We were lucky enough to interview Alice Ivy (AKA Annika Schmarsel) on her creative process, where she finds inspiration to write and her advice on creative block.
Describe your sound and how you came to find it:
I've always been a huge motown/soul fan and used to play guitar in bands that were that genre. I guess when I began using Ableton Live I realised that you could recreate that huge soul feel on your very own laptop. My music is really influenced by artists such as J Dilla, Onra and The Avalanches. If I had to describe my music as one genre, I guess I would call it electronic soul; but it could also float into hip hop and even jazz.
Do you have an ideal environment for creating music and if so what is it?
I guess my ideal environment for creating music is in my home studio, because I have all of my gear set up around me – I can move from one piece of hardware to another easy, I have a stable internet connection and I can just be in there for hours on end. When it comes to writing though I do it everywhere. This year alone I have flown over 60 times, I do a lot of writing on the go whenever I can.
What do you find sparks the most inspiration in you for writing lyrics/creating music?
I generally always write the music first, then approach lyrics and melody. I guess when I write the music I only pursue songs that I have some kind of emotional attachment to; that give me an overwhelming rush of excitement and or sadness. Anything really that I feel stirs emotion in me. I know when I'm onto something when I feel really strongly about a song, and when I can also imagine it being played live. The most inspirational moments for me have been working with other artists. As an artist/producer, it's the ultimate feeling walking out of the studio after a day with an artist with a brand new song.
What advice would you give to musicians with creative block?
Don't give up on it. I feel musicians are always capable of creating SOMETHING, even if they are stuck for a moment. Whenever I get writers block I usually go for a short walk or make myself a coffee, then get back to it. Usually a quick change of atmosphere is enough to be able to push you in the right direction.
How did you come to the creation of your imagery, album covers and branding to complement your sound? Were you hands on in that process?
I see my music as a collage of sound, a mixture of old and new. I have carefully chosen specific artworks that complement that particular body of work of mine. I am super lucky to have my brother create all of my artwork, we both have a pretty hands on process when it comes down to choosing direction and piecing it all together.
Do you feel like you've perfected your creative process? How did you get to that point?
I have only been producing music for two and a half years, so I feel far from that point. I feel like I have improved a lot over the past year though. Going into the studio with other producers and artists is extremely helpful, because you only learn the best techniques they know when it comes to creating music.
New Single: Alice Ivy’s new single ‘Be Friends’ is out now.
Listen here: https://aliceivy.lnk.to/BeFriends