The remarkably versatile and extremely good artist Alice Ivy released a brand new album today, one called Don’t Sleep.
Alice Ivy has become a consistently exciting producer, the kind of artist you can expect the unexpected from with each song we’re given. She’s also tirelessly working to increase the presence of non-male creatives working on the production side of things, using her opportunities through her choice of collaborators, many of whom are important female, non-binary, and POC voices, to diversify the sound and look of the studio space she occupies.
That’s evident with Imbi, Ecca Vandal, Odette amongst the many ground-shifters jumping on the album with her.
We flicked over some questions to give you some context to the record, which is out today. Give it a whirl, it’s really damn good.
Alice Ivy, this is record is a MONUMENT. Do you feel that way?
Thank you SO much! That really means a lot. I’ve been sitting on some of these songs for a long time now and it’s pretty surreal getting that kind of feedback. I absolutely feel that way. I can’t believe I had the opportunity to write with so many incredible artists, I’m enormously proud.
The introduction sounds like Imbi – am I right, am I wrong? Regardless, your thoughts on the excellence of Imbi, please.
Yes! Imbi is *secretly* on the opening song “ Champagne Late Nights” and of course they also feature on the title-track “Don’t Sleep”! Imbi is one of the most talented and wisest humans I have ever met. Writing with Imbi is phenomenal! On “Champagne Late Nights”, I showed Imbi the instrumental and in about 15 minutes they had written the poem at the end. An incredible artist and wonderful human <3
Before you actually select the songs that end up on the record, what’s the selection process for the people you make music with in the first place?
I had a wishlist of dream artists I wanted to work with. One by one my manager and I would hit them up to see whether they’d be down for a day of writing. To my delight a lot of them said YES! Every single artist on this record is a wonderful songwriter, and they’re also some of the most inspirational people I’ve ever met.
Jumping from that, what made these songs stand out for the album? Was it based on song strength or their fit for the overall energy of the record?
The songs that made the record were 13 songs selected from an initial pool of about 30 or more, and that process of picking the final list was SO hard. This selection really just hits me in the chest, they are all the kind of songs that I could listen to over and over and never get sick of.
Did you manage to knock out all of this before the pandemic? How has it been pulling the final bits together with limitations, compared to how open everything was beforehand?
Luckily, we got the last mix back in early March just as we started going into lockdown so the actual record was finished! But it’s been pretty difficult creating some of the content that goes along with the record. We had a photoshoot planned with most of the feature artists in Sydney that I ended up shooting with cardboard cut-outs instead in Melbourne! We also shot the music video for “Better Man” with a skeleton crew during lock-down! It’s just been a case of dealing with one thing at a time, and going round the hurdles this pandemic keeps endlessly throwing at us.
This album feels like it will be exceptional in a live context. There’s been plenty of artists who’ve held their albums back to coincide with the return of ‘proper’ live gigs. How are you feeling about that?
It was a tough call to make but I’m so glad that we stuck with our original plan because things have worked out pretty well so far! The lack of shows around the release does make it feel a little anticlimactic in a way though. I was supposed to be on a 35 date tour all arround Australia right now… But I feel like right now is also a good time to be releasing new music. I hope this record will give listeners a 40-minute break from reality 🙂
As personal as these tracks all feel, is there one that hits that special spot in your heart a tiny bit more than the others?
It’s hard to answer that with just one song but for me it would be “Ticket to Heaven” featuring Thelma Plum. Thelma and I wrote that song shortly after the loss of a close friend of hers and the meaning behind her lyrics is heart-breaking. There was so much emotion in her voice when we recorded it that I was tearing up!
What’s the one key thing you want people to take away when they take the time to go through this album from top to bottom.
I just want listeners to immerse themselves in all of the different voices on this album. They’re all very special humans, each of whom has a unique and important story to tell. I hope people who listen to this record are as moved by these songs as I am!