AMAZING: Alex Lloyd releases his album Acoustica next month. The final gig of his upcoming national tour will be at Lizotte’s Newcastle on October 15.
IT has been 17 years since Alex Lloyd released Black The Sun, a moody and atmospheric album that was in many ways ahead of its time.
It was brilliant in its brooding simplicity: gravelly vocals against a drumbeat and swirling keyboard effects. The lyrics dark and contemplative. It is no coincidence Lloyd is a fan of Massive Attack, particularly the album Mezzanine, released just a year prior to his debut.
“Black The Sun was very specific in time and place for me, and it still is,” he tells Weekender.
“It’s probably more current now than it was then. Itfits right in with everything that is going on at the moment.”
It’s the school holidays and Lloyd is chilling at home with his children. Each day, he says, he and his five-year-old son have been reaching a new level on X-box gameLego Batman.
Lloyd sounds content. Relaxed.
His new album Acoustica, to be released in August, is a retrospective of sorts. Lloyd is stripping back some of his most popular songs and reinterpreting them acoustically. Then it’s time to hit the road on a 20-date national tour.
Playing acoustically fits Lloyd like a well-worn shoe.
“Pretty much all my songswere written on an acoustic guitarwith just a drumbeat going on in the background,” he explains.
“Maybe a couple of songs on Black The Sun would be a bit difficult to play acoustically,but it could still be done.
“I’ve been doing a lot of acoustic solo tours recently but this one is different – I’ll have an entourage with me because I really want to have the double bass on stage.I might even change the line-up every few days, to keep things fresh and add to the camaraderie.”
Lloyd has branched out into writing songs for other artists and recently travelled to Nashville for that purpose.
“I think if you want to exist in the music industry these days you’ve got to do more than just one thing, so I’ve started songwriting for otherpeople and that was set up by APRA and an American organisation – to get Australian and American writers in the same room,” he explains.
“I’d never been to Nashville but I’d watched the first season of Nashville which I thought was great [laughs].
“It got a bit Dallas by the end of it but the soundtrack was amazing. The city is all about music. We went out one evening and I met songwriter after songwriter and it was the most amazing place to be if you’re a musician.
“It was incredibly inspiring.”
He enjoysworking with other artists –especiallyyounger artists.
“They have something to say and I’ve kind of said everything I want to say.
“When I’m working with younger artists to help them create their music I feel I can do that on a production level, but also do it on a written level as well, like helping with some poetry.
“They have something to say so all I’m doing is trying to help them join the dots.
“There’s a new language, a new way of communicating, and you have tokeep yourself fresh –have your finger on the pulse, so to speak.”
The 41-year-old admits his musical tastes have changed over the years but can’t help but think a lot of what is played on radio these days lacks substance.
“A lot of stuff I hear on top 40 radio now is just noises –there’s no song,” he says.
“And look, I like noises in songs, and interesting production, but I do want a song at the end of the day that makes me feel somethingand that I can connect with.
“There are some people that really pushthe boundaries still.
“For example,I really like Jarryd James. I caught up with him randomly atthe Crown Hotel in Sydney the other day and we swapped numbers so hopefully one day we can collaborate on something.”
Alex Lloyd brings his Acoustica tour to Lizotte’s Newcastle on October 15.