Ariana & The Rose march to a beat all of their own, and it’s most definitely a beat that we enjoy.
We were more than thrilled when we heard that Ariana & The Rose were back from a brief hiatus and were unleashing more of their signature left-field electro-pop.
After supporting Foxes on her recent UK tour and collaborating with The Nexus and Tom Fuller (Patrick Wolf), new cut ‘Give Up The Ghost’ is the perfect re-introduction from emerging New York native Ariana DiLorenzo, who alongside her band, make up the collective Ariana & The Rose.
‘Give Up The Ghost’, with it’s haunting and dark undertones, merged alongside Ariana’s atmospheric vocal and swirling electro-undercurrents is set to project the contemporary popstar onto every tastemaker’s radar for tips of 2016. We caught up with her ahead of her London show tonight to find out a little more about where it all began.
Give us an insight into your incredible journey – when did you realise that being a fully-fledged musician was what you wanted to do as a career?
I didn’t realise I wanted to pursue being a musician professionally until I was about 19 or 20. I started as a dancer when I was really young and was a part of a professional dance company at 13 which segued into musical theater and that gave way to auditioning for acting roles in film and tv as well. I was always really focused on acting, especially since New York is such a center for it, and writing my own music became a release from the grind of auditioning all the time. It wasn’t until I started college, at NYU, that I began to write with other people and explore different genres. There was something really satisfying about being able to just create something whenever I felt like. As an actor, you have to wait for someone to give you a job, unless you write your own work, as a musician, you create your own world and invite people in. That kind of process appeals to me much more. I put a band together after I graduated and we began playing in the states and over the last couple years have found our way to the UK, which has become a second home for me.
Can you remember the first song you wrote? What was it about?
I was 14, I think. In hindsight the lyrics were pretty cheesy, it was about liking a boy who liked someone else, of course. The verse was just a series of questions. It’s a good thing I never sang it to him, he probably would have been freaked out by it.
Were you in any previous projects or bands before forming the Ariana & The Rose collective?
I haven’t been a part of any other bands. Ariana & the Rose has taken on a few incarnations over the years though, slowly getting defined more and more. I’ve been lucky to collaborate with friends and other artists on their projects, either writing together or lending vocals. It’s always really nice to step out of your own artistic bubble and into someone else’s for a bit.
Your sound seems to have evolved a lot since your previous work – was that a conscious decision to shift into more left-field territory?
Yes, this new EP is definitely a departure from the music I have previously released. It wasn’t so much about shifting the music more left-field or more pop, than it was about making music that I felt sounded closer to who I am right now. My goal was to have the music really feel like a synth band and be a blend of electronic and live instrumentation. I’ve tried to stay very true to writing these lyrics in a way I’d say them, which I think has shaped the songs in a more mature way. Previously, I had always felt the need to explain my music to people, it’s this or it’s that, with this new material, I feel like I can just press play and let the music speak for itself.
We’ve heard your new track ‘Give Up The Ghost’ – how do you begin to create something like that, and what’s your creative process behind your music?
My songwriting process really changed in writing this new material. I knew I wanted to work with one producer to build and explore a cohesive sound. That way of working opened me up to exploring sounds and grooves before always thinking of a melody first. I play piano, so in the past I’ve been very much about the melodic line, but now the beginning of a song could come from anywhere, maybe a bass groove or an interesting sound. Every song starts in a different way really. Tom Fuller, who produced the EP, and I really got in synch from working together over a long period of time, honing an aesthetic through exploring different sounds. Sometimes he would mess about with an arpeggiator and build a track and I would begin writing a melody to that and then we’d have my drummer come in and write a part to what we’d done. That is my favourite way of writing, building the songs layer by layer, the way bands do. Other times I’d come in the studio with a song I’d already written, either alone or with another writer and we would build around them and then tweak the songs as they find their path sonically. I feel like I’ve found a lot of freedom in understanding the idea that there really is no right way to go about it.
You seem pretty style-savvy. How important do you think image is to an artists career / longevity in the music industry?
My favourite artists are the ones that create a whole world for an audience to jump into and I think image is a big part of that. It’s about the music first and foremost, without a good song the imaging doesn’t matter but a great song matched with amazing visuals is the dream, isn’t it? Artists like David Bowie and Blondie were able to reinvent themselves again and again because their image was iconic and consistently evolving all at once. People take art and entertainment in through so many different mediums now, you have to find your own voice to connect with them through all of it. For me, it’s an extension of the music, I’m not so interested in putting out a picture of my face looking nice as I am in creating a whole world for people to explore and delve into.
Who are your favourite designers / labels? Where do you find the best cities or stores to shop in, and what would you consider to be the overall Ariana & The Rose aesthetic?
I’m mostly into vintage clothing at the moment. I was just in San Francisco, which has amazing vintage shops! I mix and match brands with independent designers and vintage on a day to day basis. Every city has it’s own vibe in terms of fashion I think. London is quite experimental and dark in mood, which I love. New York is a bit more about high fashion and street style. When I moved to London, I had to learn how to coordinate trainers with my outfits, which is a trend that I think is just starting to take in New York. My overall aesthetic continues to evolve, I’m really inspired by the late 70s, Debbie Harry era of fashion. I love women who look strong and feminine all at once, that’s how I like to feel on stage but with a lot more glitter involved.
Do you have a preferred social media platform, and why?
I’d say instagram is my preferred platform. I follow a lot of photographers and graphic artists, which is inspiring to scroll along my phone and see amazing work people are creating and just putting up for people to have. I like Twitter also, mainly for the immediacy of it. I can speak directly with fans, see what they’re responding to and have direct conversations.
What were the last 3 tracks that you listened too in-full?
I’ve actually just listened to Depeche Mode’s, Violator record top to bottom, on a flight the other day. I can’t remember the last time I listened to an album in full. It was nice to get lost in someone else’s moment for a while.
What other emerging artists are you championing at the moment?
There’s an artist called Starling who I know and I love her music. She has one of those rare, naturally haunting voices, her piano ballads are beautiful. I also love Christine and the Queens, who is more than emerging, I think, at this point but she’s just really getting known in America.
If you could have written any other song by another artist, either dead or alive, which track would have liked to claim as your own?
I think “Youth” by Daughter would be one of them. The lyrics to that song are just perfect.
You’re a New York native – how does the city compare to London for it’s music scene?
The music scene in London I think is more thriving at the moment, especially in terms of live gigs. There are twice the amount of venues in London than there are in New York, which gives emerging artists so many more opportunities to play. I think audiences go to shows more in London than they do in New York as well. There is more opportunity for discovery in London at the moment.
What are your favourite things about London?
London is filled with so many things to do, in terms of museums, art, shows and culture. I like being a part of a city that reminds you just how much is going on in the world outside of your own little bubble, I think it’s important to be reminded of that. More than anything, I really just love Sunday roasts! This is a totally new thing for me, which is the highlight of my Sundays, I’m now the girl planning her day around what time we’re going to a roast!
Ariana & The Rose play a free show at Birthdays, London tonight. Find out more here.