Sound studio

Cult Songwriter Alex G Improves His Sound

During the last years, Alex GiannascoliLife was unfolding in a way that felt like he could record a very momentous new album-M Mature. The pandemic has grounded the 29-year-old musician, who performs as Alex G, in one place for the longest time in years. He starts running again and buys a house in Philadelphia. He read a lot and found himself thinking about religion. And, perhaps most importantly, he put aside his reputation as a self-taught home production genius and started recording in a professional studio for the very first time.

So it’s telling that the resulting record, God save the animals, leans into that vibe of introspection and growth, and still represents his most exciting and playful record to date. One July morning in the atrium of the Brooklyn Ace Hotel, Giannascoli reflected on how his tenth album, released this week, had become such a headache. “I always try to entertain myself while making music,” he said. “Because that’s just my only indicator of the quality of this one.”

Affably laconic, with a slight build, wearing putty-colored clothes and drinking from a bottle of water, Giannascoli told me he often struggled to describe his creative process. “I have a process that I go through writing and trying to think about this stuff. But it’s something that happens unconsciously for the most part,” he said. “And then I try to put it into words, and I end up…. I almost lie when I try.

Whatever the truth, it worked. Over the past decade, his prolific output of oddly catchy songs has made him a cult hero, with boosters in Japanese Breakfast’s michelle zauner and Frank Ocean, who invited Giannascoli to play on his 2016 album Blond. His fanbase, which skews young people, gave him a minor TikTok Kickand the diehards gather on a page repeats– 12,000 strong members – where they break down lyrics and share playlists. (They were apparently the primary source of a photo showing a scruffy Giannascoli covered in spilled beer that went viral in 2019 after conservatives made a mistake for a picture of Beto O’Rourke.) In July, he made his late night debut on The show tonight and when he returns to New York for his fall tour, it will be for two nights of sold-out shows at Brooklyn Steel.

In some ways, Giannascoli embodies the humor and subtlety of his music, but also recognizes that the phenomenon exists a little outside of him as a person. He mostly stays off social media except to promote music, and has described his main hobbies as watching TV and cooking for his partner and musical collaborator, Molly Germer. The onset of the pandemic in 2020 postponed a much-anticipated world tour for his latest album, but otherwise he said his life hasn’t really changed too much in quarantine. Eventually, however, he started wanting to spend time outside his home, so he made a habit of going to a local recording studio.

“If one day I was trying to write and I couldn’t think of anything, I would reach out to my friend who was working in the studio and say, ‘Can I come in and just mess around? “, Giannascoli recalled. “And I was just doing a lot of stupid things, and one thing led to another, and I was like, Oh, I really think I could do this.

Finally, he brought his collaborator Jacques Portrait, producer and member of indie band Unknown Mortal Orchestra, to help turn his studio foray into a record. In an interview last month, Portrait explained that Giannascoli’s talent as a songwriter makes their work together much easier. “It’s so cool that he has such an imaginative idea of ​​what records should sound like and also the ability to write sick songs and really good lyrics,” Portrait said. “When the meat of the song is this good, you can do it a million different ways without doing the song a disservice.”

By Chris Maggio.

He added that the studio recording for god save the animals was an opportunity for them to develop some of the things he already loved about working with Giannascoli. “Alex loves recordings, and he comes with those references, like a specific song or drum sound,” Portrait said. “Even when he was making records with a $99 microphone, he was still listening.” The goal of this album was to make it a little less isolated and more referential while calling on the skills of studio engineers and musicians he knows.

Ultimately, that meant bringing in some of the youthful energy of Alex G’s live performances. The rest of Giannascoli’s live band joined in for some of the recording sessions, and the final song from the , “Forgive”, is a live take from a trip to the Clubhouse recording studio in Rhinebeck, New York.