Rose Alaimo is a singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist from Ithaca, NY. We heard some new music she has on her album – ‘The Importance of Centers’ and we knew we had to have her on. When Rose is not making music she is caring for pets as a veterinarian. Rose is the kind of musician you like from first listen and once you get to know her, you are hooked. Join us as we get to know – Rose Alaimo.
@skopemag: We are about one month into 2020 – how are things so far and what are you looking to accomplish musically this year?
RA: Things are going really well! The album has already far exceeded my expectations. I’ve been recording since I was 16 just for fun, and never really planned on publishing these songs. After deciding to do so, I felt that just putting it “out there” was enough. The fact that it’s gotten any attention is above and beyond what I had even hoped for and I’m stoked to see where these songs will travel in the coming year. As far as musical hopes for 2020, I would love to continue working to get the music heard, am thinking about doing some touring aside from the local shows I play with my live percussionist, and have already started working on the next album.
@skopemag: Growing up – how prevalent was music in your home and does your family & friends support your musical ambitions?
RA: Music was definitely around in my house. My dad is a bassist who would plug into his PA, centrally located in our living room, and just play for hours. He was really into Pink Floyd, Tom Petty, lots of classic and 60s rock, so it was constantly on when I was a kid. We had an old piano in the house and I took lessons when I was around 5. I loved that piano and remember writing little songs on it as they would pop into my head. I was devastated when we had to get rid of the piano when I was 7 to move out of state. It definitely put music on hold for me for a few years. I feel like my family and friends have been pretty supportive of my musical ambitions. I have to credit my boyfriend for being my biggest supporter and the main reason I published this album. Music was a struggle when I was younger however. At 13 I learned the bass and really got into music, started playing out in bands, and thinking of pursuing music as a career. My family was pretty broke when I was young and my poor mother worried I would be a starving artist on the street eating beans out of a tin can- not that there’s anything wrong with beans or tin cans LOL but music was definitely not encouraged much when I was younger, and it took me well into my 30s to really emotionally feel like art is not a waste of time and it’s OK to put my energy in it because I love it so much. But now that I’ve got a stable adult life and a “real job” she’s definitely more into it and understands how important it has been to me.
@skopemag: If you were to name one to two musicians who had the most impact on you — whom would you choose & why?
RA: This is an easy one- Daniel Johns of the former band Silverchair and The Edge from U2. Daniel Johns is, I feel, one of the most underrated musicians out there today. His songwriting and lyrics are absolute genius, and his voice is on point. He and I are about the same age, and when Silverchair was gaining speed in the 90s I was just getting into music. The first song I ever taught myself to sing and play bass to simultaneously was “Tomorrow,” their first hit, and I modeled my voice on Daniel’s. I always felt a kind of kinship with his work. With each album they came out with over the years, I found that my own writing and lyrics were in some way growing in the same direction as his, except that his was obviously always so much better. LOL His later work with the band is unbelievable- his vocal harmonies are so accurate that I can’t believe a human could do it with no auto-tune. When I’m recording and about to give up on making a vocal a little bit better, I always think of him and how dead-on his voice is. It drives me to be better. The Edge was, for me, an epiphany. “Achtung Baby” is my favorite album of all time. No one was making sounds like him- he is obviously the grandmaster of the effects pedal, delay especially. What he’s playing isn’t hard, but how he’s doing it and how he’s making it sound is absolutely brilliant. I used to get so hung up on speed, chops, and accuracy working with a metronome day and night that I would completely lose sight of the EMOTIVE quality of music, which to me is the whole point of it. His work reminds me to put the sound and the feel first, to always try to find my own voice, and to remember to play, to have fun, and experiment and not get locked into one single sound and get stuck there.
@skopemag: I love how you are a veterinarian as well as a musician. How did you develop a love for animals/pets and do you use music as therapy at all?
RA: We always had a pet when I was growing up, and I was a pretty shy, introverted kid with some fear issues, and we moved around a lot when I was younger which really stressed me out, so I think I really just bonded with whatever pet we had at the time for a sense of stability and safety. I use the music mainly as therapy for myself, as a kind of balance. LOL Being a veterinarian today is actually a bit more stressful than a lot of people realize. Fortunately some of this is making its way into the news and more people are hearing about what this job actually entails, which is good as this is needed for things to really shift for the better. The CDC put out a good introductory study in 2019 about some of the stressors in the profession and how it’s leading more and more vets to the brink and beyond sometimes. As far as using music for therapy for animals- it’s becoming a thing, some hospitals will have soft music playing in exam rooms or recovery wards, which I think is great. But I’m not currently using my music for therapeutic purposes other than my own. LOL
@skopemag: What is life like in Ithaca, NY for a musician like you and is there a live scene in your region?
RA: Ithaca is awesome. Musically it really supports just about every genre you can imagine and more. My biggest challenge in town wasn’t finding people that play- literally EVERYONE plays something LOL- it was finding someone who wanted to play what I wanted to play. The music scene is so varied that I struggled with finding other musicians with similar tastes. I did end up finding a great percussionist to play shows with, Colwyn Gulliford. There is a ton of support for local music- many restaurants and cafes hire musicians, there are dozens of wineries and breweries and clubs around the Finger Lakes that have live music, we host the Grassroots festival every summer, and we have an epic local radio station that I’m mildly obsessed with (WICB Ithaca College) that hosts local music all the time.
@skopemag: How much time per week would you say you devote to music and do you work with any other musicians?
RA: It really depends on the week. If I’m not working a lot or outside in summer growing veggies, and the Muse is in, I’m spending hours upon hours a day recording or writing or just playing. Generally I get more recording done during the winter when it’s cold and dark for ten years per stretch in upstate NY. LOL I can literally lose myself for days just working on a piece. I played all the instruments on the album myself, but I do play live shows with my percussionist, Colwyn. He is also a great jazz guitarist so we throw in some old jazz standards at live gigs. I’m absolutely no jazz musician, it’s so hard for me, but I do love to sing it.
@skopemag: You put out ‘The Importance of Centers’ last year. How has the response been and how long did that project take to complete? – https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/rosealaimo
RA: The response has been much more than I had imagined. As I said earlier, I was working on these songs like I shower- music is just something I have always done because I love it and feel like I need to do it. LOL When I decided to publish them I figured just getting them out there was in itself huge and I didn’t really plan much after that, so the interviews and number of streams and album sales and interest in the music has really been amazing and I’m super grateful. Like during the first week of a radio campaign it came in at #17 on the NACC Top Adds Chart- meaning it was the 17th most added album to college and community radio stations in the country. I was floored! I started working on these songs about 7 years ago and worked on them on and off. There was no rush because I didn’t have any plans for them. And somehow here it all is!
@skopemag: In your liner notes for the album you mention – “being in a society without a clear, shared moral center with regards to relationships.” For readers who are in romantic relationships how do you suggest we reach a moral center with our partners?
RA: Good question, but I have no idea. LOL The album is more a loose exploration of what it’s like living (specifically dating) in a society or a world without a shared morality. I have no answers as far as HOW to create a shared moral center with a partner other than to be open-minded and communicative and mutually respectful of each others’ feelings, but I guess I wonder how much influence we have to create a new morality vs what is already heavily in place based on our upbringing and culture, etc. (I have an undergrad degree in philosophy- geeking out in progress!) LOL I found when I was out dating and getting involved in those hellish online dating sites that I was meeting SO many different kinds of people and the ideas I had about morality and life and relationships, which I sometimes took for granted, we so often not shared by so many other people. One person believes in monogamy, another does not. One is religious, another is not or practices a different faith and is not open to any other. One wants kids, another does not. One wants to raise their kids this way, another feels this is wrong. This guy wants his woman barefoot in the kitchen all day, this one wants to sit around and have his girlfriend support him. Peoples’ ideas about family, work, gender roles, love, sex, commitment vary so widely. I was talking to a friend from the Middle East during this time and his feeling was that dating in his country is so much easier because, mostly, he felt that peoples’ roles were a bit more clear and there was more common ground. In general, people practiced the same faith, people generally prioritized getting married, having kids, and certain things could be more often assumed moving forward. What he was seeing me go through was so different. We are so lucky to live in a country where we can be anything we want to be, we can be as individualized as we want and truly make ourselves whatever we desire. But with this can come the difficulty of finding common ground with other people. We are so multifaceted that it can be hard to find someone who fits us so to speak. And I definitely believe people can overcome all kinds of differences by being open and respectful and somewhat flexible, but sometimes even finding these qualities can be difficult.
@skopemag: If you had $100K to make an epic music video from one song on the album, which song and how do you foresee the visuals?
RA: “Walls.” For visuals, lots of light, like the blinding kind that shines off of water on a sunny day. Lots of people smiling. Cuts to the band (well, me and whoever I can find to play my band) jamming out interspersed. And hopefully someone hot in it. Like Ewan McGregor.
@skopemag: When you are not making music what others passions do you have?
RA: I love growing my own food and have an epic garden. I’m super into hiking and yoga, and massive books, specifically by Russians, especially Dostoevsky. I’m a total tea addict, especially high grade Japanese sencha (I know I’m such a bad-ass ;). Travel is also super fun, and the weirder the place, the better.
@skopemag: Technology has saturated the indie music scene globally. What sets you apart and what can you offer fans new to the Rose Alaimo movement?
RA: First, “The Rose Alaimo Movement” may need to be an album title or an underground political group. LOL ;) Technology has definitely changed everything in music. I think what may set me apart from some is that I do everything myself. I wrote all the music, played all the instruments, programmed the drums, sang it, recorded it, mixed and mastered and produced it all myself in my house. I think for me, I enjoy the raw organic quality that used to be Rock and Roll. It’s totally cool that music has evolved as it has, and includes all kinds of electronic enhancements, and all kinds of auto-tuning, etc. But I tend to like music that’s more organic, emotive, and human and less processed so the listener can get closer, and I hope to be able to deliver that to whoever hears my work. The other old-school bit that I cling to is the idea of an ALBUM. Singles are great, but there’s something magical about a collection of songs that fit together in a certain way. For the listener, it’s such a blast to put on an album and just be in this other world for a while. It’s also more of a fun challenge for me to construct a group of songs that go together and I enjoy taking these individual songs and using them as building blocks to make something bigger than each of them alone. I feel like new music is moving away from this and there is this impulse to keep putting out singles so people don’t have to wait… but I like albums so for now I plan to stick to this, even if it means some more time in between new material.
@skopemag: What is coming up in 2020 and where can we follow you via socials?
RA: Hopefully some touring and continuing to work on the new album! It’s looking like a straight-up rock album. Stay tuned!
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