Catch up with singer-songwriter Alejandro Meola, listen to his latest EP, First Impressions, out now, and catch him on his East Coast tour this Fall.
What first got you interested in music?
Alejandro: When I was a kid I remember finding a guitar at home, under a bed. Out of curiosity, I opened the case and started strumming it with a coin. It was fascinating. My mother taught me the two or three chords that she knew and the super of the building happened to play folk songs quite well, so he would often come by to tune it and give me some tips - there was no YouTube back then. Eventually, I began taking lessons and here we are, still at it.
Which musicians have you been influenced by?
The first band that I was really into was Oasis, that kind of fanaticism you only get when you're a teenager. Oasis and Andres Calamaro, circa 1997. Morrison Hotel (Doors), Electric Ladyland (Hendrix) and the White Album (Beatles) was a triad that marked me deeply. Before vinyls were hip, you could buy them in a bundle for a few bucks. Once, my father came in with a turntable and let's say 40 records, from which 28 were terrible. But the remaining 12 were BB King at Ole Miss, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra at The Sands with Count Basie's Orchestra, Astor Piazzolla and a bunch of music that, otherwise, I probably wouldn't have found till later years. That turntable was an influence itself, kind of a gate or a time gap. Then, Wes Montgomery, Muddy Waters, everything Motown, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Bob Marley, Tom Waits, and the rich Argentine rock culture I grew up in: Spinetta, Manal, Pappo, Moris, Charly Garcia, Soda Stereo, Redondos and Sumo, among others.
How would you describe your sound to someone who had never heard your music before?
I like to think it's classic and modern at the same time. We could label it mostly as rock/blues but, in this new EP, I’ve also done a reggae and, if you go back to my older recordings, you’ll even find some winks to tango. At the end of the day, I’m committed to the song and the arrangement itself, not to a particular genre.
What were your inspirations behind your single, “Purple"?
I was working in a night club 3 to 4 nights a week; that might have been the spark that triggered the dancing beat of the song in the back of my head. The melody came to me walking down the streets, humming lalalala. The images in the lyrics reflect motion, change and flow while purple is the color that we sometimes see in the sky at twilight, dusk or dawn. I also consider wine to be more violet than red.
Could you tell us more about your First Impressions EP and what new listeners can expect to hear on the EP?
First Impressions, it’s the first statement that I make in English. It follows two singles that I released in 2014 and shows a broader palette of textures. At a more personal level, it channels the changes I experienced moving to New York from Buenos Aires and I feel that’s reflected on the sound. Aesthetically speaking, it’s a rupture with my previous work, a new phase.
Do you have a favorite track off this EP to perform live?
Yes, “Shed Some Love”. It always feels fresh to me on stage.
What do you hope listeners are able to take away from your music?
I’m good at what I do. Perhaps not so much when it comes to other aspects of life, but I’m a good songwriter. You'll take away tunes made with craftmanship. I love every single song that ever came to me and I record them out of necessity, so that they don’t haunt me. It's my responsibility to arrange and produce them to the best of my abilities, and possibilities. But once I release them, in a way, they are no longer mine, they are yours. For you to project your own baggage and your own journey on them. It’s a bit like throwing a bottle into the ocean.
Is there anything you want to add?
If you’ve read all the way up to here, thank you. Other than that, I’ll be playing a string of shows in the East Coast this Fall, visiting Washington, Philadelphia, and Boston before wrapping up the season back in New York. All are very much invited and welcomed, would be great to meet you!
Fall 2016 Tour Dates
Oct 9 @ Black Squirrel, Washington, DC
Oct 10 @ Bourbon & Branch, Philadelphia, PA
Oct 24 @ Middle East Corner, Cambridge, M
Nov 15 @ Pianos, New York, NY