Alice Ivy on the lead up to her debut album ‘I’m Dreaming’

“I really wanted to create something that you can sit down to for 35 minutes and totally immerse yourself.”

Two years of momentum have been building behind Annika Schmarsel, as many singles, live shows and festival spots have led to the release of her debut album I’m Dreaming under her moniker Alice Ivy. Despite the hype and expectation behind her first full-length, when she spoke to Beat two weeks from its release date, Schmarsel was calm and collected.
“Last week, the last pieces were coming together, I was a little stressed, but this week I’ve been really excited. I’m learning to really enjoy the moment of releasing my first album,” she says.
In a really good place, Schmarsel thought forward, imagining how she’d feel a week after the album was released. “I think I’m going to be in the same position as I am this week. I’m going to be really excited to finally have a full body of work out after releasing single after single.”
Skipping the usual path of developing an EP before diving into a full-length album, Schmarsel aimed to create a cohesive, from-start-to-finish experience straight away. “I feel like an album is a really good amount of canvas for an artist to express how they are truly feeling. I really wanted to create something that you can sit down to for 35 minutes and totally immerse yourself.
“It’s a stressful thing, you’re releasing a whole body of work that’s your own, and it’s revealing and really personal,” Schmarsel says.
I’m Dreaming is not just a personal debut project; Schmarsel has produced a synth-heavy, lush album which is greatly complemented by the use of quirky, antique vocal samples. With vinyl suddenly becoming all the rage again, records and the internet are both a great source for producers.
“I traditionally took the route of collecting a lot of vinyl and sampling directly, but vinyl is an expensive thing. For the “radioactive enough” sample [in ‘Charlie’], I went through a phase listening to a bunch of ‘50s and ‘40s radio commercials, because I figured that it was a very interesting time, especially after the war with the Americans coming home. I think the 1950s is where the “American Dream” began. There was this spark in technology and silly stuff like white goods and vacuum cleaners, but the face of it all was beautiful and amazing and wonderful.
“What really inspired me was this period of time after the Second World War in America where everything was fine, and everything was grand, and I guess that’s what ‘Charlie’ has, that kind of feeling.”
Illustrating the nothing can stop me feeling of ‘Charlie’ and post-war fake happiness Schmarsel hums its catchy trumpet tune over the phone. She says she found this period of time just one of the inspirations for her album’s title and themes.
“The reason I called it I’m Dreaming is I’m incredibly stoked to be able to release an album that has a whole bunch of my friends on it, musicians that I admire so much and respect. None of the collabs on this are really something that I could’ve cold called. I’ve got a really good history behind each person.
“I’m really attached to things and I want them to sound perfect. I’d never really send an email out to different people and get them all in and get to work with them for the day on the song and see if that works. I literally write the song and then I’m like ‘Who would be amazing to work on this with?’ and by chance, everything’s worked out.”
The instrumentation behind the album was developed after Schmarsel had broken her leg last year. In the recovery process, she bought a range of synths and got to work, despite the pain. “I was like, ‘Well, okay, time to write.’ During that time I wrote ‘Get Me A Drink’, literally in my home studio with my leg up.”
Inspired by bucket-list shows at Falls, evolving from green room volunteer to an artist in the green room, as well as massive shows supporting Foster the People, Schmarsel is already eager to perform I’m Dreaming.
“I’m going to be really stoked to play shows again. It’s been about three weeks of not playing shows and I’m going crazy.”

Alice Ivy’s debut album I’m Dreaming is out now via Dew Process/Universal Music Australia. She’ll perform at Howler on Saturday February 24 with Nasty Mars & The Martians, François, Sophiegrophy and more, and at Star Bar, Bendigo on Thursday March 29.