Your Man Alex Smith talks Disney, Positivity, and Powder Kegs
Local musician Alex Smith has become something of a cult figure in the Brisbane arts scene. Better known by his wonderfully self-effacing moniker, Your Man Alex Smith, he’s involved in projects that include everything from a podcast to a sketch comedy group. We caught up with him to ask a few questions before his latest gig at The Milk Factory last Friday.
Alex has developed a dedicated following amongst the youthful and artistic in Brisbane. He’s recently released his second EP Guilty, with his third already in the works. We spoke to him about how he got started.
“I come from a background of musical theatre and stage performance. I actually started picking up the guitar to save my failing relationship in high school – which is like the worst reason to start music – BUT I kept going because I loved it. I started the first couple of years just playing in cafes and burger joints for no one, and then in the last couple of years things have started to take off. I’ve been writing songs for ten years and gigging for six.”
So that’s where you got your start – where is your career at now?
“I kind of feel like everything is about to explode, in a good way. I feel like I’m sitting on a powder keg. Someone has just approached me for management which I’m really excited about. I just had my second EP and I’m working on the next one. I’m also at the con, working as a music tech, so I’ll be able to produce my own album which is going to greatly reduce the cost of doing this and that means I can put money into other avenues. I have a lot of really cool big ideas for projects that I’ve never really been able to afford. I dunno I feel – I can’t explain it, I just really feel like something big is about to happen.”
What about the challenges in your career right now?
“Money and motivation. As everyone does I have a lot of mental health stuff that gets in the way of writing, and functioning. I feel that comes through in my music. Also, just people are tricky. To succeed in music you need swathes of people to just love you, and want to support you, which is hard if you’re an asshole, which I feel like I am a lot of the time. You can’t succeed in music by yourself. I struggle with that, but I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by a lot of really kind people who seem to really like my music, and they say that I’m very lovely – I don’t know if I believe that, but I’m glad they do.”
Tell us more about your music.
“I don’t necessarily make stuff – anything I’m about to say would sound so wanky – but I don’t feel like I make stuff that’s particularly commercial. I’m very influenced by show-tunes and Disney, and I think that in trying to write commercial radio and trying to write things I like, I ended up writing quite musical theatre-esque songs. But I think I try to find that balance between that. Each song in itself is a bit of a musical – there is a bit of a story in each song.”
Where can we find your work?
“Anywhere you stream music. I’ve got a bigger gig booked at the Zoo towards the end of the year, and smaller gigs around the city that people can keep an eye out for on Facebook.”
Anything else you’d like to add?
“I have a podcast that I’m really happy about – it’s called My Songs Suck. Me and my good friend James Kehoe listen to past songs, talk about how bad they are and what we can learn from that. We also we have guests from Brisbane and we do the same thing with them. We always end with a new song, to show how far we’ve all come. It’s a really positive thing – being bad at something is the first step towards being good at something.”
Images: William France Photography, Alex Smith