It started with a selection of re-voxes, it led her to a starting a band with Loxy & Resound, now she’s the voice behind some of the most in-demand autonomic records in years…
This is the story of Danish songwriter Alia Fresco.
The name sounds like an alias because it is. She’s actually been making music longer than her Soundcloud suggests, under a completely different guise in a completely different world. But it’s her role as Alia that we need to pay attention to.
Many of us have been paying attention since her soul arresting low tones played a lead role in Kid Drama and dBridge’s fifth instalment of the HeartDrive series. Famously tracklist-free and full of oddities and odysseys that often don’t ever see the official light of day, no one knew what the tracks were. Until last month…
Following a selection of collaborations with fellow Dane Beastie Respond and Kid Drama, her self-titled EP (released on Kid Drama’s CNVX imprint) is her biggest release to date. A veritable entrance theme into the electronic ring, it’s powered by a dynamic that’s raw, fragile yet extremely powerful and she’s already being heralded by some commentators as the face of a whole new style of autonomic pop. And so marks the start of a whole new chapter for the Danish songwriter. Here’s what we know…
Where does this all begin?
I’ve been writing and releasing music for about 10 years. I created Alia Fresco as an outlet for the more experimental side of me. She’s a playground for my darker and minimal side. Everything else I’ve done officially has been in the pop vein, but deep down I’m completely unfaithful to any genre. So Alia became my outlet to do anything and not think too much about where it would fit. I haven’t connected the two worlds yet even though my latest album under my Danish name leans a bit more towards what I do as Alia in the sense that it is more melancholic and introverted than my previous releases. I wrote, recorded and produced the album myself so there are a lot of flaws which also is a new chapter for me. Up until that I worked with established producers for all my projects.
How did you end up forming Levels with Loxy and Resound then?
The very first thing I did as Alia was revoxes of random tracks I found interesting – like dBridge’s Ur A Sta and Beastie Respond’s Syncopy. Beastie Respond got in touch and we made a track called Wait For Me which attracted some attention in the UK. Loxy got in touch, dBridge got in touch. Resound did too. We did quite a few tracks together than we decided to make a group and release them. So that was me, Loxy and Resound. dBridge also collaborated on a track, too.
Such a cool super group!
I never met them before collaborating. We were literally just vibing on each other’s music. It felt fresh. That was definitely a very welcome change for me coming from major label projects in Denmark where everything is about targets and visual identify.
So that must have been the link to Kid Drama?
Yeah Damon was doing a lot of things with dBridge and we ended up working with each other on Wasted Time.
Suddenly the HeartDrive mix came along… And we’ve been craving these tracks ever since. Have you played it cool like Darren and Damon?
No not at all! I want to say I’ve been waiting to get them out for years – that’s how long it feels. It was that long with Ordinary Thing, I wrote that two years back. The latest one was Guys Like You which we did last summer But yeah I’ve wanted it out for ages. Ages! But that’s how it works isn’t it? Waiting for the right moment.
100%. Break Me Out is the most powerful one for me.
Me too. It was hard to write because there isn’t a lot of harmony to support the melody. It was a challenge – but a good one. That’s why I love doing electronic music like this, because it really pushes me. I write for other people, too. Usually there’ll be a pole chord progression that helps the melody come easier but with music like this melody is harder to really fine-tune.
Has this opened the doors to a whole new world of music for you as a fan then?
From the creative side of things yes, but I’ve dipped into a lot of UK music over the years. Not that I can name drop all the labels and producers, but I hear stuff and I vibe… Especially on the more melancholy side of it all.
You write and produce yourself, so what do you make of the difference between real song writers and feature singers in electronic music?
I think in vocal projects the DJ/producers often take up all focus. I understand why a lot attention is on the production and the DJ, but a writer and vocalist has a huge role and can influence the track in many ways. A song can completely change the direction and shape of a track. Historically I think the tendency was that if you’re a woman who collaborated with a DJ or producer you were getting second place. This hasn’t been the case with the Alia Fresco projects though. I’ve gotten a lot of respect from the guys and I’m amazed at the skill and vibe they bring.
How did it work with Damon on the beats for your latest tracks?
It was a very easy and clear partnership, actually… He would send over a sketch and I would come back with a topline melody idea and send it back and we’d send it back and forth a few times. He finished the production once we were happy with the topline. It definitely made it easier that the tracks were so raw, but complete from the beginning. We hit on a real sound and vibe that has helped me create a real direction for Alia for the future…
Yeah about the future… What’s next?
A lot of ideas, a lot of projects, a lot of things that haven’t quite been finished yet but are incubation. Wait and see…