Over the following months, we will tell you the stories of different Edinburgh bands in the hope that you'll connect, learn from their experience and help more people discover their music.
Without further ado, please meet Alluma, formed of two outstanding musicians: Clare and Andy. We've asked Clare a series of questions and these are her answers:
1. How did Alluma start, and who are the band members?
Andy and I first met in the late 90s in London. We were in a band together for a few years, gigging around London before finally going our separate ways to do other things and have families. Fast forward 25 years (!!!!!)….We were in lockdown; Andy had started writing music again and got in touch to ask me if I wanted to get involved. By coincidence, we both also happened to live near each other. It'd been a while for both of us so, musically, we didn't really know what would come out. It was, and still is, a bit experimental. It's just me and Andy making the music then the files go down south to Andy's brother Simon who polishes them up.
2. What does 'Alluma' mean?
When we were looking for band names, everything we came up with had already been taken. So, we thought we either need a foreign word or a made up word. Alluma is part of the Italian verb Allumare, which means to light up/to brighten. We liked the sound of the word and its meaning felt hopeful and uplifting, given the dark days of the pandemic. Although our songs can be a bit melancholic, we do aspire to a bit of brightening up.
3. Tell us about your music/album
We're just finishing our first album, Awen (which is the Welsh, Cornish & Breton word for inspiration). Like Alluma, the name is aspirational. Our music is electronic, although we haven't ruled out using some real instruments. We've recently been working with a guitarist who will be remixing a new guitar-heavy version of one of our songs. We're both quite drawn to minor keys - sad sounding songs are somehow just more beautiful. I'm a big fan of harmonies and we hope to get a choir involved soon to add some big, lush harmonious warmth to some of the songs.
4. Where do you see the band in 5 years?
Working towards our second Mercury win.
5. What is your creative process when writing music?
When we start a new song, we work separately in the beginning; Andy writes the music, sends it to me, and I add the lyrics/melody/harmonies. We then start working together on the track. Sometimes it comes together quickly, other times it can take months. We sometimes call a song 'done' but then realise it's not quite. We can rework a song for ever! Knowing when to stop is hard because there sometimes seems to be infinite possibilities and what might feel like the right choice one day will feel like the wrong one the next. It can be quite hard to commit. We're currently revisiting one of the first songs we wrote which has never felt quite right. We've gone through a fair few versions but the right one is in there somewhere. Actually, there are several 'right ones'!
6. Who inspires you?
We go to see as much live music as we can. Whoever it is, it's always inspirational and we usually come away buzzing with plans and ideas.
In terms of musicians/bands, it's a long list but the likes of Pet Shop Boys, Goldfrapp, Massive Attack and Damon Albarn are up there as are musicals and classic film scores.
7. How do you feel about home recording?
In many ways, recording at home is great, if you can get a quiet enough house. You can work whenever and for however long you want on a song, dipping in and out. You have complete control. There's a flip side, though; having infinite time to work on a song might seem like a luxury but it means it's never finished. When you pay for studio time, the song has to be finished by the end of the session. You also have input from others and (and this one's my favourite) someone to take care of all the tech!
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