Beat’s best of Bandcamp: We chat to Alexander Biggs before his long-awaited debut album arrives

Beat’s best of Bandcamp: We chat to Alexander Biggs before his long-awaited debut album arrives

Words by Tom Walters

Hit or Miss hits the shelves on Wednesday February 3.

Hello and welcome to Beat’s best of Bandcamp, a fortnightly roundup of the best new Melbourne/Naarm bands and artists making waves on the internet’s most indispensable music platform. 

If you’ve been meaning to buy some new music, are a seasoned Bandcamp veteran looking for something fresh, or are simply intrigued at what Bandcamp has to offer, then this column will have you covered every two weeks with Victoria’s finest. Check out our previous column, spotlighting the best Bandcamp releases of 2020.

This week, we got in touch with indie musician Alexander Biggs to chat about his forthcoming debut album, Hit or Miss

Alexander Biggs

It would be easy to dismiss Alexander Biggs as a “sad boy”. His songs are rife with emotionally heavy tales of lost love, long nights and youthful, reckless abandon; his instrumentation is indebted to classic folk but shot through with bedroom pop and lo-fi emo. Then there’s his crackling falsetto: dreamy, trembling, heartbreaking. He sounds like somewhere in between Alex G and José González.

But rather than coming off as just another sad sack with a guitar, Biggs transcends the stereotype by gorgeously layering his songs with all manners of texture. On his debut album Hit or Miss – set to be released on Wednesday February 3 – you can expect everything from hushed percussion that could be lifted from an ASMR video to immaculate, intimate guitar lines. There is a heavy atmosphere that hangs over every track – an irresistible grogginess that’s as charming as it is melancholic. 

Beat: You recorded Hit or Miss in a variety of unconventional places, such as blanket fort hideaways and suburban kitchens. How do you think these locations have shaped the album?

Alexander Biggs: I think a room is always going to lend something to the recording process. In the case of bedrooms and blanket forts, it’s all been about a mood, or at least finding a mood in the necessity of a quiet place to record. It’s always been important to me to record in places that felt personal and just as attached to the songs as the words and the melody and the history of what I was writing about. They were all there. The walls were watching.

Your songs have a hushed sound that’s reminiscent of late-night diary entries written under doonas. Do you find it difficult taking a confessional-style approach to your music or does it come naturally?

Songwriting to me has always been a way of processing feelings and so the confessional nature is just a part of that. Sometimes when I write it’s just hammering nails and then doing crosswords, other times it’s channeling something greater than myself and it flowing out. Either way it’s just my truth.

I think there’s difficulty in discussing the songs. Singing the songs in the way they came out brings a new life to them, no matter how close the story. Talking about them is where the vulnerability gets a little hard to bare. Gets more visceral.

You’re often collaborative with your music and you’ve worked with several friends on the record. How do you find working with other people on such personal music?

I’d say I’m more the opposite when it comes to collaboration. I write songs with people every now and then but including the two co-writes on this record, my first released collaborative material, was a big moment for me and a real exception to how firm I’ve been in the past on being totally solo on this project.

It’s taken a little while to be comfortable with that because, you’re right, my music is so personal, and also because I feel I’ve only just found the way to stay with myself when writing in a room. You’re always sewing yourself into the pages though, alone or with anyone else.

I used to have a lot of ideas on co-writing, ideas that I think are probably easily contested now I’ve thought about it – definitely from many fellow songwriters – thinking of it like cheating or being dishonest. Now, if it’s a good session, and I’m present and channeling the moment, the feeling, the universe, it doesn’t matter who’s in the room, because I know it’s my truth.

There’s a strong storytelling element in your music, with each song unspooling like its own novella. Do you have a favourite tale on the album and if so, how did it come about?

I don’t have a favourite but I would say the title track ‘Hit or Miss’ lives vividly in my mind. It’s about getting spun around a car park in a trolley and that reckless excitement of someone, how it can rust, and about love and how sometimes it gently flies out of you in your sleep like a soul leaving a body.

As a Melbourne local, are there any venues you’re keen to play shows at now the COVID situation has eased? Is there anyone you’re keen to see live?

All the usual haunts I suppose! I played a fun show with RAT!hammock at The Leadbeater in Richmond and that was wild. Didn’t know they existed until they started hosting all these local bands I love post lockdown 2.0. I wanna see my friends live – Ruby Gill, Eaglemont, Mimi Gilbert, Grand Pine. I could go on, but should just say it feels more important than ever to find community in these spaces. Music is transformative and we’ve all been missing that energy.

Hit or Miss is out on Wednesday February 3 through Bandcamp. For more on Alexander Biggs, check out his Facebook and Instagram.

Check out our previous column, spotlighting the best Bandcamp releases of 2020. 

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