The road to Aly Tadros’s new album Hungry Ghost has not been short. Hard work, hard living, recovery and self-determination are all subjects that have been lived, breathed and transformed into cohesive art.
The songs contained on the singer-songwriter’s third album is a collection of tunes that represent the strongest and most transparent tunes of her career. Blending aspects of the human and universal perspective Tadros has delivered a new account of self awareness and transformation.
ARTISTdirect caught up with Aly Tadros to discuss Hungry Ghost, the mood in her band, and just why anyone would be covered in bacon brownie sludge…
Where are you right now?
My apartment in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Sitting at the kitchen counter, covered in bacon brownie sludge (I can explain…)
Please name your fellow band members and their roles… oh, and who has the best dance moves?
Aly Tadros: Vocals, guitar, vihuela, piano, ukulele.
Cody Rahn: Drums.
Alex Minier: Upright bass.
I (Aly) was the co-captain of my middle school high-kick team (The Maverettes), so I’ll take the cake for that one.
Tell us about your new project: Who did you work with? Where was it recorded? What’s it about? Is there candy?
The new record was produced by Kevin Salem (Rachael Yamagata, Yo la Tengo, Mike Doughty) and myself. We recorded most of the album live at Applehead Studios in Woodstock, NY. The name of the record is Hungry Ghost, a concept borrowed from Buddhism. It was crowd funded through a PledgeMusic campaign, which, coincidentally enough, did include bacon brownies. (see, told you I could explain).
How do you describe your music to new friends?
A mix of Norah Jones, Fiona Apple, and Ani Difranco.
How did you first meet, and where exactly did you become a band?
Cody (my drummer) and I actually met in 2009, on my first national tour. I was living in Austin, and he was based out of Seattle. My friend Alyse hired him to back us up for a few dates. I remember thinking that one day I’d make enough money to hire him as my full-time drummer. Years later, I moved to Brooklyn and he stumbled into one of my gigs. Then he introduced me to Alex, my bassist. Cue early Christmas.
Other than Aly Tadros, what should your hometown be known for?
Laredo, Texas. There’s a jeep and a song named after us. Also, tacos. We have delicious tacos.
Please look around you right now and please describe the first item or person you see that’s significant to you.
The first vihuela that i bought is hanging up on the wall next to me. I drove for 12hrs through Central Mexico to get it. Named her Juanita and dragged her all over the world on tour. I don’t play it anymore because it’s literally held together by electric tape. Turns out mariachi instruments aren’t fond of Northeastern weather. (photo attached)
What first inspired you to pursue music? If it was a musician or a specific piece of music, please tell us all about why you find it so inspirational…
I read a blog that Tucker Max wrote about a friend of his who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and decided to change her life. At the end of it, he asked if there was anything about your life you would change – and why you were waiting for cancer to make those changes.
I was in college and pretty miserable, and really just wanted to be playing music full time – even though I could barely play an instrument and had never written a song. It was a big wake up call.
What’s the best advice anyone has given you about pursuing a life in music?
Focus on the work. No matter what happens in the industry, put in the time to craft great songs. Be so good, they can’t ignore you.
Not including your current crew, who (alive or dead) would you love to have in your van for an all day drive from gig to gig?
What song best sums up your life right now?
What is the best reaction to your music you have experienced so far?
A few months ago I was on tour in Belgium. A guy in audience came up to me after the show and said, “ALY: beautiful like moon, voice like river, funny like golden retriever.”
Take a moment to dream – Where do hope to be a year from now?
Somewhere warm, in between tours, writing and publishing my work online.
What’s your next step towards that dream?
For today, spending 20 minutes on a blogpost.