Alex Douglas makes peace with his frontman status but still wrestles with occupational indecision on garage-rock act's new album, 'Closing Door'
Alex Douglas has been performing in bands since he was 17, but early on he thought the frontman role wouldn't be for him.
“I started out as the front person in my high school band. I played two shows that way, and it was the worst experience of my life,” Douglas said. “I didn't feel comfortable singing.”
Douglas went on to Ohio University to study music production, and along the way he became the guitarist in She Bears, an indie-rock act that eventually made its way from Athens to Columbus. Then in 2014 he visited a friend in New York and played him some of his songs.
“He had a lot of positive feedback for me,” said Douglas, who became more confident in his singing and his creative ability and launched his own garage-rock project, Miranova. “When I started this band, something clicked.”
Miranova released its first album, Idle, in 2016, with basic tracks done at Relay Recording, where Douglas worked for a time. For new album Closing Door, which features the retooled lineup of Douglas, drummer Chris Price, bassist Adam Hardy and guitarist Aaron Cottrell, the singer/guitarist at first wanted to take his four-piece to New York to record, but then opted for a more homegrown sound, holing up with his bandmates at Spacebar on a Sunday when the venue was closed.
“The idea behind recording at Spacebar really happened because I attempted to record one of our live shows with my rig, and I ended up hooking everything up wrong. I didn't get the feed from my vocal mic or our guitars. It was only bass and drums. But I liked how that sounded,” he said. “I went from traveling all the way to New York to just doing it at a bar 10 minutes from my house.”
Like Idle, Closing Door features big guitars and even bigger hooks that again find Douglas wrestling with the direction of his life as he moves from his 20s into his 30s. “I live in these two worlds, being a musician and a recording engineer and hanging out with musicians who are a completely different set of personalities then going into an office and working at a call center,” he said. “And the more I get invested in my career as a call center quality supervisor, the further I feel like I get away from the things that I actually enjoy. It's trying to figure out, ‘Should I keep going in the direction that I'm in, or am I sacrificing a little bit of myself by doing that?'”
“The first album had a lot of those themes, too,” Douglas continued. “But this album is more about making choices, and that's where the closing door comes in. … [It's] the concept of feeling like your time is running out on making choices about your life.”