Anda Volley’s musical style is, quite honestly, the uniquest (most unique? uniquer-er?) that I’ve heard in a long, long while. Blending trip-hop, moodiness that is strongly reminiscent of Protishead, and out-and-out indie rock into one unified package that has attitude and atmosphere to spare. Her album Inside the Ghost Machine is available now, and I highly encourage you to check it out on SoundCloud. I caught up with Anda recently, and she agreed to an interview.
Ladies and roadies, Anda Volley:
Raz Mataz Magazine (RMM): What should people know about your new album?
Anda Volley (AV): Inside the Ghost Machine is my debut album. The title track ‘Laura Inside the Ghost Machine’ went to No. 1 on SoundCloud’s Rock Section. It’s a solo and self-produced project.
RMM: What would you say influences your songs, lyrically speaking?
AV: My lyrical style is influenced by poetry. I read and listen to new poetry all the time from a lot of genres like surreal, confessional, so-called academic/page and performance/slam poetry. I’ve written and performed poetry for several years, but music is my main focus now. The content of my lyrics is usually intuitive and free. When I start writing, I either vibe off what I think the sound of the music [I’m] trying to relay, or sometimes have something in mind to write about before the music is totally there.
RMM: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you before?
AV: The album has a mostly lo-fi indie rock vibe. On ‘Star of the Unborn’, it’s just my voice and a crunchy guitar. Other songs like ‘Water is Heavy’, I go into trip-hop territory.
RMM: When and how did you get your start in music?
AV: I’ve had the natural flirtation with music since I was a kid, but it wasn’t until well into adulthood that I decided to buckle down and really learn how to make music. I’ve been at this for a relatively short amount of time, and I feel pretty good about what I’ve accomplished so far, and excited about having so much more to explore.
RMM: Who would you say are your musical influences?
AV: Overall, I would say Sinead O’Connor, Bjork, Portishead, and REM. There are also moments from all kinds of songs that are stuck in my head, like the way Courtney Love starts ‘Violet’ with her raw and tough resonance, yet almost conversational, delicate, throwaway beauty: “And the sky was made of amethyst / And all the stars look like little fish.” At some level, I often feel like I’m echoing or subconsciously intuiting moments like that. I’m influenced by whatever I’m listening to at the time as well. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Nina Simone, Diamanda Galás, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Alt-J, and Yeasayer.
RMM: What’s your approach to music, in general?
AV: I listen to a lot of music and try to break down what’s going on. I’m constantly learning and I practice a lot. I write and record regularly. I’m doing something with music everyday. It’s a habit. Ideas come to me as either something I want to try and incorporate, or maybe I’m going through something, or have a story to tell, or I just want to play, and so on. I take all that and then I block time to work on a new song and do nothing else for hours. The music and lyrics tend to develop together.
RMM: It’s always hard to balance “real life obligations” with making music. This often discourages many new artists. So, how do you balance your music with other obligations, such as friends, family / a significant other / your job?
AV: I’m pretty lucky that I can make time for music now. I work full time, and after work, it’s all choice. There were several years when I genuinely didn’t have the time, but those were still my choices. I keep my passions smoldering in the back of my mind. Let’s say that a person can make time, and the obligations are more fluid, which is where I’m roughly at right now. I think a lot is possible when one has a passion for it, and takes a few steps each day to focus and work at it. That could be a few minutes to a few hours.
RMM: What advice would you give a musician who might just be starting out?
AV: I’m just starting out, too. I think it depends on what you want and why you are making music. I know some musicians who want to be famous or millionaires, so the advice to those people might be different than what I can offer. I think I have modest goals and motivations. I enjoy making and playing music and singing. I also enjoy the friendships that come out of it. I wanted to confront my fear of performing in front of others.
Since one of my core motivations is about connecting with others, my advice is to be sincere and thoughtful, know that everyone wants to be successful and have meaningful connections with others. Have passion and respect for learning, practicing, and trying things. Mistakes are great; so make them. Try to keep self-limiting and paralyzing thoughts and any perceived cultural norms and biases in check; don’t let them stop you.
RMM: What are your dislikes? What’s your pet peeve, either in the music industry, or just in music in general.
AV: I don’t feel like I’m deeply involved in the music industry yet. I make music at home, and put it on BandCamp and SoundCloud, and then connect with people in real life and on social networks, and I play shows that friends invite me to do and help make happen. I’m just meeting people and making friends, and we’re supporting each other. You can make your own little music industry. Nourish it, and be a good character in it. I’ll probably have more insight and more to offer when I’ve been at this for a few more years.
RMM: So, what can we expect from you in the future? Any plans for another album?
AV: I have some collaborations in store where I’m writing lyrics and recording vocals for other other artists. I’ve also started writing songs for the next album. I have shows booked through the summer, and I have have a U.K. tour in the works for November, which I’m incredibly excited about.
RMM: If an asteroid were hurtling towards earth (or other similar life-ending event), and you could save only three albums, what would those be, and why?
AV: This is a tough question. I have a huge alt and electro bent, but I have to say maybe Dylan’s Highway 61. Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland. And, Nina Simone Sings the Blues. Maybe I would slide a Beatles album in there. I would want to save classics that have been important to the evolution and appreciation of rock music and great lyrics, but also had hints of messing with sound.
RMM: If you could perform a duet, or a collaboration with any artist in the world, who would it be?
AV: Probably Sinead O’Connor. I admire her, and have been influenced by her music. I feel like I can relate to her passion, sincerity, vulnerability, and crazy bent. After her, it would be Portishead. I could melt and vibe for hours on that retro velvet voice and warm analog trip-hop.
RMM: What new artist are you excited about?
AV: I dig Alt-J, Grimes, Yeasayer, CSS, and Phantogram.
RMM: What’s your Friday night jam? What song gets you ready for a night on the town?
AV: I usually plug in my guitar for a quick practice and rehearsal. It makes me feel good. When I’m listening to other music, I usually plan to kick back and stay in for the night. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of psychedelic rock when the amped energy is there. I adore Lola Demo’s ‘Am I Broken’ and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s ‘Red Eyes and Tears’.
RMM: What’s your Sunday morning song? What song gets you out of bed on a lazy Sunday morning?)
AV: Currently, The Handome Family’s Through the Trees album. Just a flat out gorgeous album and perfect for Sundays.