Alice’s Night Circus
IT has been wonderful speaking with Alice’s Night Circus…
and stepping into a magical and fantastical world. Julia (Alice’s Night Circus) talks about the concept behind the moniker and what we can expect from her upcoming album; how she got into music and the artists/albums she grew up listening to – I ask her whether music lacks theatrics and energy and if more can be done.
The songwriter discusses tour dates and which upcoming artist we should look out for; what advice she’d give to new artists emerging; what she hopes to achieve before the end of this year – she ends the interview by selecting a rather good song.
Hi, Julia. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m great, thanks. This week has been very busy as I’m heading into the prep-stages for a busy August in which I will be launching my Limited Edition Album Metamorphose!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I am Alice’s Night Circus. I’m a classically-trained singer-songwriter with I guess what you could call an 'eclectic sound'!
Can I ask how the concept of ‘Alice’s Night Circus’ came together? Are there artists and musicians who inspired you in terms of look and dynamic?
I have always been a fan of Alice in Wonderland, which is where the name ‘Alice’ came from. For a long time, I really considered joining Cirque du Soleil as I’ve always loved their beautiful music and creativity which started to bring the circus influence in - and I thought the visual of this wonderful circus setting up and inviting people to leave their lives behind for a moment in time was a really interesting idea.
I was probably more influenced by theatre and film than other musicians for my style. Tim Burton has been a huge influence alongside movies like Legend (the one from the '80s), Labyrinth; Dark Crystal and Moulin Rouge.
Would you say the single, Curious World, is the best demonstration regarding what Alice’s Night Circus is about? What is the story behind the single?
I always consider Curious World as a kind of ‘gateway’ song into the Alice’s Night Circus world. I think, both lyrically and musically, it invites the listener to come and join in and it’s often the first song people comment on. The song came about from me sitting in my music and craft room at home, which is filled with a lot of assorted curiosities and I always say that room is like stepping into the inside of my mind. I was considering what it would be like to invite people into this kind of world - and Curious World was the result.
It is from your upcoming album. Can you reveal any titles and ideas that will be covered on the record?
The title of the album will be Metamorphose - a word I thought highly appropriate as this album and all the songs on it were very much about me finding who I was; the message I wanted to send out into the world and then becoming that person.
There are a lot of themes across the album, ranging from very personal stories regarding my experiences with M.E. and learning to cope with an invisible disability; influences from some of my favourite literary sources such as George Orwell, Aldous Huxley and H.G. Wells; through to more light-hearted themes regarding being comfortable in your own skin and expressing yourself - as well as the odd spooky tale of a character called Mr Strange under the title of Penny Dreadful.
I am interested to learn which artists and styles of music inspire you. Which styles of music and artists have made the biggest impression on you?
I’ve had a very varied exposure to music from a young age including Pop, Rock; Jazz, Opera; Classical and musicals. I never found myself stuck on one genre particularly and tend to listen to a variety of music styles according to how I feel on any particular day, which means I can go from listening to a Heavy Metal anthem to an ‘80s Pop ballad and on to a musical number from song to song. That being said, there are some people who really inspired me to want to make music myself such as Queen, Muse; Florence & the Machine, IAMX and Danny Elfman in particular.
So many new artists lack personality and a sense of energy. Do you think it is important to create a world that is full of fire, fun and theatricality?!
I think the music I listen to often does have a rather theatrical nature to it one way or another, either in the thematic vibe, the lyrics or even the live performance and for me, personally, I find it exciting and thrilling to bring a lot of drama and theatricality out in my music. I also have a lot of drama in my singing voice which comes naturally so I think I’m vocally suited to that style. I think people can be quite reserved sometimes, so it’s nice to be able to write music that encourages them to embrace the theatre of life so to speak!
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
I’ll finally have my album released and it’d be great to continue touring up and down the country; maybe aim to get some radio play and hit some Spotify playlists and see where it all takes me from there!
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
I have quite a few memories that particularly stand out. I remember the very first time I ever heard my music being played in public and I was hiding out at the back of the room at a gig and this couple got up and did the most beautiful ballroom dance to it. The room was enthralled. It was a very magical moment to be able to watch people react to the music like that and see how they interpreted it, even though it wasn’t live and was just being played between sets.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Muse - Origin of Symmetry
It was very tough to choose between this album and Showbiz. Showbiz was the very first time I ever felt I had fully connected to music I had found by myself…however, several of the tracks on Origin of Symmetry made me want to learn music so I could play and sing along. I was totally enthralled by the soaring space opera and how dramatic and theatrical it all was - and I spent hours trying to sing and play along on keyboard or guitar!
Queen – Innuendo
The Innuendo album is one of the first albums I ever remember listening to, thanks to my mum introducing me to Queen as a child. I remember sitting in front of a big old Hi-Fi system with headphones that were too big for me and listening over and over again. I love that nothing would hold Freddie back, if he has an idea, mad as it may seem at the time, he would fight for it and go for it and inevitably it would be ingenious.
Florence & the Machine – Lungs
I remember very clearly the first time I heard Florence & the Machine singing Dog Days Are Over. The music video was on the T.V. and it captured my attention and then I heard the lyrics. I loved that she could sing these quirky folksy Pop songs while singing about wolves and things dying and it was all quite dark. I really connected to her sound and I found her at about the same time as I first started to write original music - so it sticks in my mind because I remember thinking if she could do it, so could I!
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
If Danny Elfman were to ever put Oingo Boingo back together I’d be the first to toss my name in the hat to support their comeback tour!
As for the rider; it would be pretty simple: just allow my dog Gadget in the dressing room to hang out and chill with me!
Can we see you on tour soon? What dates are coming up?
I have a few gigs coming up. I’ll be in Lincoln on 26th August, Hastings on 15th September 15th; Llangollen on 22nd September, Gosport on 29th September; Kent on 20th October and Leicester on 23rd November. Details will be on my website and social media sites.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
I’d always say stay true to your message and, even though you are almost guaranteed to have knockbacks, just take them as life experience, grow; learn and use those experiences to make more music and keep going even through the dark!
IN THIS PHOTO: IAMX
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Not exactly new artists but whenever anyone asks me this question I always heartily recommend IAMX immediately.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I listen to more music while I design and sew outfits for myself for Steampunk events, cosplay at conventions and stage wear. I’m really a big nerd at heart so I love movies, T.V. and I love attending conventions and Steampunk events. They’ve all got such a fantastic sense of community; not to mention that they really get me pushing my creativity forwards constantly.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
LP – Forever for Now
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