Alexis & The Missing Pieces are about to drop their new single ‘Got To Be Real’, so we thought we would have a chat and see who they are, and what their music is all about. Here is what they had to say…
The Alexis part is perhaps a little obvious, but who are Alexis and The Missing Pieces?
Alexis & The Missing Pieces is a fusion of folk/roots, alternative and gypsy and the content inspired by social observation and my passion for cultural intricacies. Raw, honest and real.
The Missing Pieces are instrumentalists and singers who come together to deliver songs reflecting my original complex observation of life. They include some of the best musicians from around Australia and beyond. But what they have in common is the unifying rhythm and tunes developed by myself and the fun we have playing.
Where coined the name The Missing Pieces? What were the other name ideas before you settled on this one?
I originally wanted to give a name to the amazing band supporting my original music because I believe that they deserve to be recognised in their talents and quality they bring to the table. The Missing Pieces name is from the concept of a puzzle piece. Without all the pieces you don’t see the full picture. The Missing Pieces are those musical pieces that give the sound and songs their full potential. We had other names being thrown around all with a similar idea, but, The Missing Pieces is the one that stuck. Some names were:
Alexis & The Boys – but we have girls in the band too. Haha!
: Alexis Nicole & The Paper People
: Alexis & The puzzle Pieces
How did Alexis and The Missing Pieces form? What drew you guys together and made you want to make music?
The original band came together so quickly. Made up of a percussionist, a saw player, a banjo player and a double bass player. As I met one and was blown away by their talent I approached one by one and it was all just the right timing. Everyone loved playing that organic folk/roots/gypsy sound and so we became Alexis Nicole & The Missing Pieces.
Then over the years, as different Pieces moved on with their own projects, new Pieces came and kept that sound going. From a new drummer to a harmonica player, accordion/guitarist and double bass again. It has been an exciting journey thus far with more Pieces chopping and changing/ adding and going. That is the beauty of the Missing Pieces – it could be one or 5 and it is always unique what these talented musicians bring to the table.
What other musical projects did you guys have before this one?
Haha, no no. I played solo/duo for many years before I formed the band. I have always been known as Alexis.
The other boys and girls in the band have all had and still do have their own projects but we love when we join together.
Alexis, you played guitar from 6 and received radio play when you were 10! How did that feel? Was it daunting/stressful/go to your head/ or did it just get you ready to take on the world?
It was a little daunting but my head at 10 was already trying to figure out how I could help people and take on the world and show everyone the beauty in life – believe it or not-haha so it was exciting for me to share something that was so real and honest. A little deep maybe for a 10year old.
What is it like playing music overseas when you were 16? Had your early success prepared you, or was it all a bit of whirlwind?
It was a humbling and amazing experience. It was definitely a whirlwind and overwhelming especially at the Unity Music Awards I played solo in front of 20,000 people and was on National TV across the United States but I wouldn’t have changed it for anything.
What does your music mean to you?
Music is the air I breathe. Music is the language of the soul and I am lucky enough to be able to share that with people as well as receive this beautiful gift called music. I believe music is a life changer and has saved me so many times and many of my family and friends. I could not live without it. Music defines so much of who I am. I love it.
How do your own record collections look? What are the favourites, the first album you bought and that one album that never gets old?
My record collection is mixed, depending what mood I am in. My first album though was Michael Jackson and then MC Hammer. Haha. Got to love it. I grew up listening to records like Joan Baez, James Taylor, Joanie Mitchell, Ella Fitzgerald and much much more.. But I will never forget buying my first Tracy Chapman album which is a massive influence in becoming the singer/songwirter I am today. Never gets old.
Do you have a particular method you use when writing new songs? What comes first, how do you approach it?
I definitely write structured songs but what comes first is what hits me in the face musically speaking of course. I sometimes come up with a riff that I cannot get out of my head. I may come up with one line that makes the hook in my song, or, I may be overwhelmed with words or something that is sitting deep in my heart that I need to pour out onto paper and it can be a five minute wonder. You never know when or how it will happen and forcing it does not help. Sometimes I have to sit back for a couple of months and let it breathe before I finish. And lastly, sometimes it is always good just to write a song with someone else!
What has been the best place you have played so far? And if you could play anywhere, where would it be?
Oooooo.. there are many. Definatley the Unity Music Awards in the States but also one great day was when The Missing Pieces and I played at the ChillOut Festival in Daylesford, Victoria on the main stage just before the beautiful Kimbra got up to perform. That was an exciting day.
I still have many places I would love to play I just don’t have one I can pull out of the hat! Ahhh sorry:/
You have your new single ‘Got To Be Real’ coming out shortly, when can we expect the full shiny EP in its completeness?
Well, after Got To Be Real we will be launching our second single and then hopefully by November we will be looking at launching the full EP following w EP launches in Brisbane and Melbourne. Very excited.
What does the future hold for Alexis Nicole and The Missing Pieces?
While we put blood, sweat and tears into the music I believe the future is looking stronger and more exciting every day with new possibilities and new adventures. Never a dull moment. I believe that if you don’t keep fighting for what you love doing the most and even if you end up on your knees a million times, the only way is up and forward. Now working with Footstomp on our development I believe if you stay tuned you will get a lot out from us and we will love to share itJ. We are also doing our campaign on POZIBLE which is looking promising. It is a crowd funding website. We have a project called Become A Piece, where you can donate an amount and with that you receive prizes from the EP to tix to the launch, gigs in your backyard and so much more. http://www.pozible.com. So jump on board and become a piece so we can deliver everything we have!