In the spring of 2014, we took a two-hour bus ride to South Philadelphia and spent a weekend with Alex Giannascoli. He was, at the time, a 21-year-old English major with a BandCamp full of home-recorded hits and a growing cult of internet fans. Yesterday, he stopped by The FADER office, and it was clear that a lot had changed. First off, he dropped out of college. "I'm done with school," he explained. "I was there because I figured I wanted to make a lot of money or something, but I sucked at discipline. I sucked at doing what you have to do."
The singer-songwriter has also officially announced that he inked a much-deserved deal with Domino. The London/Brooklyn indie label will release his full-length this fall, on both vinyl and cassette. If stunning first leak "Bug" is any sort of indication, that full-time focus is paying off. The album is titled Beach Music, it's 13 tracks long, and it's out on October 9th. Over a couple beers with Giannascoli we gleaned a few more tidbits about what's very likely going to be one of our favorite albums of 2015.
He recorded it at home, with his signature desktop microphone
"I recorded it all myself, all over," he told FADER. "Some in my apartment, some in my girlfriend's, some at Scotty from Shelf Life's place; I'm at his house all the time. I recorded digitally, because obviously all I have is that thing."
But he mixed it with a pro
"I had it mixed by Jacob Portrait, who plays bass in Unknown Mortal Orchestra," he explained. "I knew what levels I wanted everything to be at, but he was able to do a lot of shit that I didn't even know was possible, like taking out all the hiss."
First single "Bug" is about being really annoyed
"I was living in South Philly, and I'd been sitting on a lot of shit since DSU," Giannascoli told FADER. "I hadn't recorded a lot, so I figured I'd spend a whole day writing a song. It's hard to talk about the backstory because there's not much to say, but I know how I felt. There was someone who was being kind of parasitic, or something. Someone was getting on my nerves."
And it's not the only song with pitch-warped vocals
"It makes it more theatrical," he said about his tendency to contort his voice into unrecognizable shapes. "It makes it more of a character than just me."
His sister made the trippy cover artwork, just like DSU
"I think it's so fucking cool," he said. "I have to ask her what the meaning is, but I vaguely remember her talking about it: it's about embracing all sides of yourself. When she was listening to the record, she felt like it was a lot of internal voices, like each song was a different voice from inside yourself. It wasn't my intention going into it, but listening to it, I see what she means. I could say that about all my records, though; they're all temporary perspectives."
He's *been* ready to let it into the world
"I'm really excited," Giannascoli said, "but it's been done for a while, so the release isn't gonna be a big boom for me."
Beach Music track listing:
06. Look Out
07. Brite Boy
08. In Love