Alice Limoges is a singer-songwriter from Maine who currently lives in New York and just dropped the new visual for her song "Winter Nights", which appears on her latest album "The Space Between". We connected with Alice for this exclusive interview to find out when she was convinced that she was ready to start performing live and to record an album, whether her time at SUNY Purchase’s Music Conservatory was anything like the Whiplash movie and much more.
After reading our Q&A with Alice, be sure to follow her on her social media streams and be sure to stream/download her album "The Space Between".
Are you a self-taught multi-instrumentalist? Also, which instruments do you play?
I was actually a very schooled musician. I started taking guitar lessons when I was 11 with a man ironically named Martin Gibson who was a very big fan of Leo Kottke and The Beatles, the later of which became my guitar textbook. At that time, I’d already begun to write songs. At 14, I took up piano and at 16 took jazz guitar lessons for a summer from Bill Barnes. I graduated high school a year early when I was 17 and studied at the University of Maine Augusta with incredible teachers. My most influential were my guitar teacher, Bob Thompson, and my composition teacher, Sean Morin. So, in short, no, I was not self taught. I actually still take lessons with Amy Goldstein (voice) and Charles Blenzig (piano). Taking music lessons has been one of the greatest joys of my life.
When were you officially convinced that you were good enough as a singer-songwriter to take it to next level and start performing live and record an album?
I was very confident out of the gate. There was this coffee shop in my hometown that I loved called Rock City and they have live music. I felt like the top was performing there and I think I played my first gig there when I was 13 or 14. When I go home, I usually still play a show there. Once I started performing, I never really stopped. I was writing songs at a young age and had quite a collection by the time I was 15, so I started recording my first album then. I released Not Gonna Fall Asleep Tonight when I was 16. It’s so funny listening to it now because I wrote the songs when I was 13 and 14 mostly. It was a great learning experience though and helped me move forward professionally.
Tell us about your experience at SUNY Purchase’s Music Conservatory. Was it anything at all like the "Whiplash" movie?
SUNY Purchase was absolutely nothing like Whiplash, at least not my program. I studied Studio Composition (a program completed by the likes of Regina Spektor and Mitski) which is a song-writing and production major. The faculty was very free with us, encouraging us to skip class if we could get a gig. It’s a program where you get out exactly as much as you put in. You can write a shitty, formulaic song in half an hour (not to imply that all songs written in half an hour are bad!) or you can put a lot of time and effort into it and end up getting an A either way. I improved a lot as a writer and learned to produce my own work, but the biggest thing I got out of the program were the connections I made. Carey, Francesco, and Sean are an amazing band to play in front of and my albums have both been mastered by a Grammy award winning professor.
Congratulations on the release of your debut album "The Space Between". What are you most proud of with the album and what is your favorite song from it to perform live?
Thank you! It’s actually my third album. My first album was put out when I was a wee baby called Not Gonna Fall Asleep Tonight and my second features a mini orchestra arranged by my dear friend and collaborator, Zach Jackson. The Space Between, though, is the first I feel came out how I wanted. One thing I’m proud of is that I self produced it with a lot of help and input from my production teachers Phil Moffa and Jon Jetter. Also, I was going through a lot of mental health problems at the time, so I’m really proud that I made it at all. I was hardly doing anything but managed to make an album between the cracks. My favorite song to perform is probably Save My Soul. When I play it with my band, there’s such a beautiful build that happens and moments where everything goes still and it’s just a few notes of the piano. We perform it very differently from the album version, so it always feel fresh and invigorating.
If you had to describe your music to a stranger in three words, which words would you choose?
Bittersweet, passionate, beautiful
Tell us why you selected "Winter Nights" to create a visual for, along with "On My Mind", out of the nine songs on the album?
Winter Nights feels like the most relatable song. It’s simple in a way, mainly changing between two chords with amending intervals on top. I love how still the song feels and I love the way it feels to sing. It’s an easy song in a way, which makes it a blank canvas for emotion. I’d had the idea of cutting together a video with found footage and things I’d filmed myself. Since On My Mind is a collage in its own right, featuring bicycle and water samples, it seemed like the right one. I also never perform it live, so I wanted to give it its own life to live. I’m currently planning a music video for Your Skin On My Sheets with an incredible filmmaker and friend, Stan Grunder. I also need to give Jordan Tetewsky of Velvatone (check him out!) a shoutout for directing the Winter Nights video. What he did visually is so beautiful and I’m so pleased with the video.
What are your goals musically for the remainder of 2017?
I’m hoping to record a new album with my band. On August 19th, I’m going to start work on it with a friend in Montreal, Cole Barbour. I am happy to say that there are a lot more sweet love songs on this one. There are a few songs I’ve recorded on past albums that we’ll rework. I’ve started contacting colleges and have one college gig lined up so far and am hoping to pick more up. I want to be performing with my band a lot more. Generally, I just want to get it together and hustle hard.
Stream/Download "The Space Between" by Alice Limoges HERE