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SPOTLIGHT ON ÅLESUND

Ålesund's new single Lightning is out now! We chat to front woman Alba Torriset about the release and more.

Image: Andrew Edgecumbe.


Bristol-based atmospheric Alt-Pop quartet Ålesund have made their return with their new single, Lightning! After being forced to cancel their 2020 touring plans, Ålesund returned to the UK where they utilised their new found free time to craft and create a collection of new songs.


Set a top a an atmospheric and euphoric soundscape, Lightning navigates the emotions felt before making a big life decision and searching for the courage within. The track showcases front woman Alba Torriset's mesmerising and pure vocals, and is set to feature on the bands forthcoming EP, A Thread In The Dark.


The haunting track is accompanied by a cinematic visual, which pays homage to Eadweard Muybridge's Studies In Motion. The visual, directed by Andrew Edgecumbe and due out this Friday, sees Torriset take to the ocean, performing the track in a striking orange gown.


Lightning is out now! Read our interview with Alba Torriset of Ålesund below.



Tell us a bit about how you began your musical journey...


I knew the kind of music I wanted to make, I searched Bristol a long time to find the right guitarist. When I met and played with Lloyd it just clicked. We’ve been making music for about 5 years together now. It’s grown from there I guess!




Congratulations on the release of your debut single, Lightning! Could you tell us a bit about the song and what prompted you to explore the themes present?


Thank you! Lightning was written at a time when there was a lot of doubt and uncertainty in the world. It’s main themes focus on that feeling you have before making a big life decision and committing to it wholeheartedly. Being brave and bold pays off if you give it a chance.




How did you arrive at the sonic sounds prevalent on the tracks?


Writing in lockdown provided a new way to write for me. We normally jam ideas out in a rehearsal room together, instead I was forced to get my head around using logic (a big achievement for me!!) Because I only had keys and vocals to hand I used loads of layers. Layers of string sounds, layers of pianos, rhodes, backing vocals and then when I got frustrated at not having a drum kit I used my hands and clapped and banged out percussive rhythms to add into the mix. We all liked the way it was sounding so decided to roll with it!




Lightning is accompanied by a stellar visual. How did you conceptualise the music video?


Ah thanks, glad you liked it! I absolutely love Eadweard Muybridge and his Studies In Motion, they are the first look into the moving image and I think they are beautiful. So I knew I wanted to pay a slight homage to him and his work in this video.




How important are the visualsto you when it comes to conveying the story and meaning present on the track and how involved are you in the creative process?


They are extremely important to me. I think the right visuals and images can elevate music to the next level. I’m always 100% involved in the creative process and it’s nice because after making the music the visuals seem to just arrive in my mind, one informs the other. That’s the nice thing, one creative impulse can lead into another.




Your new EP A Thread In The Dark is set to drop soon! What can fans expect from the collection of songs?


Yes we can’t wait! They were all created during this weird old time, so were a backlash to the bleakness that Covid presented to musicians, an antidote to the uncertainty. So they are full of life, defiance, joy in the simple things and above all hopefulness.




Which song from the EP are you most excited for listeners to hear and why?


I’m excited to share them all, they each bring something different I hope.




If Lightning was a piece of visual art, which artwork would it be?


Good question! I think it’d have to to be Eadweard J. Muybridge Woman Dancing (Fancy): Plate 187 from Animal Locomotion (1887) 1884-86



What messages do you hope listeners take away from the track?


Take a leap of faith - it will pay off!




Could you tell us a bit about your creative process when writing and recording?


I always start writing on the piano. I find chords I like and sing nonsense words over them. Then I start to form melodies, structures and real lyrics. I demoed up all my ideas and then we were able to jam and write to them with the rest of the band. The demos were made up to such a good standard for this record, we re-recorded and built on them.




Did you encounter any challenges whilst creating music during the COVID-19 pandemic, or did it allow you the time and space to immerse yourself within this musical project?


When I realised we weren’t going back to gigging anytime soon I thought the only thing I can do right now is write and record. It has been incredibly liberating to have all this time, even if it wasn’t how I thought this past year would have panned out...




Your European tour was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what are your touring plans post pandemic? If any, what can people expect from one of your live shows?


I mean everything is so uncertain still. I feel like our sector will be one of the last things to come back. We had rebooked our European dates for now, we should have been in Germany as I type this! So who knows. All can say is I know people are dying to hear and experience live music again so when it does happen it’ll be magical.



RAPID FIRE



Biggest influences?

Florence and the Machine.


Dream collaboration?

Alt-J.


Album that has had the most impact on you?

Florence and the Machine - Ceremonials


How do you define your musical style in 3 words?

Cinematic, alt-pop, epic.


A musical release you’re most looking forward to in 2021?

London Grammar - Californian Soil.


If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?

Baz Lurhman’s Romeo and Juliet.


Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?

Miley!


The most memorable show you’ve ever performed?

Probably St. Thomas Martyr Church a week before the Beast From The East hit. There was no heating in the church so everyone was huddled like penguins and drinking whisky to keep warm, it was pretty mad but it made it really special and very memorable!


Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?

Nick Mulvey - Wake Up Now.


Best concert you have been to?

Oh man that is so hard. Probably The Who at Glastonbury, just so epic.


Last concert you went to?

Mumble Tide at The Lanes in Bristol.


If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?

Nordic Spice!


Guilty music pleasure?

Taylor Swift’s new folk albums.


If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?

Kate Bush.


An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.

Radiohead.


What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?

Keep up the yoga or your back won’t be happy!


The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?

The day I left Uni.