Zaslišanje: Alicia Edelweiss

Photo: Wolf Morrison

Alicia Edelweiss je avstrijsko-britanska glasbenica, ki že nekaj časa živi na Dunaju. Svojo glasbeno kariero je začela kot ulična glasbenica, ko se je pri 19 letih za dve leti odpravila na potovanje po vsej Evropi. 

V iskanju svobode in potovanju brez denarja je precej odkrila svojo strast in talent do glasbe – takrat oborožena zgolj s kitaro.

Nekaj dni pred začetkom šeste izdaje festivala MENT smo se z Alicijo pogovarjali o njeni glasbeni karieri in načrtih za prihodnost.

Alicia Edelweiss je ime, ki ga na letošnji šesti izdaji festivala MENT ne želite izpustiti. Na odru bo v Dijaškem domu Tabor drugi dan festivala, ki bo potekal med 5. in 7. februarjem na različnih lokacijah po Ljubljani.

  • Alicia, svojo glasbeno kariero si začela kot ulična glasbenica pri 19 letih, ko si se na potovanje po Evropi odpravila z malo denarja in samo s svojo kitaro – Je to doživetje oblikovalo tvojo glasbeno kariero, da je takšna, kot je danes? Imaš kakšne zanimive izkušnje iz svojih začetnih dni?

Mislim, da je bilo to potovanje najboljša odločitev v mojem življenju, in tudi tista, ki me je vodila do glasbe. Nikoli si ne bi mislila, da bom postala glasbenica. Seveda, bilo je nekaj sanj o tem, vendar tega nisem jemala resno, ker sem mislila, da nisem dovolj dobra, pred potovanjem sem se poskušala vpisati tudi v dramsko šolo, a mi ni uspelo. 

Potovanje me je prisililo v iskanje poguma in soočanje s številnimi strahovi, zato je to lepa lekcija, saj se zaveš, da lahko počneš vse, kar hočeš, in neverjetne stvari se zgodijo, če si sam upaš in če te ne zanima mnenje drugih. 

Mislim, da mi je ta izkušnja pomagala v tem, da sem postala to, kar v resnici sem, da sem slekla vse tiste maske in sloje, ki mi res niso pripadali. In zato mislim, da lahko ustvarjam glasbo,  ki je resnična meni in temu, kar sem. Najboljša stvar na ulici je svoboda vsega. Dobiš zelo debelo kožo in prožnost, igraš na različnih krajih in pred različnimi ljudmi, ne da bi skrbel, kaj si mislijo o tebi.

  • Leta 2012 si se odločila, da se boš preselila na Portugalsko, kjer si posnela tudi svoj prvi EP z naslovom I should have been overproducedkaj je bila glavna ideja tega EP-ja? Snemanje EP-ja je moralo biti zate takrat povsem nova stvar. Ali je to kaj spremenilo v načinu ustvarjanja glasbe?

Šele zatem sem začela pisati pesmi, tako da je bilo zame vse povsem novo. Pred tem sem samo igrala na ulicah. Vse pesmi na ta EP so bile zgodbe s potovanj, ki sem jih poskušala predelati. Bilo je smešno, saj nisem zares vedela, kako se sliši moj glas, in bila sem resnično šokirana, ko sem slišala posnetke, ki mi na začetku niso bili všeč. Vse je bilo tako spontano, posneli smo ga v dveh urah v kleti neke glasbene šole in to je bilo to, ničesar nisem mogla spremeniti na koncu. Tako da nisem imela veliko povedati in sem morala sprejeti vse tako, kot se sliši. In zdaj, ko gledam nazaj, obožujem ta EP, zato ker je tako surov in nedotaknjen.

  • Povej mi malo o tvojem postopku pisanja. Besedilo v vsaki vaši pesmi je precej poetično in ima globok pomen, a hkrati je napolnjeno z lahkim humorjem in sladko ironijo. V čem isčeš navdih?

Skoraj vse, kar pišem, izvira iz mojega osebnega življenja, mojih izkušenj in ljudi v mojem življenju. Predvsem moja potovanja in avanture so ogromen navdih. Poskušam stvari videti s humorjem in se rada smejim sama sebi in mislim, da je ena mojih največjih prednosti moja iskrenost. Nimam težav s petjem in pripovedovanjem o najbolj intimnih stvareh in stvareh, ki bi lahko bile neugodne drugim, saj verjamem, da sta poštenost in pristnost ključna za vse v življenju in lahko dajeta veliko navdiha. Hkrati imam rad tudi poezijo, magijo in mistiko in tudi rada izrazim žalost in bolečino v svojih pesmih, zato bi rekla, da sta v moji glasbi tisti dve strani, ki se med seboj mešata. 

  • Čez nekaj časa si se spet odločila za potovanje in našla si svoje mesto na Dunaju, kjer raziskovala nove načine nastopa in pridružila si se nomadski folk-punk zasedbi Old Trees kot harmonikarka za njihove turneje v letu 2015. Kasneje si se pridružila tudi skupini avstro-pop pevca Voodoo Jürgens. Kako si doživela nastop kot del skupine, ki se razlikuje od tistega, kar si bila navajena – biti solo izvajalka? Ali je delo z skupinami spremenilo tebi in način ustvarjanja glasbe za tvoji prvi album?

Uživam v tem, da sem v ozadju in da nisem odgovorna, da sem tista, ki mora zabavati ljudi. Nikoli pa nisem dopustila, da bi nek drug projekt postal pomembnejši od mojega solo projekta, saj vem, da le takrat najbolj zasijem in sem resnično izpolnjena. Z igranjem v drugih projektih me je izboljšalo igranje harmonike, ker drugi ljudje pišejo in urejajo svoje pesmi drugače, zato je tudi moje spretnosti vodilo v nove smeri in me sililo k izboljšanju.

  • Zakaj si se pa vrnila v solo kariero?
  • Vedno sem bila solo umetnik, nikoli si nisem vzela odmora od tega. Pridružila sem se skupino Old Trees, ker so iskali harmonikarja za svojo turnejo po Balkanu. Takrat še nikoli nisem bila na pravi koncertni turneji, zato sem takoj sprejela in zvenilo mi je zabavno. Smo šli na turnejo in igrali smo na številnih underground lokacijah. Z njimi sem igrala približno eno leto in potem se je skupina razšla. Enako z Voodoo Jürgens – vse te druge skupine sem gledala kot stranske projekte, moja solo stvar pa je bila in vedno bo moj glavni projekt. Prav tako je dobro narediti nekaj drugega ob strani, da bi se malo oddahnila od sebe in lastne glasbe. Lahko malo znoriš, ko se vse, kar počneš, vrti samo glede lastne glasbe in kariere.
  • Tvoj debitantski album Mother how could you si posnela doma po DIY metodi. Mi lahko poveš malo več o celotnem postopku snemanja? Ali si imela kakšne predhodne izkušnje z DIY metodo snemanja ali si se vse naučila na poti (on the way)?

Nisem imela nobenih izkušenj, celoten posnetek je bil zame velik eksperiment in učni proces. Mislim, da je bila to dobra priprava za moj zadnji album, da bi razumela in raziskala osnove snemanja in urejanja vse to. Ampak album, ki sem ga pravkar izdala, se mi zdi da je ta pravi prvi album, ampak mogoče se tako vedno počutiš o svojem najmlajšem ustvarjanju. Zdi se mi, da sem si prizadevala, da bi to lahko storila bolj profesionalno in imela vse možnosti, da bi bil tak, kot sem si želela. Trajalo precej dolgo, da sem prišla do tega.

  • AlbumMother how could youti je prinesel takojšen uspeh in medijsko prepoznavnost – kam te je pripeljal izzid tega albuma? Kaj je najboljši del turneje zate?

Ah, to res ni bilo zelo uspešno, takrat je bilo vse bilo DIY. Sama sem si bukirala turneje po Balkanu, na Portugalskem in v Veliki Britaniji s pomočjo underground promotorjev. Veliko sem potovala in pogosto je bilo zelo hudo in res sem vesela, da mi tega ni več treba. 

Bolj zabavno je, ko imaš s seboj druge ljudi in ko te primerno plačajo. Mislim, da je malo iluzija, če pomisliš, da lahko kariero gradiš in pridobiš oboževalce samo s turnejami. Bila sem morda preveč naivna  in sem mislila, da je to mogoče, vendar sem ugotovila, da to ni tako enostavno in da resnično potrebuješ podporo medijev. 

Zdaj uživam na turnejah s svojim bendom in ljudje prihajajo, zato ni videti, da zapravljam energijo za neke daljne sanje. Pri turnejah mi je najbolj všeč to, da je vsak koncert tako edinstven v vsakem mestu in je energija občinstva vedno tako drugačna, da nikoli ne postane dolgočasno. Všeč mi je tudi sprehod po mestih, ki jih obiščemo, ko imamo čas.

  • Besedila na tvojem prvem profesionalnem studijskem albumu When I’m enlightened, everything will be better, ki je izšel leta 2019, so ena najbolj zanimivih in čustvenih stvari, kar sem jih kdaj slišala. Mi lahko malo poveš o postopku pisanja tega albuma?

Oh, hvala lepa! Skoraj vse pesmi na tem albumu so bile napisane med potovanjem in so o izkušnjah na poti, o prijateljstvu, mojih čudnih fantih … potem sta tu še dve pesmi, na katere vplivajo pravljice. Veliko jih je bilo napisanih v različnih obdobjih mojega življenja. Ta album je kot zbirka najboljših pesmi zadnjih let, za katere sem se počutila, da so šli tudi skupaj. Glasbeno gledano so pa nekatere pesmi nekako čakale na aranžman skupine, ki jo imam zdaj – violončelista in violinista – in zaslužile so si boljše kot nekaj posnetkov, ki sem jih opravila sama doma. Ko sem  zbrala skupino, smo začeli vaditi pesmi in aranžirati ter na koncu posneli z nekaj gostujočimi glasbeniki. To je bil res dolg, zanimiv in tudi naporen proces.

Kaj je tebi premaknilo iz DIY načina snemanja v studijsko produkcijo?

Bilo je samo življenje in njegove omejitve in možnosti. Denar je velik dejavnik in ravno takrat sem živela od ulične glasbe, ko sem snemala z DIY metodo in zato nisem imela tega veliko. Dlje ko sem živela na Dunaju, bolj so se stvari spreminjale in več stikov sem imela na glasbeni sceni. Prvi denar, ki sem ga zaslužila, je bil, ko sem igrala z Voodoo Jürgens in s to pomočjo sem začela financirati svoj prvi studijski album. Vedno sem sanjala, da bom imel posnetke, ki zvenijo zelo dobro, toda moj moto je bil vedno »sprejeti omejitve«, zato bi stvari naredila sama, dokler sem morala.

  • Letos boš prvič nastopila  v Ljubljani, predvidevam? Kaj lahko pričakujemo od vašega nastopa tukaj, ki bo v sklopu festivala MENT?

Prišla bom s svojim bendom – violončelistom in violinistom – in s svojo harmoniko, kitaro, ukulele in hula hoop! Predvajali bomo pesmi z mojega studijskega albuma, za katere upam, da se bodo ljudi dotaknile, jih nasmejale in morda tudi spravile v jok. Občutke na svojih koncertih bi opisala kot zelo čarobne, barvite, performativne in vznemirljive – zame je pravzaprav tako, da se skupaj s publiko odpravim na potovanje, saj ima vsaka pesem tako drugačno zgodbo, energijo in čustva. 

Kar nekaj časa sem igrala zunaj nemško govorečega sveta, zato se zelo veselim mednarodnega šova na festivalu MENT.

 In pravzaprav ne, v Ljubljani ne bom prvič! Sem igrala na Metelkovi s skupino Old Trees in tudi na Kavč Festivalu po dnevnih sobah v letu 2017. Tako da imam Slovenijo res rada in imam tudi lepe spomine na igranje na festivalu Floating Castle in Etno Histeria Orchestra!

  • In kaj lahko pričakujemo od tebe v prihodnosti?

Vedno sem bila nekdo, ki ima rada spremembe. Z lahkoto se dolgočasim in si vedno želim, da bi po končanem projektu naredila nekaj zahtevnega in da bi tudi naredila nekaj izzivov, tako da bi lahko moj naslednji album zvenel zelo drugače. 

Ampak pravzaprav trenutno, res ne vem, v katero smer bom šla, naslednje mesece bom veliko potovala povsod, tako da bom precej zasedena. Res mi je všeč ta občutek, da sem spet v praznini in da imam prostor, da ideje prihajajo in rastejo počasi, ne da bi mi bilo treba kaj zavestno narediti.

Zaslišuje: Ružica Petrova

English

Alicia Edelweiss is an Austro-British musician based in Vienna. She started her musical career as a street musician and travelled all over Europe for two years, setting off at the age of 19. On her quest for freedom and traveling without any money, she pretty soon discovered her passion and talent for music – back then solely armed with a guitar. 

Just days before the start of the sixth edition of MENT festival, we had the chance to talk with Alicia about her music career and her future plans.

Alicia Edelweiss is the name you do not want to miss out on this years sixth edition of MENT festival. She will take over the stage in Djaški dom Tabor on the second day of the festival, which will take place between the 5th and the 7th of february on various locations around Ljubljana.

  • Alicia, you started your career as a street musician at the age of 19 on a journey through Europe without much money and with just your guitar – Did that experience help in the shaping of your musical career as it is today? Do you have any interesting experiences to share from your beginning days as a street musician? 

    I think going travelling was the best decision of my life and also the one that led me to music. I would never have thought that I’d become a musician. Sure, there were some dreams about it, but I didn’t take it seriously, cause I thought that I wasn’t good enough and before travelling I had tried to get into drama school and had failed.
    When I started hitchhiking and busking I was constantly forced to be brave and face a lot of my fears, so it’s a great lesson, because you realise you can do anything you want and amazing things happen if you dare yourself and don’t give a shit. I think the experience helped me become myself and take off all those masks and layers that didn’t really belong to me. And therefore I think I am able to make music that is totally myself.
    The best thing on the street is the freedom of it all, and you get a very thick skin and flexibility to play in all kinds of places and in front of all kinds of people without really caring about what people think.
  • Back in 2012 you decided to settle in Portugal for a bit, where you also recorded your first EP entitled I should have been overproduced – what was the main idea behind that EP? Recording an EP must have been a whole new thing for you back then. Did that change anything in the way you write your music?

    It was just after I had began to write songs, so writing songs was a totally new thing alltogether. Before that I’d just been playing covers on the streets. All of the songs on the EP were stories from travelling that I was trying to process. It was funny, cause I didn’t really know what my voice sounded like recorded and I was really shocked when I heard the recordings and at the beginning I didn’t like it. But it was so spontanuous, we just recorded it in 2 hours in the cellar of some music school, and then that was it, I couldn’t change anything. So I didn’t have a lot to say and I had to accept the way it sounded. And now, looking back from where I am now, I really love that EP cause it’s so raw and untouched.
  • Tell me a bit about your writing process. The lyrics in each one of your songs is quite poetic and it has deep meaning, but at the same time filled with light humor and sweet irony. Where do you look for inspiration? 

    Almost everything I write comes from my personal life and reality, my experiences and the people in my life. Especially my travelling and adventures are a huge inspiration. I try to see things with humour and like to laugh about myself and I think one of my biggest strengths is my honesty. I don’t have a problem with singing about the most intimate things and telling things that might be embarassing to others, because I believe honesty and authenticity is the key to everything and can give a lot of inspiration. At the same time I also love poetry, magic and mysticism and also like to express sadness and pain in my songs, so I’d say there’s these two sides in my music that mix with each other.
  • After some time you decided to get on the road again and found your place in Vienna, where you explored new ways of performing and joined nomadic folk-punk band Old Trees as the accordionist for their tours in 2015. Later on you also joined the band of austro-pop singer Voodoo Jürgens. How did you find performing as part of a band different from what you were used to – being a solo artist? Did that work with bands changed you and the way you create music for your debut album? 

    I enjoy being in the background without any responsibility of being the one who has to entertain the people. But I’ve never let another project become more important than my solo project, because I know that’s when I shine the most and am truly fulfilled. Playing in other projects made my accordion playing better because other people write and arrange their songs differently, so it also led my skills into new directions and forced me to improve.
  • What made you go back to being a solo artist?

    I was always a solo artist, I never took a break. I joined Old Tress cause they were looking for an accordionist for their Balkan tour. I’d never been on a real concert tour, so I said yes immediately and it sounded like fun, so we went on tour and played in all these sqauts and punk places. I played with them for about a year and then the band broke up. Same with Voodoo Jürgens – I’d see the other bands as side projects and my solo thing was and always will be my main project. It’s also good to do something else aside, it’s a bit like taking a break from yourself and your own music. You can go a bit insane when everything you do only revolves about your own music and career.
  • Your debut album Mother how could you was recorded in a DIY method at home. Can you tell me a bit more about the whole process of recording? Did you have some previous experience in DIY recording or did you figure everything on the way in the process of it?

    I didn’t have any experience, the whole recording was a big experiment and a learning process for me. I think it was a good preperation for my present album in order to understand and explore the basics of recording, overdubbing and editing and all that stuff. But the album I just released now, feels like the real first album for me, but maybe that’s how you always feel about your youngest creation. It feels like I was working towards being able to do it more professionally and having all the possibilities of making it the way I wanted to, but it took quite a while to get here.
  • Mother how could you brought you immediate success and media recognition – Where did that release take you?  What’s the best part of touring for you?

    Oh it really wasn’t very successful, it was all really DIY back then. I booked myself tours in the Balkans, in Portugal and UK with the help of underground promoters. I toured a lot on my own and it was often very harsh and I’m really glad I don’t have to do that anymore. It’s more fun with others and when you get paid properly. I think it’s a bit of an illusion to think that you can build up a career and build a fanbase just by touring. I was maybe too idealistic and I thought that it was possible, but I realised that it’s not that easy and you do need some support from the media. Now I really enjoy touring with my band and people do come, so it doesn’t feel like I am wasting my energy for some distant dream.
    What I love the most about touring is that every concert is so unique in each city and the energy of the crowd is always so different, so it never really gets boring. I also love walking around the towns we visit when we have time.
  • The lyrics on your first professional studio album When I’m enlightened, everything will be better which was released in 2019 are one of the most interesting and touching things I’ve ever heard. Can you tell me about the writing process for that album? 

    Oh, thanks a lot! Almost all songs on this album were written while travelling and are about experiences on the road, about friendship, my weird fanatasies… then there’s two songs that are also influenced by fairy-tales. And many of them were written in different periods of my life. So it’s like a collection of the best songs of the last years that I felt also went together well. Music-wise some of the songs had kind of been waiting for the arrangement of the band I have now – cello and violin – and they just deserved better than some recording done by myself at home. So when I got together the band, we started rehearsing the songs and arranging and eventually recorded with some guest musicians. It was a really long, interesting and also tiresome process.
  • What made you shift from the DIY method of recording to a studio production?

    It was just life and its limitations and possibilities. Money is a big factor and I just was living from the street music when I was recording my DIY album, so I didn’t have a lot. The longer I lived in Vienna, the more things changed and the more contacts I made in the music scene and I started to earn money playing with Voodoo Jürgens, so with that help I started financing the album. I always dreamed of having recordings that sounded really good, but my motto was always „embrace the limitations“, so i would do things DIY as long as I had to.
  • You will be performing for the first time in Ljubljana this year I suppose? What can we expect from your performance here as part of MENT festival? 

    I will be coming with my band – a cellist and a violin player – and with my accordion, guitar, ukulele and hula hoop! We’re gonna play the songs from my studio album which will hopefully touch people, make them laugh and perhaps also cry. I’d describe the feelings of my concerts as very magical, colourful, performative and exciting – for me it’s actually like going on a journey together with the audience because each song has such a different story, energy and emotion.
    It’s been a while that I’ve played outside the German-speaking world, so I am really looking forward to the international flair at MENT Festival.

    And actually, no, it’s not my first time in Ljubljana! I’ve played in Metalkovo with Old Trees and I’ve perfomed at Kavč Fest in living rooms back in 2017.
    So I really like Slovenia and also have some good memories from playing at Floating Castle Festival and Etno Histeria Orchestra!
  • And what can we expect from you in the future?

    I’ve always been someone who loves change. I get bored easily and always want to go to the next level and do something challenging after I’ve finished a project, so my next album could sound very different. But actually right now, I really don’t know in which direction it will go, the next months I’m gonna tour a lot all over the place, so I’m quite occupied anyway.
    But I really like this feeling of being in the emptiness again and having space to let the ideas come and grow slowly without me having to do anything consciously.
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