Interview: Aitor Lucena Martinez of Alms

Aitor Lucena (Alms)

Actor Lucena Martinez is a progressive rock musician from Spain, and he recently released an album titled An Irosmic Tragedy with his project Alms, which is actually a prequel to his concept release Beyond. Prog Sphere talked with Aitor about his work, the new album, and more.

Define the mission of Alms.

Alms wants to tell you stories which make you think through creative music which makes you feel.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your new album An Irosmic Tragedy and the themes it captures.

After releasing Beyond, which was a concept album about the afterlife structured in three long suites, I decided to write a prequel in the same line. This time the concept would be life, and the three pieces would correspond with its three phases –childhood, adulthood and elderhood-. After reading an anthropological essay about the people from Trobriand Islands, and being strongly influenced by existentialism, I managed to put my ideas in order and started the writing process. I used musical motifs which, for me, evoke each precise moment in life, and these harmonies and melodies, as well as the lyrics which express different existential thoughts and feelings, evolve and flow in the same way life does. It was a very long process because I wanted everything to make sense and not to be just random music.

What is the message you are trying to give with An Irosmic Tragedy?

An Irosmic Tragedy is a symphonic concept album in which I talk about life as I see it. I’m not trying to give a message, I’m making a question: “What do you think about life? This is my point of view, but which is yours?

An Irosmic Tragedy

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

I always work with MIDI while writing music, and that’s how it’s documented. However, sometimes I need to annotate it on score so the other musicians can study it for the recording sessions.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Of course. When you write long symphonic suites in which you mix orchestral, rock, folk and ethnic instruments, as well as synthesizers, the dynamic flow is something that you must take special care of. If you don’t, it’s just going to sound awful.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

I recorded everything track by track, instrument by instrument, paying special attention to the capture of sound so to not need an excessive post-editing work afterwards which could have made the record sound artificial and overproduced. This was a quite hard task, as it was recorded in different places, using different equipment and sometimes under really bad acoustic conditions, but the final result is exactly the one I was looking for.

Aitor Lucena Martinez

How long An Irosmic Tragedy was in the making?

It took two years of work to make An Irosmic Tragedy. It was so long because I can’t dedicate all my time to make music, as I have other responsibilities such as work and studies.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

I’m influenced by almost everything I’ve been listening to throughout my entire life, but by nothing in particular. My music is labelled as Symphonic Progressive Rock, and the influence from many of the 70s artists of the genre and from the Italian scene it’s quite obvious, but there’s also influence from Classical Music, Folk, Heavy Metal…

What is your view on technology in music?

I think technology is fantastic in every field, and music is no exception. In fact, it’s thanks to technology that I can write, play and record my music in my own room. As a tool, technology is a great thing itself, but at last it depends on how you use it.

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

Definitely yes. My music is a vehicle, the language I use to express my own thoughts and emotions so to reach the listener. The best way to fully enjoy Alms’ music is active listening, thinking and feeling what’s going on at every moment and building your own listening experience. In my music I write and play my story, but you can listen to yours.

What are your plans for the future?

For now, Alms is going to take a rest because I need to take care of other aspects of my life such as work, my studies at University, other musical projects and, of course, my personal life, which has been a little bit messy lately. But I’ll be back, and maybe on stage!

Visit Alms’ official website and Facebook.

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