Interview with Alice Dionis – bass and lead vocals
Interview by Svetlana Likhacheva
Greetings, I hope you are having a great day! Thanks a lot for this interview.
You’re quite a new band and only released your debut EP two years ago. How are you finding the music scene in London currently?
Yes we are 🙂 The music scene in London is very vibrant and varied, unfortunately the pandemic has brought everybody down and far from the spotlight, nevertheless for what we’ve seen up to the lockdown start, there are so many bands creating very good music around.
You are releasing your first full-length album soon, ‘Completely Fine’. How would you describe the main idea and inspiration behind it?
‘Completely Fine’ was primarily inspired by the idea that we, as emotional beings, are often alone facing the hardships of life in a ‘keep calm and carry on’ culture, so we must find a balance between what we show on the surface and the abyss of deep emotions beneath. ‘Completely Fine’ is the assertion of a stoic facade when everything is truly falling apart.
How are you feeling about the record? Are you satisfied with how it turned out?
We are absolutely thrilled of what we have achieved. We have taken our time in the recording and production as we wanted it to be as good as we could get it to be.
What kind of feedback do you expect from your fans, regarding the new record?
We hope they will be as happy as we are when they finally get to listen to it. It is very honest, it is us to the highest resemblance, refined and raw at the same time.
Where do you usually draw your influences from when it comes to producing new music?
We are very instinctive when we write new music. We have our favorite bands that have left a substantial mark on the way we create and perform, but sometimes inspiration comes from unusual places like something we see on the street, a sound we hear, or anything that is capable of touching us. We are fascinated by the inclusion of everyday noises into our arrangements, they can create an interesting atmosphere: familiar sounds put out of context can stimulate intriguing feelings.
Do you write music together with other band members, or does everyone do their own part and then share?
We do indeed. I often come to the studio with a draft for a song, some other time it all starts with a riff from Dan or a rhythm from Jon, and then the dance begins! We work together to make it sound right, sometimes it takes very little time, some other time we spend weeks refining one song, and this is why they sound so different to one another: each and every single one is special and unique in its own right, we just go with the flow.
Which track from Completely Fine was the most interesting to work on, and why?
Hahah, probably we would have different opinions on this, but for me it has been Twilight. It is very different from the other songs in the album, we really played with sounds and noises there to create a very dark and obscure piece of music.
The songs on the upcoming record are diverse, there is a range of sounds and vibes. Was it an intentional plan, or did it turn out like that accidentally?
It wasn’t planned but we knew that it was going to be the case. They have been written in a wide time span and convey very intense and diverse experiences. There is a common ground in terms of meaning, such as a metropolitan sense of oppression, the perception of being vulnerable at the mercy of time that erodes us, the innocence and dangerousness of drives sometimes unmanageable, and the emptiness that some relationships leave behind when expectations and reality diverge. But it is not all gloom and doom , there’s lots of irony too, and the beauty that even the strongest and negative emotions can emerge in creative energy, which is the silver lining of human frailty.
How does the way of recording differ, if at all, between an EP and a full-length album?
In general terms, it depends mostly on the time spent and the care that goes into the production, even though nowadays most bands create spectacular EPs which differ from albums only for their length. Many bands decide to release an EP instead of a full length only due to lack of funds. In my opinion, an EP (at least for my personal experience) is a ‘tasty taste’, a presentation; while the album is a full meal with a concept around it and a structured message underneath.
How was it – to finish your first album in the middle of a pandemic?
Painful. Hopeful. Lonely. Heartfelt. A fight. A win. A light and pure darkness. All at once. It was hard but at the same time a moment where we had to really bring out all our will power and resources. The best thing we have done so far as a band, and the beginning of a long journey together.
How do you like working under the label of Mandrone Records?
Very much! It has to be because it’s our own, haha! We put it together after a long struggle to find a label to release our hard-earned work, but during these difficult times it had proven to be impossible. So we decided to start Mandrone Records which is another exciting adventure for us. This is not just to release our music though, this is a label in its own right through which we are going to release music from other artists which are outsiders/different/varied as we are.
Artwork to your album is really good, and the album cover looks like a vintage action movie poster. How did you choose the artist? Do you plan to work with them in the future?
Well spotted! It is inspired by 1950s Sci-Fi movies, in particular the ‘Attack of the 50 Foot Woman’ which expresses the idea behind ‘Completely Fine’ beautifully: ‘yes, yes everything is fine, in the meantime if you don’t mind I’ll destroy everything!’ – Haha. We picked Federico Salis because he is a genius! His style is bold, expressed with vivid colors which reminded us of the acid strange world of the 80s and 90s grunge. There is a lot of irony in his work, beauty and pain. We like strong contrasts, and Federico gave us just that in his beautiful artwork. I am sure we’ll work with him again.
What do you like to do outside of music? Do you have any hobbies?
Yes we do! There is not much time left besides music, but different interests keep us sane and help us to let out some steam to balance up when the pressure gets too strong. I’m studying psychology at the Open University and I’m also a photographer, Dan is a computer geek and obsessed with food and dieting, while Jon is crazy about cooking and experimenting with different foods and cuisines.
What are the band’s plans for 2021? Have you planned any live shows or other projects?
Since the pandemic made live shows almost impossible, we scheduled very few gigs so far. Our original plan was to go on tour to promote the album, but I think this will have to wait a little longer. Meanwhile, we dedicated our time to writing and we already have lots of material for our second album. Maybe we’ll end up touring both at the same time!
Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?
Thank you for reading and for keeping rock music alive! We can’t wait to see you all rocking out with us downstage! Thank you Svetlana and The Independent Voice for having us! All the very best! 🙂
Thank you one more time for this interview and I hope you and all band members stay healthy and safe!