Brisbane singer-songwriter Your Man Alex Smith is back with a brand new EP 'Guilty', his first release in over three years.
Alex released his previous EP 'Crazy Days' in March of 2014 with the support of a successful crowd-funding campaign.
This time around Alex was determined to be more self-reliant, instead taking a year off in order to finance 'Guilty' on his own.
“I got a full-time job because the first album was mostly crowd-funded and while I was really happy with that, I felt a bit dirty somehow asking people to pay for something that hadn't come out yet,” Alex says.
“I was really happy I was able to do ['Crazy Days'] and I'm really appreciative of everyone who supported me but I wanted to do this under my own steam, so I hid myself away and got a full-time job and it takes up a lot of time. I managed to fund this one completely off my own back, which I'm pretty happy about. That way if people don't like it that's okay because they didn't have to pay for it.”
The new EP has been produced with Nick O'Donnell (of Australian band 26) who Alex says helped give 'Guilty' the sense of raw authenticity he felt was lacking from 'Crazy Days'. “People said that ['Crazy Days'] sounded too polished, which [sic] I can see where they're coming from,” he explains.
“So for this one I went with Nick O'Donnell and he was a lot more patient. The process took a lot longer this time but I think it was a combination of him wanting to make sure it was more in line with what I was after, and also me freaking out and changing my mind about a bunch of stuff.
“I really wanted it to be a lot more real, because a lot of the feedback I got from the first one was that it sounded really fake. So we made sure that every note, while not necessarily perfect, is real and I got special session musicians in and a choir. It should be more gritty.”
With a reputation for combining 'dad rock' with his own background in musical theatre, Alex has created a sophomore EP that is more creatively layered than previous releases and one that deals more directly with elements of melancholy.
“I never intentionally have a theme but I've realised looking back, and the stuff I'm working with, that mental health is a big element,” Alex says.
“Every song is about some sort of mental health issue and I tried to be more theatrical on these ones because I come from a musical theatre background and classic rock. Especially 'Little Automaton', that song definitely has more of a Disney villain vibe to it. Thematically, I like sadness.”
Alex's hiatus has also meant he's been intentionally refraining from performing live recently. But with the release of 'Guilty', Alex says he is looking forward to hitting the stage and playing for his fans all over again. “When I had the EP released I decided not to play any gigs for a while so I could build up anticipation,” he says.
“I've done a couple of really sneaky, acoustic gigs that I didn't push too hard because I didn't want to spoil it for everyone.”