they headlined at Coachella, and yet they've become a meme. I'm sure they don't care. Hopefully they think it's cool. How is your relationship with the internet—social media, music-sharing, the works?
PB: The Internet is fascinating, incredible, frightening and then not frightening at all. It's been the best thing for us as a band; without it we wouldn't be doing so well.
What are the band's aspirations?
PB: Travel. More music. More collaborations. Nice pairs of shoes.
Where are you now, and where are you going next?
PB: We’re now in our hometown, Melbourne. It's chilly and raining. And on June the 1st we are off to America to go on tour with Crystal Fighters. It's our biggest tour yet and we can't wait!
A is for Alpine is available now on Votiv