Feature: Annika Schmarsel x Alice Ivy x Electronica-extraordinaire


One minute she’s cooking crispy chicken, next minute she has a gig opening Listen Out festival in Melbourne.  Things are moving quickly for Annika Schmarsel aka Alice Ivy and you’d best get on board now while she’s still playing intimate gigs or you’ll soon find yourself quite the chump, having missed out on seeing the next big thing in electronic music, up close, while you had the chance.

Some lucky people that didn’t squander the chance were the clever punters who arrived in time to catch her as she opened Melbourne’s Listen Out festival this year.  Annika recalls, “We had a few hundred (people).  It was pretty scattered crowds still, but it was early during the day so I wasn’t really expecting much,” Annika recollects.  The small crowd were glad they came early, and Annika wasn’t fazed by the size of the crowd, “People came up to me afterwards and said, ‘That was amazing!’  I got some really, really nice feedback.  I don’t really care about how big the crowd was, I just care about the people that were there and if they had a really good time.   If they appreciated it, that’s all that matters.  I was given an amazing opportunity to do that and I’m really grateful for that.” 

They weren’t the only ones enjoying themselves; of the day as a whole, Annika described it saying, “It was obviously the biggest festival I’ve ever played.  It was amazing to be recognised alongside people like Anderson Pak and all those guys.  It was super fun playing on the big stage, especially because we had RaRa and I had a friend up who did session vocals for a couple of the songs.”

RaRa are an electronic-infused hip-hop act that also features on Triple J Unearthed, the agency responsible for Alice Ivy’s festival opening spot.  She won a competition on the Unearthed site, where as-yet ‘unearthed’ electronic or dance acts can vie for the spot opening the Listen Out festival in their city.  Annika wasn’t expecting the win; she told us, “It was pretty unreal, especially when I found out about it.  I got a call from Triple J, it was from a private number and I was making my dinner.”  She was making some crispy chicken that she happened to mention on air and it became somewhat of an internet joke that she happily goes along with; she remarked, “Oh my god, everyone knows about the chicken! Yeah (I was) casually making some chicken.  It was super funny because it caught me off guard; I saw the first call and I was like ‘Oh, private number, I don’t know if I want to answer that.  It’s seven o’clock at night.  I just want to eat my chicken.’  It was pretty unreal.”  You can hear the audio with some cute ‘clip art’ here.



Her latest song features the aforementioned RaRa, titled Almost Here and it not only showcases her incredible voice, but also her talent for putting together samples and beats; to the extent that she has been compared to the likes of The Avalanches among others.  It’s a comparison that she can appreciate, as she explained, “I definitely have taken a leaf out of The Avalanches’ book, by the way they construct songs and place things together, lay samples, stuff like that.  I maybe more-so agree with The Avalanches comparison because I am heavily influenced by their music and I think that they’re phenomenal and I feel like their first album is one of the best bodies of music that has come out of Australia, like ever.  I kind of would probably more agree with that comparison.”

Regarding RaRa and how Almost There came about, she said, “I’ve always really loved RaRa and I thought that they would be the perfect fit for this track.  I reached out to them and they totally vibed it as well.”  She also sent the song to be mixed by Phil Threlfall, who has mixed for 360 and Illy among other big names, which she describes as “One of the best decisions I’ve ever made”. 

As for the samples she chooses, she explained, “I listen to a bunch of music and if something stands out to me I get obsessed with it and then eventually I somehow make it into a song.  I kind of pick samples that make me feel really excited and I feel would sound really great in another song, so that’s how I kind of place it altogether.”

Annika has recently toured as Alice Ivy through the US, UK and Europe but thought the crowds in Singapore came across as more reticent when compared with crowds at home, in light of comments made by one Azealia Banks

“I just got back from Singapore couple of months ago now and that was really interesting because I feel like there was a... maybe more of a reserved crowd but they still really appreciated the music and they bought all the merch and did all that kind of stuff.  It was great because they would come up to you after the show and want to meet you and I feel like the audiences wanted to do that kind of thing, they wanted to buy the CD, compared to Australian crowds maybe?  That’s a very general comment to say but that’s what I kind of vibed, that it was more a fan thing in Singapore,” Annika mentioned before describing her New York show.  “In NY I went into the room where I played and I was not really expecting much, but I had an awesome night.  I was actually billed on the same night as Cub Sport, so we played the show together, which was super, super, super random and the crowd was really responsive and I had people shouting at me, ‘Welcome to New York Alice!’ and buying me shots afterwards!”

Perhaps the most important location on her list of places she’s performed is Germany.  Her parents were born there and she has proud relatives that live there.  She said, “I always make an effort to go and see my family while I’m over there.  They loved it.”

They would also be excited to learn that she has been nominated for ‘Best Emerging Artist’ for ‘The Age Music Victoria Awards’.  Annika commented, “I’m amongst some legends like Alex Lahey and Camp Coast.  It’ll be a good night!”

Regarding new music for Alice Ivy, everyone will just need to be patient.  She said, “I’m really busy for the rest of the year.  I have a bunch of festivals and I’m touring so I think the next release is going to be early next year, which I’m super excited about.” 


Find the details for her gigs below and make sure you catch her while you can and remember to always check out the support acts to any concert or festival as you could discover the next Alice Ivy!  Annika agrees, “I always rock up to see the supports or the opening act.  I just think that if you see a headline band that you really love, you should totally go and see the supports because the headline band chose those supports.”  So make sure you’re always fashionably early to your gigs!



Written by Kate Carnell

You can catch Alice Ivy at the dates below:
Friday November 4 – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne – Supporting E^ST
Saturday November 5 – Newtown Social Club, Sydney – Supporting E^ST
Friday November 11 – The Foundry, Brisbane – Supporting E^ST
Tuesday November 15 – Valve Sounds, Melbourne – for MMW
Thursday to Sunday November 17 to 20 – Strawberry Fields, Tocumwal
Friday November 25 – Queenscliff Music Festival, Melbourne
Saturday November 26 – Paradise Music Festival, Lake Mountain
Friday December 2 – World Bar, Sydney
Friday December 9 – Fat Controller, Adelaide
Thursday December 15 – The Gasometer, Melbourne – Supporting Saatsuma

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