Photos by: Julia Svenson
One half of Albrecht La’Brooy and Analog Attic Recordings, Alex Albrecht is part of two unique projects which As If. No Way! have an immense love for. With a notable and unique discography sprawling through four labels including Voyage, Night Tide, Butter Sessions and of course their own Analog Attic Records, and a mini lp due for release on R&S’s sub label Apollo on the 6th of January, Alex’s production with close friend Sean La’Brooy has touched many across the world.
During Alex’s European tour whilst he was travelling, Blake caught up with him to discuss touring, making the move from Melbourne to Europe, production processes, Analog Attic Recordings and creating a sense of place through music.
As If: After this short EU tour, how do you want to approach touring Europe in the future?
Alex Albrecht: I think that we would probably wait for a booking agency to pick us up and organise the whole thing. It will then be a bit easier to co-ordinate everything and have the right connections. Doing it solo wasn’t really a decision of ‘I’m going to do a tour of Europe’. It was that I wanted to come over here and had enough connections to have something going on.
Have you ever thought about making the move to Europe to follow through with your music and label?
It is something we have talked about for sure, particularly recently. But we have a meeting with Andy from R&S records tomorrow as they want to put out a record of ours via their sub-label Apollo. So that would mean that we would probably have to move to Europe at some stage, and it would be an amazing thing to do. There is so much going on here, and it would be a good chance to see other parts of Europe.
What sort of shows would you like to play and showcase? As you have mentioned you started as a couple of friends coming together and creating a different environment from your standard club setting and evenings; how would you want to play across Europe?
Well, a lot of the shows that we have been doing recently have been collaborative shows – the latest one was with Sleep D playing with all four of us and live. We are working on a record with a number of jazz artists and we did a show as part of our tenth release on Analog Attic in Melbourne at the Meat Market Stables; I think it is a nice way to play and adds another element. I guess the way I see our shows is we have that club aspect and we love to do that, then we really love to do the more performance style, more listening and ambient. I guess it would be nice to have a mixture of both.
You are part of a beautiful collective amongst what is a thriving music community in Melbourne. How does this influence your music?
It really does influence our music a lot and not only in Melbourne but in Australia because there are some amazing things happening. We are always taking influence from different people who are doing something unique from a global perspective. A lot of people are doing very different things in Melbourne and we are always listening to that sort of sound that is coming out. Take for instance Butter Sessions. We have always had a strong connection with them ever since the very first time we met them, as we shared studios with them in Collingwood at a place called My Selling Studios and met Corey and sent them some music. He then mastered our first record and has mastered every record since then. They are also the ones that sent our music to Suzanne Kraft and really backed us and then through that we ended up getting a Stamp The Wax premiere, which was massive. Then Frank and Tony would play it on Beats In Space and we have a lot to thank for that connection; they have also made a record and played a gig at the Fairfield Ampitheatre with us. That photo on the cover really encapsulates what the vibe was like all day. There will also be a follow up with them on Analog Attic which we are working on at the moment.
We have never really felt any sense of competition or no one stepping on each other’s toes. Everyone will come to your gig and you will go to theirs.
How do you think that has influenced your label?
I guess it gave our project a collaborative nature; we are always trying to create and pull different artists and sounds from different areas. I think that what we are trying to do with our label is give people an outlet for people who don’t otherwise create ambient music, giving them a platform for it. People such as Rings Around Saturn, TUC and particularly UDMO, who is a young dude predominantly making house but who delves deep into that ambient sound on our level.
What’s your opinion on how this Ambient revival has come about?
I think the podcasts and mix series, and how big that is at the moment, have a huge influence on it. I think people are making music that people want to listen to when they are chilling at home. Agh, but radio has been around for longer and is the same thing – but now you can choose. So yeah, it might come down to what people want to listen to at different times, and to the fact that, when they see that this person has this many views, they think their music will be more worth playing.
There has in the past been a big thing to have chill-out rooms in clubs. Do you think that can still be incorporated in today’s clubbing scene, as it can be very much ‘come in, party, then leave’?
I think it is achievable. I think it does come down to the promoter, the booker and whether they want to have that element. I guess the thing is, if you do have a chill stage/room, is it something people want to go to because they want to actually chill and chat and get away from the main stage, or is it something they want to listen to and immerse themselves in. Speaking about that gig we did recently with Sleep D, that’s what we where trying to do with that: to have a space that has really nice ambient music that you can listen to in one area and then in another has some more performance thing in which people are more engaged.
How does your approach to production differ from when you first started?
The improvisational aspect of it is probably the biggest change. When I first started producing it was very meticulous; this was when I was doing solo production, I spent so long on tracks and all the things I was doing. Pairing up with Shaun who has a jazz background – I didn’t study jazz – we began to try and come up with something on whim and see where it takes us. We have then incorporated that into a live set and so everything we do is completely improvised. That is what we enjoy and is the most fun, if I was to do a live set and I had the track there in front of me and was putting on some more effect, it wouldn’t be as fun to us. It’s high risk and we have found ourselves playing stuff that is not that good then trying to get out of it. That’s how it has changed.
Do you try and bring that into the studio?
Yeah so the way that we produce music is that we will sit down and have an hour-long jam. We see where that goes and record each individual part separately, then from there we will bounce down each part, go ‘that track was good’, take that, then I will go back to my old style of production where I will meticulously tweak every little element of it. It is probably why a lot of the music we create live sounds different from the records: because we will add other elements but at its core it is improvised.
Analog Attic has this beautiful and distinctive sound that is warm and humble, where do you feel this is generated from?
We have a document that we send around to any artist we begin to work with and it has a set of values. Those values are that we never put out anything for the sake of it, will often use field recording to give it a sense of place as we are interested in a sense of place, we always want release to have a deeper meaning or something that is more interesting that just a four track EP. When we started the label and were putting out a four track as the first release, we took the philosophy of an LP to an EP. Why does an EP have to be three disposable things that I made two years ago. We want to make a theme throughout it and it can be whatever. The other thing is that we want it to be listenable in say a dance setting as well as a bedroom and lounge room and that it is all Australian Music which would mould that all together. At the moment everyone who has been released is from Melbourne but we are working with a couple of artists who are interstate.