"Call Me Adam" catches up with singer/songwriter Graham Alexander to talk about his sophomore album Repeat Deceiver which was released on December 19! Click here to purchase on iTunes and here for a physical CD!
1. On December 19, you released your sophomore album Repeat Deceiver. What are you looking forward to most about this release? Well....quite honestly the #1 thing I look forward to about this album is playing it live (also...finishing what was seemingly a never ending series of sessions that made up Repeat Deceiver). We are excited to promote the album despite its macabre feeling in title, and appearance--most of that has an underlying "freedom" from deception mantra. Across a platform of so so so many things in life, really.
2. How did you come up with the title of the album? I wrote the song first and then it was determined that the rest of the songs were thematically applicable to the rest of them....so it made sense. "Repeat Deceiver" was such a wonderful phrase (I felt) and in two words it described how I felt about so many aspects of the modern age. Is there a day that goes by that you *don't* hear about deception?
3. When you were thinking of recording your sophomore album, what goals did you set to achieve with this recording that you did not get to achieve on your debut album? I didn't set any goals, really. I think you just learn what you like and what you hate and then turn all of that on its head and try to create something that really breathes and makes you excited to listen to it. It's like...I suppose…to me at least, setting goals for an album of any tangible value sort of eliminates the possibility of it being anything you could ever a. enjoy, b. promote with love for it and passion and c. creatively be satisfied with. I say CREATE and perfect as much as possible but try not to shove the project in a box.
4. What was the best part about the making of this album? What was the most challenging? Finishing it. HAHAHAHAHA.......YEA....finishing the album was the absolute best part. Although notable highlights for me also include the live band stuff we did for things like "People Are Only Sorry When They're Caught" and "Third Wheel," which we recorded very much live (like the olden days)…together in a room. Very raw.
5. Aside from this being a new recording, why should fans be excited for Repeat Deceiver? It's my favorite album thus far that I've ever been involved with and my team and I feel we've really created something realllly unique and really enjoyable to listen to. We spent so much time to make sure we weren't cutting a single corner on the production. You hear real violins, cellos, trumpets, saxophones--humans--playing music. It's really a rare album in 2014/2015 and part of an overall plan to bring more substance from a drooping 100+ year old industry. These songs are handcrafted. There aren't any formulas we follow. We don't hire outside writers to churn out the next pop hit. The songs are from us. The music is from us and it's our absolute passion for almost 2 decades now.
6. How do you feel you've grown as an artist with this album? Ya know...I'm not sure how an artist grows really. I would say thinking about it too much might stunt creativity. I feel like thinking about things too much often ruins them like having 6 people try to write a joke. Eventually there are so many punchlines that the concept of the whole thing is dead in the water.
7. In addition to recording your sophomore album, you also reorganized and reincorporated RCA and merged your production and administration facilities with them. What made you want to take on this venture and what have you enjoyed most about this side of the business? Well....the first thing my production company LAIR did was to acquire a bunch of essentially ancient brands including some early record labels (and imprints) because, of course, RCA Records was sold off from the Radio Corporation of America (RCA Corp.) portfolio (to Sony) years before we were able to re-organize it. Because I'm from Victor Talking Machine Co.'s hometown (the very first major record company), I cared more about seeing that restored since it had more historic value for me personally than the later RCA Records division. So once we organized that together with our other brands we decided to dissolve LAIR as the parent holding company and return VTMC (and our other brands which include brand holdings in musical Instruments, pro audio, and apparel) to its parent (which of course GE bought in 1986 and subsequently sold off bits and pieces of...holding the company as a shell until recently).
8. Since the album is called Repeat Deceiver, what is an event in your life you would want to do over and over again and have you ever deceived someone? I don't think there is a single thing I've ever experienced that isn't better off a memory HAHAHAHAHA and by that I mean…I love the past BUT it's the past for a reason. Society should move as progressively out of the status it is in at all times and oddly that occasionally means peeking into the past to see what went wrong and how we can all make it better. I know that probably sounds pretty hypocritical coming from the artist releasing a record through a 115+ year old company, but I suppose thats the irony of progression sometimes…and occasionally, you don't know what you've got till its gone. And sadly, even more occasionally, it's not gone because of a natural progression of events.
9. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I'd say the power to sleep. At this point. I can't stop my brain these days!
10. If you could be any original Life Saver flavor, which one would you be? Cherry! but it stains your face.
11. How do you want to be remembered? By having done something that makes people happy! I'll keep you updated if that happens!
With a style incredibly eclectic and signature, Graham Alexander's life has been dedicated to performing, composing and producing music from an early age. Graham's upbringing brought in an incredibly diverse palette of pop artists from Glenn Miller, Frank Sinatra and American folk music of the early 20th century, to Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, and 2Pac. Born in a severely depressed post-industrial Camden, N.J., Graham's first guitar was picked from the garbage on account of not being able to afford one on his own. From that point, he and music of every kind became inseparable.
Having grown up with the birth and progression of the internet (and the vast media availability it granted the world), Graham never saw music as something that needed to be genre-based. As a songwriter, he preferred the freedom of writing what struck his mind as interesting at the moment rather than adhering to a trend. This fearless and rebellious attitude towards genre bending pushed him to produce and self release his first album in 2011 to rave reviews (quickly becoming a cult classic). Critics and fans alike lauded the album for its neo-retro sensibility coupling irresistibly catchy songs with organic and incredibly detailed production. Spotify's top 100 songs chosen by fans playlist even included the first single from the album "Biggest Fan" at #6 in its 2011 list. Shortly after, Graham Alexander with his band toured in support of the album, building the brand one set of ears at a time.
Graham formed his band of nearly 15 years while he was still in middle school--a rare feat in this day and age. Their commitment to touring and their history at such a young age makes Graham Alexander & Co. an incredibly special phenomenon in the live music world today. Additionally, they pride themselves on performing without the assistance of sequences or backing tracks that are all too common in live acts today. In addition to his career as a solo artist, Graham's passion for performance was nurtured by his work on Broadway as an actor, musician, and musical director in various productions at the Neil Simon, Brooks Atkinson, and St. James theaters in New York City.
In 2013, Graham reorganized and reincorporated 'Radio Corporation of America' returning it to Camden, NJ. In 2014, Graham merged his production and administration facilities while developing products for the company’s Victor Talking Machine Co., Victrola, His Master’s Voice, and Little Nipper brands.