Alanna is playing with one of Hamilton’s rising stars, Matt Paxton, this week. Find all of the details for the show on our events page. I caught up with Alanna this week to talk about her album, and plans for the future.
Q – Oh, Horsefeathers is beautiful. Can you tell us a bit about how this album came together?
Well, thank you! I released the album in Oct 2013, but it was a collection of songs written in the two years leading up to the release. So, the songs were mostly inspired from living in London, Ont at the time, the people I was meeting and the relationship I was in at the time. I also owe a lot to Dan Beeson at Magnetic Studios in Guelph, he was a big encouragement in recording the songs and helped everything come together so well.
Q – How much of your music is autobiographical?
Basically everything. I’ve tried writing songs that have no connection to my own life but I find I can never sing those ones with any feeling. It is awkward to reveal things about your own life through songwriting but I think it pays off more in the end, for me at least, because those are the songs that people can connect with or relate to in some memorable way or another.
Q – Tell us about your writing process. Do you keep a journal that you turn into songs, or do you write specifically to write song lyrics?
I’ve never been able to keep a journal, I’ve tried but it always just turns into trivial entries about ice cream. So, I normally just play guitar and find chords that are new to me and just try to sing about a moment or a feeling I’m having. Most of the lines are awful, but then every so often you get some goods ones. I often keep a recording device on so that I don’t forget parts I liked and eventually a cohesive song comes together.
Q – Can you tell us a bit about collaborating with other musicians?
I do a lot of shows and tours with another Guelph band Lowlands. They are really great guys and musicians and it is easy to collaborate with them. Gordon Auld, the lead singer in Lowlands, and I have a side project together called “milk&honey”, which is all duets and acoustic guitar/banjo. It is a really fun chance to get to do some collaborative songwriting and try out harmonies, you can hear it here.
Q – What are you listening to these days? Can you recommend a song for us to check out?
I just did a few shows with Zachary Lucky, and we plan to play in Hamilton together in the fall. I really like his albums and in particular, this one. I’ve also really been into Leif Vollebekk’s new album, and my favourite song at this point is Off the Main Drag.
Q – What do you have planned for the summer, musically speaking?
Mostly recording. I’ve been working on a lot of new songs with the band and have just started recording some of them. We plan to have a release tour in the fall for a new album so I’ll be spending a lot of time perfecting that. I’m also playing a few shows, including one at the Royal Botanical Gardens in August.