Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Balam Acab

Balam Acab is the moniker of Ithaca University Student and Pennsylvania resident Alec Koone. With BA he creates haunting and frozen downtempto drones that seem to almost cough up melodies onto a sludge of looped synths and echoed drums.

A recent signing to the XXFG affliate, Tri Angle Records (o0o00, Creep) - Alec granted me his first ever interview about Balam Acab for both here and UK Arts and Music Magazine Sweet & Sound.

-You started BA almost two years ago, has it undergone a kind of reboot lately?

Yeah Balam Acab started out two years ago when I was really into drone and back then I was making pretty noisy drone music under the name. I tried reviving it again once in between now and then as a less noisy and more spacey type of drone project but then that fell through too. Now I have "rebooted" the project, so to speak, after creating a few songs and needing to put the songs under some project. So I decided to use this one because I like the name.

-Were you in other bands before or is this your first?

I've been in all sorts of bands and I've made a bunch solo music before the reincarnated Balam Acab. Lots of ambient and post-rock music, some noise, some folk, some rock (in the vein of bands like Pavement). Currently I have another active project called Etherea that I'm pretty into as well. It's hip-hop.

-All your songs use pitchshifted vocals in a really hypnotic way, who does the vocal parts for BA?

My dream girl. She's quite the diva.

-How do you approach recording? Do you work with samples and computers or is it a mix between that & home recordings?

I work with samples and computers. Just cuttin' stuff up and whatnot.

-Do you have any intentions of ever playing live with BA?

I'd like playing live with Balam Acab, just as of right now I'm not really sure how I'd play a good set that was fun for me and the audience. If I can figure that out then I'd love to. But I don't wanna just play mp3's through a PA system, ya know?

-I'm always interested in the environment and surroundings that artists live in, how does Pennsylvania suit you?

My immediate response would be that the PA (more specifically Harrisburg area) music scene is awful, but being away from it (I go to school in Ithaca, NY) has made me realize that although it was small there was a pretty decent and tight-knit music scene from around the area. And this is because I feel like I haven't experienced or been made aware of anything similar in Ithaca. The music scene in Harrisburg is mostly centralized around a non-profit organization called Moviate that hosts killer shows, be it music, film, or whatever else. I feel like there are a lot of good people and bands involved with the Harrisburg-area scene that work diligently together to create a nice little music scene in an environment that, in general, isn't very receptive to arts and especially more experimental and independent art.

Now in regards to PA physically, I'd say its pretty nice in the area I live. Of course, the suburban sprawl and whatnot isn't, but once you can get outside that, there's lots of nice outdoor places that are good to be in.

-What are your plans for the rest of 2010? Any physical releases/other projects?

I've got some plans for 2010. The most important thing is getting a live set together, I think. I really want and need to start playing shows as soon as possible. I'm also planning to release an EP through Tri Angle Records sometime in 2010. I'm currently working on brand new songs for that release. I have another project called ETHEREA but that is sort of on the back burner now compared to Balam.

Balam Acab can be found online at