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Christian Alexander Doesn’t Stay Still

The UK bedroom pop artist debuts for real this time.
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This article previously appeared on Audiomack World.

Christian Alexander makes music rooted in unwinding the uncertainty of growing up. The Lancashire native has tackled all manner of love, loss, and anxiety across a handful of projects leading up to early April’s formal debut, I Don’t Like You. The album is directly influenced by the acoustic singer-songwriter music that filled Alexander’s home growing up. Frank Ocean was a key touchstone, too. You can hear these inspirations on the yearning “Paper Bag.” Still, the gentle strumming and plucks are all Christian. His boyish voice cushions the pained writing—it’s bedroom pop with a bunch of intentional wrinkles.

“It’s more of a relief to get these songs out,” Christian tells Audiomack World. “I’ve realized I don’t like holding onto things for too long. I made these songs and I want people to have these sounds. When I listen back to these songs, I hear me still trying to figure out who I am and what I’m doing in terms of craft. It was a moment in time which was special to me, which was absolutely everything. Now, I can’t wait to get them out and think about the next thing, which I’m excited about. I want to keep on moving; I can’t stay holding onto things for too long.”

Album opener “Waste Her Time” has a dandy percussive element, while the lyrics are closer to that aching reportage of Alexander’s first projects. Consuming his discography in order reveals an artist finding themselves with no shame. From self-funding Summer ‘17 to connecting unexpectedly with Kevin Abstract, to performing with BROCKHAMPTON, Christian Alexander has been on a whirlwind ride of sudden success.

Yet, the young artist remains soft-spoken until you hit the passionate nerve of craft: “Music is my life; it’s everything.” Speaking with Christian, you get the sense his greatest joy is the act of making. Releasing, press, it’s all secondary to collaboration and thinking about how to improve.

“You release and move on, and it’s not yours anymore,” Christian says. “I’m always excited about the next time and how I can improve. How can I make things better and dig deeper, and say something that’s real for people to connect to? I think that’s the goal for artists: make something that’s real to them. I’ve learned so much and I’ve been writing in my spare time, putting everything I’ve learned into this new music.”

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What was the timeline for I Don’t Like You?

In late 2020, I was working in my bedroom during quarantine and just trying, getting stressed about music and making songs. I remember one day, I vented that to my brother and he was just like, “Christian, just go take a nap if you want to.”

Hearing that from somebody else and knowing it’s okay to take a break sometimes and not just overdo things—I needed that. I went up to my room and played Bleach by Nirvana and took a nap in the mid-afternoon. I woke up feeling inspired and that’s when I made “Head.”

It trickled on from there. That’s when I made the demo of “Take Your Clothes Off,” “WYHA?” and as I was making those songs, I felt there was something different. I was onto something. Especially “Take Your Clothes Off.” I remember thinking I’d structurally set things up for the album.

What does “album” mean to you? Especially considering you’ve been quoted as calling Summer ‘19 an album in the past.

I remember saying Summer ‘19 is an album, and I guess it’s more of a business thing. It was titled a mixtape to people, and it’s all kind of confusing. Looking back, it definitely wasn’t an album—so much more goes into making an album. I’m just really ambitious and everything was done by me [on Summer ‘19], but I Don’t Like You feels like an album. The previous things I’ve released, they’re not really of a professional quality, sonically. Maybe that’s what changes the term of what a project is.

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There is no perfect answer here.

Definitely isn’t. We never know really, truly… It’s just framing, and there’s no right or wrong answer. But it’s out there and I’m happy with it, and it’s part of the music I’ve released, title aside.

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You’re a very honest songwriter, so I wanted to know if it was always easy for you to be so open in your music?

In my 20s, I had one or two things which boiled together and I spilled my feelings out into the music. You have those moments that reroute how you feel into your work. Trying to be authentic and real… I really am. Now, I’m trying to work on looking inwards more, but with the music so far, I’ve not really thought about it. Music is just a healing thing for me, so I let it take its course.

Are you a big demos person?

Oh, yeah. I make demos and then finish the writing. I know when to leave things as they are and let them sit, and come back at another time. Especially with other people. I’m realizing, if you want to create more, quicker, it’s natural to get the core idea out and have people help me understand what lyrics to use in certain parts. I love to make demos.

How does collaborating itself open up your creative world?

Collaborating has been the best thing to happen to me, with my music. I love it. Meeting new people and musicians and having that energy with someone you just met is lovely. One thing I’ve learned is you need to collaborate to get anywhere musically. You can’t do everything on your own. You need to look elsewhere.

How’d you connect with Kevin Abstract and BROCKHAMPTON?

I went on Instagram and saw I got a message from him saying, “I love your music.” We continued talking about music and getting to know each other. One day we just made the jump and I went to America, and we started creating.

During the process of the album, we worked on “Makeup,” “Take Your Clothes Off,” and “WYHA?” It was me, Kevin, Romil [Hemnani, of BH], and Jabari [of BH]. It slowly got smaller and ended up being me and Romil.

What’s the best creative advice you’ve gotten so far?

When I was making the album, I was working with Joba, one of the members of BROCKHAMPTON. He reminded me to stick to my roots. There were a few songs I brought in that were quite poppy, reaching for that big chorus. He just reminded me that I had to stay true to myself and keep it about the art. Just because a chorus is going to do well doesn’t mean you should release it. I’m realizing, in this industry, it’s about being around the right people to keep you on track musically.

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