Ever since she was 14 years old, Australian indie rocker Alex Lahey wanted to make music. She fell in love with the feeling of creating music with others, the buzz that comes when you and a friend start jamming, melodies finding their way naturally.
Now, at 25 years old, Alex Lahey finally recorded her debut album, I Love You Like a Brother. It’s a punchy rock record full of pop-filtered production and sing-along cleansers. On first listen, it’s easy to confuse songs like “Lotto in Reverse” for Courtney Barnett or Lady Lamb, if both were taking to the streets with a vengeance and witty words on their lips. The longer it sinks in, though, the more Lahey’s distinct style for catchy anthems finds a voice of its own. Just ask Lahey herself. The fact that she’s individualistic enough to be an internationally touring musician is still sinking in for her.
“I never once did I think I’d be making an album with my fucking name on the cover. That’s wild,” she says over the phone. “I’m just proud. I’m proud I did it, I’m proud I finished it, and I’m proud that I like it. It feels so good to accomplish something like this, especially because I’ve dreamed of it for so long. And I’m proud of the people I did it with, because they helped make the record what it is.”
To dig deeper into Lahey’s record before she headlines Great Scott, we interviewed her for a round of Wheel of Tunes, a series where we ask bands questions inspired by their song titles. Like most Australians, she was perpetually chill and it made us want to be best friends with her.
1) “Every Day’s the Weekend”
DIGBOSTON: What would your ideal weekend consist of?
LAHEY: Really good food, really good red wine, and good weather. Really just not having any obligations from one hour to the next so I can enjoy the day. Especially in tour mode, every hour is accounted for, even the hours where you’re supposed to do nothing. Recently, we were in Sydney for a day and had no obligations. It was so nice. To not worry about where you have to be or by a specific time? That’s amazing, and that’d be a very good weekend for me.
2) “I Love You Like a Brother”
DIGBOSTON: Which person in your life do you and your family consider to be an unofficial family member?
LAHEY: Well, I have a pretty unusual family. I have a single mom. She goes from a blended family of sorts, so it’s like a Brady Bunch ordeal [laughs]. So my family isn’t necessarily all blood relatives. I think growing up with that very much shaped my view of family. I released this record on my own record label out here, which is called Nicky Boy Records. It’s an homage to my great-grandfather. It’s representative of the fact that family is what you make it and what it ends of being, not necessarily what you’re born into. So there’s many people that applies to, but the most obvious of which is my best friend, Julia. She lives down the road from me. Someone like her is always hanging with my family, and to me? That’s family!
3) “Perth Traumatic Stress Disorder”
DIGBOSTON: What’s your least favorite thing about Australia?
LAHEY: Currently, the same-sex marriage debate. We don’t have same-sex marriage in Australia. For some reason, the Australian government decided to spend millions of dollars on doing a postal survey asking people if same-sex marriage should be legalized in Australia. It’s dangerous and a high-risk process to use a platform for prejudice. It’s really backwards. Hopefully, we come out the other end of it, but at the moment it makes me furious about my country. How fucked up is that? It’s a breaking point for me now. The opportunity to get your votes in is done, and I think it’s being announced in 10 days. You would think people would vote yes for marriage equality, but given all the shit that’s happened in the world, you just don’t fucking know. And that’s fucking scary.
4) “I Haven’t Been Taking Care of Myself”
DIGBOSTON: Is there a health routine you’ve been doing your whole life but recently found out is bad?
LAHEY: Apparently, Diet Coke is really bad for you [laughs]. I think it tastes better. I know that’s a controversial better, but I think Diet Coke definitely tastes better than normal Coke. It’s the worst thing in the world for you, though, and has all sorts of shit in there. I’ll still go to it during a hangover, though [laughs]. It’s a treat that I will drink every now and then on tour. We’re leaving for America soon and we’re preparing our arteries.
DIGBOSTON: Are you loyal to any backpack brands?
LAHEY: Not consistently, but I’m loyal to a backpack at any given time. When we were at SXSW, every artist that played got a backpack. I’ve been using that one quite a bit and it’s been good so far, but I’m not loyal to it. It’s funny, though, because all my band members and I all have different ones, so that’s a good look.
6) “Awkward Exchange”
DIGBOSTON: What’s the most awkward exchange you’ve had recently?
LAHEY: There was a phoner I did, was a German bloke recently when I was in Europe, and it was bizarre. Something most have been completely lost in translation, because the interviewer said, “Oh, I read here that you extract your own teeth. Can you tell me about that?” And I was like, “Excuse me? What do you mean?” He kept pressing and asking, and I was so confused. It was a back and forth of both of us being confused. But I had no idea what could have been lost in translation?
7) “I Want U”
DIGBOSTON: What was your AIM screen name?
LAHEY: Oh my god, I don’t even remember. Actually, wait, it was Arsenal_Saints. They’re two football teams, like for London and Australia, which was definitely an homage to me being the biggest fucking tomboy ever.
8) “Lotto in Reverse”
DIGBOSTON: Name one moment you thought was bad luck but turned out to be very helpful or positive.
LAHEY: I think there are so many moments like that, where something doesn’t go according to plan but you figure out what went wrong is actually a good thing. It could be your guitar pedal failing, and then you learn how to put it back together, which is a useful skill, or breaking up with someone, but learning from it for another relationship. Something good can come out of it. It’s a good quality to be able to reflect on those things and determine what could have made it better.
9) “Let’s Call It a Day”
DIGBOSTON: How do you like to cap off your evenings?
LAHEY: Right now since we’re on tour, it ends with my drummer and I saying goodnight to one another and switching off the lights [laughs]. But other than that—it’s really bad, but it’s probably one last Instagram check. It’s definitely using my phone, which is awful, and I wish it was something more poetic like writing in a journal, but it’s definitely my phone.
10) “There’s No Money”
DIGBOSTON: What form of currency would you like to see come into fashion?
LAHEY: Maybe hugs? That would be nice! Although, wait, you’d probably have to hug some freak or some people you don’t want to hug [laughs]. Could be creepy. Or it could be this sign of affection that my bandmates and I do to one another, like a pinky motion, but you have to see that in person to understand what I mean. Bitcoin is fucking fascinating, though. Like how baffling is that, but I don’t think anyone’s bought that anymore, so who knows.
ALEX LAHEY, DUDE YORK, MINT GREEN. WED 11.15. GREAT SCOTT, 1222 COMM. AVE., ALLSTON. 9PM/18+/$12. GREATSCOTTBOSTON.COM