09.10.2019



ALLA







Multi - instrumentalist, singer - songwriter, theatre and film composer and music producer, ALLA has already toured all over Europe with various music projects and played some of the biggest stages in the country in both the pop/electronic as well as the classical music world, from Untold Festival to The National Romanian Opera.
​Jump right into the interview by playing her latest (Underdog!) release in the background.





1. First things first, how did you get into music?

For lack of a better way of putting it, I was kinda born into music. My mom was a pretty well known singer and actress and I grew up watching tapes of her music videos and performances, running around backstage at her concerts and missing her like crazy when she would leave for one of her European tours. By the age of six I was set on becoming a professional musician so I started taking piano lessons and then at 9 years old I picked up the classical guitar.

2. What's your earliest music related memory?

My parents had a VHS tape with music videos, which was valuable "contraband" material in pre-1989 communist Romania. I remember hearing Crazy by Fine Young Cannibals for the first time. I was electrified and instantly obsessed. I still blame that riff for me choosing to become a guitarist.

3. Do you remember the first song you ever made?

It’s kind of a blur which one is the first to be honest. What I do remember the day my parents gifted me a janky Yamaha keyboard and me getting into producing my own music in a matter of hours while exploring all the presets. It was a brave new world for little old me, who had only heard guitar or piano sounds coming out of her hands till then. The basses, the synths, the strings… oh Lord have mercy, I was in Heaven! I didn’t have a computer so I saved all my “masterpieces” on floppy disks and what I wouldn’t give to get my hands on them again. I’m sure I’d laugh my behind off at what I tought was cutting age and cool. I was 12 man, gimme a break! Funny thing is I still use that same janky old Yamaha in my home studio to this day. I have plenty of other options but I always seem to reach for it. It’s just, we’ve been through a lot together and yes I may be a little bit too emotionally attached to it.

4. Name 3 massive influences of your sound and why, how they helped shape you.

It’s hard to pick just three but I’ll give it a try. I get my main inspiration from myths and legends when I write for my own solo project and I love to play with those kinds of themes and find a way to filter them through my own life experiences. So I guess I could say Florence Welch might be considered an influence, though I’d been gravitating towards that style of writing way before she bursted onto the music scene. I did get a lot of inspiration from her style as a lyricist when I finally discovered her music, a couple of years after she already got pretty big. But i’d say my first big influence as a songwriter was PJ Harvey. I will never forget how understood and at home I felt when I discovered her. I vibed instantly with the visceral sexuality of her music and the unapologetic and head-on way she approaches trauma was my coming of age as a songwriter. And last but not least the masterful and emotional electronic pop sounds of Imogen Heap.

5. What does a usual day in your life look like?

Well, I usually teach music during the day and try to get home in time to catch a few hours of work in the studio before bedtime. Sometimes I write songs on the bus during my commute cause I just hate letting that time go to waste. This past year especially has been a real tour de force for me. I’m either at school or in the studio, I can barely remember the last time I had a whole day to myself to just do nothing. But I have big goals for the next couple of years so putting in the time is paramount. And so is paying the bills.





6. What was your most challenging moment as an artist?

In my second year as a Conservatory student I wanted to quit music for good for about 6 months. All I’d been doing throughout my childhood and teenage years is practicing like an insane person for six to eight hours a day and then go to various competitions. I’d won dozens of prizes by the time I was 20 and I was getting no joy out of it anymore. I loved the music but I had realised that I hated the classical music world. Everything felt so stiff, bleak and pointless. The truth is I’d always felt out of place in that scene but I was so deep in it that just the thought of doing any other kind of music felt like blasphemy. I had no faith in myself to pursue my own music, especially since it was heavily discouraged in our circles. It was always like “Oh yeah, you wanna pursue composition? How ‘bout you learn your Bach movements for the competition and practice some more, your tone is dreadful”. So I was just fed up with it all, jaded and too insecure to go after what I really wanted. What eventually saved me was deciding to pursue another passion of mine, acting. I ended up auditioning for a student theatre group that just so happened to have a world music band attached to it. They were all over me to join the band and I was like “no guys, I’m quitting music”. Who was I kidding! In a few months I was touring Hungary and Belgium with them and living a crazy street musician lifestyle, playing to cheering crowds at various festivals and just having so much fun. I’d found the joy in music again and from there I’d slowly build up the courage to pursue my own compositions. But yeah, those 6 months when I really felt I was done with music, those were I’d say my most challenging moment.

7. The highlight moment of your career?

Playing Untold Festival in 2016 with my friend and collaborator Platonic Scale. We’d just released our EP “Out of the Blue” and that was the first time I got to play my own songs on stage. You know, the thing I’d been dreaming about my whole life. We had bigger and better gigs since then but the rush of seeing for the first time those people in the crowd picking up the words and singing along to the songs i’d written, it just doesn’t get any better that that.

8. What's your songwriting process like?

I don’t really have a process. Sometime I’ll write about stuff that has affected me emotionally in some way but sometime I’ll just wake up with a phrase, a melody or a chord progression stuck in my head. So I lay it down and see if I can make something out of it. For example with the song “Silver” it was something as simple as seeing someone’s post about “Silver Linings Playbook” in my Facebook feed and having a lightbulb go on in my head like, “hey, silver is a pretty cool sounding word”. From there I immediately thought of the symbolism of silver in werewolf mythology and just like that, I had a love song done in 15 minutes.

9. What are your 3 desert island albums?

Year Zero by Nine Inch Nails, So by Peter Gabriel and Mezzanine by Massive Attack





10. What advice would you tell your younger self?

Don't waste your time trying to placate narcissists. You won't get that time back and they'll never appreciate what you’ve done for them. There are kind and talented people out there you can make music with, give yourself the chance to find them.

11. Any advice for someone just starting out into music?

Have a plan B. I know it sounds like I’m telling you to set yourself up for failure but hear me out. Survivor bias is a thing! People that made it are out here telling you to put all your eggs in one basket, telling you that if you work hard enough and you want it hard enough you can’t not make it. Their voices are louder because, you know, they “made it”. All the while you never hear about the ones that didn’t, but they’re out there. So just, have a plan B. Be smart about it! It will keep you relaxed and focused on making music just because you have a story to tell not because if you don’t “make it” this month you’ll get evicted. Removing the desperation and the urgency that comes with only having plan A will only help your artistry and in my opinion, increase your chances of actually going somewhere in the long run.

12. What does the future hold for you? New releases, tour, interesting projects?

I’m working on some projects in the theatre world that I’m very excited about but that have been put on hold for the moment due to our lovely mayor cutting the funding (that she already approved) for all theatres. But we’re those picking back up in 2020. I also have a few releases lined up for this fall and early next year, one of which is an orchestral piece that I’m extremely proud of, inspired by the mind blowing series Dark.





'Silver 8.0' is an 80s inspired remix of the original 'Silver' released in 2016 on the
'Out Of the Blue' EP