• Rubber Monkey

Interview with Artist Alba Rose

Kia ora! I’m Rosie and I love to write/record/produce and perform indie, soul & jazz-influenced music under the artist name of 'Alba Rose'. I grew up in the Central Otago mountains of Wanaka and have been living here working on a variety of musical projects and work over the past few years.

What have you been listening to lately?

I’ve been loving Goodwill, Louis Baker, HINA, Miakie, Name UL, Will Mclean and Broods from the homeland. Then also listening to a lot of Josef, Yebba, and Cleo Sol. I’m really Helado Negro’s ‘Far In’ album. I recently found lbibio Sound Machine, and have been enjoying their album Electricity, and I am loving the new Wolf Alice album haha, so a range of artists and genres one could say.


What were you listening to when you wrote the EP 'Silhouette'? How do you think your music was influenced by that?

Hmmm, good question. I wrote the bulk of this EP early 2020 so let me just scroll my Spotify back to then to remember! Yes, I was listening to a lot of Zero 7, Charlotte Day Wilson, Lianne La Havas, Molly Burch, badbadnotgood a lot of soul, indie, acid jazzy infused music. I still listen to these artists regularly. I really love the sweetness in their sound, and the soul, space and emotion in the melodies and vocals.


This was the time when we had just gone into our first lockdown, where a lot of the music I was listening to was softer, easy listening stuff to sing along and sway to, so I guess that time period of my life did reflect the sort music I was creating. We weren’t dancing and moving at live shows, we were playing in our lounges and writing to friends and ourselves more and I think you can hear this in the EP, compared to previous work I’ve been involved with.

How do you think your next project will follow from this release?

Hmmm, well a lot has changed since that time, we’re now playing live shows with standing crowds again, I now have a band that is so awesome to write and build songs with, I’ve played a lot of my songs live over the past year at a range of venues to test what works, so I think the next project wants to show a bit of a shift in the energy that we’re surrounded by.


It will have elements of the ‘Silhouette’ EP, yet I also want the music to get your juices flowing and dive into some deeper thoughts I’ve been having recently.


Tell us about a favourite or most memorable performance/project/song from your musical career?

Tora Bombora music festival has to be a highlight. In late Jan this year the band and I took to the coast of the Wairarapa to perform a set at the most beautiful boutique, indie festival. The stage looked out to the ocean, people were just dancing in bikinis with no shoes, and the vibes and crowd were just so on! Two days later we went into red light which made us all appreciate it so much more. A very special moment and festival indeed.

What's your process like for creating music?

The process really ranges a lot. I am a big one for coming up with vocal ideas at random points of the day on a voice memo, to then come back to and formulate later with chords and more structure. There are so many ideas on my phone haha so I sometimes combine them.


This process is great and easy, yet I do find it limiting in ways. I have recently found a new process that I’m loving and that is freestyling over house, liquid tracks or more electronic experimental tracks and then voice memoing that. It’s fun to then take those melodies and to develop full songs, usually with more upbeat and experimental routes. I also like to play around producing rough beats on Logic with a lot of synth and strings, building layers around vocals and guitar. The process ranges a lot! It’s never linear.


What excites you about the future in the music industry?

I am really loving the way we collaborate these days. I feel like artists are really utilising collaborations more at present. One, they’re so much fun, sharing a release always feels good, and two, it’s a great way to tap into more audiences and play around with genres.


The music industry can sometimes get a bit lonely, so it’s cool that we're seeing more of this. I also get excited by this stage we're in right now, with the world reopening, international acts coming to NZ, the opportunity to travel abroad and hear new music, and have new experiences. It feels like we can dream big again! I think from the pandemic the novelty of travel and extending to the rest of the world has come back, and the excitement for new countries, cultures and perspectives just seems so much more exciting than it use to.


Do you think the way we socialise and go to live music events has been affected by the pandemic?

Well, I did totally think this a week ago. I think the mentality of going out and being social has changed quite a lot. People are so much more comfortable at home, and in their own smaller groups compared to how we used to be. The thought of staying in and having a smaller network around and maybe a quieter one has not just felt safer and easier, but it’s all we’ve been able to do for a long time, our social instincts and body language have become accustomed to it. You forget that socialising is actually a skill. It’s like a muscle, we have to keep practising and strengthening it to keep wanting to do it, and to be good at it!


I had a gig on the 22nd of April, which would have been many people's first live music event back at orange light, with a standing crowd in an indoor space, and many people said before and after the show that they didn’t know how to stand and be at a gig anymore, and I could see that from the stage for the first half of the set, which I found quite hilarious.


I think for the short term the way we socialise and think about going out has changed, but we are human, and we seek connectivity and most of us seek social outings, so I think once we slowly ease back into things we’ll go back to normal pretty quickly. Already after that gig now I’m hungry to get onto the dance floor again and get moving and yapping!

Are there any Kiwi musicians who inspire you? Who would you most like to collaborate with?

Yes so many. The quality of music coming out of New Zealand is so phenomenal, especially given how small we are as a nation. I think Mara TK has the most beautiful voice and sound with really powerful lyrics. I also love Marlon Williams sonically and the way he presents himself in the industry. I love what Kedu Carlo are doing, such a powerful wahine duo absolutely killing it.


There is a huge budding underground scene here in Wellington which is super inspiring, with producers like Serebii and Casual Heeling really paving a beautiful soundscape. My inspiration mainly comes from many young musicians or self-employed individuals. Such a skill to persist in such turbulent times, and to carry the mental strength to continue to back yourself. Yeah, I would love to collab with many artists or do a feature on a Lord Echo track, Toyko Prose, or Chaos in the CBD track


What’s next for you? Any new songs, projects, collaborations et

Yes, I’m slowly chipping away at my next EP whilst working on a few surprise collaborations to release throughout the year. I’m going to be bringing out a Radio Head/ Lianne La Havas cover I perform live with my band called ‘Weird Fishes’. We had it recorded at my EP release show in November last year at Meow Bar. It sounded pretty rockin, so I’m creating a cute DIY video to release with this in the next few weeks!


Keep yo eyes peeled.


Check out more of Alba's work here!