Records hold a very special place in the hearts of listeners, especially musicians. Whether it be through the distinct artwork or a stand-out track, records have the unique ability to instantly take us back to the first time we heard them. We spoke one of Melbourne’s hardest working female musicians Ali E, to find out what albums she grew up listening to, the albums that have shaped her musical career and, of course, the inspirations behind her current EP release Creatures.
Did any albums influence the production or music of your new 10” EP Creatures?
Not really – we picked apart a few songs/albums to get particular instrument sounds – i.e. for drums – Let England Shake by PJ Harvey, for some of the vocals – Blacklisted by Neko Case; bass – any Wilco album; guitars – anything psychedelic!
What is your favourite album of all time?
That’s pretty much an impossible question to answer! I could give you a top 3 (and this just one top 3 out of many top 3’s!)- Magic Dirt – Friends in Danger; Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – Henry’s Dream; The Breeders – Last Splash
What was the first album you bought with your own money?
Patti Smith – Horses.
Which album has influenced your music style the most?
There’s been a whole mix of music styles that have influenced my own music – I find that if I listen to one style too much my songwriting and motivation starts to get stagnant. So, I try to mix it up as much as possible, and because I have played in various bands I get influences from them as well. With the Ali E stuff I don’t want it to get too lumped into one category either, but I have found that Cat Power’s You Are Free, helps me write and gets me inspired to write and create more music.
What has been your favourite/s album release of 2015 so far?
Ohhhh so many – Quarters by King Gizzard is right up there, and Sound and Color by Alabama Shakes.
What was playing on your family stereo growing up?
A lot of Jazz and blues. Louis Armstrong, BB King and Miles Davies, mainly.
Which album did you play to death as a teenager?
I’ll give you another 3 – The Breeders – Last Splash, Nirvana – Nevermind and Weezer – the Blue Album.
How many copies are available of Creatures on vinyl, and how to did come to the decision of them being transparent orange?
I’m getting a run of 250 from Pirates Press and wanted to the whole package to have earthy colours; so orange for the vinyl seemed fitting. The transparency element was a last minute decision as I think it looks cool!
What was your inspiration behind the artwork for Creatures & who created the artwork?
A friend of mine, Alice Body, created the artwork. It’s an abstract pen and ink drawing of pandanus spiralis plant that a found up north, where she lives. I love Australian Gothic art and literature, and native Australian plants, so I wanted the cover art to represent this.
Did you have any other names on the table for you’re the EP, or was it always going to be called Creatures?
I was originally going to call it Six Songs but thought it was too much of a working title. I changed it literally 10 minutes before the press release went out for the Pozible campaign and music video that I did earlier in the year. The title comes from an unfinished song that I have been working on called Falling Creatures about all the voiceless creatures of this world. Also, I didn’t really think about it at the time, but if you Google image Ali E Creatures it defaults to alien creatures, so yeah, you can have a look at some aliens there if you want too.
What was your most memorable moment while recording Creatures?
The recording was split over 2 summers; we did 2 songs one summer, then the other 4, January 2015. Both sessions were pretty great working with Anna Laverty as producer and engineer at Sing Sing South. Each session involved a bunch of other musos coming in and collaborating on the songs – all of these collaborations were my most memorable moments. Lucy Rash on violin, and Katie Scott, Matt Storey, Jess Ribeiro, Giuliano Ferla, Rachel Marzorini and Rich Davies on backing vocals, Matt ‘Bez’ Berry on guitar, Ceci Dowling on Voila, Anna Gordon on Saxophone – we had a real orchestra happening! And then hearing everyone’s contributions all mixed into the songs was amazing.
Creatures is out now and available as a limited edition 10-inch pressed on transparent orange.
Creatures EP Tour Dates
Friday, July 3 @ Grace Emily – Adelaide, SA
Saturday, July 4 @ The Loft – Warrnambool, VIC
Friday, July 10 @ Shebeen – Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday, July 29 @ Frankies Pizza – Sydney, NSW
Thursday, 30 July @ The End, BRISBANE
Friday, 31 July @ Beach Hotel, BYRON BAY
Saturday, Aug 1 @ Trainspotters – Brisbane, QLD