Alanna Eileen has been one of my favourite musical finds of the year, so I was thrilled to catch up with her on the release of her new single “Love the Ghost,” our first taste of her forthcoming LP. Here’s what she had to say about the new song, the album to come, and her love of literature.
You’ve just released “Love the Ghost” as your new single. What was it about that song that made you want to release it?
“Love the Ghost” is like the centre from which, thematically, all the other songs on the album arise. It became the first single because I noticed it was reflective of the entire LP. It seemed an apposite introduction for that reason.
Mark Myers from The Middle East produced the single. What was he like to work with?
Mark Myers is great to work with. He also produced my first EP. We recorded it in Cairns, where his studio is based.
The song comes from your album, which is coming out early next year. What can music lovers expect from the LP?
The LP is a collection of ten songs performed on piano and guitar. Like my first EP, it’s lyric-driven and introspective. I wanted the instrumentation to be subtle and for the vocals to remain the primary focus.
How did the process of putting together an album, compared to an EP, treat you?
It was mainly a process of choosing the right songs and examining how they fit together. It’s almost like a concept album in the sense that it retraces and reiterates the same territory and themes over and over. Because it’s my first full-length work, I learned a lot that will hopefully benefit me on future releases.
I noticed you’re not playing any shows to launch the single. Will fans get to see you on stage to celebrate the album’s release?
I’m heading to London in February, where I’ll be playing some small venues in addition to a headline show at the historic St. Pancras Old Church. When I return, I plan to release my second single, “Motion,” with an accompanying video, before an Australian launch and tour.
What can music lovers expect when they come to see you play?
My live shows are very raw; it’s just my voice and, usually, an acoustic guitar. Piano will also feature. I do hope to introduce a band soon, too, which will be a new experience.
Your EP Absence was one of my favourite recordings of the year. What music have you enjoyed listening to this year?
Thank you so much. This year, I enjoyed hearing the new Sufjan Stevens album. I also just found out about Joanna Newsom’s most recent release after returning from recording, which was a lovely surprise. Otherwise, I have mainly been listening to older music – a lot of Nick Drake and minimalist composers like Henryk Gorecki and John Adams. Nico Muhly’s Drones has also been a favourite.
I was poking around your Facebook page and noticed you’re more likely to “like” literary figures than other musicians. What is it about good literature that gets you so excited?
I love language. I feel like I still have an endless amount to learn about everything and that books are great teachers. I find beauty in the stream-of-consciousness prose of Virginia Woolf, the idiosyncratic poetry of Dylan Thomas, David Foster Wallace’s breathless sentences and Hesse’s mystical parables. The way a writer like Camus describes things succinctly, yet with an almost tender attention to detail, taught me a lot about writing when I was a young teen. It promoted the kind of introspection that has largely fuelled my work.
Since Christmas is approaching all too quickly, what’s on your wish list this year?
All my wishes would be for immaterial things. Mostly, I’m just grateful that I can make music and I wish to continue. If I’m able to help others at all, that would also be a wish fulfilled.
Is there anything else in the pipeline you can tell me about?
I’m going to be working on my first music video in London, which will be released alongside my second single. Also, since finishing recording, I’ve started writing songs that feel structurally and lyrically different to my previous ones; I’m already looking forward to releasing them in future.
Alanna Eileen’s single “Love the Ghost” is out now. Her new album is slated for a February 2016 release.