Interview with Avalanche City

During Canadian Music Week, I sat down with New Zealand singer-songwriter Avalanche City to talk about coming over to North America for the first time, recording music and plans for the next year.

How did you get into music?

Going way back? Well I used to pretend to play the violin when I was four or maybe even three, with my dad’s paint roller. I learnt the violin for one year, and I think I learnt how to play ‘Mary had a Little Lamb’. Then I moved on to the ukulele, then moved onto guitar at age 9, and that’s where I officially started being able to play proper music. I didn’t start singing until I was 25, so I was a bit of a late bloomer, but I played in hardcore bands before Avalanche City.

What would you put down as the major influences for the sound of Avalanche City?

It constantly changes actually. For the first album, I listened to a lot of Beirut, and that kind of stuff. For this last one, I only have a few bands on high rotate, and for this one, I listened to a lot of Daughter, some Sufjan Stevens, and Bear’s Den are a huge influence.

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How was the recording of this last one different from past ones?

I did it almost exactly the same as the first album, so I recorded it myself. The first album, I hired out a little hall in the middle of the countryside back in New Zealand and spent a week there and did all the music in the expanse of one week and then spent a few months touching everything up. This one was a lot more spread out, over the course of about a year and a half of recording, and it got to the end of it, I couldn’t face mixing it.

The first one I did mix it, but I don’t know how I managed to do that; it’s such a massive thing to write the songs, reduce the songs, record the songs, and at the end of it, mix the songs. I don’t know how I managed to do that without getting completely bummed out. So this one, we got Chris Walla from Death Cab For Cutie, who’s also a huge influence of mine, and he mixed the album. He’s got a great ear for detail, and he totally brought the songs to life, and it sounds quite different from having his stamp on it.

What does the next year look like for you?

I’m hoping on doing more overseas touring, I hope to come back to Canada. This is my first time to Canada, and we’ve enjoyed it so far. It’s just to test the water to see if we’ll come back and do some touring. Hopefully enough people like me for me to come back!

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