With her soft vocals and crisp melodies, Copenhagen musician Lisa Alma is a fresh new breed in the Scandinavian pop flora. With her brand new Oh Darling, Let’s Be Adventurers EP out today, we spoke with the young musician about visual expressions, inspirations, and dreams.
The frame of her aesthetic universe, Lisa Alma’s music is a combination of personal experience and artistic expansion. With a Master’s degree in Theatre and Performance Studies, she is interested in the interface between music, theatre, and performance art, something that becomes visible in her intriguing videos and artistic artworks. Last year, she made her debut with a dreamy and delicate self-titled album, and today she unveils her brand new EP Oh Darling, Let’s Be Adventurers. We caught up with the young musician to learn more.
When and with what did your interest in music start?
– Growing up, my dad played the trombone and my brother played the drums, so I have always had access to music instruments. I started playing the violin at the age of seven. It’s a difficult instrument and I was too impatient. Instead I taught myself how to play simple chords on the piano and the guitar. I began to write melodies when I was around 14. I remember how music could change my mood. When I was 18 I moved to London, and it was here I started producing my own stuff.
What did you listen to as a child? And do you think that has influenced the music you’re making today?
– I mostly listened to pop, soul, and r’n’b acts like Lauryn Hill, Destiny’s Child, and TLC. I could relate to their sound. Later on its was Marvin Gaye, Beth Gibbons, Sade, Sinead O’Connor, and Moloko. They all have a vibe and a “soulness” that has influenced me – if not directly then indirectly.
My music frames
my aesthetic universe
You have studied and worked with theatre, performance art, and photography. How do you think that has influenced your music making?
– My visual expression – through image or video – opens an intimate room and is part of my music. It’s a natural extension. The experiences I’ve gained from working with theatre and performance is important to me in the process of making music and videos. And the other way around. Music as a medium have almost become part of everyones life. It’s not the same with theatre or performance art for example. These art forms demands your physical presence in another way and therefore it takes more effort to connect with them. But the interface between these art forms interest me. I don’t know how it influences my music making. But I know that I like to manipulate with reality.
You’ve said that “what I like about making music these days, is that you can combine all sorts of artistic expressions into one output.” Can you tell us more about your thoughts on that?
– I get to play with words, sound, still images, video, and performing bodies. I’m shaping it the way I like and the output of it all is music. It’s just like painting – I imagine. I have created a channel and people can tune in if they like. My music frames my aesthetic universe.
Tell us more about your new EP, Oh Darling, Let’s Be Adventurers.
– The overall theme of the EP is: “nothing’s as it seems” (from the first track Oh Darling). It’s a story about daring to take more risks. Life goes by anyways… I’ve been more focused on the overall production compared to my debut album. Touring across the US in October inspired me to write. I’ve listened a lot to Solange and Blood Orange lately. I’m really down with their style, so I guess they’ve inspired me.
Do you believe that your music has developed since the release of your debut album?
– I’ve developed my production skills. I have been more determined on what I wanted from the beginning in terms of melodies and soundscape. I wanted to create a bigger sound and then put my vocals more up front in the mix. Also I wanted to integrate a more intense sound at some point so I worked with the amazing cellist Rubin Kodheli who I met in New York last year.
What is it that you want to convey with your music?
– I never felt this way about music before. The other day I received a private message from a guy from Russia. He described how my song J.T made him feel and why. It was a crazy and wonderful story. I never thought my music was able to reach people on the other side of the world… I want to tell stories and create a world where people are more open minded.
Can you tell us more about the video for your track Magic Power, that you’ve directed yourself?
– The song is inspired by a dream I had over and over again. In the dream I met a weird woman in a purple landscape on a desert road. In the video I wanted to show a woman who is trying to hold on to a dream. But dreams are like ghosts – they will disappear. I shot the video in the barn of my grandmother’s farm and it was a freaking cold day to ran around naked. But I was very clear on what I wanted. From time to time the meaning will change.
What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
– My future is of course filled with a lot of challenges that I can’t foresee. But I have an idea. I want to be a bad ass producer and songwriter. I also want to experiment with new musical expressions and collaborations. In March I’m going to SXSW in Texas and hopefully I will have some time to focus on Europe in the spring.
Listen to Lisa Alma’s brand new EP Oh Darling, Let’s Be Adventurers here.
Photography by Johanne Fick.