Photo Credit: Marnie Vaughn @marnie.net.au
What is your name and role within Full Power Happy Hour?
G’day I’m Alex, I’m the lead singer & play rhythm guitar.
Where are you currently based?
How did you first start playing music?
I’ve been singing in choirs since I was like 5, but it wasn’t until my older sister bought me an acoustic guitar for my 14th birthday, that I started writing songs and playing music.
How did the band form?
I had a heap of songs that I’d written a while ago that didn’t fit with my other bands, so I was playing them solo for a while. One day I decided I wanted to record them with a band and set about finding some people to record with. I’d played with Caroline and Joe in other bands before so got them on board, then did a call out for a lead guitarist and Grace put her hand up and became our resident shredder. I missed my friend Finn, and thought if he joined the band I’d see him more regularly. He played drums, but the drummer role was already taken by Joe, so Finn agreed to come on board as our tambourine player and also filled the role of resident hype person quite nicely. It began only as a recording project, but then people asked us to play shows so we did, and that’s how we became Full Power Happy Hour.
What’s been happening recently and how has your Covid experience been?
We didn’t see each other for about 4 months when we initially went into lock down, which was tough, but we were lucky that before Covid hit we managed to record our album. Basically the last 6 months or so have been all focussed in getting this album out. We signed with Coolin’ By Sound which was bloody amazing, and we are so grateful for their help with all of this. It’s been almost normal here covid wise, we are very lucky that we’ve been able to play some gigs to help promote the album, and we got to make a film clip a few weeks ago on a cute farm.
How did the transition from playing in the Brisbane punk scene into indie-folk/alt-country realms come about?
Folk and country were my first loves, I was a tween when I started listening to all the 60s folk songstresses like Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Peggy Seegar, which was probably really weird for a 12 year old in the 2000s but I was really into them so my songwriting was influenced by that whole vibe. So that was always at the back of mind, that one day I wanted to play that kind of music again. The only reason why I started off in the punk scene was because the first band I was in was a punk band. But in the background I’ve always been writing songs, and they just so happen to fit now into the folk/country genre. It wasn’t really an active decision. I suppose I don’t see that much difference between punk and folk except I was way more tired screaming in a punk band than I am now in Full Power Happy Hour!
Your album will be released on March 19, what’s it called?
Full Power Happy Hour
What influenced the sound and songwriting?
Friendships, growing up, getting rid of toxic people out of your life, nature, mental health, climate change, shit politicians. Musical influences include Joni Mitchell, The Clean, The Weather Station, The Pogues & Paul Kelly.
How was the album written?
I wrote these songs a while ago, over about 8 years. A lot of them started off as poems then I put them to music, and played them solo for a while. When I formed the band, I just brought these songs to the rehearsal room, and we spent a year working through them, we were really focussed on working hard on the songs for as long as it took for us all to be happy with them.
Please tell us about the lyrical themes/threads for the album:
Hmm there’s not really an overarching theme…I suppose what they have in common is that they all came about through my processing of various experiences of friendships, mental health issues, learning to grow as a person, and being absolutely sick and tired with the status quo in this country- the apathy and inaction on climate change, women’s safety and First Nations rights.
Where and when did you record/produce/master and who with?
We recorded over a few weekends with Nell Forster at The Moon Room here in Brisbane/Meanjin. She honestly was kind of a producer too, she definitely gave us heaps of coaching during that time. Then we sent the tracks off to Chris Chetland, at Kog Studio in Aotearoa/New Zealand, who we got recommended by Holly Arrowsmith (who we played a gig with when she came here) as we really liked the sound of her album.
How did you approach the recording process?
We rehearsed for about a year and then when we thought we were happy with the songs, we went into the studio. Often you don’t really know what a song sounds like until you hear it recorded, so there was some tweaking that happened with the help of Nell, who was kind of like our band coach for those weekends as well as recording engineer!
How did the band end up with two drummers in the ranks with one (Finn) taking up the tambourine/backing vocals role?
So Joe was already on board as the drummer, but as Finn is a mate of ours, we wanted to have him in the band too, I think he was originally gonna to just come along as a back up vocalist, but I think he needed something to do with his hands, so we thought he could play some extra percussion. I think a tambourine was all we could afford to buy at the time, so that’s how he ended up with that role, and we haven’t’ really expanded since haha
Your live shows are really fun with a lot of laughs, is this intentional or just the band’s default demeanour?
We’re just vibin.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
The Stress of Leisure, Bad Sext, A Country Practice, Loulou, King Stingray, Madboots, Megan thee Stallion, JK-47, The Weather Station’s new album Ignorance.
What do you like to do away from music?
I’m at Uni studying Early Childhood education which I’m really liking, but I also like to go for walks to see some nature, reading books, eating food with friends, netflix & chill.
You’ll be playing in Ballarat and Melbourne this weekend, what do you most enjoy about playing interstate?
Playing to new people and making new friends, playing with bands we’ve never played with before, and just seeing what music scenes are like in different places, cold weather!
What’s planned for 2021?
Getting this album out, recording some new stuff, touring interstate some more, and fingers crossed covid pending an Aotearoa/New Zealand tour later this year!
Favourite food and place to hangout?
Burritos in my house.