Metric, The Naked and Famous, Passion Pit
Argentina is the work of young Brisbane-based producer Alex Ritchie. Be seduced by his dreamy minimalist synthpop.
Interview: 7 November 2011
Tell us about your music. How did you develop your sound?
Last year I started fiddling around with loops, sampled instruments and drum programming. I had no idea what I was even trying to do when I started, and looking back there were several months where I was just completely lost; overwhelmed by the contrast of how much it was potentially possible to do versus how infrequently I was actually finishing anything. My computer hard drive was, and still is full of hundreds of unfinished sessions with nonsensical working titles like 'Alan Jones Overdrive march23rd'. Somehow, out of all this I came up with a sound that I loved. My music doesn't sound like me to me, and I really like that; how I've ended up with this alter ego that I sort of just stumbled upon.
Does your sound translate to a live environment? What would an Argentina live show be like?
I'm still yet to play live with Argentina, but me and about 5 other people are working on it now. We hope to be ready to roll by the end of the year, but it's important for me not to rush it; I really want it to be a show worth seeing, as opposed to pressing a few buttons and playing the album material verbatim. There will be a lot of singing from a lot of different voices, as well as live drums and percussion.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given and who was it from?
My dad has given me a lot of really good advice over the years. I remember how when I was young, he didn't talk to me like I was a child, in that conventional way that you hear adults often speak to kids. The take home from this was that even if I didn't fully grasp what he said at the time, its all stuff that I still think about constantly, and it makes more sense the older I get and the more I think about it, kind of like a Wes Anderson movie.
Tell us about the bands, producers and people in the Brisbane music community that inspire you.
A few years ago I saw a Brisbane band called Arrows play a small show in this really cool building we have here called the old museum. They have this really meticulous, sophisticated sound, where they layer twinkly clean guitars, minimalist piano and really interesting crawling rhythms, kind of like the old emo bands like Mineral and The Appleseed Cast. I remember how impressed I was with the way that they didn't seem to even notice that people were watching; they were just so absorbed in building this huge sound. I fell in love with An Horse the first time I saw them, and I also love another Brissie band called The Paper And The Plane; I went to every show they played for about two years. My other huge Brisbane music influence was a teacher I had at Southbank TAFE called Ross McLennan, not only did he teach me some amazing stuff about electronic music and how to put it together, but that it's possible to make a career out of it if you're smart and you're willing to hang in there for long enough.
What’s coming up for you in the rest of 2011 and looking to 2012?
When the live show is ready I really want to tour, I think it would be so much fun meeting new people and seeing new places. I've never been to Melbourne before and people keep telling me how much I'd love it so I'd love to get down there and play my show. My album is nearly done, so I'm looking forward to getting that out there too.
Australian music is…?
...Something that I feel great about being part of. I feel a bit like we're a team, and everytime someone puts out an amazing album or song, or gets recognized overseas I feel like we've scored a goal. When An Horse played on Letterman I remember how crazily happy that made me. I'd show the video to friends and people at work and say stuff like: “These were just 2 Brisbane indie kids a couple of years ago, look at them now!”