Interview: Navigating Ambition and Authenticity: An Insight into ALTERJOY’s ‘Better Make A Move’

by the partae

“Better Make A Move” seems to tackle themes of ambition and desire. Can you elaborate on the inspiration behind the song and what message you aim to convey to your audience?

The lyrics for this song came to me really quickly. I had the idea for the chorus line “Now you’ve learned to play the game, you’ll die up on that hill” written in my lyric notes. I wanted the line to represent the stubborn ambition of someone trying to make a name for themself. A person that desires only to see their name in lights. There is a huge shift in society right now, anybody has the opportunity of becoming somebody online. A new icon for the people, an ‘influencer’ by profession. While this is new and exciting, it is also very addictive; the urge for instant gratification. The push to blow up your social account and go viral is the name of the game and everybody wants their little slice of fame. 

The final message is in the second part of the chorus: “One day we’ll be on time to catch the last ride so we can see all of the sights”. I have this never ending goal to be on time and get everything i’m working on finished; maybe then there will be space to breathe. 

The take away from the song is to stop and look around, take in the present moment and make true connections with the people who are most important in our life.

As a solo artist with ALTERJOY, how does the creative process differ from your experience in The Daily Chase? 

Nothing beats writing songs with your best friends in a creative space or sending song ideas across the web while living interstate. The writing process with The Daily Chase boys is always super fun and rewarding. I think our song writing has become very efficient over the years. The creative process is completely different with ALTERJOY and still just as fun, although it does have its pros and cons. I have complete freedom to play with any genre influences I want and there’s no silly ideas. This is a blessing and a curse as I’m currently sitting on 9 tracks, all of which do not sound anything alike. 

“Better Make A Move” blends various genres like rock, EDM, metal, and dark pop. How do you approach incorporating such diverse elements into your music, and what do you think this adds to the overall impact of the song?

I grew up as a punk rock kid, listening to skate punk bands such as NOFX and Strung Out. I was always intrigued by other sounds and styles and found myself experimenting with electronic music through my teens. I listen to a lot of music, nearly every hour of the day that I don’t have a video camera in my hand. I’m always searching for new sounds outside of the music I have written for the past 10 years. In the modern music arena, it’s becoming ever more common to slap synths behind electric guitars or add a rave chop to a metal breakdown. With all these blended elements, I believe creating something catchy and still musical is where the magic lies. Enter Shikari was the band that challenged everything I thought I knew about how heavy music should sound. They were and still are the catalyst to my creative drive in music creation. 

Blending genres and using a diversity of styles in a song will not only broaden the overall sound but make it more accessible. Rock, metal and electronic fans all have an opportunity to find something they enjoy in the track if it is well written.

Could you tell us about your collaboration with producer Chris Lalic and how his involvement influenced the direction of “Better Make A Move”?

I’ve worked with Chris since 2019 on TDC stuff and started doing ALTERJOY mid 2022. I write and record my pre-pros in my home studio before taking him a selection of tracks. Some times we pick the songs that just need a few tweaks and vocal melodies. Some times he wants to work on a track that has a fun sounding section we can build from. When we’re in the studio together, anything goes. I throw some pretty cooked ideas at him for ALTERJOY and he’s always down. We somehow managed to use his kitchen wok pan and even a massage gun as practical instruments during the studio sessions. I usually crash at his place for a week, work on the songs during the day and write my lyrics at night. He cooks me eggs and we watch ridiculous european techno music videos. Chris is an amazing producer and anyone who has worked with him would agree.

You’ve mentioned that ALTERJOY is a project free from genre restraint. How do you navigate this freedom while maintaining a cohesive sound and identity for the project?

Being the only member of the project, I don’t have anyone to bounce off of creatively. I’m indecisive by nature so this can be tricky when I’m trying to lock in a creative decision. I just remember to back myself and keep having fun with the project. I’m creating music that I genuinely love and having a great time doing it. ALTERJOY’s identity will continue to develop and evolve with each release, maintaining a dark tone as the project’s backbone.

“This is Real” served as ALTERJOY’s debut single, while “Hella Good” was a cover of a No Doubt song. How do you select the songs you want to release, and what do you look for in a cover to make it your own?

‘This is Real’ was the first song I wrote for the project so it felt natural to release it first. The song styles develop throughout the release schedule. The next track I release is one of the heaviest. The ‘Hella Good’ cover was a last minute decision in the studio, we had a spare day booked so we went for it. We picked the cover, built the song and recorded the vocals and guitars all in a day. I came back to re-do some of the chorus lines but we kept all of the original demo tracked vocals for the verses because they just sounded fun. We felt the song resonated with the dark tone of the project and we knew we could do the track justice with our own heated version. I wanted the song to sound fresh and unique while still capturing the attitude of the original.

Spending time on the Gold Coast seems to have played a role in igniting your creativity for ALTERJOY. Can you describe how your environment influences your music and artistic vision?

I travel a lot for work with my film company Headstrong Films so I’m always finding inspiration in far away places. Last year I did Portugal, Malaysia, USA, Japan and England. It’s great to venture out of Australia and take a small glimpse at life outside of the bubble. I also love coming up with song ideas while in transit. Lot’s of long flights and time abroad to work on lyrics and write music. 

With social media playing such a significant role in society, “Better Make A Move” touches on the theme of prioritizing status and wealth over human connection. How do you navigate social media as a musician, and do you see it as a tool for connection or a potential hindrance to genuine connection?

It can be a great tool to connect, it really depends on the intent behind it. Social media stands as the ultimate platform for networking, promoting music, and ensuring your voice is heard. More now than ever, unknown artists are going viral without any ad spend, PR or marketing. But that’s the killer, I’ve spent more time working my social media roll out than I have in the studio creating music. It’s easy to get caught up in it and get lost in the sheer amount of content. There’s even an industry of creators teaching people how to create the perfect TikTok video and still everyone is just competing for the attention. I feel the time spent creating throwaway content for social media takes my attention away from my family and friends. I’m not pointing the finger in my lyrical message, I’m just observing the society we are living in and taking notes. It’s important for me to always come back to my ‘why’, which is connecting with like-minded people through music and staying grounded in that.

How do you balance the personal introspection evident in your music with the desire to connect with and entertain your audience?

I love creating, I always have. I film and edit most of my own music videos and social clips, I do the same for TDC. I want people to see my videos and hear my songs, it’s part of the creative process. Build something special and let it free into the world.

I believe that most people can relate or take something away from the lyrics. Whether it’s the direct message or maybe their own interpretation of the lyrics. I’ve always written the main hook of a chorus to feel open to interpretation and easy to absorb, as everyone has their own story. “Now you’ve learned to play the game” can relate to a number of things: Pursuing a toxic relationship, working your life away in a dead end career or losing yourself in a broken social system. I want the listener to feel something when they hear that line… Then they’re hit with the cold hard truth: “You’ll die up on that hill”.

I feel reflection and self awareness are important rituals in my life. It’s good to stop, observe and understand the world we’re living in. I’m very aware that social media is a powerful tool that we will continue to benefit from. We just have to ask ourselves the question  of ‘why are we using it? Is it serving us and do we really need it to thrive as humans? Are we just trying to go viral for self fulfillment or are we trying to make real connections with people, fans and share music?

“Better Make A Move” is described as a rock tune at its core but incorporates elements from various genres. How do you see ALTERJOY’s sound evolving in future releases, and are there any specific genres or styles you’re eager to explore further?

The next few single releases will be a journey that may surprise fans. There’s a mix of industrial metalcore, drum & bass, techno and synth pop musically. Vocally, I’m leaning into pop, hip hop and rock. I’m starting to find more depth and substance in pop music; what really makes a great modern vocal hook. 

At this stage of the project, I’m casting my web fairly wide before I refine my sound on future releases. 

Can you walk us through your live performance setup for ALTERJOY? How do you translate the intricacies of your studio recordings into a compelling live experience?

I plan to establish this brand online and develop a catalog before stepping onto the stage. Once I do, it will be a three-piece act featuring a drummer playing live drums and percussion elements on pads, a guitarist, and myself leading the project on vocals and a keys/pads setup.

Looking ahead, what can fans expect from ALTERJOY in terms of upcoming music releases or projects, and what goals do you have for the project in the near future?

I’ll be releasing new ALTERJOY music regularly for the foreseeable future while still writing and performing with my band ‘The Daily Chase’. This project started as a creative outlet and has turned into something really fun that I can nurture, build and appreciate. 


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