5 Minutes With… Novo Amor

British multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer Novo Amor aka Ali Lacey makes music that is restlessly romantic and reminiscent of US troubadours such as Bon Iver and Sufjan Stevens. You may be familiar with his work even if you don’t recognise his name; Lacey’s version of the Guns ‘N’ Roses classic  ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ – recorded especially for the 2015 ‘AXE/Lynx Black’ advertising campaign, while the latest Expedia advert uses Lacey’s song From Gold’, the lead track from the ‘Woodgate, NY’ EP.

Lacey’s songs have also featured in several TV shows including BONES, Teen Mom, Made In Chelsea and Saving Hope. Aside from his songwriting, he is also adept in the field of sound design and often incorporates this into his production by using unconventional recording techniques and employing ‘found’ objects as instruments.

The autumnal drift of upcoming single ‘Anchor’ builds on the precocious accomplishment of his earlier work and illustrates the rapid evolution of his songcraft, both ethereal and earthy.

We caught up with the singer-songwriter to discuss his favourite music, scenery and onstage mishaps…

Hi there, how are you and what are you up to today?

I’m great thanks! Today has been spent recording piano and casting for my new music video.

To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?

Ethereal, intimate alternative folk. Someone once described my music as ‘lace’ because of all the small details in the sound that make it beautiful. I though that was an interesting way of describing it.

What are the 5 albums and artists that have influenced you the most?

‘Early In The Morning’James Vincent McMorrow (2010), ‘Yes I Know I’ve Loved This World’Valley Maker (2013), ‘For Emma Forever Ago’Bon Iver (2007), ‘Scarlet Seep’Denuo (2014), ‘The Wild Hunt’The Tallest Man On Earth (2010)

What other artists do you really like at the moment and why?

I’ve been enjoying Bombay Bicycle Club‘s latest album since it won Best Album at the Ivors this year. The melodies, instrumentation and production are all top quality. ‘Nils Frahm – Solo’ is amazing. I went to see Sufjan Stevens last week, since then his music has been on repeat.

How important are location and landscape to your music?

I think this is quite important, when it comes to writing I find a change of scenery always helps. My music fits nicely with Scandinavian-esque landscapes and the ocean, I always try and get this imagery across in my music videos. I find music videos are very important in this type of music, the right blend of beautiful imagery and music can have a great effect.

What’s the best gig you have ever done and why?

The best gig I’ve done was probably Prinzenbar in Hamburg as part of my headline tour this year. I don’t have many shows under my belt to compare it to but the venue, sound, and audience were all fantastic. Either that show or one I did in Munich, we were headlining a small festival that was inside this dingy garage… I ended up falling backwards into the drum kit and am now left with a scar on my back.

What’s the worst gig you have ever done and why?

The worst gig was unfortunately at festival I really love called Barn On The Farm. The festival was great but my set was just terrible. It was one of my first shows so I was nervous enough as it was [but] I pulled a muscle in my back before getting on stage, my guitarist’s pedals broke, we had no time to soundcheck and only managed to play three songs. Maybe one day I’ll return and play a real set for them.

If you weren’t a musician what would you be?

I used to work in an ice cream parlour, then I quit when I got a job producing karaoke tracks. I’d like to think I never have to go back to doing either of those things again. Somewhere down the line I’d like to get into running a label or doing music supervision. If I didn’t have music I’d be pretty sad, probably living for the weekend.

How do ‘found’ sounds and non-traditional sound sources fit into your recording process?

It varies really, sometimes I will go more traditional depending on the song. Everything resonates at a certain frequency when struck, so I will usually try and find tones in objects. For example my track “Holland” has the sound of a gardening rake that is turned into a glockenspiel. Other examples are snares made from cookers, textures made from wine bottles etc.

How do you feel about having your music used in TV programmes etc? Do you have a favourite instance of this?

When I was a teenager I was really into making cinematic soundtracks, re-scoring trailers and adverts etc. It was sort of my dream to make film and advert music. So having my songs appreciated and used for TV shows and adverts is amazing for me. These songs mean the world to me, and for someone to connect with them and see that sort of potential in them is really motivating. My EP was funded by having a song in an Australian documentary in 2013, it really made a difference.

Do you have any information regarding upcoming releases, projects, DJ mixes or collaborations in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

I’m currently working on a collaborative album with Ed Tullett and have a few more personal releases in the pipeline. 2016 should be a good year.

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