Following on from previous Alive & Amplified Track Of The Week ‘Free World’ Natalie Joy aka Ask Alice is back with a brand new single ‘dbd’ which is out just in perfect time for the spooky season and the darker nights setting in. We caught up with Natalie to talk about the project, plans, and influences.
A&A – Hello Ask Alice. How are you and for those who don’t know you as yet tell us a little bit about yourself?
Ask Alice – Hey, I’m doing well, thank you. For those that don’t know me my name is Natalie and I’m a musician based in Glasgow, Scotland. After taking some time out of music I’m back with a body of work that I’m really proud of and excited to share with you.
We are buzzing to have the premiere of your brand new single ‘dbd’ out on Friday 1st October. Tell us about the song?
Yes, absolutely. So ‘DBD’ stands for Death By Darkness and it’s actually a personal favourite of mine. It was written in a very sarcastic, tongue in cheek tone about my past struggles with mental health. I’ve suffered from depression in the past and although I’ve recovered, healing isn’t linear and it’s ongoing. DBD in short is about facing your demons – sometimes you’ve got to go through the darkness to get to the light!
What is your process of making music, do you work with a producer?
I actually don’t have a specific process when it comes to writing. I take notes constantly and refer back to them when I feel inspired to create. It’s all about feel – I try not to force it as I believe the best songs write themselves. Normally, I create the foundation of the track and then my producer ‘LOWT’ will help me flesh it out or recreate depending on what the track needs. DBD is the first release that I co-produced so I’m really proud of this one. I recently started working with another Scottish producer ‘SERA’ too, so I’m excited to see what we all create together in the future.
Who are your influences? Both musically and in general.
I honestly take inspiration from anywhere I can. I listen to a lot of philosophical presentations on the universe and spirituality and I read a lot of self help books so my writing is heavily influenced by what I’ve learned there. My musical influences are varied and I’d say my taste is pretty eclectic. Im most likened to artists like Lana del Rey and Billie Eillish, because it fits that ‘sad girl’ vibe but I listen to everything. From Hanz Zimmer to Moderat – I really appreciate all music.
We love live music here at A&A. What should we expect from an Ask Alice live show?
Expect the unexpected haha. No but really, If we ever played a gig I’d just say bring your lighter AND glow sticks.
We are now starting to get out of the pandemic. How excited are you to be getting back out, not only making and playing music but watching too?
Yes! I’m so happy things are moving back to a more normal place. Live music is an integral part of Scottish culture and the last year or two has been rough for all those involved. It’s humbling to be back watching the local talent and not something I think any of us will take for granted again.
Where does the name Ask Alice come from?
The name Ask Alice actually comes from a line in a Jefferson Airplane song ‘ White Rabbit’. I’ve always been a huge fan of 60s psych and garage and Grace Slick was one of the first women in music I really admired. So naturally, I used to cover their songs and ‘White Rabbit’ was always a favourite. My subsequent journey of self-discovery is closely akin to the story of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ so it was always the perfect fit.
We love discovering new music here at A&A, who should we be adding to our playlists that you have been listening to lately?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Adam Taylor recently. He wrote the score for the series ‘The Handmaids Tale’ and it’s incredible. James Blake has made a solid return to my playlist recently along with the Strokes new album and I recently discovered Tara Carosielli who I think has a really great sound.
What are your plans for the rest of the year and into 2022
This year is all about marking an ‘X’ in the sand. I’ve been developing my writing and production for years and I’ve waited a long time to begin this journey properly. So I’m trying to enjoy it and not put too much pressure or expectations on it. I have been working on an EP aptly named ‘Heartwork’ which is a sort of ‘audiobiography’ if you will. I make music for myself first and foremost, it’s been an outlet for my journey and I’m just happy to finally be sharing it. If people like it too then that’s just the cherry on top.
If you could describe Ask Alice with any song, not your own, what would it be and why?
An easy answer would obviously be ‘White Rabbit’… but probably the remixed version from Lana Wachowski’s new Matrix film. As mentioned, I can relate to the story of Alice and the modern production on such a timeless song is absolutely akin to what I aim to bring with my own music.