Track by Track: Alex Hardy takes us through her debut EP A Little Break From Love

We are really thrilled to be able to present a track-by-track description for the debut EP from Sydney singer/songwriter Alex Hardy.

Alex has a silky smooth voice, perfectly suited to the soulful jazz grooves on these tracks. Alex had a crack team creating this record, with it being produced by Sarah Belkner. Helping out was Freyja Garbett (piano/synths), Ollie Thorpe (guitar/BVs), Josh Spolc (bass), Nick Meredith (drums), Nish Manjunath (saxophone) and Sarah Belkner (BVs/piano/synths).

These aren’t 2-minute pop-songs. They have depth and layers to them, thoughtful and creative musically, and deeply personal. Press Play, and read the background to this enticing 4-track EP.

Alone

I began writing this song years ago when I first moved to Sydney in 2012. It’s about a woman’s obsession with finding ‘the one’ and the sometimes soul-less, repetitive cycle of dating. I’ve watched numerous friends over the years consumed with the search for the mythical perfect partner who will apparently hold the key to their happiness and I find the charade of dating totally fascinating. I’m a big fan of Erykah Badu and channelled her sparse and rhythmic style with double bass, drums and voice in the verses. But what I absolutely love about this song is the way it grows into such a banger with the fat synth in the bridge! The outro is one of my favourite sections of the whole EP with the sax solo drenched in effects. It makes me think of the blissful feeling of diving into a pool of water at night. I love the way the song unravels into a sonic acid-trip after its sleek beginnings. It reflects the idea that a beautiful façade is seldom what it seems once you really get to know a person.

Autumn Nights

I wrote this song using vocal loops during my first autumn living in Melbourne. It’s about how the fears, doubts and loneliness that daylight holds at bay can often find a way in after dark. I was quite lonely at the time, having moved far away from my friends & family and was trying to find my feet in a new city and a new relationship. I wanted to capture the darkness and weariness of that feeling and channel some rockier influences for this song. When we first went into the rehearsal studio with the band, my producer Sarah Belkner asked for ‘spaghetti western guitar’ and I loved that description. It was the perfect way to add some grit and dissonance to contradict the crooned vocals. I loved working with Sarah as she had a real knack for translating my ideas. The pulsing drums from Nick Meredith and the breathy peddle notes from Nish Manjunath on the sax were the icing on the cake.

Too Much To Ask

This song is a reminder to myself not to erode my self-worth and that my needs and wants are valid. It was written while reflecting on a past relationship and noticing all the cracks and red flags that I had refused to see at the time. All of the songs on the EP explore love when it doesn’t go to plan and the various stages of a broken heart. In this song I am angry but restrained and I like that some of that attitude shines through. I co-wrote this song with my friend Freyja Garbett, who also arranged most of the EP. I particularly love the time signature flip to 3/4 in the chorus and the laidback groove. I was lucky enough to work with some amazing musicians on the EP and this song is where we really flaunt that. I adored singing the sassy backing vocals with Sarah and the guitarist Ollie Thorpe. There is also a synth AND a sax solo, which is so decadent – I love it. Is it too much? Definitely not!

A Little Break From Love

I wrote this song when my heart was in a thousand pieces. My long-term relationship had disintegrated and the life-path I thought I was on had come to an abrupt dead end. I felt numb and was operating on auto-pilot. I felt like I was existing in a fog and couldn’t see a way forward. This song poured out of me one day when I was on the train to the south coast. It was something of a lifeline as it allowed me to put into words the grief I was feeling and take the first tentative steps towards healing. It was the catalyst to record this entire EP. Recording the song was quite confronting but cathartic too. I originally wrote the song with a lot of vocal harmonies, but we stripped it back in the studio, exposing my lone voice and the raw lyrics. It was the right choice and I found power in the vulnerability of it. The peddle notes from Josh Spolc on the double bass added such a beautiful warmth to the song and the slide guitar infused it with a perfect mix of nostalgia and sadness. I’m so proud to share this track, in particular.

You can give Alex follow on Facebook, Instagram and Spotify

Header image by Kate Cornish

Bruce Baker

Probably riding my bike, taking photos and/or at a gig. Insta: @bruce_a_baker

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