Annie O Presents: Galen Ayers
GALEN AYERS: DUMBO, Brooklyn, but I still go to Hydra, Greece a lot, too.
This is your first album. What’s the meaning behind the title, Monument?
I love the sound of the actual word, and I like the ideas behind monuments. Monuments are erected mainly to commemorate an important historical person or moment in time. Some monuments exist to remind you of an act of heroism, and some remind you to never let this happen again, e.g. Holocaust monuments. I liked the double meaning, and I like how the meaning of monuments can change with the times, so they are not really static. I also think relationships can be monuments.
Where did you record the album?
I recorded it primarily in the U.K., but then re-recorded some of the vocals and guitars in New York and Los Angeles.
Tell us about the recording process and the team you worked with.
I loved being a part of every part of the recording process, all the way from pre-production to mixing and mastering. The musicians I worked with all had very distinct musical voices and were hand-picked by my producer and great friend, Paul Simm. We made sure we scheduled in listening time to live with the tracks and then went adjusting the different musical layers until it felt just right. But it’s true what they say about creative works never actually being finished, just abandoned. The hardest bit was realizing when the song had become a butterfly and was ready to fly away.
You say that you would not have survived without music. Can you tell us what you mean by that?
Music showed up for me, and it became a comfortable way for me to express emotions that would have been too raw at the time to express in conversation. Meaningful, yet detached enough from me personally. Music can help emotions transform the personal into the universal.
You grew up in different countries, and your father was Rock Pioneer Kevin Ayers. How did that influence your music and your life in general?
I think that the biggest asset my childhood has provided me was the confidence to think openly and big, and to be able to grapple with world issues. I was brought up as a global citizen, and I uphold this honor by being an active environmentalist and advocate for human rights. Growing up in different countries allows you to see that we have many more commonalities than differences. We all want to love, be loved, and be happy.
What are your touring plans for this album?
I am playing shows in NYC, and then it looks like right now we are booking dates in London and Los Angeles.
If Galen had a superpower, what would it be?
To save the bees from extinction.
What can we expect from your show at The Standard, East Village for The Annie O Music Series?
A varied, eclectic, intimate, and mysterious hour of great musicianship. And a sexy crowd.