Photo credit – Gaelle Le Royer
OUT THROUGH SIMONE RECORDS
Fresh off the back of releasing his highly-praised debut album ‘Jozef’ last year, French Polymath ALIAS is returning to deliver his first piece of new material for 2023, the energetic new single “CURSED“.
Propelled by a compelling, compressed, and distorted synth-bass line, “CURSED” sets the stage for ALIAS’s new energy, unveiling a dark yet rhythmic post-punk framework where, in contrast to his previous efforts, there are no guitars to be found. ALIAS explores a theme of a turnaround, taking control when one is the weakest link, exemplified here in a scenario where neighbours call the police because a woman has just shot her husband with a rifle. Initiating a dialogue with the authorities, she manages to leave the house by convincing them that she shouldn’t be condemned for her actions.
ALIAS explains, “CURSED is the sweet spot where everything goes wrong.”
Raised in the picturesque town of Aix-en-Provence in south France, ALIAS studied jazz at prestigious conservatoires in both Marseilles and his hometown. But growing disillusioned with the strict rules being placed upon him, he decided to step out on his own, first to New York, then to Montreal, Canada, where he was enlisted as a contributor for hit TV shows including Big Little Lies and Sharp Objects.
Keen to get to work, ALIAS found a job at a military boarding school, saving up so he could go and check out the real jazz players in New York. “It was horrible,” he admits, cringing at the memory. “The moment I heard the first drummer, I realised I didn’t know anything.”
Rather than give up on his artistic aspirations though, ALIAS came home and began playing around the local bars, developing his reputation as a live performer. He formed a band with an old schoolmate, and then a friend he’d met in New York told him he needed to move to Montreal, Canada.
Rather than your standard job interview, he was asked to send original music to his prospective employers. Of course, he was hired on the spot, and spent the next seven years honing his craft while working at XS Studio, the studio founded by French composer and producer Jean-Phi Goncalves.
So as the pandemic hit, ALIAS hunkered down and made his debut EP ‘It’s Not Funny So Stop Smilin”, an ambitious work where the rulebook went sailing out the window. “At this point we had no idea what was happening in the world, and I wanted to have some fun,” he says. “I felt like the best way to approach the music was by removing it from all expectations.” It matched his newly formed artistic persona, as a sort of character created especially for the stage.
Released via Simone Records in 2021, ‘It’s Not Funny So Stop Smilin” includes the astounding “Kyra Collins“, a trippy collaboration with Canadian artist Beyries full of sun-dappled harmonies and wonky, Beatles-indebted piano. There’s also the frenetic “Why Don’t You Wanna Dance?“, with its buzzsaw guitar riff, and the squelchy sleaze of “Mad“.
It only took one show, performing songs from the EP, for ALIAS to find a booker, who in turn introduced him to his record label. “Everyone I was working with was happy for me to express myself how I wanted,” he says. “It was good for me to be able to focus, and to work without rules or restrictions.”
‘Stop Smilin” was swiftly followed by ‘Jozef‘, ALIAS’s acclaimed debut that happened to mark a drastic shift in tone in his music. “Each song was written like an emotion felt by this character, Jozef, I’d created,” he explains. ‘I always want to have a different personality in my music.” A fan of horror films and thrillers, ALIAS spun an intricate web of details about Jozef’s life: “He’s living these weird, extreme feelings. For me it was a way, once again, to express myself through someone who doesn’t really exist.”
ALIAS has recently joined ITB Booking Worldwide roster (excluding North America and France) being represented by Steve Zapp.