Alex Riddle on Fairy Tales, Redemption and Love

Photo courtesy Alex Riddle
Photo courtesy Alex Riddle The many faces of Alex Riddle
Less than two years removed from his last release, Happy Daggers, Houston native Alex Riddle has returned with a collection of new tracks, reimagined tunes and live recordings for his fans. Split into two halves, Snow White consists of three studio tracks and three live recordings.

"This EP builds off Happy Daggers, but in a particular direction," Riddle says. "Where Happy Daggers was an attempt to pack as much stylistic diversity and experimentation into three songs, Snow White focuses on the classic four-piece rock band sound."

Along with his new EP, Riddle is releasing a 7-inch vinyl single, which will be available at the album-release show. "The songs really come alive on vinyl," he says.

Clocking in at 25 minutes, Snow White is nearly twice as long as Happy Daggers. Where the latter was an eclectic EP that showcased Riddle's impressive range on just three songs, his new record is an attempt to reproduce a live concert.

"It’s the core of what I’ve been doing live with my band since Happy Daggers came out," he says. "But there’s still a great range of moods and sounds even staying within that format."

Similar to Happy Daggers, literary themes run throughout Snow White.

"The best fairytales have a practically endless psychological depth," Riddle says. "I love how they can get bizarre and dreamlike yet never completely disorienting. They really work a lot like dreams."

That dreaminess, he says, runs through both “Hosting Ghosts” and “Snow White," two of his previously unreleased tracks. On the former, he sings of orbiting dwarves, calling to mind the fairytale's supporting cast but also dead stars, also known as brown dwarfs.

"Then there's the chorus: 'I’m afraid that I can only breathe / with you exhaling into me.' That alludes to the kiss that reawakens Snow White only with the genders apparently reversed," he says. "Those are the only direct references to the fairy tale."

If he didn't name the song "Snow White," he says listeners probably wouldn't make the connection.

"Romeo and Juliet tells of the destructive potential of love, while Snow White tells the flip side of the story, of love’s redemptive power," Riddle says. "The songs on (Happy Daggers) tell stories about reaching out for redemption but failing to attain it. So this EP tackles similar ideas, but from a different perspective."

Alex Riddle, East of EaDo and Joseph Tracy are scheduled to perform at 8 p.m. (doors open) on June 2 in the Upstairs Room at White Oak Music Hall 2915 North Main. For more information, call 713-237-0370 or visit, Free-$5, ages 21 and up free.
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Matt is a regular contributor to the Houston Press’ music section. He graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in print journalism and global business. Matt first began writing for the Press as an intern, having accidentally sent his resume to the publication's music editor instead of the news chief. After half a decade of attending concerts and interviewing musicians, he has credited this fortuitous mistake to divine intervention.
Contact: Matthew Keever