Second Thursday Capitol Hill art walk is coming up April 12th. We are super excited for April's show featuring Seattle based artists Jorden Heidal and Alie Byland.
Meet Alie, she is the front woman of Seattle based Folk Rock band - BYLAND. She performs vocals, piano, guitar, and a plethora of midi instruments. She grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico listening to legends like Keith Green and Johnny Cash and learning from modern folk artists such as Brandi Carlile. She and her husband Jake create music together, they hope their music will inspire and unite communities. They believe music should bring people together.
I chatted about life and music with Alie and got to learn a little about what inspires her, about her hometown of Albuquerque and how she got started creating music. Keep scrolling down to read the interview!
Describe your style as a musician in 3 words.
Indie Folk Rock
Can you walk us through your path as a musician? What kind of stops where along the way to where you are today?
I started young - my mom stashed away money from our grocery budget so I could begin taking piano lessons at the age 7. By age 14, I was leading piano and vocals in a rock band at my parents’ church, which I did for many years. I continued leading church bands when I moved to Seattle. But after my Father died, when I was 20, it became extremely difficult to play any music at all. It reminded me so much of the times when I used to play piano for him as he napped on the couch. Several years ago, BYLAND began as a project when I picked up my old acoustic and began writing music with my husband, Jake. I've spent the last 5 years playing a lot of solo gigs at wineries and a few shows with bands of all sizes. This last year, we decided to focus on recording our first full length Album. We built a home studio out of a closet in our apartment, Jake learned Logic and we got to work. We're so proud to show you what we've created!
What do you hope people experience when listening to your upcoming album, "Desert Days?"
"Everybody's got that place, that town, that patch of ground where their roots are found - where they learn to read and ride a bike. Everybody's got that place, and for me it's Albuquerque." - Lyrics from "Albuquerque" on the Album.
I want to take people back to a different place and a different time. I want them to remember their own growing up stories - the good and the bad - and realize how far they've come. While listening, I want people to feel a sense of nostalgic gratitude for their past and great hope for their current livelihood. These songs are about my own Father, my family and my New Mexican childhood. So, on a personal level, making this album helped me process through my own grief of losing a parent. I'd like to inspire others to create - to bravely go through their own pain, and in doing so, heal.
Who makes up Byland? Tell us a bit about each of your band members.
Besides Jake working the tech portions and myself singing or playing guitar, the band is ever evolving. BYLAND believes that music should bring people together, so we try to collaborate where we can, and especially at each performance. At this event, you'll find me with my sister, Maggiejean. She plays piano and percussion, as a side gig to flying airplanes (a total bad ass). Most commonly we are accompanied by Rosenoak, our favorite local strings duo. Seattle is FULL of kind, talented musicians, and I'd love to create with each of them!
I would love to visit New Mexico! For anyone planning to visit your hometown of Albuquerque, do you have any favorite spots that are a must to check out?
Girliebird Co. - Go visit my mom at "the best B&B in the Wild Southwest". (My childhood home and Albuquerque's 2008 Extreme Makeover Home Edition) (My claim to fame! Ha ha)
The Tram - There's nothing like a New Mexico Sunset and this is one of the best places to view it.
Green Jeans - It's a business park full of shops and restaurants made out of shipping containers. Try the happy camper from Santa Fe Brewing.
Meow Wolf - If you make it over to Santa Fe, you have to check this place out... It's like Donnie Darko meets Escape Room meets Exotic Art-walk.
The Balloon Fiesta - Most photographed event in the world. Thousands of hot air balloons fill the sky for two weeks straight. It's beautiful!
What brought you up to Seattle? What is your favorite thing about the music scene here?
I moved to a big, exciting, far away city for school, met a boy, fell in love... you know.
The rain sure isn't what has kept me here; it's the people and the creative community!
The music scene is HOPPIN! There's a show somewhere any night of the week. It has lit a fire under my ass which forced me to get shit done. It's all about the hustle here. If you don't hustle, you probably won't be heard. In Seattle, people fight hard for what they believe in and what they create. Art is respected here, and I really love that.
I also love your personal style/aesthetic. What inspires your style?
HA! Thank you! I'm proud of where I come from. I'm greatly inspired by the desert, and the sky. I'm drawn to yellow, blue and lots of white. I don't like clutter, but I do like grit. And like my dad used to say, "Rough is good. I don't have to be anything for anybody except what I am." And seriously, it's okay to wear the same pair of Levi's in every picture! Ha! Most of what we own comes from thrift shops or friend's businesses. We love supporting local and keeping clothing out of landfill. For our coming merch, instead of selling new clothing, we'll be printing on secondhand pieces thrifted by BYLAND.
If you could pick any musician to collaborate with who would you choose and why?
Brandi Carlile - hands down. I've seen her live at least six times and cried every time. She taught me it's okay NOT to sound like all the pop artists I grew up listening to. My voice was always lower than theirs and I had a hard time reaching the high notes outside my falsetto. But Brandi inspired me to embrace my raspy, deep voice and the occasional yodel. Gosh, I love her.
~Thank you for joining us for April art walk and performing! Any other shows/events coming up for your new album? We would love to share.
If you're in Albuquerque April 27th, come to our listening party downtown!
For Seattle, we're currently planning the Album Release Show. (It will most likely be in May - that fire under my ass is getting warmer!)
Also - If our music resonates with you and you're a drummer or electric guitar player, I'd love to collaborate for future shows.