Interview with Alexa, November 2008.
With the kind permission of Claudia Wagner.

Who are the people behind Alexa?

It’s just me.

Is there a fundamental idea behind the band Alexa?

Basically, I see myself as a bit of a story teller.

How, when and where was Alexa founded?

Everything started in 2006, when by coincidence I found out about Roland Loy through an advertisement, because I was looking for a vocal teacher. I presented him with a few of the songs I had just written, and he wanted to take over the production.

How long has your band been around? How satisfied are you with the results so far, and what would you change if you could turn back time?

Basically, the entire project began in 2007, with the start of the first recordings for my demo CD. I’m really happy that I had the opportunity to move my songs from just purely “hobby level” to bringing them to the public, and because of this I’m very pleased with what I’ve achieved so far. But there’s still a lot to do and try out.

How did you decide on the name Alexa for your band? Is there a deeper meaning behind it?

No, it’s just the short form of my name (Alexandra).

What was the key moment back then behind your desire to create music yourself?

I have always made music, even as a child.
I was always in the school choir, I took guitar lessons for some time while I was in school and I was a member of the school band.
There was never a real key moment, it was always a gut instinct for me.

How important do you think a band’s image and visual appearance is in today’s (gothic) music landscape?
Is Alexa subject to any rules about clothing?

Well, I can say that personally I really love to create costumes and I really like ruffles and beautiful dresses. For me, part of being an artist is the ability to enjoy clothing to the fullest. And since I naturally don’t have that much self-confidence, these clothes also help me to feel more confident on stage.
A good side effect of this is also that dressing up gives people something to look at right away on stage. After all, you want to “carry off“ the audience into another world away from everyday life, so that maybe they’re able to forget their problems and worries. And that’s of course a lot less possible if you stand there in just jeans and a t-shirt. Then you’d need a great deal of charisma for sure. I don’t think I’d have that.

Who do you regard as the typical Alexa audience?
Is there a certain audience you want to speak to with your music?

I’ve discovered that there isn’t such a thing as a “typical audience“ for my songs. There are of course a lot of metal fans there, but also people who don’t necessarily listen to that type of music all the time. And also in terms of age, there are more or less all ages covered.

Is there a current way to describe Alexa’s musical genre? How do you describe your music to people who’ve never heard it before?

I call it symphonic rock. A lot of orchestra with electric guitars.

How important is (musical) success for Alexa?

Musical success is very enjoyable to the extent that it’s doing something you really like that other people like, too. But since I don’t make a living from the music, having success with it is of course not something that has to happen now on a large scale. Because like all other things, great success also has its downsides.

Would you maybe even let yourself be reshaped around (musically) in order to become more successful, to land an amazing label deal and be played all day on VIVA and MTV?

No, absolutely not. Of course I always listen to suggestions about how you could maybe improve something. But first and foremost the music has to be fun for me and I want to enjoy singing my songs. Otherwise there won’t be the energy needed to bring across the songs well to the audience.

Do you associate making music with any kind of dreams ? (if so, what kinds?)

I would guess that I combine the dream that a lot of people have. To stand on a big stage performing in front of a lot of people.

What difficulties do you currently face the most as an artist? Or is everything with Alexa going the way it should?

I guess I have the same problems as other artists. That you often don’t have enough time to manage everything, that the recordings for a production don’t work out the way they should, or that things can’t be used. Or that you even run out of ideas when songwriting…

How long did you work on getting your latest CD ready? Where was it recorded and produced?

The CD was produced in two stages. First I had finished writing two songs that were recorded in 2007. An additional four songs were completed at the beginning of 2008. They were recorded and produced by Roland Loy (Loyworld Records).

Was someone supporting you from behind the controls during production, or were you in control of everything?

In his studio, Roland Loy reworked the songs that I had already written at home and pre-produced. Particularly in terms of the band parts (drums, bass and guitar), since I couldn’t develop these so well on the PC. It’s better to add those in live.

What makes a good song for you personally?

It should be made interestingly, varied (which is something that I still have to work on) and it should convey something.

When you’re composing songs, do you need a certain inner mood or a particular atmosphere?

That really depends. Sometimes I see an image and suddenly have a full set of scenery including music in my head. Other times it’s an experience that triggers a certain feeling, so that I can write a whole page of lyrics right away. Sometimes I also have a great melody in my head when I’m sitting in the train and don’t have anything to write with.

Where can you best concentrate on writing new songs and lyrics?

If I want to work properly I have to of course sit at my computer. Here it’s best if it’s as quiet as possible, otherwise I find it too hard to concentrate.

What topics do you address in your lyrics and what do you get inspired by when you’re writing your lyrics?

That depends. In part it’s personal experiences or moments that you suddenly remember again, such as my mother’s death. Or just thoughts you’re having about the future. When you hear about climate change or some kind of catastrophe in the news. Or you read a fantasy book and write a song about one of the characters. Or you look out of the window at night, see the full moon shining in the sky with no clouds around it and you ask why the moon always looks so sad and whether it’s lonely…

How important are your lyrics to you? Do they hold an important place in Alexa’s music, or do you regard the lyrics as more just an accessory to the music?

I’ve never even thought about that. For a while I just wrote music, because I didn’t have the hang of writing lyrics to go with the music. Somehow the rhythm didn’t fit, the sentence was too long for the melody line etc.
Then two years ago I changed tactics: I first thought about what topic I wanted to write about, and then developed the music at the same time. Only then was I happy that it even all fit together. Maybe the lyrics will become even more important in the future, who knows.

What can you tell us about Alexa’s live work? Do you often have the chance to play live?

Well, I hope that will increase in the future. I always have the proper respect for it, and up to a medium level of panic when I perform onstage…Only practice can help…Maybe slowly next year there’ll be more. I’m working on it!

How can you describe an Alexa performance? What happens with you onstage?

This year I had performances together with a Gothic tribal dancer. She developed a choreography routine to go along with my songs. In part the whole thing took on a bit of the effect of a musical. It was very interesting and a lot of fun. Next year there’ll be more of this for sure!

Is it important for Alexa to be seen on the Internet?

Yes, because today that’s the fastest and simplest way to reach people.

What do you want to achieve (musically) with Alexa in the near future?

I would like to perform more and of course record new songs.

What was your best experience as a musician in 2008?

It’s always actually a great experience to have people come up to you and say, “Oh, that was just great!”

Was there anything in 2008 that was not so great for you?

Until now, no, and I hope it stays that way.

Can you sit down at a particular time to work on the new songs, or does the whole thing depend on the mood you’re in?

Starting on a new song would depend more on the mood I’m in. Here I’d need a certain impulse to know about what and how I want to write.
After this point it becomes a bit more routine and I will sit at the computer at a certain time. There are of course days when I can’t think of anything at all. Then I have to wait....

What goes through your head when you’re making music?

Mostly entire films with scenes and pictures to which the music in my head develops. Sometimes I have entire orchestra parts in my head and then try to get everything into the computer fast enough …

Thank you for the interview and all the best for the future. I’ll leave the last word now to you.

I want to thank everyone who has helped me realise my dreams, and who believes in and support me! Thank you so much!!!

© Claudia Wagner