Question: Can you tell us about the track, Someday?
Ilja Alexander: When I wrote "Someday" I was in a phase of my life where I was studying during day and bartending at night. Life was more about clubbing than anything else, going to parties and after parties and ending up with random casual dates. After a while it all felt a bit meaningless and got bored with nightlife. I never quite understood the difference between sexual relationships and love, caused by some, at the time, unprocessed childhood traumas and being unaware of it I was in desperate need for real love and affection. I visualized a romantic encounter with my dream girl on the early morning streets after a night out. One late evening I sat alone in my bedroom, behind a digital piano and began jamming chords. Suddenly, I had a chord progression that awakened a certain feeling that transported me onto the early morning streets, walking into my dream girl. The song followed.
Question: What inspired the idea for the video for Someday?
Ilja Alexander: In 2019 I successfully managed with psychotherapy to heal some past childhood traumas. I could not have imagined the impact of the traumas, but more so, I could not have imagined the results of healing, as it resulted in profound changes in my life, changing dynamics with family and friend relationships and quite surprisingly changing interests, to include sudden interests in musical theatre, poetry and jazz dance classes. I wanted to incorporate elements of my ongoing personal transformation in both song and music video production and envisioned to include movement, dance and strong emotions. Building on this, we worked out a moodboard and script with the director and co-director, taking the audience to scenes on the streets, scenes in my romantic dreamworld and a live show with dancing backing vocalists.
Question: How would you describe your music?
Ilja Alexander: I am a big fan of British indie music and during university life dreamed of having a British indie band. With these influences in mind I started songwriting. Life is a journey and so musical development is also a journey. Until the release of Someday I was still very much disconnected from my own emotions and because of this I was also disconnected from my own music. I did release singles and even an entire album Hold On To Her in the past, but never really felt wholly connected to my own music. I imagined British indie music combined with American billboard pop productions. I think I must have projected my thoughts in the universe, because during my absence from the music industry while working in a part time IT job, some invisible force connected me to US producers and songwriters Curtis Richa and Adien Lewis, and connected me to artists, musicians and engineers in London. From these collaborations a sound got born, my sound. My personal healing and transformation is ongoing, and as a result I believe my sound will also continue to evolve, a cocktail of American electronic pop mixed with the 1970s mixed with British indie music and topped off with me.
Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?
Ilja Alexander: I enjoy both very much. Music to me is about social interaction, sharing energies and creating positive vibes together. I find it extremely important that there is a good comfortable atmosphere and that everyone is happy throughout sessions or shows. For recordings and rehearsals I'd select top studios that have a good atmosphere and comfortable and intimate settings. I don't want sessions to feel like 'work' and always strive to give everyone enough space to add creative input. I love recording sessions because until now I have always managed to get positive vibes where everyone in the session felt chill and joyful. I also love performing live, because I love the social and musical interaction with band members, the audience and the entire team involved in live gigs.
Question: Which is your favourite song to perform live and why?
Ilja Alexander: I enjoy performing most of my songs. However, last September I wrote a new song, called On My Mind. During band rehearsals, in by the way, an amazingly comfortable rehearsal studio in Putney, London, we managed to give the song an indie festival rock vibe. I couldn't stop rehearsing the song, because it felt so uplifting and energetic. Moreover, I suddenly felt my dream of being part of a British indie band, came true. I think it would be a great song to perform live at festivals.
Question: If you could have anyone, in the world, attend a show, who would it be?
Ilja Alexander: I think I should extend the setting of my song "Someday" to a live stage setting and hope my dream girl would attend the show and be courageous enough to walk to me and say hi. The latter is most important, because I sometimes lack the courage to walk to a girl.
Question: What motivates you most when writing music?
Ilja Alexander: I frequently take writing and recording notes of interesting song concepts, lyrics, experiences, emotional feelings and messages that I wish to communicate to the world. Recently they include themes of love, hope, transformation, mind, spirit and nature. Occasionally, I experience lucid dreams filled with music. In many cases I would then realise that I'm in a dream and would force myself to wake up to take notes. I often succeed in waking up, but in many cases I would wake up in just another dream.
Question: Which music/artists are you currently listening to?
Ilja Alexander: Artists included in my Spotify playlists include Pulp, Beach House, Tame Impala, MGMT, The Killers, The Dream Academy, Poolside, Electric Guest, Miami Horror, The Beatles and the Electric Light Orchestra.
Question: What or who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?
Ilja Alexander: At the very beginning, as a young child, I was a big fan of Elvis and wanted to be similarly cool as Elvis in his black leather outfit, performing in front of an audience. But a bit later in life I was inspired by one of my sisters and my brother. My sister always sang throughout the day and worked hard on a professional singing career, while my brother started playing drums in bands. At the time I was greatly emotionally disconnected from myself and longed to be as emotionally outgoing as my siblings, giving birth to my own dreams of entering the music industry.
Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?
Ilja Alexander: Paul McCartney. I even dreamed of being introduced to Paul McCartney by an unknown man in a park in New York. He then gave us a playing card with a black triangle and left us alone to figure out the meaning of the card. If I'd collaborate with Paul, I'd ask him if he recalls a similar dream.
Question: What's a typical day like?
Ilja Alexander: I always wake up around 7am, but stay in bed for a bit longer, because I feel 7am is just too early to wake up. I always eat a sandwich of toasted bread with organic saltless peanut butter, organic honey and organic cinnamon powder. I work in a part-time IT job, so on working days I would then commute to work by train. Ideally, I fill my days with music, singing, poetry and jazz dance classes, but lately my days fill up with shout outs to media on socials and answering interviews. I'd visit an organic grocery store to buy some fruits and dinner, meet friends for walks or coffee, listen to new mixes of my songs and think about what projects to start next. I love to cook healthy organic self-invented dinners, so if I have enough time I would cook and eat at home, feed my goldfishes, cat and occasionally friends, or watch Netflix while having dinner. Later at night I sometimes sit behind a digital piano and write songs. I often go to bed at regular times, around 11pm. I often experience lucid and astral dreams, and wake up several times during the night to take notes in a dream diary.
Question: What has been your favourite part of becoming a music artist?
Ilja Alexander: The adventure and challenges in touring through other countries, taking the time to explore other cultures, and connecting to and collaborating with people from all over the world.
Question: Can you share your socials?
Ilja Alexander: @ilja_alexander
Interview by Brooke Hunter