LA-based shoegaze group Alms reflects on growing up with their latest EP “Somehow, Always” that was released on June 11th. I had the chance to talk to them about the inspiration behind the EP and more! Read below for the full interview.
1) What artists influence your sound the most?
Our influences are truly all over the place. Some are more obvious, and others may seem to come out of left field. We’re definitely heavily influenced by big guitar bands like Built to Spill, Smashing Pumpkins, MBV and 90’s Radiohead. All of those 90s hitters. But at the same time we both love hip-hop and electronic music and we think about that a lot when writing songs and trying to channel a certain energy or feeling. The loud-quiet-loud dynamics of a band like the Pixies is also a huge reference point for us. We try not to be confined to any one specific lane.
2) Where did the name Alms come from?
My first year in college I took a class on Buddhist Art and I was introduced to the practice of “giving alms” or making offerings of charity to others, which is a fundamental part of practicing Buddhism. I had just never heard the word before and was struck by the sound of it and its meaning and connotations.
3) Tell me about your new EP “Somehow, Always.” What are some of the themes of the songs, etc.?
“Somehow, Always” came together during the early months of the pandemic, as we began demoing songs we had written around the time of the first lockdown. It is the product of forced periods of self-reflection, brought on by quarantining and self-isolation. Without the distractions of everyday life, we started to hold a magnifying-glass up to past relationships, friendships, and our own identities, in a newly honest and often brutal way. We both found ourselves anxious and pessimistic about the changing and unstable world around us. The songs on this EP are less an attempt to overcome that change, and the loss and the fear that accompany it, but more to make peace with it, in our own personal way.
4) What’s your favorite track off the EP?
We love them all equally. That’s like asking a parent which one of their kids they love most!
5) How has living in Los Angeles shaped your music and/or yourselves as artists?
Growing up in LA, has pretty much meant that from an early age I have had unparalleled access to live music, from both local and touring bands. Once I was old enough to seek it out, I ended up totally immersing myself in the local DIY scene- going to shows two or three times a week and playing them as well. So LA has always been central to my identity as a musician. That being said, I do think we draw from the overall energy and spirit of the city- the way the city teeters between being laid-back and being chaotic at all times. It definitely informs our sound whether consciously or subconsciously. I could talk about LA for hours…
6) What have you been listening to lately?
AG Cook, Alvidrez, Sideshow, Standing on The Corner, Jessy Lanza, Liz Phair, Spirit of the Beehive and the new Jerseygirl EP!
7) What’s your dream lineup to play on?
Rage Against The Machine, Sade & Pavement, to an audience of 40 people. And we would open the show.
8) Who are some of your favorite local artists?
Galpal, Lecx Stacy, Cryogeyser and Milly!
9) What can fans expect from you in the future?
We’re hoping to tour this Fall and then back to the lab to work on our next full length.
Interview By: Donna Borges