On the night that Alex Coley filmed his debut music video, a fog bank rolled in over Halifax. It was perfect. The lyrics of Alex Coley & Afterlove’s debut music video Silent in my Car tell a melancholy tale of longing.
“I don’t wanna talk / I just want to be with you / Silent in my car / With no idea what we will do” the song begins. In the video, Coley sits alone in his car under a streetlamp, which shines its light through the fog, evoking the ghost of a past lover to whom he sings.
The video, released Wednesday, comes a week after the song’s release and a month after the band’s debut single Courage and Crime. The band’s first album, The Arc, will be released in February.
The video was directed by band member Connor Robins and stars Coley and Ellen Riopelle. The six-person indie-folk band features Coley, Robins, Ted Morrison, Braden Kamermans, Sarah Roberts and Dan Richards.
In an interview on Wednesday, Coley spoke about his and his band’s experience recording these songs and the rest of the album. He said that they wanted to bring honesty and emotion to the music. They wanted it to sound good, but didn’t want to over-engineer it.
A lot of the music is introspective, said Coley of The Arc. “It’s a bit of a diary or a conversation with myself,” he said, “you can hear the strain in my voice.”
“I’m trying to communicate the feelings in the way I’m performing the vocals.”
“It’s a hard question to answer,” responded Coley when asked what makes his music special. He said that it’s hard to know exactly “what your music is when you’re so involved and wrapped up” in its creation.
But he said he thinks his songs are pretty. That they’re for people who like to close their eyes, listen to music, and imagine. There’s a nostalgic aspect to the music that he thinks will resonate with those who listen.
Citing British folk singer Laura Marling as one of his biggest influences, Coley said that he’s drawn to thoughtful lyrics and beautiful songs and that’s the kind of music he’s trying to make.
Coley wrote the album as a solo venture during the pandemic. But when Alex Coley became Alex Coley & Afterlove, what started in isolation grew into a collaboration.
When the first lockdown of COVID-19 lifted, Coley found himself among a musical bunch at his friend’s cottage. There, he met Devon Earle, who introduced him to current band members Morrison and Kamermans.
The four began playing music in 2020, eventually losing Earle when he left Halifax. Robins joined the lineup next and later on, Roberts and Richards completed the sextet.
Coley spoke about how the music went from something he wrote in isolation to something that would be presented to the world by a group. He had ideas about how he wanted the music to sound but said he wasn’t afraid to let his new bandmates introduce their own ideas.
They wanted a female voice. That was Roberts. And a grungy guitar sound. That was Robins. When they added those elements, and the “tasteful, sparkly” keyboard stylings of Richards, “it became something [they] didn’t necessarily expect,” said Coley, but it was something they were proud of.
“I wrote the words and the melodies,” but “you can hear their influence throughout it,” he said. “As much as they’re my songs, it did feel like a really collaborative process.”
“I’ve had people tell me that we’re doing something that they haven’t heard before,” said Coley of his work so far.
It’s “cliché to say your music is unique,” he added, but at the same time, he’s proud of the band’s distinctiveness and credits his and his bandmates’ eclectic influences and styles.
In the past year, the band has performed together a handful of times. In Kingsburg, they performed in a twinkly-light-adorned barn on the beach. More recently, they performed at The Beverage Room in Dartmouth and 2 Crows Brewing in downtown Halifax.
Alex Coley & Afterlove will release their next two songs in January, followed by the debut album The Arc in February. To celebrate, they will invite fans to the Sanctuary Art Centre in Dartmouth on March 2 for their first album release concert.
About the author
Ben Dornan is a student in the master of journalism program at King's. He loves writing.