Tag Archives: The Mitchells vs The Machines

Going ‘On My Way’: A Brief Talk with Alex Lahey About ‘On My Way’ and The Mitchells vs The Machines (2021)

To my surprise and delight, I was given the opportunity to speak with Alex Lahey about their work on the song ‘On My Way’ and its inclusion in the hit Netflix movie The Mitchells vs The Machines.

Born in Melbourne, Australia, Alex started playing both guitar and saxophone when she was 13 years old, and studied art and jazz when she first enrolled in university. She broke through in 2016 with her song “You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me”, with her first full-length album ‘I Love You Like a Brother’ following in 2017.

How did you get started as a musician?

I’ve been playing music my whole life, but I really got serious about it when I was in high school and fell in love with playing the saxophone in the school big band. As I was getting into learning the sax, I was teaching myself guitar on the side just as a way to play the punk, rock and pop music I was actually listening to in my spare time. After leaving school and playing in a few bands with mates, I came to realise that I’m a better songwriter than saxophone player and I’ve never looked back.

How did you get connected with The Mitchells vs The Machines?

I was really lucky that my song ‘Every Day’s The Weekend’ got included in The Mitchells quite early on in the production process. So early on that they didn’t have a song for the end credits of the movie! So I got sent a brief of what the director and music supervisor were looking to fill that space with and that’s how ‘On My Way’ came to be.

What did you think of the film’s story?

I loved the story of the film and especially loved the character of Katie. Growing up as a queer kid, it would’ve meant the world to me to have seen a character like Katie on screen and I’m so glad she exists now for all the young people who need someone like her. The themes of family, growing up and being yourself that are so central to the story really resonate with me too.

Tell me about how ‘On My Way’ was developed for the film, what was the process for that song coming together?

As I mentioned before, the song was prompted by a brief the creative team provided me with. Between lockdowns in Melbourne, I took the brief to two artists I’m very close with, Gab Strum (Japanese Wallpaper) and Sophie Payten (Gordi), just as something to do while hanging out for the first time in ages and ‘On My Way’ was born. I guess we had a lot of good creative vibes waiting to be unleashed after so much time without face to face collaboration. Gab and I ended up finishing the recording virtually as Melbourne went back into lockdown. A big shout out must go out to Scott Horscroft who tracked all the drums and mixed the tune for us at The Grove while we were beamed in via Zoom during Stage 4 lockdown!

Aside from ‘On My Way’ were you involved in any other aspects of the music for The Mitchells vs The Machines?

To have both ‘On My Way’ and ‘Every Day’s The Weekend’ included in the film was really awesome. It was so great to be a part of this project in a really meaningful way. I’d never written a song intentionally for screen before and it was so wonderful to be part of the process of bringing this film together, even just in a small way. I hope it’s not the last time I get to be involved in a project like this. 

I want to give a big thank you to Alex Lahey for taking the time to talk with me!

See also:

Soundtrack Review: The Mitchells vs The Machines (2021)

Composer Interviews

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Soundtrack Review: The Mitchells vs The Machines (2021)

Sony Music Masterworks has released The Mitchells vs. The Machines (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) with music by prolific composer, singer, multi-instrumentalist and co-founder of DEVO Mark Mothersbaugh. Now available everywhere, the album includes score music written by Mothersbaugh for the animated film, which follows an eccentric family in the middle of the robot apocalypse.  The soundtrack is the latest in a longstanding creative partnership between Mothersbaugh and film producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller, having previously worked together on titles like The LEGO Movie, 21 Jump Street, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and more.

Of the soundtrack, composer Mark Mothersbaugh had the following to say:

“Just thinking about working on this film during a once-in-a-century, world-wide pandemic makes you want to draw correlations between the story of the film and what was happening in this world (the so-called real world). Doing so really gave everything more meaning and added gravitas to an already amazing project to begin with. I will always remember this film for the added attention the pandemic allowed the directors and producers to bring to it, as we were able to work on an extended schedule. It gave us the rare chance to play with the parts, to get them just the way we wanted them and to make a dang-near perfect film!”

“’On My Way’ is a song about new beginnings. I really wanted to capture Katie’s sense of urgency to grow up and expand her horizons while still being grateful of where she has come from and the people that have gotten her where she is. It’s that push and pull of being on a path towards something new and exciting while remembering and celebrating what you’re leaving behind. I think that is something we can all relate to. ‘On My Way’ is one of my favorite songs I have ever worked on and I am so happy it has found a home in the wild world of the Mitchells,” adds singer-songwriter Alex Lahey of her inclusion on the soundtrack.

This soundtrack is a lot of fun to listen to. Mothersbaugh has created a delightful blend of several musical genres that make for a great experience. As near as I can make out, the music for The Mitchells vs The Machines is a blend of action music, sci-fi music, and family music. It’s really mind-blowing when the music switches over from the quiet-ish family music opening to the sci-fi music that enters when the robot apocalypse begins. That’s not the easiest transition to make given the wide disparity between those two styles, but Mothersbaugh makes it feel easy and the music pulls you along for the ride without hardly missing a beat.

The sci-fi music portion of the soundtrack is easily the best part (though it’s all good if I’m honest). It’s wild, it’s zany, you can almost picture what’s going on, it’s exactly what an animated robot apocalypse should sound like. What really surprised me though, is how quiet the soundtrack can be when the music isn’t focused on the robots. I won’t say if this is good or bad, but sometimes it feels like all of the energy is devoted to the music for the robot apocalypse, and the rest is just…quiet, soft, not as important (though I may be overthinking it).

All that being said, I can’t get over how much I love the way Mothersbaugh can switch between musical styles. There’s traditional instruments in there, there’s electronic music, there’s music that blends BOTH. This is a complex musical score, one that grows on you the more you listen to it. I certainly recommend listening to the soundtrack apart from the film if you get the opportunity.

Track List

  1. Columbia Opening / Apocalypse (1:15)
  2. Katie’s Life / Good Cop Dog Cop (3:17)
  3. Laptop Breaks / Home Movies (3:43)
  4. Rise of the Robots (1:30)
  5. Robots Falling from the Sky (1:25)
  6. Eat Laser Robots (1:15)
  7. Robots Capture Humans (1:36)
  8. On the Roof H (1:53)
  9. Two Dumb Robots (0:55)
  10. We Could Get Our Lives Back (0:13)
  11. Katie’s Speech (1:28)
  12. Drive Drive ! (2:07)
  13. Robots March on PAL (0:45)
  14. Foolish Human Air (0:53)
  15. Abandoned Mall ! (1:35)
  16. Mall Robots Attack (1:56)
  17. Furbies Attack_Router Knocked Out (3:29)
  18. Rick’s Pep Talk (2:21)
  19. The Stealthbots (1:21)
  20. Katie and Linda (1:56)
  21. Entering Robot City (3:05)
  22. The Pod Falls (0:51)
  23. They Capture Linda and Rick (0:57)
  24. Hiding in the Woods (2:36)
  25. Katie’s Video (1:52)
  26. Katie to the Rescue (2:03)
  27. Screwdriver Escape (1:47)
  28. Yub Tub (2:00)
  29. Linda Kicks Ass (1:35)
  30. Katie Explains (1:45)
  31. Katie and Rick Work Together (2:17)
  32. I’m a Mitchell! (0:44)
  33. Humanity Is Saved (1:17)
  34. Katie’s Dead (0:56)
  35. Arriving at College (2:32)
  36. On My Way – Alex Lahey (3:05)

Let me know what you think about The Mitchells vs The Machines and its soundtrack in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

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