Can you talk to us more about your latest single “I’d Take It All Back”?
“I’d Take It All Back” premiered on Northern Transmissions and came out on digital streaming platforms on December 13th. It’s the second song from my three-song EP called If I Punch a Wall, which is coming out on January 10th.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
You know when you stub your toe? You’re like, “Ouch! I wish I hadn’t done that.” I mean, you did it to yourself—but you didn’t realize the corner of the couch was so close.
There’s a moment right after that, when you’re like, “I regret this. I would def take that back.” This song was written in that moment. I stubbed my heart’s toe on someone else’s heart’s toe.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
I put up a cool live video of it on Youtube recently, but not a music video for this one. But a music video for my other single “Jeff Buckley” is in progress!
The single comes off your new EP If I Punch A Wall – what’s the story behind the title?
The title came from a conversation with a friend (it was actually a podcast interview which I hope I can share soon!). We talked about my having studied philosophy, and she asked how I felt about the nature of reality—what is real, if anything is real, what that means, etc. My opinion was basically that all that is besides the point—if I punch a wall, it’s going to hurt. These songs all kind of hurt.
How was the recording and writing process?
The writing was easy. The editing was hard. Sometimes it’s hard to hammer something into a form—because you take away from what it could have been. But I’m happy with how they came out.
The recording process was fun. “Jeff Buckley” and “I’d Take It All Back” were recorded in two days at Mr. Smalls Studio in Pittsburgh. It’s easy when you have good musicians (shout-out to Eric George, Leslie Miller, Nick Sirio, and Nate Campisi) and good engineers (shoutout to Nate Campisi and Larry Luther) to make things go smoothly and quickly.
The third song, “Now That You’re Gone,” was a new thing for me: I played everything on it; recorded it entirely by myself; and even found, modified, or built some of the instruments on it. It’s a weird, folky tune, and it was a weird, folky recording process.
What role does Pittsburgh play in your music?
Pittsburgh is giving me and my music a home, both literally and figuratively.
Literally, it’s allowing me to have somewhere to play, and experiment, and make music with (and learn from) others.
Figuratively, it’s giving me and my music a sense of identity. Pittsburgh (AKA “Steel City”) has deep American roots, and is doing a good job of growing and adapting to modern, global society. My music also has deep American roots and I hope to grow similarly.
How has Tom Waits and Bob Dylan influenced your writing?
When I said above “My music also has deep American roots,” this is what I meant. And of course, Tom Waits’ and Bob Dylan’s music has even deeper American roots. They rooted themselves in something greater than themselves and contributed to it.
More specifically, if one thing stands out to me about both of them it’s their lyricism. They gave me a sonic starting point too, of course, but their unique lyrics combined with rad music is what I love about them. It’s that brazen uniqueness which did and does inspire me to keep growing.
What aspect of city and rural life did you get to explore on this record?
While these songs might outwardly resemble city or rural life more (e.g., “Now That You’re Gone” is blatantly a rural sound), I’ve gotten to dig deeper into my sound since living in the country: I’ve had more time and more ability to experiment with instruments and sound—i.e., I can turn my amp up loud whenever I want, or can practice playing the spoons or saw for three hours and not annoy the shit out of neighbors (because I don’t have any).
But, as Chris McCandless found out the hard way, “Happiness is only real when shared.” And I like coming to the city to share things with people—both ways.
Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
The ocean, which is new for me. The ocean is definitely not city and definitely not rural. The ocean at night feels like the universe without humanity. “Jeff Buckley” was inspired by the ocean at night.
Any plans to hit the road?
I was planning to go on tour down to New Orleans for Folk Alliance International (a folk music conference), but decided to fly down. Hoping to tour in the spring/summer!
What else is happening next in Alan Getto’s world?
Really excited for Folk Alliance (it’s my first time going) and to get started on my next release. I really enjoyed making these three songs on If I Punch a Wall and was inspired to keep writing and recording. Hope you enjoy and stay tuned! Thanks very much.