Introducing: Alexander Jean
With a new EP just our we spent a few minutes in the company of BC Jean from Alexander Jean to talk about how the duo met, what their approach to songwriting is, and why no album.
Hey guys, can you tell us about you?
We are Alexander Jean, an indie rock/pop duo living in Los Angeles, CA consisting of BC Jean and Mark Alexander.
And what’s your story?
We met at a mutual friends house in 2012 where we both performed, for a live stream charity show. Mark asked for my number and we eventually started hanging out more and more and it led to a pretty cool relationship. We only would dabble in music together at first, we kept it very casual. Then one day after we had been together for about a year and a half we decided we should sit down and write a proper song together. We didn't expect much from it, just wanted to keep it fun. We then decided to record it and when we were done we looked at each other quite impressed, realizing we had something different and special together. Since then we decided to join forces.
Tell me a bit about the experiences you went through to get to releasing your debut EP.
We spent months only writing. We would set aside time to write or if we felt inspired throughout the day we would go with the flow. Sometimes in the morning, before dinner, after dinner, while we were getting ready to go out, or on vacation, etc.. Once we felt we had an awesome body of material we went into the studio and began laying down our ideas. Everything on the Head High EP is live and hand played by a human.
What was your process for writing/choosing songs for the album?
We recorded a couple handfuls of songs and pretty easily decided on our favourites. We had strong instincts to go with these particular six songs.
What have you enjoyed most so far about the whole recording / releasing cycle?
We are both passionate, creative beings, so the fact we get to do what we love with the one we love and then connect with other people around the world is pretty amazing. We love and cherish every second of it.
For the uninitiated, what’s ‘Whiskey & Morphine’ about?
This song is about a toxic relationship where two people lose control due to addiction. You can interpret it as the obvious substance addiction or take it as a metaphor for their unhealthy addiction for each other.
You’ve written songs for other people, is there a difference in writing for yourselves?
It's always more personal when writing for yourself. I find the best songs are written when it comes from a very real and authentic place, regardless who it is for.
Did you make a conscious choice to write songs that you knew you’d record not give to someone else?
Our goal for this EP was to write songs for ourselves, and if a song started to take a different direction we would put it on the back burner but we know it's always there for futures projects.
Which song are you most proud of?
We are proud of this EP as a whole, it's too difficult to pick only one song.
What’s the reason for an EP/mini-album rather than a standard 10-12 track LP?
This was our first release as 'Alexander Jean' and since we are doing this independently we decided we wanted to release two EP's this year, which is kind of like releasing a full album in a year. Plus this day and age people's attention span is much shorter, we wanted to make sure every song got the full attention they deserve.
What’s been your best experience so far this year?
Probably when our first single 'Roses and Violets" went to #1 on the iTunes singer/songwriter chart, #6 on the pop chart and when our Head High EP went to #1 as well on the singer/songwriter chart.
Can we expect to see you in the UK at some point?
Absolutely, we can't wait to go over there. Hopefully sooner than later. That is a huge goal for us.
Social media for artists: a pain in the butt or vital in 2016?
Both. It's an excellent platform especially for independent artists. However, it is like a full time job.
You’ve got a cracking website with some excellent artwork; is the whole package interesting to you? So not just the music, but everything that goes with it.
Absolutely. We think about the entire puzzle not just one piece. We grew up when CD's were popular, when there was a opportunity to tell an entire story from inside the cd packet for fans to dissect. Art, pictures, lyrics, everything was so cool and personalized but still had a sense of mystery. We miss that! So every chance we get to tell a little more of our story and add more pieces to the puzzle we will.
If you could only listen to one song this week, what would it be?
BC: 'Bohemian Rhapsody' by Queen
Mark: 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' Nirvana
What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?
What's the best way to keep in touch with us?
Find us @_alexanderjean_ on Twitter and Instagram.
Main image taken from the band's official website, credit to Buck Ballas. You can purchase the EP now.