“There’s this sense of murder and law-breaking, mixed with insecurity and judgement” - Alexandra Savior talks hmv.com through her debut album and working with Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner
If you’ve fallen head over heels for the smoky vocals of Lana Del Rey and Halsey then you’ll adore Portland singer-songwriter Alexandra Savior.
The singer first caught people’s attention last year on 'Risk', a gentle ballad that appeared on the soundtrack to the second season of True Detective with little introduction or fanfare. But, when it made its way online, it was revealed that it had a rather famous co-writer, one Alex Turner.
Subsequently, it emerged that the singer and Turner had been collaborating for quite a while, she co-wrote one of the tracks for The Last Shadow Puppets' second album Everything You've Come To Expect.
Since then Turner and producer James Ford have been working with Savior on her music, the result of which is her debut album Belladonna Of Sadness, which comes out this week.
We spoke to her to find out how Turner and Ford helped the album come together and why there’s a whole lot of murder on this album…
The album hits shelves today, how long have you been collecting songs for this LP?
“The oldest song on there is ‘M.T.M.E’ which is from 2013, so I’ve been collecting songs for four years, most of them came to me in 2014 and 2015. It all came in a year.”
You worked with Alex Turner and James Ford on the album, how did that collaboration come about?
“They were great. We finished the record a long time ago now so it’s not fresh. It wasn’t planned. I’d been working with different people and I had a whole other record. Then I met Alex and he wanted to write with me and then we did one song. After we did that he said to me that he wanted to do a whole record with me.”
Was it nerve-wracking? Alex Turner has written the odd hit in the past...
“It was weird. I wasn’t expecting it would lead to a whole record and I was confused about why he wanted to work with me, but I was happy. The nerve wracking part was playing him songs that I’d only played to myself in my apartment, it was like handing over a baby, but after that it settled down, he’s just a dude at the end of the day.”
Can you sum up the album lyrically? Does it have a common thread?
“There’s a common thread, I see it now, that’s because it now really represents a period of my life. Lyrically there’s this sense of murder and law-breaking, mixed with insecurity and judgement. It’s a very sarcastic take on the world.”
When did you settle on Belladonna Of Sadness for the album title?
“It was very last-minute. I’d named it a lot of different things, but I saw the film Belladonna Of Sadness and I really connected to it. It’s a tribute to that feeling as I think it’s rare to feel so strongly about a movie.”
How are you bringing the album to life in the live arena?
“I’ve got a great group now, the songs are a little different from how they are on record. Live it’s a lot heavier and dirtier, the studio takes are much crisper and more pristine.”