A classically trained cellist, singer, and DJ all mixed in one make Alison Wonderland one of the most talented and inspiring artists to hit the main stage. Leading the way for female DJs worldwide Alison Wonderland was the first solo female act to play a headlining main stage slot at EDC Las Vegas, two studio albums hitting the #1 spot on the US Dance Billboard charts, and highest billed female DJ ever at Coachella 2018.
How did Alison Wonderland get her start?
AW: My upbringing was solitary, I was not a kid that was fitting in at school. I picked up the cello and took to it like a fish to water. I spent hours a day practicing and music became my friend. I went to Europe to study and that’s when I fell out of love with classical music. You’re playing your heart and soul out to a room full of people and it’s considered polite to not make any sound. There was never any interaction between the crowd and me. So I broke up with the cello and it really felt like I was going through a breakup because it was the only comfort I really had.
Garth (Alison Wonderland’s Manager): I was running this nightclub in Sydney where I first met Alex. She had an office job at the time but was terrible at it so she was the door girl at the club. I told her she should start DJing and gave her her first DJ lesson. The second week after her first lesson she was playing shows.
Alison Wonderland’s first show.
After that first show I didn’t sleep, my adrenaline was so high. I was only playing to 30 to 40 people and felt such crazy energy between the audience and myself. Something very primal and raw.
Being a female in a predominantly male industry.
Back then being a girl there wasn’t anyone doing what I was doing. I remember feeling very inadequate in terms of the way people were treating me or speaking to me. There’s this energy that males have when they group together which they don’t even realize they have but it’s very intimidating to women. They’d have all the male DJs standing around me when I play with their arms crossed, kinda like looking. I wasn’t getting taken seriously as an artist, it can be very easy to get lost in that and doubt yourself. So I saved up and I bought a laptop and I just made shit.
How did Alison Wonderland start touring?
Garth (Alison Wonderland’s Manager): She started doing tours and was going by herself with a suitcase with a lighting rig and smoke machine.
AW: I was on a greyhound bus alone. I had no tour manager.
Garth: Walking into shitty little pubs in the middle of nowhere playing to 50 people.
AW: There was no bathroom in a couple of those rooms.
Garth: She did 250 and something shows in a year.
AW: I learned so much from fucking up and like being alone and making mistakes and taking risks.
Garth: Looking back to it it seems like a nightmare but those shows did get her 40 fans in every town in Australia.