2015 was a ripper of a year for Melbourne’s Alice Ivy (aka Annika Schmarsel). Not only did the electronic/ soul songstress embark on a UK and European tour, but she also garnered a number of great support spots under her belt, such as Remi, Gossling and Banoffee. She spoke to us about some of her greatest moments from her recent tour and filled us in on how she plans to hit the ground running in 2016.
How long have you been making music, and when/how did you first get into it?
I have been playing guitar since I was 11 years old, and then properly started gigging at around 13. I played in this all girl soul band based in Geelong. It was amazing because we got to tour europe a couple of times and play festivals such as Queenscliff and Port Fairy Folk festival. I got into it because this band visited my primary school a couple of times to play and as a grade 4. I thought they were the coolest thing in the world.
Last year you toured the UK and Europe. Who did you tour with and what was the most memorable experience you had? What was the best and worst thing about being on tour?
I actually toured by myself, but I managed to play alongside some pretty cool bands along the way. A couple of the most memorable things on tour was the London show at Bedroom bar because heaps of people got down to it. Berlin was also a good show because we played in this trashed artspace, never played a show like it!
Probably the worst thing about touring is lugging all of your stuff everywhere. We took public transport everywhere so we found it hard playing a show and then carrying 30kg worth of stuff on your back back to the hotel.
What was the electronic scene like over there? How did international audiences react to your music?
Unfortunately as I was pretty time restricted I didn’t fully get to delve into the electronic scene. The music scene is pretty loose in Berlin, I feel like it’s a city that is home to every kind of music genre, and people are pretty exceptive. There is also such a variety of music venues to play there, a lot of place are open that wouldn’t exist to law in Australia which I found pretty cool. People were generally pretty into my music because it’s not exactly music that is totally unheard of and abstract.
Where does your inspiration come from when you’re crafting music?
I love The Avalanches, J Dilla and even more downtempo stuff by Bonobo. I like to make music that makes me excited, and I aim to keep the audience excited and into it.
When you’re creating your music, do you try to you pay homage to any of your influences or do you try to completely blaze your own trail?
I try and blaze my own trail really, I just play around with recordings and samples until I feel they work!
What do you set out to achieve with your live performances and how do you feel when you’re performing on stage with a live audience?
I just want people to have a good time and party to it, even if I were to play to a half empty room I still put everything into my set, it’s the best feeling on stage.
What has been your favourite song to create and work on so far, and why?
Touch would probably be one of my favourite and least favourite singles I have worked on. I have been sitting on that song for so long which has driven me crazy, but it was pretty cool collaborating with Georgia Van Etten who is based in London as we both just click straight away. Touch is one of my favourite songs to play live as well as it gradually builds and builds. So much fun!
Tell us about your new single, what does it sound like, what inspired you to write it, and who did you work with? Will you be having a single launch?
I think it kind of sounds like being in a dream, I was listening to a lot of Bonobo at the time and I just really enjoyed the type of sounds he uses to create a dreamy open atmosphere in a song. This is something that I still continue to work towards in my music, creating a really nice sonic atmosphere, that you can party to at the same time. I will be launching this in Melbourne on February 18 at the Workers Club and also playing a few interstate shows.
2015 was a huge year for you, touring the UK and Europe, and supporting the likes of Remi, Gossling and Banoffee. Are you feeling the pressure to keep up the momentum you’ve been gaining?
I feel like if you work hard enough it will all pay off, as long as I keep writing I will have fun with it!
You’ve been working a lot with Italian art collective Malaparte, how did you come across them and why do you like working with them?
I was actually scoping different art blogs for collage artwork as I am a massive fan, and I found these guys. I cold called them over email not really expecting a response, but they responded within an hour. These guys are students from Italy who are really into collage art in their spare time. I love working with these guys as I feel their artwork is what I think works best with my music, a mixture of the old and new with a twist.
You recently collaborated with Melbourne hip hop artist Eloji and Branford. Are you planning to collaborate with more artists in the future, and who would you love to work with?
I would love to work with these guys again! That was so much fun! I would love to work with more hip hop artists actually, artists like Remi, Baro , Milwaukee banks – all amazingly talented human beings. The dream would be someone like Missy Elliot, or maybe Kelly Rowland for an R&B banga?
We hear you’ll be on the line up for this year’s St Kilda Festival! What are you most looking forward to on the day and do you have anything special planned for the performance?
I am really really keen to see Baro’s set! I am excited to play some new material!
Is there a piece of advice that you’ve picked up over the years that has always stuck with you? What’s one thing you know now that you wish you knew sooner?
As lame as it seems – that everything will work out in the end as long as you work hard on it.
What will you be working on this year?
Really working on some solid release for this year, leading towards an album.