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INTERVIEW: Alan Getto

V: Hi Alan, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

A: Hi there, thanks for having me! Been good. Working hard on everything—my music, my family’s farmhouse, my various job/s. Can’t wait to share.

V: Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Change”?

A: “Change” is the first track on my upcoming LP, Versus. It’s a great sample of the album as a whole; I think it encapsulates the overall sound/vibe, as well as the overarching themes: paradox, balance, the “condition” of life, etc.

V: Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

A: There wasn’t a single event that inspired “Change,” but rather the cumulative effect of a “survival” job. I worked in the warehouse of a retail store in Manhattan—shipping and receiving. I had to move a lot of boxes, which of course were pretty dirty from trucks and warehouses; hence the lyric: “You dirty a shirt every goddamn day.” Days were basically indistinguishable, but of course something would change and imbue the routine a little differently.

V: Any plans to release a video for the single?

A: No current plans to release a video unfortunately. If I did, I think it’d be something like a collage of individuals working unglamorous jobs. Maybe something would unify them in the end 😉

V: The single comes off your new album Versus – what’s the story behind the title?

The title actually came to me as I was lying in bed one night. I had been toying with ideas of how to capture the concept of the album in a word or phrase: “City vs. Nature,” for example—that was too obvious, and it was about more than that. It was about duality and ambivalence in general, not about one side or the other. So, I looked at what was in the middle and there it was: “Versus.”

V: How was the recording and writing process?

A: The writing process (which of course came first) for this album was discontinuous, as it’s a compilation of songs I accumulated over a few years, and most of them were more or less unfinished, until the pressure of recording them forced me to make final decisions. Some lyrics were changed right before I went into the booth to sing them.

The recording process was my favorite part. Pretty much the entire album was recorded in 5 days in Studio 101A in southern NH. I had enlisted friends, and sent them scratch tracks (i.e., basic, home recordings) like two months ahead of time, for them to learn the songs. As we all lived in different parts of the country and couldn’t rehearse (which you want to have done before you get to the studio), we had to overdub most of the record. But that might be the part I enjoyed the most and found the most fascinating. It’s like a painter might add layers to a painting.

V: What was it like to work with Jonathan Wyner and how did that relationship develop?

A: It was pretty easy to work with Jonathan haha. As the mastering engineer, he’s like the quality assurance coordinator of the final audio product. Since the audio files were all he needed, we worked remotely with each other; I sent him the files from the mixer, Simon Katz, and Wyner worked his magic (which entails listening with superhuman ears to the idiosyncrasies across tracks and making sure the album sounds like one cohesive whole). 

I was lucky to get the opportunity to work with him. (He has done like 6000 albums—including work for David Bowie, Nirvana, Miles Davis…). My connection to Wyner was Katz and my connection to Katz was Damn Tall Buildings, my friends’ band, who played on much of the album, as well as played the role of recording engineer for me. All Berklee folk.

V: How much did he influence the album?

A: If the album is a diamond: Jonathan polished it. He got it ready for the jewelry store sales floor. He didn’t influence the creation or mining of the diamond, or even the cutting per se, but he maximized the shine.

V: What aspect of your life did you get to explore on this record?

A: Great question. I got to reanalyze every aspect of my life which I already knew existed, as well as discover and forge new aspects. I got to explore where these songs came from, as well as their enduring relevance. Past, present, future. 

This album forced me to learn how to play new roles—e.g., recording artist, music businessman, etc.—and to think in new ways about new things. It’s been a lot of fun, and I’m still learning, still exploring!

V: Any plans to hit the road?

A: Yes, definitely. In the fall, hopefully. Right after I release the album. Which reminds me, I need to work on booking!!!

V: What else is happening next in Alan Getto’s world?

A: Well, of course I’m already thinking about the next album/the next project, which is good, because I’ve seen how long these things can take! Thinking about how my sound can grow, and what I want my follow-up album to be like. But one step at a time. So, for now, trying to focus on finishing this farmhouse (talk about learning), and finishing the release of this album. So, the next thing is now until now becomes next!

LISTEN & SHARE: Alan Getto – “Change

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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