Editor’s Note: This interview with Alex Arbour was conducted via email. Questions and answers may have been cleaned up for grammar and clarity, however, the content has not been altered.
[Samantha Warren/AltWire]: For our fans that haven’t heard of you yet, can you please tell us who you are and any other fun facts you’d like us to know about you?
Alex Arbour: Hey, I’m Alex Arbour and I’m a solo artist. I also work at a recording studio called Fly Away Music and Media Studios in Montreal, Quebec where I write and record for other artists. If I’m not working on music I’m probably re-watching the office for the millionth time.
[AW]: Let’s talk a little bit more about you. Where are you from and where did you grow up? What made you want to be a musician?
Alex Arbour: I’m from Montreal, Quebec (Canada). Ever since I could remember I had a passion for music. Music has always been my escape. I dealt with a lot of things growing up and when things got rough I’d lock myself away in my room and just write music. It was the easiest way to express myself.
The first thing I ever did was start screaming for metal bands cause I was always to shy to sing in front of people. Over the course of my years in those metal bands I slowly started experimenting and learning how to sing.
Now I pretty much only sing which I never thought would have been the situation but I’m loving it, and I’m pretty sure my parents understand this and actually like this music haha.
[AW]: You recently released your new EP, “Sad Songs” on iTunes. What was the songwriting process like for your EP?
Alex Arbour: Sad Songs was actually written a year ago in my bedroom. June 16th 2016 i was rushed to the ICU due to heart failure and came very close to dying. My heart had gotten so weak it was at 14% the doctors were shocked that I didn’t check into a hospital a lot sooner. You could say I’m quite stubborn sometimes.
As of today my heart is somewhere around 40-45% and if I’ll ever fully recover is still not uncertain.
Once I was released from the hospital I couldn’t do very much. Honestly, I was sleeping 12-14 hours a day because my heart was so weak.
So when I was as awake I would write and record music in my bedroom studio. Once I got a little bit better I met up with my now partner at the studio I work at and began re-writing the songs that can be heard on my ep. The songs sounded a lot different from what I had initially written which is really cool because my partner at the studio really added more pop elements that were missing.
[AW]: While you were writing the songs for your EP, What are some of your main messages that you want to get across through your music? What was your inspiration?
Alex Arbour: Well the first track on the album is called Heartbeat and I think it’s safe to assume we know what that ones about haha.
Two of the songs on the album are about my ex who pretty much up and left me out of nowhere. I like to make the dad joke and say I actually almost died due to a broken heart. No one finds that funny but me but whatever. Haha
The last song is about my best friend who I had feelings for. Things eventually started going beyond friendship or so I thought and when I told her she immediately disappeared from my life. which I guess I can’t blame her for entirely due to the fact It was during a very rough period of my life (before the heart) when I was struggling with a lot of personal issues and depression and I was drowning those problems with drugs and alcohol.
[AW]: What are your favorite songs of your EP? What makes them stand out the most to you?
Alex Arbour: Honestly they are all so extremely personal to me they are all my favourite, I really couldn’t choose just one. I poured out every ounce of emotion into these songs and I couldn’t be more proud. I overcame a lot last year and this ep to me was the turning point in my life.
[AW]: If you could compare yourself to any other musician, who would it be and why? Why do you think you’re similar to them?
Alex Arbour: Believe it or not, I’ve been compared to blink-182 multiple times which blows my mind cause I definitely don’t hear that at all, but I’ll take it cause that’s definitely a compliment.
I don’t know who I’d compare myself to honestly, one of my favourite songwriters would be AJ Perdomo from the dangerous summer. His songs are so honest and well written every song really makes you feel something and that’s something I aspire to do. I’m definitely not at his level but I aspire to be.
[AW]: How would you define your music and who are your musical influences?
Alex Arbour: My music is definitely brutally honest, I don’t hold back at all. It’s more often then not sad because I write what I know and I’ve gone through a lot in life. I’ve been suffering from severe depression for years now, and I’ve been on and off almost every medication you can imagine. You will hear much more about my life and personal issues I’ve struggled with on the full length that’s currently being written.
There are some more upbeat and happy songs as well so it’ll be a mix of emotions, and all over the place genre wise. It’s been really tough cause I’ve never really been to open about some of the subjects on the album but I think a lot of people will be able to connect to it. Be on the lookout for a new single rather soon.
I take influences from everywhere, I love music as a whole which is so cliche to say but my iPhone goes from mainstream pop to deathcore and everything in between. My iPhone on shuffle would probably give someone a headache haha.
[AW]: If you could tour with anyone, who would it be and why?
Alex Arbour: The cure would be a dream but Something tells me I won’t get that option haha
For this project a dream tour would be like Aaron west and the roaring twenties, the dangerous summer, moose blood and myself. Damn that actually sounds like a killer tour even if I wasn’t on it I’d be beyond stoked for it haha. Someone should make that happen.
[AW]: Do you have any side projects? If so, what are they? Do you have any shows or tours in the works?
Alex Arbour: I kinda do and I kinda don’t. One of my really good friends from an old band of mine is a crazy guitarist and another friend of mine who also owns a studio is one of the best drummers I’ve ever met so we often bounce ideas back and forth.
What I can say is that I have a metal song coming out at the end of the summer with a music video that’s really going to throw my new fans off guard if they don’t know my musical background cause I’ll be screaming on that track. Whether I release it under my name or a band name is still up in the air.
As for shows, I’ve been offered a few tours but I technically don’t have a band I wrote 75% of it by myself I had a few friends come in and record some stuff to help me out and the “bonus” track instrumental was entirely written by a fan named Forest Wade Graham who hit me up on Instagram and asked me to sing over his track. once I heard it I was blown away. I knew I had to write something over it.
I’d love to accept some of these offers but there’s a lot to figure out. I am currently jamming with a few people here and there so we will see what comes of that. Especially since these new songs definitely have more full band elements an acoustic tour would feel empty to me and I don’t want to do anything until it’s perfect.
[AW]: If you could give any advice to any other upcoming musicians, what would it be?
Alex Arbour: I love being asked this question cause I still consider myself a random artist no one knows about but my social media accounts grow everyday. it still kinda blows my mind the reception I’m getting from this solo stuff, within a matter of months I’ve gotten so many opportunities I was dreaming of in all my other bands.
Here’s my advice don’t rush anything, be genuine and write what you know. Don’t force a song, don’t be afraid to write about a topic your passionate about. Everyone relates to music one way or another. Always interact with fans, have conversations. It’s what I’ve been doing from the start and I think it’s going pretty well.
[AW]: Do you have anything that you’d like to mention that I didn’t ask?
Alex Arbour: I briefly spoke about it on social media, but as i write my full length I’ll be starting something called “The Singles Club”. I’ll be doing some limited run ridiculous merch ideas that I’ll be posting on social media next week and if you buy a shirt you’ll be apart of “The Singles Club” and receive a free single every month or so before I release it anywhere online!
Some of the songs will be on the full length and some won’t. So for around 15$ you’ll get a shirt a bunch of free music before it’s released anywhere else.
Honestly I just want to say thank you to everyone who’s listened to my music and sent me messages telling me my songs have helped them or they can relate. That’s always been my main priority when writing music is to be able to help someone the way music helped me throughout the years.
Listen to Alex Arbour – Sad Songs off of the EP called Another Song About You
You can stream the rest of the ep on YouTube and find it available anywhere online that sells/streams music!
Check me out on social media!
YouTube: Alex Arbour Music