Keeping it sweet
Alison Ferrier has played with a bunch of great artists and mixed live sound for some of the best, but with the release of her solo debut Sugar Baby, with production assistance from husband Jeff Lang, it’s time to let the world in on all she’s been up to. Here’s our short and sweet interview with this multi-talented artist.
Interviewed by Les Thomas
Has music always been part of your life?
Music’s always been a huge part of my life. I’ve only been performing for the last six years but every stage of my life has been accompanied by music, every memory has its own soundtrack. It’s the thing that can lift me out of the doldrums or let me wallow in it. Discovering and rediscovering great music is such a thrill.What brought you to Australia? What was it like settling into the music scene?
A plane. Ha ha! I came to Australia on a one year working visa and I’m still here 13 years later (legally, I hasten to add!). Entering the Australian music scene has been a complete honour. There are so many incredible writers, singers and players out there. I love the musical community of Melbourne and have made some very good friends.
Your debut solo album Sugar Baby has just been released. How long was it in the making and how does it depart from earlier collaborations you’ve done?
It took about a year all up. Previous projects were recorded in 2 or 3 days but this time I needed to take my time and let the record evolve. Some songs were new but most I’ve been playing live for a while and I needed to look at them a little differently to get the best performance for a recording. I changed keys for some and slowed others down. The main thing I wanted was a relaxed and spacious sound, fairly pared back. Some songs are only guitar and voice.
You’re very experienced in doing live sound for lots of touring artists and your husband Jeff Lang. Does that knowledge help you a lot when playing on stage?
Oh without a doubt. It can also be a curse when I can hear if something’s wrong and I can’t fix it as I’m in the middle of a song. I need a remote control!!
What is it like co-writing and recording with Jeff? As parents, do you find you have to set aside music time?
We definitely could do with more time to write. It is hard when you’re caught up in the land of little children and we’re going to have to start being a bit more disciplined if we want to get any new material finished! Jeff writes in a very different style to me so it can be interesting to write together. Jeff produced and recorded my album and did a fantastic job. He pushes me and I think he believes in me more than I do! When I start saying “I can’t do this or that” he tells me to cut the bullshit and get on with it. Sometimes, that is exactly what I need.
If you had the chance to see any other artist in a solo acoustic setting as per Unpaved at Kent Street, who would it be?
Liz Stringer. She’s brilliant!!!