Alms is a project by a Spanish composer Aitor Lucena Martinez, who recently released an album titled “An Irosmic Tragedy.” Moshville talked with Aitor about the album, inspiration, and more.
What made you go for the name Alms?
There are two reasons why I chose this name: Firstly, it is the acronym for “Aitor Lucena Martinez Solo”, in obvious reference to my own name and the way I started making and recording my music all by myself. It’s still a solo project, though I counted on some collaborators for the recording of “An Irosmic Tragedy”. Secondly, “Alms” is a term which describes perfectly my budget and the money I expect to earn with my music, so it’s very appropriate.
How do you usually describe your music?
Well, I guess the best label –if there’s a good label- for my music is Symphonic Progressive Rock. I take influences from classical music, classic rock, Heavy Metal, folk… all of them surrounding the central point: Progressive Rock as it used to be back in the 70s, in all its complexity, ambition, intellectuality and grandiloquence.
What is your writing process like?
I always experiment with different writing processes. If you always work the same way, you’ll always get the same results, and that’s something I try to avoid. My instruments are tools, and depending on the tool I use in my search for a harmony or melody, the result is different. I only use the material with the right “ethos”, the one which expresses exactly the idea or feeling that I want to express at every moment. At last everything is noted on the score, but I may even use the score as a tool, so I always get many different motives from every resource I use.
Who or what is your inspiration, if you have any?
My inspiration comes from almost anything: a good book, a movie, the landscape, my own reflections, a weekend getaway, an experience, the wandering of an insect, a painting, a chat with friends… I only need a good idea, then I develop this idea and tell it with music.
What is your favourite piece on the “An Irosmic Tragedy” album?
I see “An Irosmic Tragedy” as a whole, indivisible piece. I can’t mutilate my own work, there is no fragment with its own meaning isolated from the rest.
What makes “An Irosmic Tragedy” different?
It depends on what you compare it to. “An Irosmic Tragedy” is a very symphonic album, much more than most of nowadays symphonic prog works because of all the orchestration used. It’s also a very ambitious album because of its complexity and high intellectual charge. I think this is something that makes “An Irosmic Tragedy” different from most of nowadays music, but maybe not so different in comparison with the 70s symphonic prog.
What should music lovers expect from “An Irosmic Tragedy”?
Expectations are boundaries. I don’t like listeners to expect anything, they have to live their own listening experience completely free from any suggestion. All I can say about “An Irosmic Tragedy” is that it’s a concept album about life, a Symphonic Progressive Rock piece of 42 minutes structured in three sections according to each one of its phases –childhood, adulthood and elderhood-. These are all formal details, the last impression is on you.
What kind of emotions would you like your audience to feel when they listen to your music?
As I’ve just said, I’m not interested in the audience to feel anything in particular. Of course my music is filled with my own thoughts and emotions, but these may not coincide with the listener’s interpretation, and that’s OK. I just want the audience to think, feel and enjoy, but the experience is theirs.
Which do you like most, life in the studio or on tour?
To me, both are different but complementary, so I find it impossible to choose one. In the studio I can create, experiment and think my music calmly. I can develop ideas in different ways, change things, correct mistakes… until I get the result I’m looking for. On the other hand, standing in front of an audience and defending your work in real time is something challenging in terms of interpretation, and the feeling you get when you perform in a live show is indescribable, definitely something you can’t get in the studio or anywhere else.
Pick your 3 favourite albums that you would take on a desert island with you.
That’s always a tough one. At this very moment, I may choose “Thick as a Brick” by Jethro Tull, “Ommadawn” by Mike Oldfield and “Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd, but this is always changing. What if I’m passing through a classical phase? Or if I’m more in the mood for Heavy Metal, or folk, or Hard Rock…? Would it mean that I could never listen again to Kansas, Beethoven, Loreena McKennitt, Led Zeppelin, VDGG, Brahms, AC/DC, Gentle Giant, Deep Purple…? I’d rather kill myself in that damned island. But at last, the albums that I’ll always want to take with me are “Beyond” and “An Irosmic Tragedy” by Alms. They’re awesome, and they’re mine.