Interview: alice.km Shares 'The Back Beat' EP, Talks Evolution As An Artist, Label Signings, & More

August 12, 2023 -

Justin Angle

The techno genre has continually evolved in the last couple of years, giving room for artists to exhibit their dynamic style. Taking the lead in this evolvement is Phoenix, AZ's own DJ/producer, alice.km. Her upcoming 2-track EP titled The Back Beat EP, releasing on July 21st through the Eclipse Red label, promises to be an exploration of harder techno.

Taking a turn from her earlier organic, chill-influenced house tunes, "The Back Beat" throws its listeners into an intricate dystopian soundscape marked by pulsing basslines and strategic vocal inflections. In a similar vein but with its unique flavor, "Talk To Me" is a tantalizing blend of raw, seductive melodies and techno intensity. The latter's intriguing edge comes from vocal samples lifted from a techno warehouse party interview.

Yet, this EP isn't just a one-off. It's part of a greater musical narrative for alice.km, who has showcased an exemplary journey since her first DJ gig in Brooklyn, 2016. From playing prestigious NYC venues like Elsewhere and The Rosewood Theater to hosting the popular occult-themed soiree, Midnight Society, her impact is undeniable. Her success isn't just in live shows. The numbers speak for themselves. In 2022 alone, she amassed an astonishing 120k+ Spotify streams, making her presence undeniable. Add to this, memorable performances at Arrival Festival and Dusk Music Festival, and a standout opening for Drumcode's Tempe tour.

alice.km isn’t just a name. It’s a vision, marked by instinct and innovation. Winning the Circus Recordings' remix competition and soon to drop a remix "Collide" by Maxinne, she's establishing herself as dynamic house artist who explores the inner-workings of the genre. From DJing to producing tracks signed by top labels like IAMHER and Delusional Records, alice.km’s instincts remain her guiding star, leading her to what she does best: creating and playing music that is meaningful.

Exclusive Interview

Your new EP, The Back Beat EP, represents a distinct shift from your previous organic/chill-influenced house sound to a harder techno style. Can you discuss the motivation behind this transition?

Techno was actually my first love when it comes to dance music. It was the genre I played the most when I first began DJing back in 2016, and my first single release as alice.km was a peak-time techno track. I love so many different styles of dance music though, that I fluctuate between organic, downtempo, house, electronica, and techno. The Back Beat almost felt like a return to my artistic roots but with the more experienced production lens I now have.

You've had an impressive journey so far, from hosting your own events like Midnight Society to now releasing an EP with Eclipse Red label. Could you share some of the challenges and breakthrough moments you've encountered on this journey?

Being a musician sometimes feels like a journey of constant challenges and rejection. The biggest challenge for me was learning how to produce. I’ve been a musician and songwriter my entire life, but the learning curve of the software was steep. Once I sat down, took courses, and figured it out, that’s when the breakthroughs started to happen. I’ve spent countless hours studying production, mixing, and songwriting, and I feel like it’s really paying off. I’ve seen a difference in the type of shows I get booked for since I began releasing my own music, and I’m getting signed to more labels now.

You won Circus Recordings' remix competition and are soon to release a remix of "Collide" by Maxinne. Can you describe your approach to remixing a track and how you went about putting your own spin on "Collide"?

When it comes to remixes, I do my best to only keep the main melodic element and create an entirely new musical bed around it. For “Collide”, I kept all the vocal stems but wanted to really hone in on the idea of “when stars collide” and universe-altering, which are the lyrics of the song. I created a deep house track inspired by this idea that is super ethereal, spacey, and almost otherworldly. I second-guessed this production every step of the way, but it worked out in the end!

Your bio emphasizes trusting your instincts. In what ways did your instincts guide you in the creation of The Back Beat EP?

My instincts guide me to create - it’s a constant need that I feel. In terms of “The Back Beat”, I felt a need to make the track as soon as my friend gave me the idea. When it comes to production, I do feel my instincts come from the many hours I’ve spent studying it, but those muscles I’ve developed in the studio definitely guide me in terms of how I arrange and mix a track. I pitched “The Back Beat” to Eclipse Recordings, and they were interested but wanted a companion track for an EP. That pushed me to create “Talk To Me”, which instinctually felt like it needed to be in the same vein but have a different flair than “The Back Beat”.

What do you have planned for the rest of 2023?

I’m working on a ton of new music, including a few collaborations I’m very excited about. I have a single coming out later this month on Delusional Records, and another EP in the works. I recently moved to Phoenix and have some fun shows lined up here, including The Walter Where?House on November 18.

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