INTRO BY SERA SNYDER
INTERVIEW BY CAMI LIBERTY
Houston-based, alternative-rock artist, Alex Riddle has just released his most recent single, “Snow White.” The song is a follow up to his EP that was released last year. He has a creative approach when it comes to singing and songwriting that sets him apart from the many other artists in this genre. You can listen to his newest single on Soundcloud and look out for Riddle as he tours in support of his newest 7” EP.
How did you first get your start in music? What inspired you to pursue it as a career?
ALEX: "I’ve been all over the map musically. I think the list of people who have both played DIY shows and sung in an a cappella group is probably pretty short. However, I don’t think that I’m alone at all in that it’s having a bunch of songs spilling out of me that made it necessary for me to do this as a career."
In your own words, how would you describe your music?
ALEX: "Acid rain in a champagne glass."
You recently released your new single, Snow White. Can you tell us a little about the song and the inspiration behind it?
ALEX: "Snow White is an inversion or subversion—or maybe even perversion—of the fairy tale. It shifts and blurs the roles of characters. The narrator is one suitor among many (the “orbiting dwarves”) competing for the attention of a Snow White character, who shares certain traits with the evil queen, seen in how she turns up repeatedly with maleficent intent. The narrator is an ineffectual prince and a sort of Snow White himself, having limited capacity for breathing on his own. They go in circles. She continually resurfaces, he likewise can’t stop driving over to her place while it’s raining, never quite able to accomplish his goal (linking him, too, to the evil queen).
I suppose that at some point in my adventures interacting with my fellow humans, I began to realize that what’s going on at the surface often only hints at and frequently is designed to obscure what’s going on beneath. At the risk of venturing into psychological territory I’m not qualified for, I’ll just say that a single personality seems to contain a number of forces vying for control. An ineffectual or malevolent person lets the negative forces claw their way up to the surface, and those are the sorts of things that can’t be controlled with any act of will. The will has abdicated its place.
Snow White is the story of the meeting of the claws that come up when the will bails out."
How do you think Snow White compares to the songs on your EP that was released last year, Happy Daggers?
ALEX: "Musically, on Happy Daggers, I was asking myself, how much breadth can I showcase with just three songs? To that end, I selected my most intense rock song (Truth Fairy), my most serene acoustic tune (Hosting Ghosts), and then a cover of Bjork’s Hyperballad, allowing me to go in a more experimental pop direction to round everything out. In the same wheelhouse as Happy Daggers is Snow White’s lyrical content, which you might describe as why and how love goes awry. Snow White shares a genetic origin with Hosting Ghosts—I wrote them at the same time on a single page in my notebook, evident from the opening line that they share. Happy Daggers is very guitar-driven. I overdubbed track after track, layering guitar parts to get the textures of Truth Fairy and Hyperballad (on which I’d set myself the challenge of recreating all of Bjork’s string and synth parts with guitar). Snow White is far more minimalist with instrumentation. It’s also my recorded piano debut. The interplay of carefully selected guitar parts with the counter-rhythms and chordal color of the piano creates the texture and atmosphere of Snow White."
What do you hope people take from your music?
ALEX: "It’s always interesting to hear different people’s thoughts on your music. A studio engineer referred to my music as being like 'cheesecake,' which I chose to take as a compliment. Someone else told me that my music leaves you satisfied but also wanting more, which I cannot help but think may have something to do with cheesecake. I would love it if everybody thought something along those lines. And I wouldn’t be at all displeased if somebody heard me and thought, 'Hey, rock and roll’s not dead.'"
Is there anything else that we can expect from you in the near future?
ALEX: "Expect a full length record next spring. Expect strings."