It’s not often than an artist comes along and is so unique that it’s hard to compare them to the iconic artists that seem to have inspired all of us, in one way or another. That’s how it is with Alice & The Glass Lake. With music inspired primarily by her love of nature, something she finds a true oneness with, and the tool which connects her to her deepest emotions; the sounds on her debut EP “The Evolution” are more like visions of light. As her voice echos through the thumping beat, her vocals feel almost the way it does to jump into fresh water, pristine and fresh and undeniably refreshing.
When she took the stage at The Hotel Cafe on July 10th, she grasped the audience from the moment the beating of the drums broke through the conversation of the room. When you listen to music and wonder how it might translate to a live show, it’s always interesting when it seems to exceed a well produced and perfectly crafted recording, but that’s exactly what happen at this performance. She had all the tools to keep the explosive choruses and layered vocals intact, while the ethereal instrumentation presented itself in all it’s glory on songs like “Higher” and “Luminous.” The tribal influences that seem to build “Higher” remained, a steady beating drum and the call to action that is Alice’s voice as she gracefully wails over the steady keyboard synth. She never misses a beat, making it clear that she truly owns the music, that it’s as much a part of her as the nature that inspired it.
One of my favorite songs of the night was the stripped down version of, “Tonight, Rest.” A beautiful song on record, it was one that showcased the subtitles in Alice’s voice and the power she has over what she’s doing as a vocalist. With something of an atmospheric sound on the record with worldly influences, though the sitar remained absent in the live performance, you didn’t notice the absence of these elements because Alice and her connection to what she’s saying is strong enough to center the entire performance. She breathes life into every song that she presents to her audience, truly taking them on an emotional ride that leaves them feeling more connected to themselves when the music fades. She’s an eccentric artist, and even the new material that she gave us a peak at, though a little more mainstream, it remains true to who she is and her aesthetic as an artist. It becomes clear that she knows what she wants from her music and exactly where she wants it to go, possessing a strong vision for an artist who’s only just rising up in the music world. Though, if her live show is any indication, she’s going to rise fast.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Alice before she took the stage, diving a little deeper into what inspires her and where “The Evolution” really came from. Read our interview below and pick up a copy of Alice & The Glass Lake‘s “The Evolution” on iTunes now.
What made you want to be a musician? How old were you when you really caught the performer bug?
I was newly graduated from undergrad, so it was fairly recently. It was one of those things where I’d always been compelled to perform and prioritize performance, but I had never thought of really doing it until I started writing.
And what made you start writing?
I think I just came to this moment where I felt ready to express my feelings in some way. And I’d never really written anything until that moment, but it just happen…
Your debut EP “The Evolution” is a very conceptual and unique album, what was the inspiration behind the sound and the themes on the album?
I think something that’s been a theme for me my whole life is the idea of imagination and surrealism. The reality that you’re in is this dimension, but in your brain there’s another reality. Lennon once said he believed in faeries and dragons because if they exist in his mind then they must exist. For me that’s just a huge part of my every day, is that feeling like things are fantastical, and even when I’m in nature I feel so moved by it. It really feels like another world to me. So, I think it took a year and a half of creating music without an agenda and then when the record was finished, I realized what it meant to me, that it was this imagined paracosm and place that I’ve always had but never expressed. In the form of the EP it can come out in the artwork, in multi-media, in the sonic space, and it can come out just visually, with how people interact with music.
What do you want your audience to take away from the EP?
I just want them to feel something. For me, while I was creating it I felt so much. It’s transports me, it makes me feel like I’m in this other place and I’m seeing colors and experiencing things. But everybody interacts with music differently, so I just want them to feel something from it.
When I’m listening to your music it undeniably creative and imaginative. I feel like I can’t really feel influences from other artists in it because it’s so unique. When you were growing up or listening to other music, what artists have really inspired you and brought you to where you’re at musically?
I’ve been inspired by so many people. I’ve had periods in my life where I exclusively listen to jazz or I exclusively listen to folk. Recently I had a three month period where I was so transfixed by the history of rock n’ roll. And I started in the 50’s and came to the present. So I’ve gone through a lot of phases, I think honestly what inspired this EP more than anything is nature, which sounds kind of cheesy but… I feel such an intense connection to the earth. The first time I ever thought about writing a song I was living in the rainforest while I was getting my undergraduate degree, and I was so deeply inspired by my surroundings. If anything, when I’m creating these tracks, aside from the storytelling it’s important to draw on what that makes me feel. I guess that’s why it’s so visual. Because I create music that I feel sounds like nature feels. That’s not to diminish the incredible songwriters that I’m deeply inspired by, because I just saw Paul McCartney at Bonnaroo and he blew my mind. For the second time.
Speaking of Bonnaroo, you performed there this year, and now you’re at The Hotel Cafe which is a much smaller, intimate location. What environment do you like to perform in most? And what’s the most important thing for your audience to take away from your performances?
The most important thing for me as a spectator is when I really believe a person, and they’re just so in to it and they really care about it, lost in that moment. So it doesn’t really matter the space or the size, it’s more if people are really listening and feeling connected to it. You know, it’s obviously not super fun to play in a really loud bar where no one is listening. And even Bonnaroo is really hard because there’s so much sound pollution from everything that’s around you. It’s incredible and it’s a beautiful experience, but sometimes performing at a place like The Hotel Cafe is even more rewarding because you’re interacting more with the audience individually. But I just love to feel that moment and be transported myself and hope that it does it for other people.
You’ve been touring along the east coast, a little in California, following up the June release of “The Evolution.” What’s up next for you?
Well, I released the EP at Bonnaroo, so that was a pretty great celebration. I was like, “well, this really doesn’t get any better…” (laughs). But I am delighted to be here, and then after this I’m taking a retreat in the woods at the Glass Lake to write. And really, to just digest everything that’s been happening. Hopefully, I can spin it into something. Then, I’m looking forward to playing as much as possible. I want to be playing and creating and writing. The EP took a year and a half and, like I said, that was an incredible discovery period. It opened up my mind to so many things, and now that I feel like I’ve tapped in to the sonic space that feels really good to me right now, I want to write more. I want to create more stuff! So, that’s where I’m at right now!
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