Anda Volley is a singer-songwriter & producer of alternative and electronic music, weaving songs with vivid, insightful, and surreal lyrics. Following her critically acclaimed debut, Inside the ghose machine, Anda has returned with her second album, Are you armed? Tomatrax caught up with Anda to talk about her music.
You received a lot of acclaim for your debut album, did this make you feel any pressure when putting together your follow up album?
It was such a surprise that my first album Inside the Ghost Machine received so much attention, given that I was having this beginner’s experience of writing and recording songs. (Thank you Tomatrax for being a part of that by putting my album on your top list for 2014.) For my follow up album, Are You Armed, I felt a curiosity about how it would turn out and be received. I didn’t experience pressure to try to achieve some kind of result. It’s important to me to keep the results and experience open, so I can make this life in music more of an adventure, but feeling like I’m going to do my best, as passionately and smartly as I can, in the moment, regardless.
What made you pick ‘Are you armed’ as the title track of your latest album?
Are You Armed is a tiny poem, but also one of my favorite socio-political tracks on the album. It asks a confrontational question that can take on several different points of view. Toufik created such a gorgeous cinematic soundscape for it that I decided it would open the album. It presented a clear vision to me for the video and album artwork. I worked with Tara Ozella of the Church of Vanity on costume, and she took my rough ideas to otherworldly levels with the headdress and necklace. Theresa Wall Duggan of Art and Discord did the photography and provided the ritual dagger used in the image.
Earlier this year you released the EP My Flawless computerised mind, what made you decide to put out an EP of different songs just before putting out your album?
My Flawless Computerized Mind is an EP of noise music. I put the album out because I wanted this artifact of my passion for sound exploration and noise music and the noise community. On the whole, noise music and the community vibe is very freeing, inviting, and wildly creative on a guttural instinctive level.
You made reference on facebook to slaying monsters and fighting dark forces, are there any particular monsters you are fighting?
Sometimes when I feel in a downward spiral, I find that posting things where I relate to others suffering and isolation brings me some relief. I want people to feel less alone in their experience. It’s better than just eating the pain silently or posting hateful things that lash out and make it worse.
You had a few guest appearances on your latest album, was it hard to round them all up?
Most of the collaborations happened organically and with ease. Sometimes I am asked to contribute lyrics and vocals, like on Kolanek’s music for “Ladders.” I loved how it came out so much that I asked him if I could release it on my album, and he agreed. “Fruitfly,” with Andrew Scandal was a collaboration from start to finish that only took us a few hours one night and was a lot of fun. Billy Craige (PiHKAL) offered music for my vocal track of “Sometimes I Read the Ocean” and I invited Lisa Littlejohn West (Faerytale) on “Released In Your Name” to contribute her vocals and cello. They sent me gorgeous tracks of music. Toufik asked if he could do some music for “Are You Armed,” and sent me this incredible cinematic soundscape. If I had planned them all out, that would have made it harder, but there was no plan. It was a joy to give and receive as things came up and feel a true valuing of each other.
You did just about everything yourself on the first album, how does having people collaborate with you compare to doing it all solo?
I have always wanted to collaborate with other musicians. On the first album, it was important for me to learn how to do a lot of things myself. I want people to feel confident and enjoy working with me, so I needed to feel somewhat confident and have this experience behind me first.
What was the inspiration behind doing an a cappella of ‘Are you armed’?
I had just gotten the TC Helicon Voice Live 3 and I was playing with the vocal effects. I landed on that vocal sound and got absorbed in this improvisational space where I came up with the feel and lyrics very quickly.
Your songs explore various themes, where do you get the inspiration behind their words?
If I receive a track of music, I try to feel what its telling me or what it wants me to tell. I try to be honest about and let it consume me without too much of my ego being involved. Other times, I start with an intent of something I want to relay.
Was ‘Laura in the machine’ written about anyone in particular?
Yes, that song is about my dear friend Laura Kiesel who is a journalist. She’s been published in some great places, most recently the guardian. She a journalist on environmental and socio-economic causes. She also publishes essays that are beautifully written painful accounts of her childhood. She has a lot of integrity, and we relate to much.
Do you ever listen to your own music?
All the time. I’m obsessed with my music. I don’t look at myself in the mirror too much, or take many selfies, but my narcissism is indulged in my music.
What other music do you listen to?
I have been listening to Torres’ album Sprinter, and albums by The Kills and Timber Timbre, as we’ll as noise artists W00dy, Sound Shaman, Kar’Nam, and Tuesday Never Comes.
Now that you’re album is out what do you plan on doing next?
I have started working on a new collection of indie pop songs. I would like to work with this specific producer so we can create a gorgeous work of art together. (Until we’re well into this project, I can’t reveal the producer yet). Of course I would do this on my own again if I need to. I’m going to continue to make noise music and hopefully do more improvisational live sets.
Check out Anda Volley’s website to find out more!