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Sun March 17, 2013
Music Interviews

For Aussie Ensemble, 'A Is For Alpine' — As Well As Austin

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 1:04 pm

Alpine is a band from Melbourne, Australia, that will make their U.S. debut with A Is for Alpine, an album coming out later this spring.

The band, formerly known as Swiss, was chosen as the iTunes Australian alternative album of the year, and now the group is building buzz in the U.S., including this past week at the South By Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas.

Alpine's Phoebe Baker and Lou James say that their first gig at SXSW was at a club called Bourbon Girl, where the vibe was electric.

"The response we got afterwards was just overwhelming; so many big smiley faces, and it's always an amazing feeling when you perform and you play your music to people that may not have heard of you," James says. "It makes it so worthwhile to travel so far."

"Yeah, it was good way to start off," Baker says.

James says that every performance there will be one song that really stands out. Lately, that song has been "Gasoline" and its catchy guitar riff, Baker adds.

Baker and James trace their friendship back to their teen years, where they met at a boarding school in Australia.

"[We] just started talking and just realized we had a very similar sense of humor, same taste in music that we both loved, like old classic Led Zeppelin and Floyd, so built our friendship on that," James says.

Baker and James acknowledge they had to really save up to bring their six-piece band to the U.S., and they've been working hard in their day jobs working in a tea shop and at a swimsuit store.

"Christian's lecturing at Melbourne [University], Phil works in an Apple Store, and Ryan works in a magazine shop and Timmy's a graphic designer," Baker says. "And we've worked hard and we've got to an amazing place to come over here, and I think it shows."

Alpine's new album, A Is for Alpine comes out May 21.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF A SONG)

ALPINE: (Singing) Hi...

LOU JAMES: Hi, I'm Lou James.

PHOEBE BAKER: And I'm Phoebe Baker.

JAMES: And we're in Alpine.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Alpine is the name of a band from Melbourne, Australia. They make their U.S. debut with an album coming out later this spring called "A is for Alpine."

BAKER: We used to be called Swiss when we started out. The thing with Swiss and Alpine, they both kind of somehow suit our music and I think it's fresh. For me, it reminds me of being up in the Alps when I was young and sorghums in Australia, the smell of those trees. There are particular gum trees that grow. They've got really pale green leaves, they're almost white. And they smell delicious.

(SOUNDBITE OF A SONG)

ALPINE: (Singing) Hi...

MARTIN: Alpine was chosen as the iTunes Australian alternative album of the year. And now the group is building buzz here in the States. They've been at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin this past week.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

JAMES: Hello, Austin.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARTIN: Alpine's Phoebe Baker and Lou James spoke to us from the studios of KUT in Austin. Their first gig at South by Southwest was at a club called Bourbon Girl, where they say the vibe was electric.

JAMES: And the response that we got afterwards was just overwhelming - just so many big smiley faces. And it's always an amazing feeling when you perform and you play your music to people that, you know, may not have heard of you. It's really, really nice and makes it very worthwhile to travel so far.

BAKER: Yeah, it was a good way to start off.

(SOUNDBITE OF A SONG, "GASOLINE")

ALPINE: (Singing) But there's always night time. I wish it wasn't just...

JAMES: Every night, there will be like one song that will really stand out. "Gasoline," yeah, I mean it gets the biggest response.

BAKER: The guitar riff on "Gasoline" is really catchy. I remember hearing Christian play it when we were sound checking a year or so back. And I was, like, what is that? That sounds amazing. And I thought, Christian, this is awesome. We have to make this into a song.

(SOUNDBITE OF A SONG, "GASOLINE")

ALPINE: (Singing) Imagine its night time. I wish it wasn't just the night time...

JAMES: Phoebe and I go way back. I think we were 13 or 14 years old when we met. Back in Australia there was a boarding school, so just very randomly met. And we just started talking and just realized we had a very similar sense of humor. You know, same taste in music that we both loved, like old classic, like Led Zeppelin and Floyd. And so, we sort of just built our friendship on that.

(SOUNDBITE OF A SONG, "GASOLINE")

MARTIN: Phoebe Baker and Lou James admits they had to really say about to bring their six-piece band to the states. And they've been working hard in their day jobs.

JAMES: I work in a tea shop.

BAKER: And I was working in a bathers' shop. I don't know if you call them bathers over here - bikinis? Christian is lecturing at Melbourne Uni. Phil works in an Apple store. And Ryan works in a magazine shop. And Timmy is a graphic designer. And we've worked hard and we've got to an amazing place to come over here - and I think it shows.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "VILLAGES")

ALPINE: (Singing) I can't believe that I'm seeing this love. I can't believe that I'm seeing this love...

MARTIN: Phoebe Baker and Lou James from the band Alpine, their new album "A is for Alpine" comes out May 21st. You can preview a couple of tracks on our Web site, nprmusic.org.

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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