Alex Cano Dives Deep Into His New LP, Every Rise of the Sun and Playing Pleasantville Music Festival
June 24 / Monday
Alex Cano is a Folk/Alt-rock solo artist born and raised in the Hudson Valley, NY, currently residing in Tarrytown. As part of our Road to Pleasantville series, we are hosting Cano's album release party for his debut LP, Every Rise of the Sun
on Tuesday, June 25 with The Bluechips and Dan Zlotnick. We caught up with Cano in anticipation of the show and festival, and asked him a few questions about his creative process. Read the interview below and get tickets for the show now!
1. We'll be celebrating the release of your debut album titled, Every Rise of the Sun at your show at Garcia's on June 25. How long did it take to write and record the album? What was the recording process like for the record?
A: The songs were written over the span of the last several years. Most of the tracks that made the record are actually ones from this past year, with the exception of "Back Against the Wall" and "I'll Wait". The recording process went from February to late May. It was certainly a pretty jam-packed schedule working around our spring tour dates and work, but overall a smooth process. Lots of ridiculously late nights I'll say for sure. "Back Against..." had already been recorded a few years ago, but that aside, I tracked the whole record with my cousin Nick Sochan at Crestwood Music Education Center in Eastchester, NY where we both work. The process was super creative and experimental. I had a clear idea in my head for the vibe and general arrangement I was going for on each song, but not a whole lot of pre-production was done prior to going in to the studio. I played most of the parts on the record, so a lot of the details of the arrangements came from experimenting and layering on the fly. I did all the drums/percussion, most of the bass/guitars, and lead vocals. Nick and I have a great work flow and similar taste for things, so we'd bounce production ideas off each other constantly. Once the foundations of tracks were established, we started calling in our friends to layer things like keys, extra guitar parts/solos, mandolin, harmoniesm, etc. Some key shoutouts go to our friends and fellow local musicians Kevin Myers, Ryan Maclean, Daniel Palese, and Daniel Ori. The record was mixed/mastered by Mikhail Pivavorov in Black Rock, CT.
2. You'll perform at Pleasantville Music Festival on July 13 and together with the festival, we're calling your show at Garcia's a "Road to Pleasantville." Pville is known for pairing national acts like The Revivalists and Violent Femmes with local bands from around the tri-state area. What does it mean to you to play at Pville, a place where local live music lovers gather each summer?
A: This one means a lot for sure. I admire what the Pleasantville Music Festival has done for the music community here in the Hudson Valley. I think there's a really cool scene that's starting to build here. Westchester has been known for it's cover band scene for some time, but the truth is there are a lot of really great writers and artists right now coming out of the area. Pleasantvillle Music Festival has been a huge contribution in providing a platform for this. I'm honored to be a part of the festival.
3. You've recently released two singles off of your upcoming album, “Back Against the Wall,” and “Two Steps on the Train.” Both songs have a very different sound and vibe. In writing and recording the new album, did you specifically perform different styles to keeps the album interesting and exciting or did that come organically?
A: Totally organically. When I write, I just stay as honest and transparent as possible. I try to create the vibe and soundscape that serves the storyline of the song. I don't really consciously think about style or genre when I do it. I've thought about that this question myself honestly, with my writing in general. I've kind of wondered if it would be a problem or a good thing. I gravitate in different directions. It feels like half the stuff I write is pretty folky and reflective, the other is pretty angsty and rock 'n' roll. Truth of it all is that's about the most accurate picture of my personality that you can get, so I just write without setting restrictions. If I were to eliminate anything in order to lean in a certain direction, I'd be cutting out a piece of myself and it would no longer feel honest. I believe that the more you are able to get within your true unique self and represent that sonically, your sound kind of finds itself. It all connects. Look at a Zeppelin or a Pearl Jam record for example, they can be pretty eclectic sonically, but you always know who you're listening to.
4. What are some of the influences behind your new album? Who were you listening to when you were writing or going into writing sessions?
A: Honestly, this one was really just life. The last half decade was quite a ride, it turned out pretty cool in the end and I tried to just tell the story. If you listen to the record cover to cover, there's a storyline going on. There are some pretty intense lows and highs for sure, ultimately ending in resolve. My influences musically are pretty eclectic. In general, I'm just such a huge fan of music and listen to new records every single day. I think I kind of purposely try to blind myself of conscious awareness of influences and allow everything I listen to sort of embed itself into my subconscious, then I just write transparently. Naturally, I'll connect with and gravitate towards certain sounds more than others that surface themselves into the songs. It's actually pretty fun to listen to stuff in retrospect and try and connect the dots of where sounds come from. I will say that I was listening to a lot of outlaw country, folk, and early 90's and roots-rock throughout the process. Some artists/bands that stand out would include Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Jamestown Revival, The Record Company, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Kris Kristofferson, The Band, Jason Isbell, Johnny Cash, Chris Stapleton, and Sturgill Simpson.