Alix Page Pens a Moving First Chapter With Debut EP 'Old News' [Q&A]
Photo: Dillon Matthew
Alix Page may seem like your everyday teenage college student, but she's far from it. Her gentle voice and pristine songwriting have reached thousands, with each emotionally-filled single further showcasing her affecting range. Her lyricism spills out like a therapeutic escape, both deeply personal and universally relatable. All this leads to her debut EP Old News.
Each song on Old News builds on the last to deliver one of the most striking debut EPs of this year thus far. The record opens up with "True + Honest," a distorted rock composition that grasps you by the collar of your shirt and screams "let's f*cking go!" This is just the beginning of the rollercoaster of emotion, sensitivity, and drive that's to come. We were fortunate enough to sit down with Page and have her take us through this past year, writing process, and what's next for the 19-year-old blooming superstar.
Ones to Watch: How did this past year look for you? What kind of progression did you make?
Alix Page: I played a livestream show for Bands In Town in early February of 2021 with two songs released, started recording the EP in June, played a small show in July, finished up the EP and moved into college in August, shot my first music video in September, released "25" in October, booked the Gracie tour in November, released "Radiohead" in December. It's been a whirlwind. I really think every month there's been something new and crazy that comes up and gets me more excited for the future, but things definitely started picking up more rapidly in the fall. It's crazy when I think about the fact that I'll have an EP out and will be playing Bowery Ballroom with Gracie Abrams almost exactly a year after the Bands In Town show.
Take us through the writing and recording process of your debut EP, Old News.
I wrote "True + Honest" when I was 16, the same summer that I wrote "Stripes" and "Frank," and had basically been waiting for an excuse to record it ever since. I wrote the other three scattered throughout 2020. Once I had those three, I felt like in a way they completed the storyline I'd been writing since 2018 when I started T+H. We recorded "25" first; I'd worked on it with a few different producers and had a blast but nothing had completely felt right. It took one day of working on it with Brett to realize we had it. "June Gloom" was the surprise favorite for all of us I think. We didn't have an exact vision in mind for that one until we thought it needed piano, and then I referenced "Death By A Thousand Cuts" by Taylor Swift and Brett pulled out "Hallelujah Junction - 1st Movement" by John Adams from the Call Me By Your Name soundtrack and all of a sudden it clicked. That really gave us the momentum and inspiration we needed to finish it. Recording is always a blast with the team; the most rewarding part of the process is feeling like we did the song justice and everyone feels confident about it.
Is there an underlying message behind the EP? If so, can you let us in on what it is, or is it something you want to keep to yourself?
It's all about navigating complicated relationships and growing up searching for clarity in the midst of it all. Looking at it now, even though it's only four songs, I feel like it really encapsulates the chapter of my life that was Summer 2018 to Summer 2021.
This is where we take a deep dive. Can you take us through what each song means to you?
"True + Honest" is fun because I wrote it forever ago, so when I play it live or listen to it I can kind of detach from the heartbreak I felt when I was 16 writing it and just enjoy the ride and give it more spunk. This song got me through that heartbreak and taught me how healing writing can be and how empowering it is to be able to make art out of difficult things.
"June Gloom" was me speaking up on behalf of my feelings and coming clean with somebody. This one is really vulnerable; the opening line about making a list of the things I care about is kind of a true story. Quarantine made me reevaluate a lot of my relationships and things I devoted my time to and the more I thought about where everything fit into my life the more I realized how much I cared about this one person and the lengths I'd go to to keep them around for a long time. I never really got closure from the relationship that "Radiohead" is about, so to me writing the song kind of answered questions for myself and gave me more agency than reaching out for clarity ever could have. It's also the last song I wrote about that relationship, so it feels like a good bookend.
"25" is all about pondering the future, which in 2020, was a terrifying thing to do. Because of that it feels kind of apocalyptic to me, embracing the unpredictability of everything and reminiscing on simpler times that got taken for granted.
Which one is your favorite? Which one was the most fun to write and record?
They're like my kids hahaha I love them all pretty equally. I definitely have a soft spot for "June Gloom", though. I recorded some of the vocals through a megaphone, and I love the texture that added. We recorded the claps live, four of us in the room trying so hard not to laugh and get the pattern right. The relationship it's about was a very layered one with a lot of complicated feelings involved and I feel like that song expresses it better than any of my others. It was also the first song I wrote coming out of quarantine, so it was kind of a breakthrough that I'm super grateful for.
How did you feel when you found out you were hitting the road with Gracie Abrams?
Honestly speechless. I've been a fan of hers for so long and had been dreaming about booking a really exciting support tour and this couldn't have been a better fit. I'm so excited.
What are you most excited about being on the road?
Having a blast with the band and connecting with audiences all over the country.
Alix Page's Old News is available everywhere you can stream it.