FROM a couple of U.S. artists…
I am hopping over to Switzerland to speak with Anna Aaron. She has been telling me about the single, Why Not, and whether there is going to be an E.P./more singles coming before the end of this year – I was interested to know what sort of music and sounds inspire her own.
Aaron talks about meeting Sophie Hunger and its impact; what the scene is like in Switzerland at the moment; whether there are gigs coming up; which new acts we should be aware of – she tells me whether there is any time to relax away from music.
Hi, Anna. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi! I'm great, thanks; I hope you are too. We released a new song on Friday and the video for it is coming next - so it's been a busy week but it's going great.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
My new album is about my childhood which I spent with my family in Asia. I tried to find out which parts of my imagination and inner-images are influenced by those memories and to somehow translate it all into songs. It's like building a dream-world, because it's not inspired by the actual thing it refers to but by the thing as it exists in your personal memory. To explore those fields, musically, can be very interesting.
What is the story behind Why Not? How did it start its life?
Why Not was one of the first songs I recorded at home alone. I was working on the new album with my brother in his studio but continued writing new material parallel to that. I never really meant to share the song because I thought the lyrics made me too vulnerable emotionally but, at some point, it leaked out to a few of my friends and I realized it seemed to touch a nerve so I finally decided to get it mastered and it ended up on the album.
Is there going to be more material coming this year? What are you working on?
Yes. There is a lot more material coming. We will release two more singles before the end of the year - then the album - and then I'll probably just continue releasing songs because I've been writing a lot.
You are a Swiss musician. Is there a big music industry in the country? How easy is it getting noticed?!
I think, among other musicians, it's not so hard to get noticed because the community is very enthusiastic and supportive - and everyone is interested in what everyone else is doing, which is nice. However; I guess I'm referring to more of an underground scene here. The ‘official’ music industry is a different story. If your sound is a little more uncompromising or adventurous it's next-to-impossible to get airplay, for example. Switzerland is so small it gets swallowed – we just listen to what's big in the neighbouring countries or in the U.S.A.
Tell me how you came to meet Sophie Hunger – one of the first people to really connect with your music. How important is she to your success?
I was recording demos on my mother's computer and uploading them to the internet. One day, Sophie Hunger found them and I still vividly remember the sentence she wrote on my page: “Ich verspüre das Bedürfnis diese Musik aufzuessen”, which means “I feel the urge to eat this music”. She was not yet as internationally known as she is today but was becoming an underground cult celebrity in Zürich so, obviously, I kind of lost it when I saw she had been listening to my songs.
She introduced me to her management a few months later and they offered me a contract. Sophie lives in Berlin now and is releasing a new album soon. She still means a lot to me.
What sort of music did you grow up around? Was there a specific point where you knew music was what you wanted to do?
I think the point when I achieved the self-confidence to call myself a musician was when I realized my work was developing a life of its own and it was leading me somewhere. It suddenly became this firm, stable thing that I felt I was able to lean on. I knew from then on it was good enough and real enough to always support my personal identity.
Can we see you tour this year? What gigs do you have coming along?
My drummer and I are preparing to play some shows in Switzerland and Germany till the end of the year and the full tour will start when the album is out.
Might you come and play over in the U.K. at all?
I definitely hope so!
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
I'm teaching myself to become better at producing so hopefully I can make some progress this year and finally become a professional nerd.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
My favourite memories related to touring and recording are the funny ones – for example; I sometimes still laugh at the jokes we made with David Kosten and Ben Christophers when we were working on my second album. They have a silly and ridiculous humor; I was literally crying with laughter at times. Or, one night in the Czech Republic our tour bus was extremely dusty from the road and, when we came back to it after the show, someone had written on the windshield with their finger: ‘I wish my wife was this dirty’. It's the silly little memories that stick.
Which three albums mean the most to you, would you say?
Agape – Agape/Love – Love by Popol Vuh; Loveless by My Bloody Valentine and In the Aeroplane Over the Sea - Neutral Milk Hotel.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Try to teach yourself as much as possible; it's so easy nowadays with the Internet. Your sound will retain so much more of its purity if you shape it on your own as far as you possibly can.
IMAGE CREDIT: HEX
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
I recently heard a band play live that blew my mind; they're called HEX and they're from Geneva. ASBEST, another band whom I love, was also playing at the same festival. They recorded their debut album in the U.K. a few weeks ago.
PHOTO CREDIT: Emilie Zoé
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I have never-ending to-do lists at the moment so the times I actually get to sit down and focus on music really feel like getting to be alone and do what I want. I don't feel the need to unwind from music. When I come home from touring, though, I just sleep for three days.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Thanks! My friend Odd Beholder's song, Coins! “If you wish upon a well/you cannot drink the water”
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