Get to know: Alison Wonderland
Following the release of her hugely successful and deeply personal album ‘Awake’ [EMI Music Australia] earlier this year, Alison Wonderland makes her Egg debut and last appearance of the year in London on 7th September.
With a sound that shies away from any one category, the Australian selector can go from Hip-Hop to Trap to Bass to anything else that’s crafted for an open-minded dancefloor, allowing her to mix a rollercoaster of genres from the get-go.
At a glance, her agenda includes Tomorrowland’s Main Stage, Lollapalooza Brasil, EDC Orlando and a handful of secret warehouse shows. She’s one of those rare artists who can sell out vast theatres and auditoriums but still incorporate intimate, scaled back spots on the road so her followers - ‘Wonderers’ - can soak up her sounds in all kinds of settings.
Ahead of Alison’s first visit to us, we caught up with her to chat about the evolving process behind ‘Awake’, her approach to collaborating with artists of all genres and how to stay mentally and physically in check during life on the road…
You’re in the middle of a packed touring agenda right now, how’s it all going? I saw the Tomorrowland Main Stage stream over the weekend, how was that show in particular?
Touring is crazy but amazing. The fact that I can travel the world and play my music to so many different people is such a trip. I always feel like I am dreaming when I see people singing the words to my songs.
Playing Tomorrowland main stage has been a goal of mine for so long. As an electronic artist, playing the main stage at a festival like that is one of the biggest honours so when I found out I was playing I didn’t take it for granted. I put everything I could into that set and I feel really proud.
Lots of Alison Wonderland tracks made an appearance during the set, was it weird hearing your own vocals amplified in a setting like Tomorrowland?
I would say the majority of my set was my own music. I have released two albums, an EP and many remixes so I feel like many people are coming to hear me play my own music. It’s always so crazy to hear my own songs in front of such a huge audience. Usually I kind of black out and go to the place where I wrote them and then I open my eyes again and see people singing them.
You’ve been very outspoken about the dark side of touring and have emphasised on social media about how important it is to speak up if you’re feeling off. What are your other coping mechanisms for life on the road?
Have a healthy lifestyle. Eat well, don’t party too hard, pace yourself and make sure you call your friends.
‘Awake’ is quite a personal album which details the pain of an emotionally abusive relationship amongst other deeply personal themes. How did revealing such experiences help you out the other side? It must have been hard to re-live it all when you wrote the lyrics?
It’s still hard to relive it all because I feel like I have moved on from that situation but every time I play or listen to those songs it reminds me of how bad the situation was. It’s important, to be honest about my issues and being in an abusive relationship and moving past that. I hope that other people will hear what I have written and might find the strength in themselves to wake up and feel self-worth again. I feel like I owe to my art and the people who listen to it. It’s just always weird when I release it because then I realize everyone will be reading my diary.
‘High’ from the album features Trippie Read, how do you choose which artists you want to collaborate with for your productions? Do they reach out to you or do you approach them?
It’s a usually fairly organic collaboration for me. I like to sit down with an artist before writing with them and have a conversation and vibe with them. When I met Trippie I was really nervous because I really liked his music and we sat down for 2 hrs and play each other music until Trippie had to run into the vocal booth. It all happened really quickly and done through intuitive writing which I prefer.
Do you have a wishlist of artists you’re keen to collaborate with? If so, tell us who?
Yes, I do have a wishlist and I am too scared to say who they are so they won’t read this and see how desperate I am to work with them.
Your clothing line fmuoasl is full of trippy designs, colours and illustrations, where do you get these ideas from? Is it hard to translate what you want to a design team or are you fully hands-on with every aspect of the design?
I am very hands-on with my designs and I have been working with the same people for a long time and I always get what I want. I am a very visual person so it's easy for me to translate what I am seeing onto a design and also won’t release anything until I think it’s perfect.
You’ll be joining us after your North American tour - you seem to be on the road non-stop! What’s next, any new releases on the horizon or even a holiday?
Sorry, I don’t know what a holiday is. I am definitely working on some collaborations right now that I am excited about. September I am going to be in the studio a lot and have lots of things I am excited to release.