ALASKALASKA recently released their brilliant genre blurring album ‘The Dots’, through its pallete of colours and emotions it takes in slinky grooves, synth textures, jazzy bursts, pointed emotive balladry and playful soundscapes all infused with vocalist Licinda Duarte- Holman’s constantly entrancing vocals that dig into her experiences in arresting ways.
‘Monster’ is sewn with an enveloping atmosphere driven by clipped strums, subtle percussive shifts and Welsh-born singer Lucinda Duarte-Holman’s evocative vocals that offer vivid chinks in her self identity. Like the addictively ace but subtle synth floor filler ‘Meateater’, it was recorded with Oli Barton-Wood – the producer and engineer behind recent releases from Nilüfer Yanya, HMLTD, and Sorry – with whom they, and fellow ascendant South London artist Mellah, now share studio space.
The skittery beats of ‘Moon’ pushes and pulls against Holman’s evocative yet infectious tone, swirling into a percussive rush. Their recent singles are just as good the blinking synth patterns of ‘The Dots’, bursting with evocative gathering crescendos, plinking synths and sax, it is brilliant. While ‘Tough love’ takes shots at a cookie cutter record industry.
‘The Dots’ is an album that can transport you and is one of the best debuts I’ve heard so far this year.
The group’s previous output, ‘Meateater’ and the brilliant 2017 self-titled debut EP, served as the perfect introduction to their genre-blurring sound, laced with elements of electro-pop, dance music and jazz-flecked arrangements, infused with an intensely personal quality that gives them a distinctive edge.
ALASKALASKA produce the kind of exciting, joyous and inspired pop music that surprises at every turn, that we heartily approve of here at GIITTV. We caught up with Lucinda Duarte-Holman to get to know them better.
Hi, how are you today?
Ruddy great. Feeling excited and proud and a little overwhelmed (in the best way).
How did you meet?
In a series of unfortunate events…. not really. They were really very, happy coincidences.
Where does the name ALASKALASKA come from?
I think the mystery is better than the real answer.
What was the first song you ever wrote? What was it like?
‘Familiar Ways’ was the first to be finished together. The response was quite nice actually.
What’s the music scene like back home?
If I’m being really honest, I’m not sure but there is a certainly a hot bed of talent around every hip corner.
Which artists do you admire?
It depends who you are talking to. I think i have admiration for anyone who can call themselves an artist. It takes a heck of a lot of gumption to do so.
Can you tell us about your new single?
It’s about the music industry but I won’t divulge any further. It’s up for interpretation. I give you all creative license.
Your videos always have a strong visual element. Is that important to you that the visual has a message alongside the song?
Very. Visual stimulation is often a big part of the creative process for me. It’s hard to explain, kind of like a type of imagery synesthesia? That’s not a thing but I don’t know how else to explain it without writing an essay. I’d love to make a visual accompaniment for every song if I could. Maybe, that’s something to aim for in the future…
Also, I think it’s really easy to hear a song but not actually listen to it. I know because I do it myself sometimes. I think having a strong visual really reiterates the message you’re trying to evoke.
The songs subject matter seems to go from intensely personal to more wider social commentary, what inspires you to start a writing a lyric?
At this point in my life, anything and everything really. I find it difficult to express myself or talk about my feelings any other way. It’s overwhelming at times but that’s where the songs come from. It’s a cathartic process.
I read that your debut album The Dots was produced at home by Fraser what did that bring to the recordings and the process do you think?
Some of it was. We did a bunch of demo tracks at his before heading to the studio. There were some parts that we felt really accustomed to by the time it came to recording it “properly” and didn’t want to change. Why change it if it’s good? It doesn’t always sound “better” because the equiptment or the room is “better”, the intention behind it has to be sincere and real too. I think we captured a lot of that at Fraser’s place because it was the most comfortable and at times, the most experimental we felt we could be.
Many of the pieces written about ALASKALASKA focus on the fusion between electronic pop music and jazz elements, was this a balance you were searching for?
Not at all actually. It was actually our intention to be unconscious of any genre expectations. If it felt good and it made sense to us, then we did it.
What would be your dream collaboration?
Thats a tough one. For the sake of throwing a curve ball, I’m going to say IDLES’ frontman, Joe Talbot. I love everything they stand for and he is a bloody great lyricist. Thought provoking, engaging and enlightening. I don’t know how it would work but I’d certainly like to try.
What’s the best band you have played with so far?
Supporting Porches was literally a dream come true. It was really hard to contain my inner fangirl. That aside, Nilufer Yanya and her band really blew our socks off. They’re all so young and talented and their set was super tight.
Are you playing any shows/festivals this summer?
We are touring around the UK in the next couple of weeks. After that we have ‘Lost Village’ Festival in August.
See ALASKALASKA live at the following dates:
20 May | The Hug And Pint, Glasgow
22 May | Rough Trade, Bristol
24 Aug | Lost Village Festival, Lincolnshire