Photo: Andy Tan

Ilja Alexander conducts a mini dream-pop orchestra on uplifting ballad “Butterfly” (BPM Premiere)

London-based dream-pop purveyor Ilja Alexander lays claim to the influence of some heavy hitting bands, such as The Beach Boys, Burt Bacharach, and Electric Light Orchestra — though his work also gathers together bits and pieces from more modern artists like Beach House and Porcelain Raft. Meticulously connecting themes of love, heartache and hope through gossamer waves of iridescent pop tones, his work is emotionally grounded while also reveling in the comfort of various melodic atmospheres.

Originally hailing from Amsterdam, Alexander did not come from musical parents, although his grandfather was a gifted pianist and passed on his fascination for melody to his grandson. Throughout high school, Alexander and his siblings were involved in various musical endeavors, but it wasn’t until an exchange trip to Osaka that he felt people would actually be interested in hearing what he created — and it was during this time that he decided to pursue a career as professional singer-songwriter. 

Early on, he discovered an affection for gauzy pop rhythms and washed out melodies and has been wandering through these pop vagaries ever since in an effort to forge his own unique perspective from these sounds. His previous singles have hinted at this refinement and given him ample room to explore and evolve as his creativities shifted and found deeper connections to the musical landscapes he was assembling.   

Set for release on June 19 via Green Monk Records, Alexander’s latest single, “Butterfly”, is a testament to resilience and to the strength of untarnished hopefulness. The opening finds Alexander wandering through a fragile and quite lovely pop environment — the song employs electric guitar, strings, buoyant percussion, and keyboards (and a few other instruments thrown in for good measure) to build a considerable weight behind his layered vocals. He creates a gorgeous world where exhilarating and unaffected production choices allow him to focus in on the heart of his music, rather than on following some staid rhythmic blueprint. It’s an uplifting and reassuring mini pop orchestra that’ll leave you dizzy and anxious to embrace its contours again as soon as possible. 

The track was produced Curtis Richardson (Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Joss Stone), Adien Lewis (Taemin, SHINee, NCT Dream) and Alexander, and was mixed by Matt Wiggins (U2, Adele, Lorde) and mastered by Randy Merrill (Taylor Swift, Liam Gallagher, Lady Gaga).

“People have always called me ‘zen’, but I recently discovered I was just emotionally disconnected,” Alexander explains. “No one knew what was going on in my mind, neither did I. One day, while sitting in the park, a little butterfly flew towards me and landed in the grass next to me. I asked the butterfly if it knew what was going on in my mind, giving birth to this song. The butterfly guided me with my own metamorphosis to a new beginning.”

Follow Ilja Alexander on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can pre-order “Butterfly” here.