Last week we received so many amazing tracks, but one stood out from the rest, and that track was Devant Moi by folk singer-songwriter Alessi’s Ark.
A few of our moderators were naturally surprised to see such a well-known artist upload into the inbox, which led to the question “Where has Alessi been?”.
Well, lucky enough I was able to track her down, not because I was searching the world wide web for hours and days, no! But because myself and Alessi have performed on the same bill before, and as odd as a friendship between a Grime artist / producer and a folk singer-songwriter may seem, we actually have a lot in common, with the love of music being number one.
So without further ado ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Martians and reptilians: ALESSI’S ARK
JF: Thank you Alessi for agreeing to do this interview with me for our readers/listener here at Fresh On The Net.
AA: Thank you very much for having me! It’s great to speak with you.
JF: I want to start off by saying congratulations for independently releasing your latest album Love is the Currency, which I find to be truly breathtaking and amazing.
AA: Thank you so much. It is beautiful to hear that the album resonates with you!
JF: What was your thought process while working on this album, and what were you hoping to achieve in terms of sound and emotion?
AA: My intention behind Love Is The Currency is to liberate the listener from cords, ties, situations and limitations that may be holding them back from feeling love and joy. Connection, interconnection, the grace and resilience of nature, the transcendent abilities we all have to heal and take flight. Some of the themes…
JF: Take me back to the earliest memory you have, when you first discovered being a musician is something you’re going to pursue?
AA: I was 11 and I’d been learning to play the drum kit in the attic of our school. I loved feeling the rhythms move between my body and the drums, like some sort of sonic conversation. I thought it was magic and I still do, whichever instrument it is I am playing at the time. It’s always a special dialogue.
JF: Your first publicly released recording was way back in 2007 (Bedroom Bound EP) just over 11 years ago. If you could travel back in time to your bedroom studio and have a brief chat with your younger self about the industry and creativity, what advise would you give little Alessi?
AA: Look after your heart and listen to it, follow the muse and serve the song no matter what. Don’t be afraid to speak up, keep exploring sound and always honour the vision.
JF: We here at FOTN are totally in love with your new single Devant Moi. How did this track come to be & what was your inspiration?
AA: Wow, I’m so happy to hear you’re in love! That makes me smile.
I’d wanted to write music in French for quite some time, having grown up listening to and speaking French with my Mum, it’s always been a very special language.
I had written a verse in French for Sans Balance on The Still Life (Bella Union, 2013) and then after Love is the Currency, it felt like the time was right to explore the idea further.
After our Love ON UK tour in May, Jason, my band mate from the Ark, and I start collaborating on sounds in his cabin in East Sussex and it felt like the perfect sonic setting for Devant Moi; close to trees, the sea and the start of Summer was in the air.
The song is about feeling ready to love and be in intimate connection with someone after a long period of being in connection with nature only.
JF: Many of our listeners and mods remember you from being signed to major record label Virgin, you are now independent and have recently started your own label Babywoman Records. How was transitioning from major to indie for you?
AA: Babywoman Records is an artist based label and community created by my song sister / collaborator Charlotte Carpenter. We’ve spoken at length about our experiences and insights from having released music and touring for some time now and Babywoman feels like the perfect place for artists to grow and create right now. DIY with a LOT of love.
JF: What are your future plans for Babywoman Records?
AA: There is a Babywoman House Show tour coming up next weekend (19-21st Nov), Charlotte and I will announce a new project very soon and we have our Bloodmoon tour across the UK and EU in November. Ideas for next year are forming and I know Charlotte has been listening to other artists who may be joining the label soon too.
JF: Right, so this is the part where I pretend I don’t know you personally lol. When Alessi’s Ark is not in the studio or on tour what does she get up to on a regular day?
AA: I rise early and if I’m not working elsewhere, I walk by the river or in the closest greenery. That feels very special, no matter the weather. There is a lot of emailing and admin involved in music so I allocate quite a bit of time for that. Solitude and connection are so important, so a balance of the two is key. I have a keyboard and my two guitars at home and I play those when I’m practicing or feel called to write and catch an idea (not too loudly so as not to disturb neighbours). I move around quite a lot, my loved ones say I ‘squirrel about’ and I’m aware of that… Charlotte and I check in everyday and work through ideas for Babywoman. I speak with my boyfriend, friends and family; we’ll commune in person if possible or on the phone. A lot of love, walking and work.
JF: If you had the ability to create a musical instrument in which every time you play it at a concert it will activate any emotion from the audience automatically, which emotion would that be and why?
AA: Harmony. I love that question!
JF: Who is Alessi currently listening to, and does she have any features in the pipeline?
AA: OSHUN, Hand Habits, Allie Buckley, Dawes, Sa Roc, Ruinz Ason… so much magic out there!
I am working on something exciting with Charlotte which we’ll be announcing soon. I’m also singing and playing guitar with a dreamy spirit/psych band called PollyAnna Valentine. Two friends and I have started a band on the Isle of Wight and we’re recording that in stages… these are fertile, inspiring times!
JF: Thank for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer questions for us, we all absolutely adore your music here at FOTN, and wish you nothing but the best for the foreseeable future… Is there anything you would like to leave us with?
AA: Thank you for having me! I love FOTN. Thank you for being such a brilliant platform for independent artists. I wish you a stunning October and hope you can make it to one of the dates of the Bloodmoon tour next month! Charlotte Carpenter and I play The Islington in London on November 19th. Love ON!