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Spotlight: Alex Lees of Four In The Morning

Four In The Morning
(Image credit: Press/Supplied)

ALEX LEES

HAILS FROM: Melbourne, VIC
PLAYS IN: Four In The Morning
SOUNDS LIKE: Introspective, heartrending indie-rock
LATEST DROP: Stress Dreams (EP out now via The Orchard)

What’s your current go-to guitar?
My current go-to is a 2010 Fender Jaguar. I stumbled across it in a music shop while travelling and couldn’t leave without it. I started using flat-wound strings for our new EP, Stress Dreams, and it’s been a revelation. They’re silky and smooth to play, and balance out some of the chimey tone, which allows me to sit really well with the rest of the band.

How did you initially fall in love with the instrument?
I went to a performing arts high school to study piano, and quickly figured out that all the cool kids were playing guitar instead. There were four guitarists in my grade so I actually ended up learning bass, and that’s when I fell in love with everything guitar shaped. Before I got my own guitar, I borrowed a rusty ’70s Strat knock-off from my uncle in the country. Guitar stuck with me after school and in the bands I've played in, though playing bass will always feel like home to me.

What inspires you as a player?
Some of the guitarists who have made the biggest impact on my playing would be Nick Drake, Joe Satriani and Mikael Åkerfeldt (of Opeth). Nick Drake's “Horn” is so full of emotion and perfect in its simplicity – something I try to channel in my own playing. Joe is the king of cool and I owe a lot to the breadth of tones on The Extremist. Opeth were a gateway for me into heavier tones and I fell in love with Mikael's solos, especially on Damnation and Ghost Reveries

Are you much of a gear nerd?
I've always loved pulling things apart and putting them back together again, so my pedalboard has ended up like an adult Lego set. My favourite piece of kit would be the Strymon Timeline, as the looper forms the base of a lot of my writing.

Do you have any ‘white whales’?
I just caught my white whale! After three and half long years, I finally took delivery of an Analogman King Of Tone, and it's everything I'd hoped for and more. I didn't think the day would come, so it's a bit surreal looking down at it on my board.

What would your signature model look like?
I'd go for a solidbody Gretsch in one of their boisterous colours with loads of sparkles in the paint – something you could see from the next galaxy over! TV Jones pickups, and throw on a Bigsby for the good vibes.

If you could jam with any guitarist, dead or alive...
Pino Palladino. He has all the groove out there and I'd love to glean some of it from him.

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Ellie Robinson
Ellie Robinson

Ellie Robinson is an Australian writer, editor and dog enthusiast with a keen ear for pop-rock and a keen tongue for actual Pop Rocks. Their bylines include music rag staples like NME, BLUNT, Mixdown and, of course, Australian Guitar (on which they also serve as Editor-at-Large), but also less expected fare like TV Soap and Snowboarding Australia. Their go-to guitar is a Fender Player Tele, which, controversially, they only picked up after they’d joined the team at Australian Guitar. Before then, Ellie was a keyboardist – thankfully, the AG crew helped them see the light…