March into the archives : Alex Lloyd

The following interview was published in BMA Magazine in September 1998. At the time I credited Donna Haraway as co-author in reference to her cyborg manifesto that I'd recently read.

Alex Lloyd is a cyborg.

You can forget those apocalyptic images from science fiction because his flesh won't peel back to reveal a steel frame, but as a musician he is literally part man, part machine.

Alex was assimilated earlier this decade when the singer quit playing in Sydney's Mother Hubbard to pursue his solo career with a sampler and an old Atari. This former Catholic choirboy has undergone a digital conversion.

Since then his song 'Snow' has leapt from the Scream 2 soundtrack onto FM radio. His recent single/EP 'Black the Sun' continues on a similar circuit, programming atmospheric effects and beats alongside guitar, strings and melancholy vocals.

"There's more to sing about in a minor key," says Alex of the music's reflective properties. "My music gives me an overall feeling which I describe as old grain, crystal clear. A kind of mix of old and new."

The blend is distinct, embodying those feelings of loss and alienation that defined soul and grunge with the infinite possibilities of digital manipulation. It's a kind of post-grunge angst with a sense of triphop's emptiness, like an existential ghost in the machine.

"It is a kind of cyborg thing but that's the way we're going. As long as people don't forget about the sun and the trees and remember that we need oxygen," says Alex, emphasising those natural fuels for the organic elements in any cyborg -- what's required to remain the human.

"You have to keep the soul in a song. Sometimes I sit in front of these screens thinking 'What are you doing to yourself?' Then I'll go home and play the Playstation! It drives me crazy sometimes but at the end of the day I love what I'm doing and you know when it's got soul."

Alex gives the impression that his music draws from the alienation in the songwriting process itself. The benefits include having a programmed band that will do exactly what he wants. "And I can turn them off too," he notes.

But despite being able to dictate the direction of his music, Alex still requires human interaction. "It's difficult when you're working on your own. You really do have to find the right mood. I'll ask friends for their opinions and my engineer Trent helps out by playing harmonica and slide guitar on the EP. The beauty of the arrangement is that I can collaborate with whomever I want," says Alex, his words echoing the promise of the digital medium.

Alex Lloyd isn't the only cyborg who isn't about to forget his humanity and offers some melancholy pop music that's burned (almost) directly from his soul. Expressing distinctly human themes through the machine without sounding like just another product. Download some today.