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Interview: Ziggy Alberts


Interview: Ziggy Alberts

Kate Sansome

Coastal folk singer, Ziggy Alberts has recently announced an upcoming tour in celebration of his recently release, Four Feet In The Forest. The EP is the follow up to his 2014 debut album Land & Sea, this time creating something filled with a higher level of maturity whilst showing vulnerability.  He sets out to explore social and environmental issues whilst highlighting his own journey and pressure to maintain health whilst developing his music career. This Is Radelaide recently got the opportunity to speak to Alberts about his recent EP, his upcoming tour and his passion for environmental and social issues.  

For those just discovering your music, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
Sure! I am a home schooled songwriter, free surfer and environmental enthusiast from the east coast of Australia. I saw inside a classroom for the first time at 13 and picked up a guitar when I graduated at 16. I was 18 when I quit my last coffee shop job, and have played music full time ever since. I bought my first van at 19 and have lived in vans ever since. I'm currently 21. 

What was the first moment that made you realize you wanted to pursue music?
It was when I realised music was incredible opportunity to have a creative fulfilling career that would support a healthy lifestyle, my loved ones... and give me some more free time to spend in the ocean! 

What record has had the most influence on you as an artist?
The most influential record has to be the one that made me realise I could transition my creative writing into songwriting. It was Inside Story (2009) by Horrorshow.  Some of the finest Australian poetry you'll ever read. 

Image via Ziggy Alberts

Image via Ziggy Alberts

How has your music developed since the release of Made of Water?
It’s slowed down a touch (haha!) I listen back to that record and feel like the nerves & coffee might have gotten the best of me. The thing that has changed the most is structure; made of water was so honest and youthful, those kind of songs really just pour out of your heart. Whereas now - as I’ve grown as a musician and human being - I’m a little more careful about what, how, and where I give: personally and in my song writing, in order to give the emotion & purpose of these songs the best chance of understanding. 

You recently released your latest EP Four Feet in the Forest, can you tell us a little bit about the record and how the writing process has been?
The songs on Four Feet In The Forest, lyrically, are the five most carefully vulnerable out of over a dozen songs I’ve written since Land & Sea. Every song on this record took months to write, till I got the subliminal/literal descriptive balance I envisioned. when I wrote the title track, four feet in the forest, it was a real breakthrough song for me, personally - because I discovered a new maturity in creative description: and also began to lean less to writing about personal relationships with women in my life, and instead, emotion encapsulated in human form.

I read that the album highlights social and environmental issues, what issues in particular does the album address?
Start Over highlights ocean animals in captivity & the texting-whist-driving issue on our roads. If you begin to understand the emotional capability of these animals, it’s pretty clear how wrong that whole industry is. We’ve all been on our phone whilst driving, but there isn’t transparency in the issue and we need to support our friends in getting out of those habits. 

Tell Me highlights the lack in value of our personal health, our clean rivers & oceans, and the startling amount of debris found on the far edges of the earth. And my distaste for cigarettes - I hate cigarettes. It isn’t making girls any prettier, it isn’t making boys any stronger, and it ain’t making anything or anyone healthier. I literally care enough about strangers that I wouldn’t wish that sort of self harm upon them. Way too many artist endorse it as a cool thing, and honestly, we are responsible for influencing a lot of young people - I feel responsible to being one of the few that doesn’t glorify it.   Four Feet In The Forest is about how far removed we are from intimacy with our environment & fellow humanoid beings. 

Image via Ziggy Alberts

Image via Ziggy Alberts

Have you always had such a strong passion about the environment?
I have always been really passionate about it, but after working alongside environmental groups in the last couple years have realised that bashing your environmental opinions on strangers is equally bad as bashing your religious opinions upon others. Humans want to do better, and often just haven’t even considered how their own decisions might be affecting the world around them. I’m still figuring out how I approach environmentalism in a way that I can encourage people to learn. To be honest and accountable for what they can change. To have less opinions, more facts, more understanding. To share kindly when people ask, and otherwise, lead by example. Why people caring about the planet we live on, of which we require to be healthy for our basic existence, shouldn’t be the question. The question should be - how couldn’t somebody care about something so important? 

Can you tell us about your single Runaway and how it came about?
I started writing Runaway when I was touring Western Australia and New Zealand back in January/February 2015.  Runaway is a song about re-opening up a relationship that heavily affected my emotional trust, in order to become friends and heal those trust issues. She sang with me on Four Feet in the Forest. After we fixed that, she wanted to be in a relationship again and made it clear that I was losing her over non commitment. I loved her & realised that she was more important than my stupid insecurities so I asked her to come meet me at the airport & quit her job and come be my partner, come and sing & travel the world with me. She then said I had nothing to lose and she had everything to lose, and felt like now wasn’t the right time, and she wanted to keep working on growing as an individual alone (which I respect) - but - wanted me to stay open to the idea of us being in a relationship in the future. By the time she did realise I was offering everything I had and it was now or never, there was no way I was going to put my heart through that messed up situation again. In the end, it was a mutual decision. So yeah, that’s what runaway is honestly about. 

What can fans expect from your upcoming tour?
A damn good time! It’s going to be an incredible step forward in sound quality & size, playing these particular venues. Expect appearances from a hollow boy electric guitar, and the best sing along from Made Of Water, Land & Sea - And most importantly, Four Feet In The Forest live for the first time since being released in early May this year. 

Finally, what are your plans for the rest of the year?
To keep working on my personal health physically and emotionally, to spend more time in the ocean than any year prior, and to keep releasing really rad environmentally friendly merchandise whilst touring. I’ve worked so hard as a musician, and one of the best things about any success in song writing is that you have an opportunity to pursue an incredibly healthy lifestyle. Not a lot of people take that opportunity. I’m really stoked about how well we balanced health and touring on the Runaway Australia Tour, so I’m looking forward to keep working on that with this upcoming tour. Oh, and after the upcoming Four Feet In The Forest release tour, I’ll be doing a huge national all ages tour from November on wards. 

Ziggy Alberts will be playing The Gov on July 3rd.  Tickets available here.  

Header Image via The Gov