ALIA is an acclaimed electronic music Producer, DJ, vocalist, and producer of the Feminine Medicine™ Project.
Inspired by the idea of co-creating music with other women that brings a distinctively “feminine” sound to an otherwise male-driven industry, ALIA launched a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2015. After two years of touring and co-creating, she’s just launched Feminine Medicine Volume 1.
To celebrate the release of Volume 1, there will be a party at HOME, a newly renovated venue on Treasure Island in San Francisco, tomorrow. Arya will be sharing a set of Feminine Medicine music with live singers and stunning dancers, including the temple snake dance troupe Serpent Sanctum, and solo dancers Sonya Stewart and Aya Iwasaki. The night will also feature original music sets from some of my collaborators Heather Christie, Liquid Love Drops, and Imagika Om.
Executive produced by Keyframe, ALIA is also a contributing author in “ReInhabiting the Village,” a book and community project rooted in festival culture that offers ways to take action today to build resilient and interconnected communities working together towards a bright tomorrow.
As a sponsor of ALIA’s upcoming album launch event, Keyframe caught up with ALIA to discuss Feminine Medicine’s history, the launch of Volume 1, her other projects, and advice on the creative journey.
Keyframe: Two years ago, you launched your Kickstarter campaign for the project. Tell us about the journey up to the creation of Feminine Medicine Volume.
ALIA: Two years ago I successfully closed a Kickstarter campaign for the Feminine Medicine™ Project and embarked on the journey of creating original music collaborating with different female artists for each song. I worked with people in the Bay Area, LA, and Portland. We worked in multiple studio sessions together, opening up the sacred space to create from the fusion of our muses coming together, crafting the essence and the message of the song, finding the melody, writing the lyrics together. I then spent hundreds upon hundreds of hours shaping the songs in the studio. I had multiple songs, files, communications, and projects I was managing with 12 different contributors to the album.
I created Feminine Medicine as a way to collaborate with other talented female artists to create electronic dance music that is deep, real, inspiring, uplifting and expresses the range of the feminine. I saw an opportunity to bring more feminine voices to music that could feel healing to dancers. The result is a fresh sound that is a fusion of feminine voices, truthful conscious lyrics, gorgeous melodies and deep, danceable bass beats. This volume includes collaborations with these talented sonic alchemists: Ixchel Prisma, Heather Christie, Imagika Om, Tara Divina, Amma Li Grace and Theo Grace of Entheo, Jocelyn Agloro/Liquid Love Drops, Ilan Gleiser (Fractal Force) and Eden Amadora of Amadora, and Kaia Ra, as well as some awesome mixing work from Chris James/Pattern Disrupt and Jordan Hansell/GeOMetrae. I really want to honor all these people for their stellar work, long hours, and creative devotion to this project. I think what came through us is really gorgeous.
Each song is its own special, unique poem about our journey as feminine beings. Some of the songs are about the journey through pain, loss, and surrender or the fear of opening our voice (“Choose”, “Opening”); some of the songs are about our raw primal power, empowerment, liberation, and loving ourselves and our beautiful bodies (“Huntress”, “Beyond the Veil”, “In Your Skin”); some of the songs are a prayer for the planetary healing and awakening of the divine feminine (“Codes of the Rose”, “Invocation”) and a devotional celebration of Great Mother Gaia (“Madre”).
During these two years I was also invited to put together Feminine Medicine shows for 3 festivals (Lucidity, Beloved, Enchanted Forest) and 2 mini fests (Bliss Camp, and Ecstatic Festival), as well as shows at Camp Mystic at Burning Man, and I put on a local Bay Area show at GUAVA with Deya Dova headlining. I had many different female performers dance with me at each of those shows. Every show was choreographed a little differently with a unique constellation of women. My Facebook page has some great pictures of all the shows:
Lucidity Festival April 2015 – Ixchel Prima, ALIA, Eden Amadora – photo by Marisa Pfenning
Feminine Medicine at Lucidity 2015 – Photo by Mollie Hulle of SEEN Imagery
What are some of the things that surprised you most about the creation and evolution of the project?
The music evolved in stages over the last 2 years and the music that you hear now on the album is more technically refined than the earlier versions. I went through a steep learning curve because I was learning more and more about sound design and production as I went along, and the songs needed to evolve along with this new level of knowledge.
I was so green and naive and totally thought I could have the album out in a year. Ha! I laugh with that previous version of myself because there was so much I did not know and so many unpredictable variables, like scheduling and all the rounds and versions the songs went through before my collaborators that I felt were album ready. I have emerged from this journey a way more knowledgeable producer, and a way more humble producer, because I am aware of everything I *still* don’t know.
The journey and process of producing the music and expanding the scope of the project has not been an easy one for me. This project has stretched me in so many ways, often in great ways. It has shown me the power of ASKING for help. I have had to blow every resistance I have had to asking out of the water again and again, and just get really freaking uncomfortable until I was comfortable with being uncomfortable. There were always new levels and new ways I was shown to ask in order to move this from idea to reality.
One of the most pleasantly surprising things about this journey is just how much help I received as a result of asking, which I did not see coming. I had 400+ people contribute financially to the Kickstarter to help me exceed my goal. I have had people mentor me in the business side of things and sponsoring aspects of the marketing. I have had multiple musical mentors show up for me to help me grow as a producer and make the songs as great as they can be. I have had many friends and allies sharing about the project both when I was raising money for it and since I released the music. I have been feeling very blessed by all the support.
Most of the tracks have a dreamy, relaxing vibe. Was this one of the ways you intended to imbue “feminine medicine” in the album?
I actually didn’t have an agenda about what the music would sound like when I began. For every song I came together with my collaborators with a blank slate and we spent multiple sessions in some cases discovering what was blooming in the fusion of our styles and energies. I picked different types of women who are also all unique artists whose sound isn’t like the other women in the project. This was very intentional because I wanted to express the range of the feminine experience. I think the music does that and there is a sound to it. I am the unifying factor as the producer of the songs, therefore I think I imbued my essence into these creations. My preference is for music that is more ethereal, atmospheric, and psychedelic but that is also very bass driven. I like to call it emotional and danceable. My sense is the music does feel like ‘medicine’ for people because you can feel the feminine energy in it.
Photo by portraitsbyMJ
How might subsequent volumes differ?
During the last two years I began additional song ideas with HAANA, Amae Love, Ali Kane, Ariel White, and Aleksandra Dubov that will appear on Volume 2 tentatively scheduled for 2018, along with some other potential collaborators I am speaking with including CloZee, Rigzin and more tba. Every volume will be a different constellation of women and so they will all have their own unique energy to them.
What other projects are you working on?
I am so excited to share that I have started work on the remix album for Feminine Medicine Volume 1 and these epic producers have committed to remix: Govinda, Living Light, Kaminanda, Dissolv, Spoken Bird, Luke Mandala, GeOMetrae, Fractal Force, Joe Muscatello, Pattern Disrupt, Ra So, and more tba! I am targeting a Summer 2017 release. I am also planning to take a little break from working on Feminine Medicine music for a few months to give some attention to my solo material. I hope to produce a solo EP this year.
What advice would you give others on their creative journey?
So many of us try to do things alone and then spin our wheels for years. I have realized that we can take big leaps forward when we are willing to ask for and receive help. There is no shame at all in getting support from people who have expertise in an area where you are not as strong. When we let ourselves focus on our strengths we can access a wellspring of creative life force.
I also suggest getting some sort of business training. I have had a great advantage by coming from former careers as a marketing executive and as a solo entrepreneur. I have taken my training in brand building and online marketing and applied it to myself as an artist. I think it’s important that we take ourselves seriously. We may be doing art for our personal fulfillment or as a spiritual journey, but we can also treat our art as a conscious business. It’s the best business you could possibly support: yourself.
We need to be supported for our work, so I also recommend doing some money consciousness work. Though nothing replaces the nuts and bolts of approaching our work like a pro (check out Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art for more on this) and showing up for it consistently everyday. These are big keys to success.
Tell us about the upcoming event and the venue you chose.
This event is a celebration of the release of Volume 1 of the music! I will be sharing a set of Feminine Medicine music with live singers and stunning dancers, including the temple snake dance troupe Serpent Sanctum, and solo dancers Sonya Stewart and Aya Iwasaki. The night will also feature original music sets from some of my collaborators Heather Christie, Liquid Love Drops, and Imagika Om.
HOME is a newly renovated venue on Treasure Island that is a new gem in the Bay Area event scene, which has been struggling for venues after the Oakland fire. It is ideally situated between San Francisco and the East Bay and I am very excited to host our event in this beautiful space.
GET FEMININE MEDICINE VOLUME 1 on Bandcamp: https://aliamusic.bandcamp.com/
STAY IN TOUCH:
ALIA on Facebook
ALIA on Soundcloud