Glam’s Jonathan Matthews chats to Alison Wonderland in Los Angeles, where she’s just finished up her American tour.
Jonathan: Your new record ‘Awake’ has recently been released, how’s everything been going since then?
Alison Wonderland: Pretty busy, which is a good thing. I’ve been travelling all around the world, which has been amazing. I had Coachella which was in the Sahara, which was amazing. I just finished my Awake tour of America, I’ve played in Japan, I’ve played main stage at Tommorowland, that was awesome because that was on my bucket list. I also played at Lollapalooza in Berlin last week, so it’s been really insane.
J: It sounds like you’ve been flat out. Can you tell me a bit about the theme of the album Awake? Has it got something to do with being awake in a spiritual sense?
A: Awake was kind of to do with a lot of self-realisation, and finding my self-worth again. I feel like the title kind of summarises the whole album, it’s about waking up from a long period of time where I didn’t really feel like I was present or good or happy.
J: I hope you’ve found a good place now, with all of the amazing opportunities you’ve had recently, you’d have to be.
A: Yeah, I definitely am. I’ve got good people around me and I’ve made a lot of changes.
J: That’s great to hear. Was there much you did differently on Awake, compared to your previous releases?
A: Yeah, I think that I really tried to push myself with this album. I didn’t want to make Run 2.0, I wanted to see what I could do to make it more, creatively. The good thing about being in music is that you’re constantly progressing if you want to, and you’re constantly able to learn new things, because things are constantly progressing around you, especially technology. I thought it was important for me to collaborate with new people. I feel like when you collaborate with new people, you learn things, it’s taught me a lot as a producer and as a writer, I really pushed myself. I feel that I’ve given more on this one, and I feel that if you’re not doing that, it shows in the end result.
J: I completely agree with you, everyone does things a little bit differently, and it’s important to take that on board. You collaborated with Chief Keef on this record, how did you get on with those guys.
A: Chief Keef was so cool, I was really nervous because I’m such a big fan of his. When he came to the studio, I was so nervous that I brought my dog with me, because I thought that would be a good ice breaker, even if he didn’t think I was cool, at least he’d think my dog was *laughs*. It actually went really well and I’m really happy about it.
J: You’ve got your Australian tour coming up soon, are you looking forward to being back on home soil?
A: Yeah, I’m so excited to come home. I love playing in Australia, because it’s where I grew up, it’s the place that grew me into the artist I am today. I spent so much time playing and writing music, and being with people and that really helped me out before anything happened overseas. I think I feel the most nervous before I play shows at home, more than any country. I never want to let Australia down. I’m so thankful that everyone helped to build me there. I spent so many years doing training over there that I feel like I owe Australia so much.
J: Have you got a favourite Australian city to play in?
A: No. Well, I mean, yeah *laughs*. It would have to be my home town of Sydney. Honestly I like playing there because that’s where I started, and so many people have seen me grow there, it’s my home town. That’s where my family is from, it’s special to me. The lock out laws have fucked it up a lot, but it’s still nice to come home and feel a sense of ‘home’ when I play Sydney.
J: How did you originally get into it all?
A: Honestly, I don’t really know, I was a classical Cellist before all of this. I quit playing the cello and somehow got into doing what I do now. I went to study in Europe and fell out of love with the cello, and I feel like if you’re an artist, you need to love what you’re doing, because art is expression, and it should be coming from a real place. I gave it up and felt pretty lost. Through playing in some bands here and there, I discovered electronic and started playing opening and closing sets at clubs around Sydney. I just kept getting booked and fell in love with the process of DJ-ing, I thought of it as an instrument. I’m a musician so I was writing music anyway, but I wanted to learn how to make music that sounded like the electronic music that I was listening to, so I started producing as well. At the time I didn’t think writing and producing really went together, so I did them under separate names, but since then I decided to start doing both together, and that’s how I got to where I am today, I’m so happy with how it’s all turned out.
J: Your music videos are really cool, do you have a lot of involvement with them?
A: Yeah, a hundred percent. There some that I’ve had nearly all of the creative control for, especially with the concepts and the ideas. Easy, Church, U Don’t Know, I Want U, I came up with all of those myself. Run was somebody else’s concept and idea, I still like it, but it’s my least favourite, I feel like it’s not really my own. I’m very creative involved with my album covers as well. Every visual behind me at my show, I helped to design, every stage set up you see, it’s all me. I’m really proud of that.
J: Do you have any final messages for your fans in Adelaide?
A: I can’t wait to see everyone, I love Adelaide. Thank you so much if you’ve ever come to one of my shows or if you listen to my music, I really appreciate you.