Interview with Alison Wonderland

Alison Wonderland has just wrapped up her very successful Wonderland Warehouse Project. We chatted with the wonder woman about making music in the bush, moving from classical cello to DJ decks, and the tension between original and remixed material in the career of a DJ…

alison wonderland

 Illustration by the illustrious Chenoa Goa

HAPPY: You’ve just wrapped up your Wonderland Warehouse Project, which has received a massive response nation-wide. What sort of atmosphere did it create, and how has this project been different from your previous shows?

ALISON: Well it’s not a club show, it’s my own tour – those two things are very different. I think that now, I’ve got my own music out so people are coming to actually listen to my music and stuff.

HAPPY: As opposed to mixes?

ALISON: Yeah, I mean I’m able to put my own beats in there as well so that’s really nice. I think the warehouse party thing was something I did to give back to everyone that has been really supportive. It was pretty cool – no one even knew where the warehouses were until the day. Well, they actually didn’t even know where they were… they got on a bus. I was really nervous about it but we had about 3,000 people at each show which is kind of mind-blowing, and the response was really cool.

HAPPY: Prior to the Warehouse Project, you released your killer track I Want U. Can you take us through the process of how that came about?

ALISON: I did that track with Djemba Djemba, who is a producer and a part of Mad Decent. We wrote that in one day, in the middle of the bush in Australia. So that’s how that came about. It was pretty crazy.

HAPPY: I Want U is also featured on your amazing and upcoming EP Calm Down, which is due for release later this month. What can we expect to hear on the rest of the EP?

ALISON: I don’t really know what to say that – I mean, I’ve written more songs rather than club jams. That’s how I write and I didn’t want to fake it.

HAPPY: You’ve received an incredible amount of love for I Want U, already. Are you looking to produce more original music in the future?

ALISON: Yeah, the whole Calm Down EP is original.

HAPPY: And beyond that?

ALISON:  Oh yeah! There’ll be a record coming after the EP.

HAPPY: Yay! Now if you don’t mind, I’m gonna ask you a question that I’ve always wanted to know the answer to. A lot of people know that you were classically trained, but at what point did you decide to trade the cello in for DJ decks?

ALISON: I didn’t really plan to do it, it was a really organic experience. It was a bit of journey – l still don’t know how I ended up here, but that’s life right? It was more like, I kind of decided to focus on it because I found it interesting. It [my goal] was never to be a DJ, but yeah. It’s cool, I’m here now. I love it. I wouldn’t want to do anything else.

HAPPY: Well it’s definitely worked out alright! What’s been your best or favourite gig to date?

ALISON: My favourite gig, ever? The one that is most memorable is when I played at Secret Garden, not the one this year but the one three years before that. It’s like a mini festival in New South Wales, with around 2,000 people. It’s crazy and everyone dresses up. It was the first time I ever played to a really big crowd – a very responsive big crowd, and I’ll never forget that. It was really cool.

HAPPY: And the worst?

ALISON: I don’t want to talk about it, I don’t want to backtrack into negativity. There have been a few where I’ve had to grin and bear it [laughs].

HAPPY: If you could pick one Australian and one international artist to collaborate with right now, who would they be?

ALISON: Australian? God, I really love Client Liaison. And internationally, I’m really into Mr. Carmack at the moment – he’s a really great producer. I just think everything he does is incredible. He’s on a different level.

HAPPY: And finally, what makes you happy?

ALISON: Doing what I love, that makes me pretty happy.

We hear ya, Alison. Catch her doing her thing all around Aus this winter:

Thursday, 26th June
Wollongong Uni Bar, NSW

Friday, 27th June
Discovery, Darwin NT

Saturday, 28th June
Argyle House, Newcastle NSW

Sunday, 29th June
Flinders Social, Townsville QLD

Thursday, 3rd July
Southern Cross Uni, Lismore NSW

Friday, 4th July
Fitzgeralds, Bunbury WA

Saturday, 5th July
Toucan, Mandurah WA

Friday, 22nd July

Saturday, 23rd July
Warehouse 82, BALI

Friday, 1st August
Star Bar, Bendigo VIC

Saturday, 2nd August
Amaroo Hotel, Dubbo NSW

Thursday, 7th August
World Bar, Queenstown NZ

Saturday, 9th August
Movitas, Mackay QLD

Saturday, 16th August
Karova, Ballarat VIC

Friday, 29th August
Observatory, Hobart TAS

Friday, 5th September
Plantation, Coffs Harbour NSW

Saturday, 13th September
Smirnoff Snowdome, Thredbo NSW

Alison Wonderland’s Calm Down EP will be released on the 29th of June. Be smart.

Our illustration is by the very cool and very lovely Chenoa Goa. Chenoa is an illustrator and designer from Vancouver, Canada. Her work is a collection of illustration, typography, and design inspired by classic illustration/animation from the fifties and sixties, and has been featured in art shows in St. Louis, NY, and Vancouver.