Interview: Phoebe Baker from Alpine
Words by Richard Gifford - Published on August 31, 2012
On the back of the success of their debut album A Is For Alpine, which has peaked at #1 on iTunes music charts, Alpine has recently embarked on a nationwide tour. We were lucky enough to catch up with co-lead front-woman, Phoebe Baker, to talk all things touring, whiskey, alternate band names, The Office (obviously…) and wanting to collaborate with Kanye West.
Which gig has been your favourite from your recent nationwide tour?
Um.. so hard to say! Actually I think the Zoo was pretty awesome, I just love that venue, and it was a great show and great night. There’s something about the windows, I dunno, I feel like I’m playing in a warehouse or an island or something. Also at the Bakery in Perth. All our gigs have been good for different reasons and I’ve loved the quieter regional shows as well.
What’s the weirdest/craziest thing a fan has ever done to you?
Um gosh, we’ve got pretty tame fans, I think. Actually, one girl when we recently toured with Matt Corby in Brisbane came up with us and got us to draw our tattoos with marker on her, same location and all. I hope she does, but not sure if she’s gone through with it.
Well, a Two Door Cinema Club fan recently got a TDCC tattoo on his arse, what do you think of that?
Haha, that would be awesome, I would love that so much! Any arses out there … tattoo them away.
Were the onstage dance moves between you and Lou (co-lead singer) choreographed?
Most of it’s spur of the moment, actually. We have some little moves we do but we don’t like it to be really choreographed, because there’s too much to think about and when on stage you should really lose yourself in the moment. It’s important to not have too much rehearsed stuff in my opinion.
How do you and Lou decide who does the lead parts for each song? Do you try and divide them equally or is it just whoever comes up with it sings it?
Yeh its pretty equal, we’re both equally the frontwoman. In some songs I’ll sing a line solo and then next song Lou might do it. It really depends on the type of voice to suit that particular sound. And yeah, sometimes whoever writes the lyric sings it. We sort of choose it through that. Its kind of a really easy decision to make, like you sing this I sing that. Lyrical input is about half-half too, so we are very lucky that way.
Where do the UK accents come from?
Lou was born in the UK and I was born in Melbourne but my parents are English so I’ve lived in London a lot. Also, I’ve lived overseas growing up a bit that’s why my accent sounds a bit weird, and by spending some time in Vanuatu.
Would you like to go back to the UK and play music one day?
Oh yeah, I would love to go there, it’s pretty much a second home for me.
Maybe a gig in Camden Markets or on the London Eye? I don’t think a band’s done that before…
Ooh the London Eye or the Big Ben would be cool! Next time we’re in Brisbane we might try to do a gig on the Brisbane Eye, who knows.
What’s your favourite song to play live?
Um that’s really tricky, depends on the night or your mood. I might be gravitating more towards a party or dancy song and then sometimes a more chilled song. “Gasoline” is always so good. It’s a bit hip-hop which I love. “Hands”, also is a fun one to play, once again it has a bit of a hip-hop influence and I can just let everything out.
How did you manage to play 10 shows in 3 days, when in Austin?
It was ridiculously intense! We got off the plane after delayed flights that ended up 33 hours to Austin, then next morning woke up for a gig at 10am. They have shows at all times of the day so we had 4 gigs that first day. It was a mix of being utterly shattered and so high on adrenaline, excited to be there. It was an incredibly rewarding experience, but also physically challenging. I really loved Austin! They have such friendly people and delicious Mexican food. I love going to foreign countries, the food the people, the nature, and the landscape all make it such a special experience.
What other band names were you toying with before you landed on Alpine?
Yeah it’s difficult to agree on a band name, as is thinking of them. We’d all write down a list of names, then come together and choose the one we liked. At stages, I was just vomiting out ridiculous names. Like looking back now I piss myself at some of the names. One was ‘Dumpling Hair’, not sure what was going on there haha. Then we had ‘Pocket Watch’, ‘National Park’. I don’t know… a lot of them were referenced to nature, then ‘Alpine’ landed and that suited well. I’ll keep the rest of the of those names close to my chest, just in case I want to release a jazz-trance side project in the future haha.
Tacos or burritos? Burritos
Can you ever trust someone with 2 first names? No
South Park or Family Guy? Family Guy
Favourite film of all time? Apocalypse Now
Favourite film clip? Sia – Buttons. The one wear she’s got paint and condoms all over her face.
Favourite alcoholic drink? Whiskey
Have you ever tried the whiskey ‘Fireball’?
Fireball? Yeah I had it in Austin and in the states, it’s delicious! My mouth goes numb and you get a cinnamon toast aftertaste. Might be a bit too much on a hangover though. You should try the cinnamon challenge it’s ridiculous!
Lager or Cider? Lager lager lager
Do you like The Office? If so UK or US?
Guhhhh. So divided, both so good, I can’t choose! Have been watching more of the American one recently. I started with UK then got into both. They’ll have to tie.
Beatles or Rolling Stones? So hard! Ummm…. Rolling Stones.
Out of Chad Kroeger (Nickelback lead singer) and Avril Lavigne – which one is punching above their weight? Haha um.. Chad Kroeger?
First album you bought or first remembering listening to?
I grew up with a lot of classical music from parents that they played in car. But maybe Spicegirls – Spiceworld? Or Savage Garden.
Favourite song right now/what song would you like to see in our next Weekly Playlist?
Either Future Islands – “Balance” or Lil Wayne (Flying Lotus Remix) – “A Milli”. I’m a gangsta at heart!
Which musical decade would you have most wanted to live in? 60s
Favourite song of all time? Phil Collins – Studio? Not my favourite but is definitely up there, have been having a lot of fun with that one at the moment.
What do you think of Spotify/Rdio? Guilty as a Spotify user.
What do you think of Dubstep? Love it!
Who would you most like to collaborate with? Me – Grace Jones, Alpine – Kanye West, or Dr Dre, or R-Kelly. Maybe a bit like that xx album feat. Biggie Smalls.