Away from Young Rival, Aron D'Alesio Lets the Muses Guide Him

Away from Young Rival, Aron D'Alesio Lets the Muses Guide Him
Photo: John Roxburgh Smith
Hamilton's Aron D'Alesio is going it alone. His self-titled debut record is a lo-fi celebration of simplicity created in an isolated basement from 11 p.m. to six a.m. After a decade in Young Rival, here are five ways that Aron D'Alesio is a totally different beast.
 
1. He just let the songs flow through him.
 
"I end up being a conduit for some sort of outside energy that just borrows me to make a song," D'Alesio tells Exclaim! "When I would be in that mode I would [think], 'This is kind of weird, sort of obsessive.' I wonder if I would describe it as unhealthy at the time? It probably was."
 
2. It was created in its own time-altered headspace.
 
"Working as a bartender, my whole schedule as a human being was flipped, so morning, night, none of it meant anything to me. That's a big part of the record — I was really feeling alienated at that time, completely isolated. Everybody else is living this 9 to 5 sort of thing, and for some reason I've been afforded the opportunity to sit in this studio every night of the week. Why am I able to do this, but everybody else is working? Everybody's stressed, and I had no worries."
 
3. The real challenge was work/life balance.
 
"You have to wake up and think, 'What do I do with today to make it meaningful, to lend it some value?' I literally felt like I had retired, because I didn't have to do anything. But I'm not the kind of person who can hang his hat on that, that drove me nuts. I felt pressure to take advantage of it, and to enjoy it. But that's not me, I have to move forward in one way or another, and this turned into a manifestation of all of that."
 
4. The work was all-consuming anyway.
 
"It became a total meditative experience. I'd [start work], make a tea, and then I'd have a sip and it would be ice cold. The last time I touched that thing was three hours ago, I had one sip, put it on the table. Time just disappears for me. It's like a mindfulness, a meditative process for me, on all the fronts — from the production to the writing, and then the output is just ahh. All part of a process that I really enjoy.
 
5. Album promotion on social media has been much less serious than all this.
 
"I thought I [could] showcase an aspect of my personality. I find that people are interested in that, makes you more human. It's not posturing. I don't want to try to be all, 'I'm super cool, you gotta buy this record.' It's a tough line for me to walk. It's funny, I looked at the video I did for "Diamond Ring,"  and then at the amount of hits that these stupid videos have gotten and they had thousands more. One is a major production, and the other is me being an idiot at the grocery store."
 
Aron D'Alesio is out now via Paper Bag Records.