Alma Interview

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The Travel Size EP, was this the designated title for the album or was this title brought out by chance?

The title of the EP came about very naturally. When I realized that I wanted to put these four songs together due to their common travel themes and similar musical styles, my first thought was, ‘This album is going to be way too short!’ But then it hit me: ‘Short…small…travel size.’ Knowing that I had a good title locked in was ultimately what motivated me to finish the project!

The first song off of The Travel Size EP, Get-Go, has such a unique sound by blending in a couple of styles, and different arrangements especially with the vocals; how did this special arrangement come to life? Also how many different ideas were floating around the room as you were recording and mixing Get-Go?

‘Get-Go’ was written when I was traveling one summer without access to an instrument. When song ideas would come to me, all I could do was hum to myself and keep a beat on whatever flat surface I could get my hands on—and that kind of minimalism is definitely reflected in the recorded version. I wanted to preserve that organic playfulness by not involving harmonic instruments like piano or guitar…and in the studio, things got even more playful because for the percussion we recorded sounds made by random objects sitting around. As for the vocal arranging, I’m a sucker for harmony and couldn’t help but add those extra vocal layers!
While having four songs on the The Travel Size EP, and with each song having their own unique sound, was this a situation where you had the ideas and songs written and needed somewhere to have a platform to release the songs? Or are you using each song as a starting point to see what your fans like the most and then writing an album towards your fans choices?
I try to be very audience-minded when I write—not in the sense that I try to give listeners what they want, but in that I try to give them what they need, message-wise. But The Travel Size EP is different in that respect, because this was actually a case where I had the songs sitting around and kind of went ‘Why not?’ versus sitting down to create a calculated project. Honestly, it was kind of a one-off ‘just for fun’ album!
Again having such a variety of musical sound especially with your vocals, how do you decide what tones, and atmosphere you want to place onto each track?
I’m not super methodical about it, to be honest! I work more off instinct. I do, however, try to make sure there are common motifs across all songs in a project—for instance, with Travel Size, the drum-on-a-random-object brand of percussion was a recurring theme; knowing that I wanted to record the sound of cameras flashing on ‘West Side Winter’ challenged me to find similarly unique sounds to incorporate into ‘Medicine Man’ and ‘Get-Go.’ You know?
Have you had any vocal training to trace the notes and sounds that you are hitting?
While I was a self-taught vocalist during the formative years from middle school through high school, I do have two years of music school under my belt and a bachelor’s in voice. While I wouldn’t say the classroom setting itself influenced my stylistic choices a ton, I did take a lot from my peers. I would listen to some of my classmates—Chrissi Hartigan, for instance, with whom I sang a duet on my previous album Tactics—and go, ‘Wow, I love that vocal inflection there; I wonder how I could incorporate that into my own work.’ All very subtle! Influence is hard to trace.
Where can people pick up a copy of The Travel Size EP?
The Travel Size EP is exclusively available on Bandcamp and Soundcloud at the moment. It’s downloadable for free, although listeners may opt to pay for it on Bandcamp if they’d like!
Also what are the links to your social feeds as well?
 
You can find me on Facebook (facebook.com/hearalma), Twitter/Instagram (@HearAlma), and the blog site Medium (medium.com/@hearalma). I love to interact with my listeners on a personal level, so feel free to connect!