My Firsts: Alex Izenberg | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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My Firsts: Alex Izenberg

Never Been So Broken

Jul 29, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

My Firsts is our email interview series where we ask musicians to tell us about their first life experiences, be it early childhood ones (first word, first concert, etc.) or their first tastes of being a musician (first band, first tour, etc.). For this My Firsts we talk to Alex Izenberg.

Izenberg’s new album, Caravan Château, is coming out this Friday via Domino imprint Weird World. It is the first album for the chamber pop musician (think Harry Nilson) since his 2016 debut album, Harlequin. Caravan Château is also jam packed with notable collaborators: Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor, Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado, and Tobias Jesso Jr. collaborator Ari Balouzian.

Izenberg previously shared a statement on his new album: “I’ve been working hard on it and I’m extremely proud of these songs. It was recorded largely at Tropico Beauty with Greg Hartunian and Derek Korat with whom I’ve spent many long days and nights in the studio, retracing steps and forging new paths. Sometimes we hit walls and other times we found bliss, but those long nights were always chock-filled with lol’s. I hope my music can reach people like me who don’t have a lot of money or means and be a guiding light in their lives for good, serving as a safe haven in times of sorrow, happiness, loneliness or longing and know that I’m right there with you and always will be, even if our paths never directly cross.”

And for those that were wondering what Izenberg, who is from the Chatsworth area of the San Fernando Valley, has been up to the last four years, a previous press statement gave you the low down: “Not long after the release of Harlequin, Izenberg became emotionally unstable, beset by a failed relationship and inevitable post-debut questions about what came next. He spent the four years following its release learning to cope with and overcome fear, to turn doubt into power rather than paralysis. Having been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2012, music became a lifeline, or the lens that helps him refocus the world and make sense of his mess of feelings.”

Read on as Izenberg talks about loving his mom, getting his heart broken, and why he’s not sure elections matter.

First best friend?


First pet?

Sheba, she was an Egyptian Basenji. She was a really great pet.

First broken bone?

I’ve never broken a bone.

First time you fell in love?

I fell in love with my dog Larks when I found her in the streets when I was a teenager. It was pretty E.T. style, I was biking and I saw her on the road and I couldn’t believe how cute she was. And the rest is history.

First person you kissed?

My mom.

First time your heart was broken?

I was a teenager and my relationship with my girlfriend was falling apart. I was really needy and she was unfaithful—that really broke my heart and we kind of stopped talking to each other. I’m not sure my heart has ever been that broken since.

First TV show you were obsessed with?

The U.S. version of The Office is one of my favorite shows. Steve Carrell’s character Michael Scott is so ridiculous but he’s so lovable. My least favorite character is Kevin.

First record your parents played for you?

My parents never played records for me, they had Jim Croce and Jimi Hendrix albums but they never played them specifically for me. But, I overheard them playing records all the time, mostly just “Greatest Hits” stuff though.

First album you bought?

Hanson—Middle of Nowhere.

First favorite band?

The Jimi Hendrix Experience. I smoked a lot of weed when I was a teenager and I liked watching my Monterey Pop Festival DVD. Jimi was on there, so was Crosby Stills & Nash, Buffalo Springfield, The Who, Simon and Garfunkel. Eventually I started listening to King Crimson and that gradually evolved into more modern bands like Grizzly Bear and Fleet Foxes who I think have a nod to the ’70s in their sound.

First favorite song?

“MMMBop”—Hanson. Hanson was designed for kids, it was released at the perfect time for me to become obsessed with it.

First actor or actress you had a crush on?

Clare Danes in Romeo and Juliet.

First concert you went to?

Roger Waters at Hollywood Bowl. I went with my friend Jay when I was a teenager. It was epic but I was kinda too young to really be stoked on it. I didn’t bond with Dark Side until I was an adult.

First music festival you went to?

Coachella but I can’t remember the year, it was either 2004, ’05, or ’06. But I went less for music and more for socializing. I was a teenager and wanted an excuse to party in the sun. I ended up passing out because I got heat stroke and I woke in the first aid tent.

First job you had?


First car you owed?

Hot Wheels.

First country you visited outside of your own?

We went on a family vacation when I was a kid to Ixtapa, Mexico. The main thing I remember about the trip is that I kept running into this one guy that was handicapped and I remember being frightened when I first saw him. I wasn’t quite old enough to grasp empathy but I’m sure I would have reacted differently if I was older. It was a learning experience for me.

First computer?


First social media account?


First time you voted?

I’ve never voted because I struggle to find that my vote matters. Especially since I live in California, which generally leans one way politically.

First instrument?

A black Fender Stratocaster when I was an early teen.

First recording device?

Cassette tape machine that I tried desperately to make songs on.

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