How seeing Neil Finn influenced, Cool Change, new anthemic pop single from Alex Watts

Alex Watts is a man on a mission. A mission to make you love music again for the pure sake of a good song. He writes tunes you want to sing along to and are just a joy to listen to. His first single off his debut album, Hopeful, was a 60s doowop and beat pop ditty, but on this new track Cool Change the quirkiness is replaced for straight up anthem. We couldn’t wait to hear about what influenced it and were not surprised at all to hear Crowded House in the mix.

He launches his debut album, Another Step In The Dark, at Hugs N Kisses Saturday August 20th.

To be honest I wasn’t consciously trying to mimic a 1990s sound on Cool Change, but I was aware during the writing/arranging stage that it was going to have a kind of optimistic sounding major key chorus. The backing vocal and guitar melody at the end were part of that too - it’s unashamedly hooky.
I’ve avoided doing that as a general thing in the past so it was quite fun and liberating to go in that direction, because Crowded House are one of my all time favourites, but pulling off a song like that in an interesting way is tricky.
When we were tracking it just seemed natural to pile all those guitars on, which gives it that ‘90s flavour, because rock music was decidedly guitar based in the ‘90s - as opposed to keyboards in the ‘80s – and it was cool to be influenced by The Beatles again, who are the band I think of as being the best to ever do it.

I was too young to see Crowded House live, or any other bands that weren’t made up of kids at my school, but the first proper concert I went to was with my mum to see Neil Finn when he came out as a solo artist. I was definitely paying attention to the way that he commands the stage and gets the audience to feel a part of the show, as well as his songwriting obviously.
Most of the music that I listen to from the ‘90s now is in the hip-hop or R&B genres, because those were areas that were in a state of accelerated evolution, wheras commercial rock’n’roll had become quite stale.

A lot of the big bands from the era have never had an impact on me, although I saw blur when they toured Australia last year and it was a fantastic show. In general I’m more likely to be influenced by the acts those bands were into - I liked Oasis at one stage but I’d much rather hear The Beatles, The Who or The Jam any day of the week.


He launches his debut album, Another Step In The Dark, at Hugs N Kisses Saturday August 20th.

See more info about Alex and his gigs here.  

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