A Baa Baa Blaah with Phoebe from Alpine: Talking costumes, music videos and guacamole

AlpinePress4 When Alpine released their acclaimed debut “A is for Alpine” in 2012, the 6-piece band from Melbourne, breathed fresh new life into Australian music, with their clever indie-pop songs, led by the effervescent Lou James and Phoebe Baker.  With the fuel of a No. 1 debut album (Australian iTunes Charts) and the respect from leading music mags, their second Yuck, proves that the difficult second album is not always the case. We were delighted to have a Blaa Blaa Blaah with Phoebe and explore the creativity behind this unique and necessary Australian band.

TWL_LOGO_LambAlpine were conceived some 7 or so years ago (from our calculations), for those of us who don’t know much about you, can you tell us, what made Alpine happen?

 The very seed of it (Alpine) was planted when I met Christian. I was in year 12, in a band, and he was assigned to teach us “how to be a band”! Haha. Well, he and I just got along musically. I was very shy, but he saw in me something musical which he dug. After school finished he asked me if I’d like to make tunes with him and I hesitantly said yes, so shy! Thus began our musical adventure, he showed me his musical/genius ideas and we traded and blended ideas and then got a whole bunch of our friends involved who in turn traded and blended their ideas. So sweet and un-rock ‘n’ roll!

TWL_LOGO_LambWe recently saw you play at Sugar Mountain Festival, a fantastic show.  One thing that grabbed out attention, where your great outfits, nice to see a band caring about how they look. Can you share with us who made them? Is this an important part of Alpine?

Yeah! Thankyou!! Well those outfits were made by my wonderful mother! She is seriously the best woman! She has made me and Lou a gallery of outfits, tailored to our every need. Me and Lou have always been keen to dress up for the event that is performing. Jumpsuits are practical wonder outfits that seem to nurture our moods into stage moods! Dreamy!

 TWL_LOGO_LambWhile on the topic of “style”, your videos are so refreshing, it is great to see artists embrace the medium of moving image.  Can you tell us about the video “Foolish”, how it came together?

Foolish is one of my favourites! Tristan Jalleh is the talented visionary behind it! I remember seeing videos he had done for Oscar Key Sung and being blown away. So when he pitched it was so exciting! And the best thing about it was he took the time to sit down with us and discuss what we wanted, so we got to portray ourselves and our sense of humour and have input in the visual fantasmascape that Foolish is. Its relieving to have a video match your music and both feel like they are coming from something that is ‘you’.

TWL_LOGO_LambYour second full-length album is called YUCK. We gauged it was from one of the lyrics in Foolish, but does it go any deeper than this?

Yuck can be deep or shallow. Yuck sums up many different aspect of the album. The sentiments of the songs often refer to yucky situations, uncomfortable relationship endings, awkward things you’ve said, foolish things you’ve succumb to. Describing them as yuck, allows something that was painful in the past to be lighter, somewhat funny and less poignant in the present. Yuck also, to me, was my attitude to second album pressure. Yuck! Who needs it!? 🙂

TWL_LOGO_LambYou have much respect amongst your Australian audiences and won the hearts over (and grooving feet) of many more following your Sugar Mountain appearance.  Where do you think you have the biggest following overseas?  Favourite foreign country to play live? Reason?

Haha! I don’t know! We get many messages from countries in South America! My dream destination. We’ve really just toured the States so I guess there! Haha. America was great! Lovely people, long roads, good deserts and amazing guacamole!

 TWL_LOGO_LambWhere there any particular influences or inspirations that you tapped into for the making of “YUCK”? Artists from past or present, particular instruments or effects, ways of writing, locations to write from etc?

Nothing really particular. There are six of us, so to pin down particular influences is very difficult! However I will say Milton Nascimento’s ‘Tudo Que Vocé’ had a strong hand in directing much of the feeling we aspired to.

TWL_LOGO_LambYour debut studio album A is for Alpine was excellent, comparative to YUCK, the production moved up a notch.  Can you offer some insight into how you tackled this album differently?

Yuck was made with much more confidence than A is  for Alpine. We had tackled turning recorded sound into a solid live sound, so I think that made us less afraid to experiment and go large and thick and loud with Yuck. We had Dann Hume produce it with Christian, he had done A is for Alpine so he knew us well and well enough to cater to our wildest wants.


TWL_LOGO_LambAccording to your lyric that your kissing is Yuck, what else in the world is yuck right now?

Haha! NO! My kissing is not yuck! It’s the other person involved! BUT definite yucks, there are so many in this world, so I guess yuck would be not helping at least one of those yucks to become yum.


The Wandering Lamb has a love for new music and an urge to share.  Are you listening to any new music that you care to share?

Not necessarily new, but right now as I answer this I am listening to Gillian Welch!  Gorgeous. Joanna Newsom’s Divers was the soundtrack to a recent road trip. And I’m soon to see Simply Red. Haha.

                                 Gillian Welch

Alpine play Melbourne, Estonia House, Friday 19th Feb/Mount Penang, Central Cost, Saturday 20th Feb/Adelaide, WomAdelaide Festival, Monday 14th Mar.