“There’s always going to be fuckheads out there”: We catch up with Alison Wonderland
This morning, Alison Wonderland announced a string of three headline shows. Within two hours, one of them had sold out – the Perth date, no less – with the other shows set to follow. Such is the pulling power of Sydney’s fastest rising producer-slash-DJ, who, if you haven’t noticed, is in the thick of her biggest year yet. First, there was the party-starting mix for Diplo & Friends. Then, her sold-out series of warehouse parties worked their way around the country, leaving a trail of profound hangovers in its wake. Along the way, Alison dropped her huge new single I Want U and to share the love, announced she’d be bringing regional Australia a slice of the action with her Rural Juror tour.
But this week, the local firebrand ticked off her most exciting milestone yet: she dropped her first EP as Alison Wonderland, Calm Down (hot tip: it’s really damn good). In the lead-up to the big release, we got Wonderland on the phone to catch up with the superstar-in-wait about touring, studio time and just how good the local scene is right now. Here’s what she had to say.
So what kind of stuff are you enjoying playing the most in your sets at the moment?
There’s not really anything in particular. I have some songs that I’ve been listening to a lot that are electronic. I’m really into Nadus at the moment, have you heard the new EP that he’s just put out?
No I haven’t, I’ll have to track it down.
Yeah, I think it’s called Broke City. He’s a new Jersey producer and he’s really, really great, so I’m really into that. So yeah, it’s anything that really speaks to me. I don’t want to name one particular thing, because if you see my sets they’re all over the place in terms of genre.
You’ve been DJing for years now, and I guess that’s how you first made your name as Alison Wonderland before you started putting out songs with this project. Do you consider yourself foremost a DJ who also produces, or are they both equally as important to you?
To be honest, I’ve been producing before I was even doing Alison Wonderland stuff. They’re two different aspects to what I do and I don’t think there’s one that’s more important than the other. They’re different artistic mediums to me; I find being a DJ and performing you give a lot to the crowd, whereas if you’re writing it’s quite introverted. They’re two different spectrums of the scale, and I can’t really compare them or say one is more important than the other.
You used to make music as Whyte Fang and I really liked what you did with that project. Have you retired that stuff now?
I’m focusing on Alison at the moment, but there’s going to be time for that again.
And your Calm Down EP. Are you planning on putting out regular releases now?
Yes, I am – I don’t want to stop any time soon!
You sung all the way through the EP. Do you think you’ll do vocals on the majority of your tracks from here on out?
I’m not really sure. I definitely feel like if I’ve written a lyric and I’ve written a top line – although I’m not a Beyonce or anything – then I should probably sing it. I don’t consider myself a technical singer or anything, I just try to write around what I can do.
So is singing live at a show something you would ever consider doing?
Yeah, I might consider that.
Recently you’ve tweeted about people accusing you of not mixing at your shows, when obviously you do mix and you’re really good at mixing. Do you feel that it’s a case of the bigger you get, the harder you have to work to prove yourself?
No, I think the bigger I get the more people that learn about me and there’s always going to be fuckheads out there who don’t educate themselves in what I actually do and what I’m about. So they can suck my dick.
Hah. And I noticed that you’ve been in America a bit lately, is the game plan for you to try and crack the market over there?
Yeah. I mean, I’ve definitely started to get some attention from America and I think especially with this release and how my single has gone already, I’m planning to go back there pretty soon.
You collaborated with Fishing on Get Ready. Do you have any other collaborations coming up? Is that something you want to do more of?
Yeah. I actually collaborated with a couple of people on this EP. I did a track with Djemba Djemba and I also collaborated with Lido in the studio for a track as well.
So are you at the stage now where people are coming to you and wanting to do songs together?
I dunno, it wasn’t really planned for this stuff to be an EP, you know, we were just having fun. So I’m not sure – I’ve been in tour mode, so I haven’t even thought about that.
And remixes as well – I feel like you haven’t done many super recently, whereas you were big on them a few years ago…
Actually I did do one – I did one for Crooked Colours very recently.
Is that something you’re keen to do more of?
Yeah, definitely, I’ve just been focussing on my own stuff but yeah I’m really proud of that remix I did for Crooked Colours. That was kind of dope.
On the warehouse tour you had Young Franco and Wave Racer on support. What other locals are you tipping to get really big soon?
Black Vanilla – I love them. There’s also Basenji who I think is doing some cool stuff. The Cosmo’s Midnight guys are incredible. I mean, there’s so many amazing, talented people making beats in Australia at the moment it’s hard to just pinpoint it down to a few, but it makes me proud to be an Australian musician with all these people around me, for sure.
Yeah, totally. Do you feel like the local scene is better now than it was a couple of years ago?
Yeah, 100%. I’m actually noticing that Australia is supporting Australian music – that’s something I haven’t really seen before to this extent.
Alison Wonderland’s Calm Down EP is out now via EMI.