Alex Lloyd

Beloved Australian singer-songwriter and multi ARIA winning artist Alex Lloyd has announced he will commemorate the twentieth anniversary of his 1999 debut masterwork Black The Sun with a series of National shows this October & November featuring the album’s original line-up, and for the first time ever, the entire double platinum-selling record played in full and he speaks to Hi Fi Way and that album that started it all.

Congratulations on twenty years of Black the Sun.
Yeah. Crazy huh!

On reflection what do you think when you look back at that album now?
I’m proud of it, it was my first solo record and I’ve listened to it a fair bit recently gearing up for this tour. I really like it. I sort of identify with it now, probably just as much as I did then, I guess. Maybe more.

My memories of the time are pretty strong. I still remember back when you supported Gomez and when took the stage you introduced your backing band. You had this tiny tape recorder, it was one of the best things I’ve ever seen you do. It was just awesome.
Ah, thanks. It was fun, that tour was great fun. Just an acoustic guitar and a tape recorder with some beats on it.

Were you surprised with how Black the Sun resonated with fans and music lovers, and that it’s still just as strong now as it was twenty years ago?
Yeah, at the time I was blown away, because it was the first record that I had where people would turn up and sing all your words to the songs. Lucky Star in particular was a big one at all the festivals. It was the first time I heard a couple of thousand people singing the words to one of my songs. It was pretty mind blowing.

Is that hard when albums such as Black the Sun and even Watching Angels Mend are those that people benchmark and say, “Why don’t you write another song like that again?” when clearly you’ve moved on, and your career’s taken shape, taken new directions and you’re doing new stuff. Is that hard to move past the legacy those albums created?
Yeah, I guess so. Probably more so with songs like Amazing, but I don’t begrudge that. To have success with anything is, especially in this industry, it’s a pretty hard thing to do, so I appreciate my time in the sun, so to speak. Of course, I’d love to write more stuff that appealed on that level, but I’m trying. Not much more I can say. I mean I musically I’ve taken things in a different direction, probably less commercial directions since then, but I can’t complain. It is what it is.

Do you reminisce about the time Black the Sun came out when you play thinking about what life was like before kids and a significant other?
It takes me back to a time and place that I probably at the time took for granted. I was young and stupid, having a great time but maybe too much of a great time at times. I don’t know, I look back and think without regret. I look back fondly on that time. Like I said I like that record, and I like the songs from it. It’s an actually a good album start to finish.

Was there any temptation to remaster it, maybe do a special anniversary edition with maybe some other bits and pieces on it?
We’re doing vinyl. It did have an acetate, just for Black the Sun, the actual single, but we never did a vinyl pressing of any of my material, so I’m pretty excited about that. To honest with you, as far as remastering, it sort of stands up against anything at the moment. That album actually, out of all my albums, probably more current now than it was then. Just in the style and the production.

It’s interesting how things almost go back full circle.
Well it is, when that album came out there wasn’t a lot of bands, particularly in Australia, doing that stylised beats with acoustics, or a song based beat music. Electronic kind of organic, I don’t know how you’d describe it but that style seems to be more commercial now.

Have you been overwhelmed by the response to this tour?
There’s a lot of nostalgic comments on Facebook so I hope people can come and relive their twenties for one night. They don’t have to relive the whole thing.

Probably less painful that way too, for a lot of people.
It is and you don’t have to go through all the bullshit, you just have one night.

Do you remember back in the day, what’s sorts of highlights sort of still stand out the most from that time when the album did come out?
I think doing Big Day Out around the country and people singing the words to the songs. Black the Sun took me all around the world as well. I did a lot of European countries where I’d play shows and just hang out, which was amazing. I’d been overseas once before that but it took me back and forth for a long time.

Is the overseas still an important part of wherever Alex Lloyd might take his music career next?
Not really. I’m going to go wherever it takes me, to be honest with you. I was intending to put an album out after this with new material. I was gearing up to do it this year and then talking to my agent he was very keen for me to do this. I’m going to put something out early next year and see what happens.

Has it been a bit of a process relearning how to play some of the songs live, particularly some of the lesser lights from Black the Sun?
Yeah, it’ll be all right. I mean, I’ve played the songs for a long time. There are few songs that I hardly ever play live, maybe if at all, but I might have to sit down and spend more time with my guitar maybe. We’ll see! Hopefully it just comes, it’s like riding a bike, it all comes back.

Also being out there with a band this time as well must be great?
Well I haven’t done a band tour for a good five, six years, maybe longer, in Australia.

I’ve been doing solo acoustic for ages. I think I’ve done a few trios, but not this full line up with all the bells and the whistles. So I’m pretty keen to do that and even just to reconnect with some of the guys that used to play in the original line up.

You mentioned new album before, how’s that tracking?
Well, at the moment it’s sort of taking a bit like, I wouldn’t say Black the Sun, but it is in that genre, kind of organic with a bit of electro in there. That’s where it’s heading at the moment, but that could change, I don’t know.

Interview By Rob Lyon

Catch Alex Lloyd on the following dates…

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