Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] Jim and Martin on Alex Lloyd's new album

roger bonastre sirerol rotsey@hotmail.com
Wed, 01 Oct 2003 20:49:13 +0000

I found this:

Alex Lloyd - Distant Light Road fever can do strange things to a guy. It can 
drive you to throw TVs out of hotel room windows, or seek solace in the mini 
bar. Fortunately, when the on-the-road horrors started to set in for 2000 
Best Male Artist ARIA winner Alex Lloyd, he had his guitar and a notepad 
handy. Gradually, the songs that would form Distant Light, his dazzling 
third album, started to flow. And the themes that were invading Alex’s 
dreams – separation, long-distance love, loneliness – were ringing true for 
the multi-platinum-selling Sydneysider, a man widely considered to be the 
country’s finest singer/songwriter. “That was the headspace of where I was 
at the time,” he says, looking back at a stretch when bouncing between New 
York, London and Sydney was a typical week in the life of Alex Lloyd. “We 
went to a lot of strange places, maybe places I don’t want to revisit. It 
was a pretty lonely time. I think I’d reached a point where I’d just 
travelled too much.” When Alex’s rambling was finally over, he landed with a 
notebook full of what are undoubtedly the strongest, most personal set of 
songs he’s ever written. But what he needed was the right cast of players to 
help him craft the follow-up to 2001’s double-platinum Watching Angels Mend. 
The pieces fell together quickly. A call to Midnight Oil’s Jim Moginie (who 
works his musical magic on four tracks here) then led to another Oil-man, 
guitarist Martin Rotsey, who makes his Rickenbacker chime like a church bell 
on the opener, “Hello the End”, and “Light is On”. Then Alex called Brisbane 
tunesmith Shane Nicholson, who croons sweetly during the title track and 
various other points on the record. He also tapped Luke Steele; they’re his 
guitar scratchings all over “1000 Miles”. “I think he’s amazingly talented 
and has a such a weird, odd mind,” Alex says, when asked about recording 
with the Sleepy Jackson whiz kid. “I enjoyed working with him and really 
like him as a person to hang out with, as well.” Alex also assembled a crack 
studio band for the album, featuring bassist Sam Dixon, percussionist 
Michael Barker and drummer Felix Bloxsom. These wily players have helped 
make this album the most “live” sounding of Alex’s career, bringing the 
right mix of brain and brawn to such golden tunes as “Far Away”, “Ordinary 
Boy” and “This Is a Call”. Another smart call was bringing in the classy 
Bravura Strings to sprinkle their fairydust on four tracks, while the George 
Ellis Choir helps elevate “Light is On” to a very righteous place. By Alex’s 
side during the making of Distant Light — first at Sydney’s Milk Bar, then 
at Studio 301— was Stuart Miller, aka the Weatherman. Stuart not only helped 
out on Watching Angels Mend but has been Alex’s buddy since they were 
teenagers, slugging it out in band competitions. Their bond is tight. “He’s 
someone I trust with my life,” says Alex. “You’ve got to be pretty lucky to 
meet someone and get along right off the bat.” That empathy extends to 
high-profile mixer Tony Hoffer, who added the final touches to the album at 
Sunset Sound Studios in Hollywood. Mixing the record with Hoffer, who’s 
worked with Air, Beck and Turin Brakes, was a breeze for Lloyd. And this is 
no small revelation, given that Alex doesn’t deny his reputation as a 
perfectionist, the kind of guy who can bury himself in the studio for days 
striving to find a song’s secret ingredient. “It was a lot of fun,” Alex 
says, simply. “In some way or another you’ve got to connect with someone 
you’re working with. We did.” So there it is. A record full of deeply 
melodic, richly personal songs about friends and loved ones, written from a 
lonely place but recorded in his hometown with a crew of Australia’s finest 
musicians. Alex Lloyd had promised to bring it all back home with Distant 
Light, and he’s done exactly that. “Maybe it was all about coming home and 
using the knowledge that I’ve gained overseas and getting to use that in my 
own backyard,” Alex figures. “I think I was less inhibited with this record. 
There was no ‘I can’t put this song on there because it’s too electronic or 
too country’. If the song was good, well, we just put it on the bloody 
record. I didn’t try to make too many rules.” And if the potent, timeless 
pop/rock of Distant Light is any gauge — with its echoes of such legends as 
Paul McCartney and Neil Finn, as well as modern masters like Coldplay — then 
all those solitary nights in hotel rooms and airports had some benefit for 
Alex Lloyd, after all. “I think song-wise it’s the best record I’ve made so 
far,” he proudly — and justifiably — declares. “I feel good about it. I’ve 
progressed, I’ve moved forward.”

copy of the new Alex Lloyd album finally arrived in the mail
>today.  I had heard that Jim and Martin played on it and sure enough 
>they're in the credits, but does anyone know what songs in particular they 
>play on or if they play on all of them?  There are some songs that I think 
>are definitely Jim or Martin, but there aren't any specifications in the 
>credits...just that Jim and Martin play 'additional guitars.'  It also says 
>that Jim plays some keys too.  And btw...for any other Alex Lloyd fans out 
>there...the new album is great!  I've been listening to it all day! :)
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