Note: I’m having trouble with the formatting of this post, but I’ll try and fix it tonight. Sorry for the annoyance guys!
This interview has literally been a year in the making. But fear not, because it is finally here.
For those of you who don’t know, Alex Day is an extremely talented British Youtuber. You may have seen his hilarious series, “Alex Reads Twilight”, or maybe heard one of his brilliant songs (Forever Yours went to number four in the 2011 UK Christmas Chart). Maybe you just know him as Charlie McDonnell’s best friend. If you’re reading this and you don’t know of him, I order you to race over to his youtube channel, Nerimon, as soon as you can, and fall in love with him yourself.
I have loved Alex for over three years. When I was on exchange in 2010, his Alex Reads Twilight videos were the main way I coped with my crushing homesickness and managed to stay the full six months. From that time, I vowed that one day I would speak to him for my blog.
It turns out we’re both hopeless communicators (or maybe just have a lot of things on our plates. He’s busy making videos and music, and I’ve been trying to finish high school and survive University), because it has taken twelve months from the first email I sent, to the moment of this interview finally appearing on my blog. I suspect some of you thought it would never happen. But after many emails (and much fangirling on my behalf every time one appeared in my inbox – I promise I at least pretend to be professional), and Alex being lovely enough to answer every question I sent his way, here is the much awaited for interview with Alex Day.
What made you begin making youtube videos?
I just thought it’d be fun 🙂 That’s the best reason to do anything, I think.
Is your ultimate goal music or vlogging, and why?
Definitely music. I see vlogging as something I really enjoy and I’m really proud of my videos but I never expected to be a filmmaker professionally, it’s just one part of what I do, and I’d be much prouder to be remembered for my music because I put so much more work and heart into those. Making music makes me happier than anything else I do.
Something you are best known for is your “Alex Reads Twilight” videos. What made you begin these, and did you expect the response you received?
I really didn’t! I just bought the book cos I thought it would make for a fun idea for a video, but when I sat down to read the first chapter I thought ‘there’s way too much gold in here for just one video’ and so I split them up chapter by chapter. It wasn’t intended to be such a big thing.
(Reader Question) You’ve been a youtuber for many years now, and work very hard. Do you have an opinion on “newer” youtubers such as Jack and Finn who have large numbers of subscribers with very little effort?
I think you’re underestimating Jack and Finn, who take their YouTubing far more seriously than I do. For me, making videos is just a thing I did in my spare time and it got out of control! Either way, Jack and Finn are hugely attractive so I of course hate them. 🙂
On Solo Music
What is your favourite song that you have released, and why?
In terms of the release and everything it achieved it has to be Forever Yours but I actually think Good Morning Sunshine is the song I’m proudest of, from those I’ve released so far 🙂 I love the sound and style of it and it means a lot to me personally.
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be and why?
Bruno Mars, because I think he writes really great songs.
What was the creation process like for your album?
It was quite disconnected; I kept going into the studio throughout 2011 and 2012 making songs as and when I wanted to, not really focusing on an end product but on making the best song I could each time until I eventually had enough that it felt right to collate them together. The first thing you do (or at least I do) when discovering a new artist is check what their recent good songs were, which usually means finding their most recent album on Spotify and listening to it, so I wanted to have that there to get everything in one place.
How did you come up with the title for your album?
It’s from a book by Friedrich Nietzsche called Beyond Good And Evil. I first heard it in 2006 and thought “that would be a good album title” – when I released my first album in 2009 the plan was to call it Epigrams And Interludes until another title grabbed me that I felt was more relevant. The same thing happened with the second album. Finally I knew I had to get it out of my system and make it, and it so happened that it fit thematically on this one as well so I was happy 🙂
Your song “Bread”, is very creative. What is the inspiration behind it?
Thanks! Credit for the lyrics must go to the writer, Charlie McDonnell, who originally released the song in 2010. I released my second album the same time he released his and the original plan was to each cover one song, to release them both on iTunes and effectively help promote each other while having some fun. Charlie was all set to record my song Georgia and I picked Bread, which I did with my good friend Tom Milsom producing (he produced my first two albums and a few of the songs on Epigrams), but Charlie sadly never did his cover and I was left with a song I had no place for until now.
What’s your favourite song on the album?
Ooh, I don’t know! Production-wise, I’m proudest of Oh No! I’m In Love :(, which is also the only song I’ve ever been aware of that has an emoticon in the title, but my favourite song over all is probably Good Morning Sunshine or I’ve Got What It Takes. It’s hard, though. I obviously like them all 🙂
You’ve said the video for “I’ve Got What It Takes” was the hardest you’ve created to date. What was the creation process like?
Oh, god, yeah it was. The video was being edited – this isn’t an exaggeration – an hour before it was supposed to go live at midnight. It got to 11:55 and the video went live, being uploaded from the UK by my cameraman while I was in America and people started watching it before I had even seen the finished result! So it was very stressful but we’re both super proud of it.
Do you have plans for your next single release?
I haven’t got plans for my next single release because I haven’t written any songs yet that I think are good enough. For now I’m happy for Epigrams to sit and bookend that phase of my life before I move on to new things.
You got some pretty cool covers when you released Stupid Stupid, including one from Stephen Fry. How’d you get everyone involved?
With Stephen I actually just emailed him and asked. I said “can you please spend just a few minutes reading these lyrics aloud and send them back?” and he said “obviously not because I’m in Twelfth Night at the moment and have literally no time”, although obviously he was nicer than that because he is Stephen Fry and the nicest man in the world. Anyway a week later I get an email from him with an audio attachment – he had a spare 15 minutes and remembered I’d asked and did it! What a lovely man. And as a special bonus, his email signature said “sent from my fryPhone”. ❤
When you released “Stupid Stupid” you also held Stupidfest, is this something you hope to do again with future releases?
No, it was just a one off special thing I wanted to do to be silly. I would like to do a tour though. I’m trying to figure that out at the moment.
Have you had any crazy encounters with fans?
Someone gave me an apple with a condom packet sellotaped to it and their phone number written on. My first thought: “why the apple?”
Do you think that fans sometimes go “too far” in regards to celebrities (whether that be “youtube celebrities” or “mainstream celebrities”) and their actions?
Not intentionally, no. People are always speculating on who I’m dating, and occasionally people turn up at my window peering in at me and taking photos while I’m eating a sandwich, but it’s not meant maliciously. So while I’d say certain things cross a line, I think it’s just up to people to define what their personal boundaries are so people know what to expect and to make sure not to cross those boundaries.
What do you think of Australia and your Australian fans?
I love Australia! I really wanna go back cos people are always asking – I never realised how many people know me over there. Actually another of my short-term goals is to get major support on Triple J with whatever my next single release is, so maybe that’ll give me a reason 🙂
Your music has been playing on the radio here in Australia, any chance of you making a visit?
REALLY? That’s awesome!! I didn’t know that 😀 I actually if I do get to do this big tour I think I should definitely stop off there because everyone always tells me I have a big reach there, which is great ❤
On Chameleon Circuit
How did you first come up with the idea for Chameleon Circuit?
It was easy, really – all of my friends were in wizard rock bands (playing songs about Harry Potter), and I knew if I got into that I’d just be another person writing songs about Harry Potter, and I liked Doctor Who more anyway, and since nobody else was doing that we got to be the first! And that was way more exciting 😀 It also happened that I’d written a song around the Doctor Who theme tune and Charlie had written a song about his favourite Who episode ‘Blink’ and between us we thought ‘that’s two songs – we should start a band!’
What has been the highlight of being in Chameleon Circuit?
Playing on stage at VidCon in 2011. That was the most rockstar I think I’ll ever feel or look. It was awesome. And I got to play bass which always makes me feel sexy.
What’s your favourite Chameleon Circuit song?
I think The Doctor Is Dying has a really awesome epic feel to it but I’m also very personally proud of Teenage Rebel because of how little it references Who. It’s the epitome to me of what fandom music should be; good music in its own right, not overtly referencey. On Chameleon Circuit’s second album we tried to reference the show as little as possible but write songs that would stand up on their own (the one exception being Charlie’s song Big Bang 2).
Can we expect any more Chameleon Circuit albums in the future? Maybe for the 50th Anniversary?
We’ve talked about it, but none of us are really enjoying Doctor Who that much at the moment. I had some ideas with my producer, though, that excited me so I’m sure it’ll happen at some point.
Do you have any plans to release new Sopio decks in the near future?
We do! Deck 4 had a ‘twisted carnival’ theme (I like to refer to it as Sopio Nights) so for Deck 5 we’re doing Sopio In Space. It has a metallic silver border and loads of space jokes. It’ll be out in the summer I think – July or August time.
How is LifeScouts going?
That’s a question with really two different answers; the first is “it’s going great! We’re releasing a hundred badges this year and we send out loads of orders every day and people seem to really love it!” – the second is the one my accountant will give which is “Alex has put over thirty thousand pounds into this and we haven’t even made it back yet OH GOD THIS IS SUCH A MASSIVE FAILURE”. So, you know, swings and roundabouts.
How many LifeScouts badges have you sold?
About 5,500 🙂
What has been the highlight of your career to date?
The release of Forever Yours, hearing my song on the radio on Christmas Day after a week of everyone supporting me and buying the song for each other, it was such a great time 🙂
If you could achieve anything in the next year, what would it be?
I’d love to sell a million copies of my music by the end of next year, that’d be a nice achievement.
If you could tell your seventeen-year-old self anything, what would it be?
Get a hair cut. When I started vlogging I used to get comments all the time from people saying ‘sort your hair out, get a hair cut’ and I never cared, I just left it all long and matty and tangled. I was a state. Sort it out.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
“You should go for the Christmas number 1” 🙂 My friend Jonathan gave me the idea.
Do you have any of your own advice to share?
Just to go for things. People spend so much time wondering about stuff. I think an opportunity analysed will end up just being missed.
If Alex does come to Australia, I’ll definitely try and do an in-person interview. Meeting him is definitely on my bucket list!
frangipani princess xoxo