Caught You On The Throat – Alex Southey (Interview + New Music Video)
Toronto indie folk artist Alex Southey has just released a new music video for “Caught You On The Throat”, the second single off his upcoming album “…And The Country Stirred”! “Caught You On the Throat” is a heady blend of yearning vocals, a strong string section, and poetic lyrics. Its accompanying video, compiled of footage shot over the recording process of this album, adds a sense of the pandemic into the fold. This poetic new single features Southey’s diverse voice and unique acoustic style combined with Kenny Feinstein on the fiddle and and Tommy Drinkard on pedal Steel and the mandolin, to create a sound that takes you on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster as the song progresses. In Southey’s music the lyrics are often front and center, and although this track starts this way, I definitely recommend cranking this one up a bit and letting the beautiful madness that the strings bring in towards the end overwhelm your senses. We had the opportunity to interview Alex Southey about the new track & video, the upcoming album and more, click below to watch “Caught You On The Throat” and keep scrolling for our interview with Alex!
Interview with Alex Southey
You’ve just released the second single “Caught You On The Throat” off your upcoming album “…And the Country Stirred”. Can you tell us about the poetic lyrics behind the song?
They were part of an earlier concept for an EP that I had – which eventually gave way to this full album, and I didn’t continue the concept. I don’t even know if I can call it a concept since it wasn’t fully formed… More of an atmosphere I wanted to conjure using certain phrases and references to landmarks and things in our shared pop culture mind to create a different impression. Finally it became something you might call a modernised alternative to the Judas story.
The song features a beautiful string section, featuring yourself on guitar, Kenny Feinstein on the fiddle and Tommy Drinkard on pedal Steel and the mandolin. How did you come to work with these two, and did the three of you work together to create the atmosphere on this track?
Thanks! That’s really kind of you. I sought out Kenny after a long time of quietly admiring and listening to his full album cover of Loveless by My Bloody Valentine. I reached out on Instagram after – truly – years of listening to this acoustic version of that album, and he was into chatting about the work. Organically we began to talk about what we were both doing, which led to us sending each other songs, and here we are. They’re all over the album now. I didn’t fear letting the guys experiment with their added arrangements (or altered arrangements I had created) because I’d already spent so much time listening to Kenny Feinstein as a musician already. I knew the musical avenues or directions he tended to take things and they aligned or complemented with my own.
The song gets increasingly chaotic right before the end, you use the strings to build up a sound that is almost emotionally overwhelming, right before bringing it down to the peaceful sound that we hear at the start of the track. What was the idea behind this?
Well the main idea with this was I felt there wasn’t enough general improvisation or just… mood-setting, in my past work. Of course, it’s there, but not to this extent, and I really liked the idea of balancing noise with pretty melody. I guess last of all, the noise is actually “played” so to speak, where we take a recording of something normal, throw a bunch of crap on it, and once it sounds like something else, it’s almost as if it becomes pliable again. I’m sure on first listen it’ll just sound like noise, but with repeated listens I personally think it’s clear there is a kind of sense to the madness. It isn’t randomly generated.
The other reason for the noise is it features elsewhere on the album as a kind of accent. This just happens to be the only single with it!
Can you tell us about the accompanying video for “Caught You On The Throat”?
I spoke to a few very talented folks about having them direct a video, how we could do it safely, for a good budget, and also get a good idea across, and we came close a bunch of times but it never really came together – not to mention, we were never fully sure if we should do it anyway due to the pandemic. Oh yeah that thing.
So all in all I decided to take some random footage I’d shot for fun around the house, just as a kind of side project for myself, and using it to create an added quality of the pandemic and being insane for such a long period of time, recording the album, and so forth.
The video features footage shot over the recording process of this album, can you tell us about how you get a song from the idea phase to a finished product?
Yeah absolutely. For sure. I think it’s just consistently sitting down, and simultaneously knowingly working towards something, and also letting your mind wander so that it can really do its thing, which is actually what songwriting is – or, the way I write anyway. The best writing comes almost passively. Of course, you’re sitting there, you’re strumming different chords, mumbling whatever in whatever pitch or range, but that’s almost just like providing yourself with a canvas of revolving formats, and slowly adding more detail as the picture becomes clearer, and then picking a certain direction and continuing. It’s continuing to encounter fork in the road after fork in the road and hoping that along whichever direction you took there was something worth finding – and you made that choice because you had some inherent sense it was the right choice… based on your ear (getting back to music).
Does that make any sense at all?
For anybody reading, who’s now listened to this track but yet to hear your others, how would you describe your music?
The fiddle and pedal steel are new. They haven’t been on my last two albums, nor on my EP. If you go backwards you will find more lo-fi folk stuff. It’s ambitious in its own way, but not to the extent of this album’s arrangements – or even this song’s in particular. With that said, there’s more of a focus on the lyrics because of the spareness of the surrounding instruments, and that can always be interesting.
What can fans expect from the upcoming album “…And The Country Stirred”?
I listened to it again a few days ago after thoroughly ignoring it for about a month, just to see how it sits at different points. I feel at ease with it. I think the songs hold up well, the production is better on this than anything else I’ve ever put out, and the lyrics are a little more… involved, like on my first album.
Asides for the upcoming album, what other plans do you have for 2021?
Pre-vaccine? Probably going to be a lot like 2020, ha. Post-vaccine, hopefully we ease back in slowly. I will try and value seeing friends and family more than I did before.
Do you have any last words for our readers during these unprecedented times?
Something I remind myself often is that although I’m not necessarily in control of my emotions, I’m in control of my reaction to my emotions. The practice of distancing yourself from the emotion (let’s say anger) by describing it as a tangible thing, almost as though it’s physically in front of you, has helped me really often. It’s a reset on perspective.
Anyway, who doesn’t need help with stress relief?
To find more of Alex Southey’s music and his upcoming album visit https://www.alexsouthey.com/