Published Oct 23, 2015Just a year ago, Alex Giannascoli, better known as Alex G, was a burgeoning, DIY songwriter who championed Bandcamp as his musical outlet. After releasing his sixth album, DSU, through Brooklyn's Orchid Tapes, the album quickly caught fire and became an unlikely breakthrough for the Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter. But since then he's been bumped up to first class, signing a deal with powerhouse indie imprint Domino Records earlier this year.
"After DSU got written up, I got offers from a few labels, and Domino was one of them," Giannascoli tells Exclaim! "They had the best offer and the best reputation. I didn't really know much about labels. I don't subscribe to any certain labels. There are bands that I like, but I didn't take into account what labels they're on."
Despite the ability to use his new label to upgrade from his bedroom-style recording setup to a cushy studio, Giannascoli opted to stick with what he knows in order to preserve his sound.
"Subconsciously [the Domino deal] may have changed some things, but I made an effort to do what I always do because it would be transparent otherwise," he explains. "I just continued to make music the way I normally do because I'm confident that I can make the best product that way."
Giannascoli did, however, opt to make one slight improvement: he took it to a professional mixer to at least give his music the good cleaning it deserved. In Jake Portrait (Unknown Mortal Orchestra), he found someone who could do exactly what he wanted. He did have his concerns though.
"I was really apprehensive about it, because I had this idea that I was the only one who could do the best job," he says. "But then I started working with Jake and he was doing things that I didn't even know were possible. Like taking the fuzz or certain frequencies out and little pops that polished it a bit in a way I didn't know was possible. I was really happy with that. He didn't take advantage of it in any way other than making it sound cleaner."
Despite the polish, Beach Music isn't going to faze the fans that discovered him through his earlier Bandcamp recordings. Nor will it affect his music in the near future. One thing that might need to change is the amount of music he puts out at the rate he puts it out. Writer's block has become an issue for him, not to mention the requirement to fulfil his contract with Domino, but also the issue of quality over quantity.
"Every time I finish an album I feel like it's gonna be my last one," he admits. "And then I go and make another one. But after DSU I was like, 'Fuck, I don't think I can make another one.' And now it's the same thing with Beach Music. I haven't got my juices left.
"I want to be known for making music that people like. I don't want to be the guy who makes a ton of albums that are just okay. I'm gonna do what it takes to make the best records I can. And if it takes a long time than I guess it will just have to."
Alex G has a pile of tour dates coming up, including a Toronto stop on October 24. You can see the full schedule here.