Melbourne indie-folk artist Alexander Biggs has had a huge few weeks. Most people go to Bali for their first overseas trip, our mate Alexander went all the way to The Great Escape Festival in Brighton, UK, a three-day showcase of new music featuring local rising stars like BATTS, Didirri, Alex The Astronaut, G Flip, RVG and more. Alexander had a cracker of a time playing shows and writing songs, and made it home alive with a few gorgeous snaps and this excellent tour diary.
Check it out:
Thursday May 17
Being the first artist to play at an industry party showcase, my expectations were low. People love to talk over artists at these things, what with all their schmoozing and hand shaking (and drinking), but I was surprised when the clock hit 12pm and the humble room at Komedia started to fill to the brim. What surprised me more was that, as the house music faded out, the room began to hush. I was graced with a wonderfully attentive audience. The Great Escape had given me one hell of a greeting. I finished the day at a party on the beach, and met Riley Pearce waiting for Soccer Mommy to play. It’s funny how it took flying overseas to meet another Australian. Still, the ticket to Brighton probably worked out cheaper than flying to Perth (kidding it was still really expensive).
Friday May 18
I had a lot of time to kill on Friday before my official showcase. I caught up with my friend Stive by the pier in the late morning to be a tourist and play pinball. Later on we caught up with Didirri and BATTS, forming a fearsome Australian gang.
After a lot of walking, I made my way to the venue. I was playing in a church with a high ceiling, beautiful stained glass windows, and a pipe organ so tall it almost broke through the roof. A little sunburned, I did my thing, rushed to see Phoebe Bridgers at Komedia, tried to get into Superorganism (no chance), and then went straight to bed.
Saturday May 19
Saturday was my day off, and after meetings in the morning, I spent most of it inside hiding from the daylight and dangerous Ubers. I managed to convince myself to go for a long walk towards the end of the day, and met up with my manager Sabi for dinner. We ate a lot of Thai food. I’m glad Sabi could come along. Without her I’d probably still be in customs or back home at Terminal 1. Thanks Sabi!
Sunday May 20
Sounds Australia’s Aussie BBQ at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen was just kicking off in a London as we arrived. It was great to meet up with a bunch of Australians and expats as well as meet some interesting locals and foreigners alike. At this point, I should definitely mention Sounds Australia’s incredible involvement with Australian artists. They’ve been so unflinchingly supportive and it’s greatly appreciated. Thank you Millie, Esti, Glenn and Dom.
Monday May 21 – Wednesday May 23
Having risked my life through another sketchy Uber, I had arrived at Rak Studios for the first day of APRA AMCOS’ Songhubs, where I teamed up with many creative humans across the three days to write songs.
Our AirBnB host in Brighton mentioned he recorded an album with Nigel Godrich there in the nights on Radiohead’s set up after they’d gone home. Not sure if he was lying or not but it was a cool little anecdote if he was telling the truth. Talking to Rak’s manager Andy Leese, I found out it was indeed true that Radiohead recorded The Bends there. The plot thickens.
In my time at Rak Studios aka The Most Beautiful Studio On Earth, I wrote a lot of songs, and ate my weight in vegan brownies. Still got it.
On the first day I met Claire of Haiku Hands who was staying at the same hotel I was, and so we walked home together. We went by Abbey Road Studios, but were both too scared to get a picture on the infamous pedestrian crossing. We decided The Beatles would respect us more for not doing that.
Thanks to APRA AMCOS and Rak Studios for having me take part in Songhubs.
Thursday May 24
Thursday was my final day of ‘work’ (read: music related fun things) playing a Live Nation Source show. Afterwards I met up with ex-pat Olly Friend as well as some locals who had previously hosted me for a Sofar Sounds gig I played when they lived in Melbourne. I finished the night unceremoniously with a frighteningly cheap peanut butter bagel and all was well in the world.
For my first trip overseas, I think things went pretty well. I only lost a jacket (since recovered) and got lost on the Tube once. However, like any trip overseas (this was my first but I’m sure this rule applies), there’s always pros and cons. Food was really expensive, but alcohol was quite cheap and a beer surely counts as breakfast.
Thanks to all involved in getting me over there and thanks to all the new faces that said hey! Special thanks to The Great Escape Festival, Sounds Australia and Live Nation UK for their efforts organising the shows, and to Australian Council for the Arts and Creative Victoria for providing the necessary funding to get me over there.
Check out Alexander’s beautiful newbie Car Ride, another shimmery acoustic gem conjouring up hazy images of road trips and romance.