Monday, 25 August 2014 15:19

Alexis to Release Love or Temptation

Written by  Nolan Krebs
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Alexis Alexis PHOTO: Elise Mesner

If you look up Conklin, Mich., on Google Maps, you’ll see a post office, Fenian’s Irish Pub and not a whole lot else. Tucked between some utilitarian-looking shops and a dusty grain elevator, Fenian’s isn’t really where you’d peg a celebrated West Michigan synth-pop group to have come to life.

But sure as you’re born, it’s where Matthew Forbush and Dan Hurst began their foray into Alexis.

“We were both working in the area at the time and were frequenting the pub quite, quite regularly,” Forbush said. “We had both had been in different musical projects and were looking to tackle something fresh.”

Forbush, a self-professed megafan of glam and female-fronted ’80s groups, and Hurst, a classical and jazz-minded director of music for a church in Muskegon with a soft spot for “technical nerd metal, hip hop and a little dubstep,” started writing songs and released their first album, The Night, in 2010. That album was followed by Goldstar in 2011.

The duo's first show, Forbush said, was at an art gallery event in Grand Rapids called Destination 1111, which he lined up through a friend in charge of booking.

“The space was perfect for us, since it was an open gallery vibe and I had plenty of space to run around and interact with people passing through,” Forbush said.

If you’ve seen Alexis perform, you’ve experienced the duo’s ebullient stage presence. Forbush, sassy as all hell, dances from corner to corner, with Hurst holding it down behind a tower of synthesizers and his signature Korg DW 8000.

Since then, Alexis has shared the stage with some big names, including Future Islands, Chrome Sparks and the B-52’s. While it’s easy to get caught up in the hype, Forbush said, the most meaningful experiences for the band have been the friendships and relationships they’ve formed.

“Seeing the web of connections between people as you branch further and further out really opens your eyes to how small the world can actually be,” Forbush said. “There really aren’t so many degrees of separation.”

Next month, Alexis will release its third album, Love or Temptation, recorded at River City Studios in Grand Rapids. While previous albums were recorded at Alexis’ home studio and mastered at River City, Forbush and Hurst tackled more of the process in the professional studio this time around.

“We put basic tracks down at our studio but did all vocals, mixing, production and mastering at River City,” Forbush said. “There's just no comparison when it comes to having access to all of those high end microphones and effects. Austin Ruhstorfer and Roy Wallace have gone above and beyond to make sure we have a super high quality product.”

Alexis will play a Love or Temptation release party at Founders on Sept. 20 with Tunde Olaniran, Andre Obin and Millie and Jam. Tickets to the show are $5.

For more information on what Alexis is up to, check out


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