At only ten years old, Alexander Biggs gravitated towards music as a higher calling. From punk rock dreamer, to session musician, to writing his debut EP, the Australian singer-songwriter has been figuring it out for awhile now.
“Fuck it, I’m going to teach myself guitar,” said Biggs. Alexander Biggs, singer-songwriter from Australia, struggled to learn guitar while taking lessons in his early childhood. Opting to tackle the instrument himself, Biggs slowly built a base on guitar through playing pop and contemporary music. But the first time he ever touched an instrument came long before he started strumming chords. Biggs played around on the piano as a kid in admiration of his sister. “I really wanted to copy her,” he says. “My sister was learning and I wanted to learn too.”
Growing up, Biggs heard church music drift through the halls at home. The son of an American Father and Australian Mother, he remembers the music his parents played as members of the local parish. When Biggs was four years old, his Dad left for America. “Other than a trip back when I was 8, I’ve never really seen my Dad,” he says. Moving in with his Mom’s grandparents, Biggs settled in Mildura on the border of Victoria and New South Wales. Grappling with unfamiliar territory, he adjusted quickly to the new scenery.
Despite the shifting home life, Biggs never lost the desire for music. At only 10 years old, he accepted making music as part of his greater purpose. “I realized I was okay at it, and really wanted to try,” he says. Imagining himself stepping on stage to a frenzied crowd of thousands, a young Alexander immersed himself in punk rock. “I wanted to be a rock star,” he says. In high school, he switched his sights to working as a session musician, recording and performing music for other people. Learning bass, he focused on jazz to incorporate different styles into his repertoire.
Soon after, Biggs moved to Melbourne and enrolled at university. “It was a crucible moment for me,” he says. “My music world grew exponentially from there.” He was accepted into a course taught by folk rock legend Greg Arnold. Lead man of Things Of Stone And Wood, Arnold worked side by side with Biggs for three years, diving into the the pillars and intricacies of songwriting. “I’ll never forget his reappearance after a summer break where he seemed to have completely worked out his entire aesthetic,” says Arnold. Along the way, Biggs felt a stronger pull to make his own music instead of recording for others. “I just said fuck it, I want to write my own songs,” he says. Making money would be a steep slope, but Biggs hasn’t wavered. “I’m always changing, but now I know who I am and who I want to be,” he says. “It’s a comfort and a little bit of a burden.”
After completing a B.S. in Music Industry, Biggs stepped into songwriting full time. His process toes the line between active thought and the subconscious. “The lyrics just flow out,” he says. “When I’m really in the zone, I don’t take notice of it.” Biggs writes at home early in the morning or just before bed. With a studio also in house, he treats the sessions like walking into work. Sometimes, he forms ideas that sound similar to past songs, but Biggs never restricts himself from revisiting familiar melodies. “When everything is done, I write that song I want to write,” he says.
At the home studio, Biggs wrote most of his debut EP Still You Sharpen Your Teeth. Each song fell together into a story. “When it came time to make a track listing, they all seemed to fit,” he says. “The last song had to be ‘Gone Again.’ That was my one rule.” The EP title, Still You Sharpen Your Teeth, is a line heard in ‘Gone Again,’ a track written back in his university days. The line describes a nagging part of life difficult to block out. A commentary on hurt and loss, the melancholic acoustic chords and soft snare leave room for a hopeful glimpse of moving on. “When I wrote it, I was trying to forget,” he says. “It’s like the thought of you hurts more than you do.” In another track, ‘New York,’ Biggs speaks on quitting his job to “find a new one in New York.” He’s never walked the streets of Manhattan, but connects through movies and art depicting the city. Writing from the point of view of somebody fed up with a dead end work life, Biggs saw the Big Apple as an appealing spot to rediscover an inner creativity. “I’m craving to check it out,” he says. “I love the art scene and history of songwriting.”
Going on tour this October in Australia, Biggs will add a live touch to his EP for fans in the crowd. Before stepping on stage, he keeps a calm state of mind. Some performers like to pump themselves up, but he prefers the other side of the spectrum. “When I think about working myself up I feel gross and dried out,” he says. “I’m not saving lives or anything, so I try to stay relaxed with good vibes.”
On stage or at home, Biggs has struggled with self-acceptance. He has grown a deep-rooted confidence, but everyday battles can test the backing of his own abilities. “It’s a day to day fight of telling yourself you are valuable and worth the effort,” he admits. Harnessing the clouds of doubt, Biggs never stops writing. “My music only gets better when I work on the things that I’m going through,” he says. His style swells from a love of art and an emotional self-awareness. “Half the reason I make music is for me,” says Biggs. “I love the nostalgia of hearing my old songs.” Listening to past projects helps inspire a fresh direction for the Aussie. Regardless of the melodies already in existence, Biggs will continue to unleash his journey in lyric form. “If every single person made their own music I wouldn’t care,” he says. “I make the music I want to hear.”