Love Letter To A Record: Alice Ivy On The Middle East’s ‘I Want That You Are Always Happy’

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Alice Ivy – The Middle East: ‘I Want That You Are Always Happy’

Dear I Want That You Are Always Happy – The Middle East,

I’ve never written a love letter like this but I’ll try and express as best as possible the meaning and impact you have had on my life while I was growing up and becoming an adult.

You were released in 2011, the year I graduated from high school. I’d say this was one of my most challenging years to date, not just from the pressure of school, but also because I had no idea what I wanted to pursue in life (which rather ironically turned out to be music!) 2011 was also the first time in my life that I was in a long term relationship. There was a lot to juggle between playing in a band, the pressure of delivering at school and being a supportive friend to my school mates who were all feeling the same pressure. 2011 wasn’t all sad though. I turned 18 halfway through the year, which meant finally being able to attend live shows without using a dodgy fake I.D. and being able to buy drinks at the bar without being super nervous!

I discovered the Middle East when I saw them play a midday set at Falls Festival in Lorne in 2010. It was the first camping festival I ever went to and The Middle East were one of my favourite bands. I kinda forgot about them for a few weeks after the festival until I was at the beach later that summer at my friend’s place in Ocean Grove and she put on “Blood”. I asked her who it was and a lightbulb went off in my head.

As soon as you came out I downloaded you onto my beaten up silver iPod mini, something I never left the house with. My favourite thing to do was just hit play from the start ‘Black Death 1349’ and walk the 20 minutes to school which took me to about the halfway point, ‘Mount Morgan’. Then I’d listen to the remainder on my way home.

For my 18th birthday that year I was given my first ever vinyl record and it was you! I didn’t even have a record player so I spent a week going to op shops looking for an old record player I could buy on the cheap, just so I could play you. You were my only record other than a bunch of super scratched ones from my parent’s old collection so you then became the focus of my study soundtrack. When I got bored I would pick up my acoustic guitar and play along to every song (because I’d learnt them all). I spent so many hours late at night in my bedroom listening to you. You are perfect in every way and listening to you on vinyl makes it even more special.

Fast-forward six months or so and I’d finished high school and gotten into a music industry course at University. I saw the Middle East live at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne. I was so heartbroken to find out that this was the band’s final show. I Want That You Are Always Happy was performed in full and it was an extremely powerful and emotional show, something that I will remember always.

Thank you for guiding me through one of my toughest years, and thank you for impacting the way I write music as a producer today.

Forever yours,

Alice xo

Alice Ivy’s new track ‘Close To You’, Feat. Flint Eastwood is out today. Listen here.

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