Sometimes you just have to find your people.
After signing with Internet Money Records last year, it seems like Alec Wigdahl has done just that. Emerging independently in 2018, and then debuting with the label in 2019, 2020 has been a big year for Alec. With three singles under his belt already in the rollercoaster ride that is 2020, he’s back with yet another new jam in “The Word”. It’s a smooth dance pop tune with a groove and guitar tone that are perfect for the late summer feels. At the ripe young age of 20, he’s got a bit of a head start, but don’t confuse it with inexperience, as he’s already rolling.
“Compare yourself to no one but yourself. I think if you really focus on improving yourself a little bit every day, and not worrying about comparing yourself to other musicians or other people in your field you’ll be fine.”
You started out as independent, and then signed to Internet Money Records and 10K Projects. What was it like joining the Internet Money family?
I think joining Internet Money was like finding the group that I was meant to be a part of; that I had always been searching for. I think it was a group that I never really thought I would fully find. I found friends when I went to Berklee College of Music that I thought, “These are people that I get along with because we all think about music the same way,” and I thought that would be where I fit in, but then I ended up dropping out. I didn’t work with the people there like I’d imagined I would. Signing to Internet Money happened really seamlessly for me, and it gave me a group of people to work with and spend time with that think about music in the same way I do.
Did you automatically know from the moment you met Taz Taylor, founder of Internet Money Records, that it was going to be a good fit for you?
Alec: Yeah, I think so. They gave me the same test run that we still do with potential artists. We put them in this little bootcamp with all the producers and see how they fit in with the group. Usually they do that in LA, but mine was in New York very spontaneously. I met Taz Taylor, Nick Mira, Iann Dior, Frankie Salcido (who’s now my manager), Edgar Herrera who’s Internet Money’s mixing engineer. Within that 3-4 trip, I think we made the entirety of my EP Strawberry (2019). I knew that these were people that I was meant to be around. It felt like a universe intervention-type thing. I really felt like I finally ended up around the right people in the right place.
Guitar is a huge part of your music, and you are in a partnership with Taylor Guitars. For a while, guitars were going away in pop music, and it seems like there’s been a resurgence recently. What does that instrument mean to you, and why is it so important?
Guitar is really the reason I started loving music in the first place, and guitar influenced me and inspired me before anything else did. When I was a kid just starting out with guitar, I really idolized rock riffs. The first riff I remember learning is “7 Nation Army” from the White Stripes. I also remember learning Rolling Stones riffs and really wanting to play like Keith Richards. Those were my heroes. I just wrote the guitar riff for Internet Money’s “Lemonade” featuring Don Toliver, Gunna, and NAV, and it’s doing well. I’ve seen a lot of people on YouTube trying to do guitar covers of Lemonade, and I get a lot of DMs from people who are asking me for tutorials. It’s cool to do all the artist stuff but that riff for “Lemonade” is probably the most rewarding thing that happened in my career so far. I realized I kind of created one of those guitar riffs. I created a riff that people will listen to for years and try to learn on guitar, and it makes me think of the kid that I was 10 years ago and how the roles have flipped. Guitar will always be super important in my music, and I’m glad to see it making a comeback in all types of music, not just pop and rock, but hip hop too.
Let’s talk about your new single “The Word.” You’ve been rolling out a series of singles, and “The Word” is the fourth in that line. How do these four recent songs feel separate from your previous works like Strawberry?
I consider “Cologne,” “Lipstick,” and “Summer is Over” to be a trilogy of singles throughout this period of quarantine and the making of the Internet Money album. I was happy we could put out those songs throughout that period of Spring and Summer and give fans something to listen to. But I see “The Word” as pretty distinct from the others. The cover art has a different feel and the song is a bit of a different theme of the previous three. “The Word” is the last stepping stone before I reveal my whole new project. I’m so excited about it.
How did you grow from Strawberry into this upcoming project? How would you describe the difference between that previous project and the one you’re working up to now with “The Word?”
I feel like now I’m at a point within Internet Money and within my own creativity where I have a lot more freedom to do what I want to do. It used to be Taz and I working hand in hand and getting feedback on everything from him, but now Taz trusts my vision and gives me the space to fulfill that vision. I think that’s why this project (combined with Corona and everything) took so long to pull together. I was really trying to take this stuff to the next step, and expand on the ideas from Strawberry. I don’t think I would’ve been able to make “The Word” a year ago, and it feels good to release the best songs I’ve made so far.
Where did the inspiration come from for “The Word,” and how did you bring the song to life?
It was one of the most interesting songs to make on the project because I had the whole song written before I started producing it. I wrote the song on acoustic guitar, and I had all the lyrics written down, and the idea for the song was being infatuated with someone. If they could just say “the word” then you would be at their doorstep, no questions asked. “The Word” is also a song I produced completely by myself, and I remember the process of making that song was tough. I spent like 4-5 days straight producing that song and trying to make that vision a reality. I was completely obsessed. Everyone was saying, “Bro, you’ve been working on that song for days on end. You should move on to another idea.” I promised everyone that this was worth it, and I just needed to focus. Finally, after a little more time, the vision was there. It was one of those times where the finished product really matched the idea I had in my head.
As someone who’s very young themselves, what advice would you give to other aspiring producers and artists out there?
My favorite piece of advice is to move at your own pace. Compare yourself to no one but yourself. I think if you really focus on improving yourself a little bit every day, and not worrying about comparing yourself to other musicians or other people in your field you’ll be fine. That was my biggest problem starting out and that’s still one of the biggest problems I struggle with. Everyone is in a completely different situation: some people might do what you want to be doing when they’re younger than you and some might do it when they’re way older than you, and it truly doesn’t matter.