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Ziggy Alberts

Australian singer-songwriter Ziggy Alberts continues an illustrious journey in redefining the future of folk music. When clouded by a suffocating fog of negativity, let Ziggy take you by the hand and pull you out with his new album, ‘DANCING IN THE DARK’

Born during an era of widespread anxiety and panic, DANCING IN THE DARK is the latest offering from Ziggy Alberts as he continues to share his ever-evolving narrative and sound with notions of reflection and inspiration. With the global pandemic putting the entire music industry in a vice, it is of no surprise that Ziggy’s creativity and ideas had been left to brew and build, jumping straight into the writing for this record during the release of ‘searching for freedom’.

As the title suggests, Ziggy’s sixth studio album aims to show us perhaps not how to escape the darkness but how we can live and be comfortable within it. “As a young person in a very noisy world, it’s hard to feel a sense of purpose. There are so many opinions, so much information, and this huge sense of judgement that hangs over us like a cloud. The album is a blend of the honest and raw that reflects the range of experiences we are having as humans in our current world.”

A decade ago, Ziggy Alberts reached a turning point, taking on music in the hopes of sculpting life into something fulfilling and living it heartily until the very last second. Now, five albums later, Ziggy is creating honest, genuine, and emotionally vulnerable ‘future-folk’ that serves to uplift listeners and help them reflect on their own personal experiences. Alberts states his definition of music: “Its a way of expressing myself, processing, and creating peacefulness within. Songs, to me, are a combination of the rawest forms of honesty and mystery.”

Continually compared to the likes of Ben Howard, Nick Mulvey, and Jack Johnson, Ziggy walks in a similar direction but has created an entirely different path to walk down, becoming a voice that has evolved into a name in itself, championed by his introspective lyricism and minimalist soundscapes.

Ziggy joins 1883 to talk about his new record as well as how he maintains a healthy mind in a chaotic whirlwind environment.

 

 

 

Hi Ziggy, it’s a pleasure to speak with you today! How are you doing?

I’m doing good. I just got into the UK yesterday. We had a quick stop in Portugal, so we have been on this side of the world for about four days now. Jet lag is still killing me a little bit.

 

You’re over in the UK right now; would you mind starting us off by telling us a little bit about your trip?

So, I’ve got some recording that I’m doing at Abbey Road Studios, and then it’s lots of meetings and performances ahead of the new album, ‘DANCING IN THE DARK’. I’ve got a signing at Rough Trade West, which is going to be really fun because I haven’t done a signing in forever. It actually sold out in an hour, which is crazy. So, I look forward to meeting everyone there.

 

Your sixth studio album, ‘DANCING IN THE DARK’ is out just next month! How are you feeling ahead of its release?

Yeah, really good; I’m excited! I think it’s got a lot of colour and is going to be filled with some nice surprises for people.

 

What did you want to achieve with this record?

I had a vision for this album and what we wanted to achieve, like this kind of minimalist, spacious approach to the mixing, with the kind of futuristic elements and synth bass that you wouldn’t necessarily hear in a folk song. Those are being included and balanced with the very classic elements of my work, the very acoustic elements.

 

Out of the tracks that aren’t yet available, which song are you most excited for fans to listen to?

The title track, ‘DANCING IN THE DARK’, I’m really excited for people to hear that song. It was a really big achievement for us; it was one of those songs where we were in the studio and it got to like 18:00. We were meant to go home, and I don’t know what happened, but we just got this crazy-inspiring moment. We started doing stuff on the synth all of a sudden, and the whole thing just unlocked itself. I’m really looking forward to people putting on headphones and being taken on a real journey with that one.

 

When was it that you realised that you wanted to become a musician?

So I started playing guitar after I graduated school at 16. I always loved creative writing, so writing has been a part of my life for a long time. When I got the guitar, everything started funnelling towards writing through music. I quit my last job about nine years ago, and my logic at the time was pretty funny. It was that if I did one or two more shows a week, I’d be just as broke, but I’d have more time to surf. So I wasn’t thinking about some big career that would be where we are today. It was just to allow me to be happier. 

 

As an artist that is so busy all the time, especially going on tour, how do you keep yourself in a healthy headspace when you’re away from home so much?

To be perfectly honest, I’m still learning. Touring in particular is hectic, I know a couple of artists who have openly said that they had to pull back from it. When I’m touring, I don’t party at all. It’s certainly a roller coaster ride, so I try to be as healthy as I can. I make sure I keep going for runs, yoga, meditation, and Whim Hoff breathing exercises. Those are like my four pillars on tour in terms of what helps me deal with the very up-and-down nature of it all. In 2019, I also had my younger brother join us; he did all the cooking for the whole team, which was amazing. We didn’t want to do like 20–30 takeout meals every day, so it was a big part of trying to combat our waste management. But, essentially, having a home-cooked meal and sitting down together at various times during the day—that was huge! Just simple, clean food really can help your mental state. So, whatever your definition of health is, it’s all about keeping that in check. But man, I’m still on that learning journey as much as anybody else, and I’m happy to say that.

 

We were speaking earlier, and you mentioned that we lose so many young and older men each year to things like mental health. What do you think are some of the reasons that are holding a lot of us back?

It’s hard to feel a sense of purpose as a young person in a very noisy world. There are so many opinions, and there’s so much information we’re consuming every day. I think there’s this huge sense of judgment, particularly in masculinity. What does it mean to be a man now? You want to be a stronghold for yourself, for your friends, for your partner, and for your family. That’s a pretty natural thing to want to be. So there is this fear that you can’t break down and that you have to be strong for those around you. As young men, the purpose of becoming a man and filling those shoes can be perplexing. I also think that, to some extent, the advantage that women have is that talking to each other about their emotions is such a normal part of life. I’m lucky to have a group of friends that talk about a lot of things and are really okay being vulnerable with each other as young guys. But I know that’s not a very common thing in men. I went on a camping trip recently with some friends in the middle of nowhere, surfing and sitting around a fire. Being wild but not destructive is important in modern society. But to be wild and to tap into your primal being with the very natural essence of who we are as both men and women.

 

Sometimes, especially in young guys, they feel like they don’t have an outlet to use for all these emotions, and so it all builds up because they don’t know how to talk about them either. What you’re saying with the camping trip is that it can be a massive release, an escape from the world. Music can be something else people use. So do you feel that from creating your own music?

Yeah, definitely. By writing songs, that’s been the way I can say those things that you can’t even say to yourself. It’s a way to tell stories or to make your own diary. Music, in that sense, has been such a saving grace for me. I was on a trip and met this guy, a father of three, who was quite a rough, hardy kind of bloke, and he told me this amazing story around one of my songs, and he was crying while telling me this story. You write these songs from a place that isn’t always pleasant, and you take that emotion and all the experiences that you’re having, all the experiences you observe in the world, and you deliver them back to the world in the form of a song. Then you meet the people that understand, and it has some effect on them; that’s truly special. There’s a beautiful quote I read in a book called ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’, by Viktor Frankl, and in it he quotes Nietzsche: “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” That ‘why’ has been given to me by music.

 

DANCING IN THE DARK is out now, follow Ziggy via @ziggyalberts

 

Interview Will Macnab

Photography Shelley Kimber

 

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