MY NIGHTS ON THE ISLAND
A CONVERSATION WITH ALEX SOUTHEY
Toronto-based artist, Alex Southey, is an artist who seems to be always creating and finding new ways to express himself. In February, 2021, he released the excellent album ..And The Country Stirred. Currently, on July 21 he released a new single, “As Close As You’ll Ever Be”. Not only is it an excellent song in its own right, it is also a taster of a new EP, set to be released in September titled My Nights On The Island. I had the immense pleasure of talking with Southey recently about the new single and EP.
“I really didn’t want to lose momentum. In fact, I am working on scoring for some film projects, more on that to come,” states Southey. But right now, Southey is talking about his new single “As Close As You’ll Ever Be”. “I was going through a tough time, a breakup at the time, and it was the worst of it and I wanted to indulge my own likes in music, I thought, ‘why not?’. On this song, there is kind of a crowd atmosphere at one point, which is influenced from listening to albums by Hip Hop artists and bands like Pink Floyd who would use crowd noises, and weirdly also influenced by Oasis. On their best albums they kind of do this tiny little intro and tiny little outro leading into songs. A bunch of bands do it, but Oasis caught my eye when I was 12.”
This leads to a brief description of the new EP. “I was trying to make an EP that would please my 17-year-old self. So, there is a little bit of Hip Hop and beats, I am not rapping, but in terms of beats. There are a bunch of acoustic guitars, and electric guitars and there is a theme, which is breaking up. The EP encompasses a lot of things I wanted to do, and to not do the same thing again.”
Southey needn’t worry about listeners accusing him of repeating himself musically. Each of his albums and EP are unique and he tends to never repeat himself musically or lyrically. The new EP, My Nights On The Island is another example. “I recorded this EP, most of it, in the shadow of finishing …And The Country Stirred. I wrote this EP over the Christmas period. They kind of overlap.”
But the new EP is markedly different from …And The Country Stirred. Lyrically, it gave Southey an opportunity to express his emotions at the time. “I wanted to focus on these songs for the EP to help get through the break-up, and then I thought ‘these are good’.
The title of the EP My Nights On The Island is, as with his previous titles, intriguing.
“I thought of many different titles, but this is a reference, an emotional island. If you are alone and break up with your partner, you are alone. It is an internal, personal struggle. People have been through breakups before, but not this breakup. But it is more than just that. If we are going to island, I am going to add things, like waves, and on the title track, mid-way through the EP, it gets a little weirder, a little funkier, which it should be. Islands have a different vibe to them, compared to being in a city or mainland. I wanted to create an atmosphere, so it is not so simple as just singing about sand or The Beach Boys. It is more about making one feel like they are somewhere else…that’s what it is.”
Once again, Southey does not take the easy route. After the success of …And The Country Stirred, it would have been easy to repeat himself. However, this is not his way. And as we look forward to the release of My Nights On The Island in September, we have the new single to enjoy, “As Close As You’ll Ever Be.”