A dazzling talent. When, among the scattered “editorial staff” of our blog, we took turns listening to 2021Lover’s Leap album we could not believe our ears… We were passing on our impressions in disbelief, with a rate of wonder similar to that of gold diggeers who had just found a seam of gold that no one had yet discovered. That record seemed to us to be the product of a purest talent capable of bringing together some of the music we had loved most: the Beatles, Nick Drake and Roberti Wyatt over all.
We had therefore contacted the young musician to ask some questions about that treasure chest of wonders.

As soon as we heard news of an upcoming new album, we did not wait a moment and rushed to listen, and that is how “Better days” also began to circulate in our players.
The first piece of good news is that, after three works released only digitally, a physical release is planned for the record (although … the absence of a gatefold vinyl dedicated to that metaphysical journey of “Lover’s Leap” still cries vengeance, but maybe sooner or later someone will remedy that), the second is that the record is good. In fact, very good, although very different from its predecessor. The magnificent psychedelic wanderlust of “Lover’s Leap” has subsided, yet leaves a lingering aftertaste. A more frugal duration prevails affecting the songwriting. A restrained setlist that seems to be due to a precise choice, aimed at highlighting the gentle poetry of Pester’s writing, which finds refuge in the pastel delicacy of the chosen forms, capable of pacifying all evil.

Once again, we did not miss the opportunity to ask the British musician some new questions.

Hi Alex,
We meet again more or less a year later. How did you spend it — musically speaking?
I started recording “Better Days” almost immediately after finishing “Lover’s Leap”, the first track written and recorded for the album was “Big Black Second-Hand Book”. Around this time I was approached by Violette to work on an ELP (their own creation, in between an EP and LP length) and was able to get together some varied material by the summer. I scrapped a lot of songs last year, which is rare for me. With the last albums I essentially released every finished song I had, but “Better Days” has been more carefully curated.

ALEX PESTER - Big Black Second-Hand Book (Official Video)

The new record seems to us to set apart the instrumental digressions of “Lover’s Leap” and appears more concise and less adventurous. On the other hand, the production appears as more lush and showss a care for the songs, expressed through the loving search for the best outfit for each of them. Are these precise choices in preparation for the date with the first “printed” record or did the songs you wrote simply evolve so naturally?
The songs on “Better Days” are very carefully constructed for the most part. I wanted the songwriting to feel more structured and whole. “Lover’s Leap” is this grab bag of moods and styles whereas “Better Days” feels focused in, paired down to the essential statements. Both have their place.

In Lover’s Leap there were a series of songs that represented – your words! – “a descent into my subconscious.” Also on this record, So What and In the Night, abetted by the use of a female voice and the use of an evocative trumpet, seem to suggest again a slide into the subconscious. Was that your intent in that section of the record?
“So What” and “In The Night” flow together well, the sequencing was important for this album. I’m not sure if they were structured quite in the same way as the suites on “Lover’s Leap”, there’s about half a year’s writing and experiences between the two tracks, so they all feel like standalone entities to me. “Lover’s Leap” was this outburst of ideas that all happened in compressed time. There’s definitely a lot of “head” music on this one. “So What” and “Restless” are at their heart improvisations, albeit with calculated arrangements.

Listening to this album, in our opinion a kind of natural closeness to the more pastoral Paul McCartney emerges clearly. A proximity, for us listeners, that is truly exhilarating… How do you, as a musician, experience this affinity with one of the giants of music? And in general how do you stand before your models?
Paul’s first few solo albums (and Ram with Linda) are the basis of my DIY approach. It’s all baked in sound layering and comfort. It’s a microphone you know well, an 11 year old MacBook huffing away in the background of a vocal take. It’s music that is proud of its homeliness. If Paul wants a copy I’ll deliver it to him myself.

In the future, do you plan to return to suites like the one that opened “Lover’s Leap ” or otherwise enrich your formula? If so, what styles appeal to you as a listener that you feel can happily blend into your music?
I’m working on a concept album right now, although the concept is a bit foggy. It’s definitely going to push me into new areas. I don’t think it’ll be a double like “Lover’s Leap”, but it will carry some of that adventure with it. There’s instrumental and songwriting ideas and textures that will hopefully be a pleasant surprise.

Tell us about the trumpet and female vocals that we hear peeping through some of the tracks on the record? And then tell us about “Restless” the only instrumental track that somewhat evokes the wandering atmospheres of the previous album..
That’s my friends Joey and Sarah. I’m hoping to take them on tour at some point soon to promote the album. They haven’t been in the same room yet but I reckon they’ll get on just fine. Joey is a fantastic trumpeter, we did every part in about 2hrs altogether over two days. He’s a real jazz head, a natural improviser and very mellow. Sarah is the most interesting person I know. Creativity just flows out of them. They make micro montage music, play just about anything, and their voice is incredible. When I played them back “Are You Gonna Make Her Choose”, they jumped out of their skin. I don’t think they expected their vocals to be so heavy in the mix. We’ll make our own record one day and it will be chaos. “Restless” is full-on-Robert-Wyatt-mode. I wanted to see if I could reflect the volatility of creating music, how artists are always pushing themselves to breaking point. This track is us (Joey and Alex) just seeing how far out we could go while still maintains the core sound and feelings of the album. It’s three Dr Pepper Vanilla Float’s down, jumping about, Joey with a cut in his lip playing to the point of mad laughter. It was a lot of fun and quite scary.

ALEX PESTER - Are You Gonna Make Her Choose? (Official Video)

Listening to your record, we really indulged in delicate music that really seemed to be able to pacify all evil… But beyond our words, we would like to know from you what you would like your pieces to communicate to the listener?
“Better Days” is mostly concerned with love, break-ups, identity, dreams, conversations and decisions. It’s my most honest portrait of my inner landscape so far. “In The Night” is my favourite, I feel like every element of it came together in such a surprisingly concise and elegant way.

Given your new relationship with Violette, is it possible that we will see your previous albums released?”
I’d be very interested in seeing a vinyl issue of Lover’s Leap in the near future. I think “Better Days” is selling well enough to warrant further discussion on that, but it is all early days. Making this record with Violette has been a real education, a fantastic experience.

Thank you so much for opening this conversation. As an artist, I enjoy talking about myself immensely. Your continued support and interest means so very much to me.