Alison Wonderland


One of the biggest names in the Australian club scene is Alison Wonderland. She’s just finished a nation-wide warehouse tour rocking the industrial districts of our major cities, but not content to just smash out bangers on the dance floor, she’s releasing her first EP, Calm Down, on June 27. SIMON DONNES spoke with Alison about her roots and her rise to fame ahead of her Rural Juror Tourour, at Fitzgerald’s, Bunbury, Friday, July 4 and the Toucan Club, Mandurah, Saturday, July 5. 

Amongst a fierce competition, one name has risen to the fore of Australian DJs. Alison Wonderland is a force to be reckoned with on the decks, and, having teased singles on her soundcloud, is dropping her first EP in a matter of days. “I’d been writing a lot of songs for a long time and that EP all came to me in a week, I wrote all of those songs in a week. I had this huge burst of creativity, got really inspired and just wrote them all. There’s a few tracks I’ve done in collaboration, there’s a few with Lido, he’s Norwegian, and Djemba Djemba from L.A.”

Regarding her success, “Maybe cause I’ve kept it real: I think I’ve always been honest with what I do, and I think when people are doing it for the right reasons that it maybe communicates a little bit better.  I’ve been writing music for a long time, production I got into around 2008. I was producing under a different name and when I got signed to EMI it all merged into the one moniker. I’m a classically trained cellist so I’ve always dabbled in song writing.”

The Warehouse Tour – sneaky, secret and fresh, brought an energy to the scene that hasn’t been seen in a long time. “I wanted to do something where people have more of an experience than just being at a club, and everyone has been so nice to me, it was like my way of saying thanks, like, thanks everyone, let’s have a party.”

“The warehouse party was probably my favourite tour ever, without being biased. It was really cool because I had some friends with me, Wave Racer and Young Franco, and we had a great time together just nerding out –  we had a lot of good experiences together.”

Despite the hectic schedule, watching Alison mix is mesmerising. Hitting every beat, she puts it down to one thing. “I practice, a lot. I think practice is key, that and you have to really know your tracks – where they build and where they drop so you don’t have to plan it so much. If you understand what your songs are going to do you can play it off the crowd a bit more, and if they’re going in a certain direction then I’ll take them there. That’s probably the most important thing, to really know your tracks.”

The new record is a blinding crash course through a changing sound scape, but with one core lineage: “The Knife, The Knife, The Knife – OH MY GOD – The Knife. They were the reason I bought myself a computer: I worked at a telemarketing center to buy a laptop so I could produce music because of The Knife record Silent Shout.”

Alison, a classically trained cellist, even sneaks a little of the unwieldy instrument into the new EP. “I like the thought of having something organic in the mix occasionally, like, why not?”

On the changing tides for Australian producers, Alison’s glad to see a burgeoning scene here at home. “Since I started I’ve definitely noticed that Australians are supporting Australian musicians much more than they used to, it’s really cool to see: with the time I’ve spent overseas, I’ve learnt the Americans are definitely looking to us as beat makers at the moment, so it’s nice to have this home-grown support. I’m happy for my peers who are getting recognised for their work.”

On the EDM trends of the current night-life, Alison’s not going to judge. “I think a lot of half time beats are quite in, I love that kind of stuff. I don’t want to judge it too harshly because I’m happy where it is, obviously there’s shit music out there: there’s heaps of shit electronic music, there’s heaps of shit music of every genre out there – I’m focused on the music that really speaks to me no matter where it’s from.”

One of Alison’s many charms is her unadulterated online presence. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are pure Wonderland, where her followers are led through a world of over-sized novelty shirts, bad puns and nuggets of wisdom.“I’m usually updating it when I’m drunk, and then the next day my manager gets on me about it – like ‘nice job idiot’. Oh well, YOLO. I’m not going to be all weird and robotic and PR-like, no-one wants that.”