With her compelling second EP ‘Goose,’ Alix Page delivers a heartfelt and introspective journey through growth, maturity, and self-discovery. Check out the latest cover story for our New Music Friday playlist edit The Cut.
Words: Nieve McCarthy.
Getting lost in memories is second nature to some of us. Trying to decipher what we truly miss amongst the haze of nostalgia is nigh on impossible, and that’s a feeling Alix Page knows all too well. “I wanna do it again,” she sings on ‘Automatic’, the first single from her sophomore EP, ‘Goose’. Deep down, though, she knows she can’t. A couple of years ago, when she was writing her first EP, ‘Old News’, it’s something she perhaps wouldn’t have considered. Yet, now she’s back with a new perspective – ‘Goose’ sees a sage wisdom blossom and develop into some of her best music yet.
“I’ve grown up a lot,” Alix shares. “I was 19 when we recorded ‘Old News’, versus 20, almost 21 with this. Last year was a huge year for me, there was so much touring, and I definitely grew up a lot and became more independent and better at communicating. That plays a part in this music for sure, which is really exciting.”
Her first EP, a support slot with Gracie Abrams that saw the California-native venture to the UK and Europe, and a smattering of headline shows all conduced to a year filled with realisations, maturity and acceptance. ‘Goose’ arrives as a result of that, a five-track exploration of Alix’s world in full, technicolour detail.
“This one feels a lot more mature to me. ‘Toothache’ and ‘How Could I’ are some of my most mature songs yet,” decides Alix. “It also feels more fun. It’s a weird thing where you’ve grown past dramatising something and gone to accepting and laughing about it. There’s a contradiction where it’s very fun and joyful and boyish in a sense, but it’s also mature and more realistic and has accepted the reality of something that’s happened.”
The fresh-faced Alix we meet on the cover of ‘Old News’ no doubt had a tendency to linger in what could have beens and what still might be – envisioning what things might turn out like when she’s 25, lamenting that things “haven’t changed all that much / but I’m dying to”. It seems her wishes came true – having gone through the classic early twenties rites of passage (read: getting bangs), she emerges with a new perspective that affords her sound a newfound richness, too. More assured, more willing to see her own faults, more final; the Alix we’re re-introduced to on ‘Goose’ is set to slide out of her comfort zone and address everything head-on.
Still, that haze of the past lingers as thick as ever. Now, though, Alix has the lessons she’s learnt to help her to navigate that heavy mist. On ‘Goose’, the narrative has changed.
“A lot of the times, I get confused when I’m missing home or missing high school,” Alix recognises. “Do I actually miss them, or do I literally just miss high school and pre-COVID times and my hometown? ‘4Runner’ is the thesis of that battle. ‘Automatic’ acknowledges that no, we’re not going to do this again, we can’t. ‘How Could I’ in the same way is very realistic and lays everything out super truthfully. It’s acknowledging: why would I do that to myself again? There’s definitely a battle there of what feels comfortable and what just feels familiar.”
There’s a fine line between the two, and at times the EP reaches for the uncomfortable amidst that familiarity. ‘4Runner’ revels in specificity, remembering someone with vivid detail and likening them to the kind of old faithful car that eventually runs its course – so much specificity, in fact, that the release was somewhat nerve-wracking. “Namedropping the neighbourhood in LA and the model of car, I might as well have said the person’s name,” Alix laughs. “But once it’s out and done, it’s not your secret anymore. It feels good.”
Another facet of Alix’s musical world that has quickly become both familiar and, at times, unnerving is her own authenticity and honesty. Currently in the throes of balancing finals and college classes with tours and EP releases, a journalism elective sparked a conclusion about the reasoning for even doing all this in the first place.
“We’ve been thinking a lot about the truth and what that means. One of my professors was an investigative journalist, who has a Nobel Prize for his work in Ghana. He’s insane. Someone asked him: are you ever afraid of what you’re going to publish for fear of people’s feelings or exposing too much? He said he thinks honesty is the highest form of loyalty and telling the truth is that. I realised I have a job to do, and it’s a loyalty to my fans and to myself to tell the truth and always try to speak from the heart. I think that will sit with me for the rest of my life, truly.”
The truth she tells always seems to resonate with her fans, luckily. A legion of thoughtful and sweet listeners, who even brought party hats to a show on Alix’s birthday last year, they’re living these moments in tandem with Alix a lot of the time. “I wouldn’t want to have any other fanbase than young girls who have gone through the same things and appreciate the same things.”
“I wouldn’t want to have any other fanbase than young girls who have gone through the same things and appreciate the same things”Alix Page
“At the heart of it, I’m a woman going through the same things and who has gone through the same things that every 16-year-old has gone through. At the end of the day, my story will be similar to every girl who was 16 once. We’ve all been heartbroken by that one guy, and we’ve all gone through certain things together. We all came from the same places and the same things.”
Thankfully, Alix is here to put those very same things into words – the title track is an immediate transportation into this sentimental, but sensible world. ‘How Could I’ worries over visiting that same neighbourhood she namedrops on ‘4Runner’, running back into old habits. Though that urge to revisit recurs, the sonic world of ‘Goose’ is expansive – ‘Goose’ leans into a surprising cocktail of “Bruce drums, Sheryl Crow beats and Alex G twinkly guitars”, whilst ‘How Could I’ is a resolutely lulling combination of lightly plucked chords and barely there piano. ‘Toothache’, however, is a shattering conclusion likening cavities to a gut-punching heartache – the mostly stripped-back, forlorn track descends into a drum-heavy expulsion of the emotional remnants the EP has left behind.
It’s a combination of tracks that on paper seems an odd mix, but the careful honesty of Alix’s lyricism and of course, her distinctive vocals, bring the EP together. Making the EP, she brought a host of new faces onboard – from Mary Weitz and Cameron Hale to Andy Seltzer and Brett Kramer, there was a lot more experimentation for Alix. “It’s been really fun to explore and figure it out. I’ve stepped into more of a co-producer role and I’ve been really specific about what I want and my vision. It’s been really fun to see that finally come to fruition.
“Cameron produced ‘Automatic’, and even though my vocals sound more poppy on that one, he is influenced by alternative music, also. He always makes little vocal samples, or some really interesting guitars. That’s a baritone ukulele, which is weird in itself. He’s really good at making interesting pop music, and that’s what I want to lead into, so it was the perfect fit. Andy Seltzer is like the indie girl’s Jack Antonoff, too.”
That vision she wished to be brought to life is, at its core, a piece of Alix – a statement of her growth so far, and her growth to come. There’s no shyness or regret, just a commitment to being true and honest despite what may come of it. This is a snapshot in time for who Alix is right now, and to bare witness to that is a pleasure. “I feel like with me what you see is what you get,” Alix concludes. “I’m never going to be the popstar to put on a costume or anything. It’s always going to be me at the forefront of it. For that reason, I feel like it always has to come from me and from the truth. Even though it is scary, I think it’s worth it and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” ■
Alix Page’s new EP ‘Goose’ is out now. Follow Dork’s The Cut Spotify playlist here.