Alvinos Zavlis – Outta My Head [interview]

Insomnia, loss and unfulfilled love… Tell us a few things about your new song Outta My Head

The song in its core is about unfulfilled love; for me this manifest through my insomnia, which has been a huge issue in my life since I was a teenager. The song was written at 3 am during a sleepless night. The lyric “Shout out, scream ‘get outta my head’”, is fairly literal in this way; wishing you could empty your head from your memories of this one person you can’t be with. I’m not really a traditional singer/songwriter, so the way I approach the crafting process of my songs is mostly through sound design and production. The chords and melodies I use will evoke the feeling and vibe I’m going for and, in the case of this song, a few repeating lines will complete the picture.

How many beats do you listen to before you end up using one? Tell us a few things about your creative process.

It really depends! If you asked me this question before 2020, I’d say I just produce beats and I end up developing the ones I think have the most potential into fully fleshed instrumental pieces. But, as you can hear in the song “Outta my head”, I now sing on my music, something I started doing since the pandemic started. My current process is to start with some chords or a melody, build a simple beat around that and then write the lyrics and record vocals. After this is done, I’ll fully flesh out the production and try to make something that fits the sonic character of “Alvinos”. I think it’s a huge advantage of mine that I have 100% control of the creative process, from writing the music and lyrics, to producing the song and then singing the vocals. It enables me to start the creative process from so many different angles. When it comes to “Outta my head”, I started with the beat and I knew I had to record vocals on it because the vibe fit perfectly with the album I’m currently working on.

How do you relate to the UK music scene?

Since I moved to the UK in 2016, I’ve been constantly learning and studying the music scene here. I’ve worked with Grime rappers and did a lot of mixing and mastering for Grime projects, something I really enjoyed. I also love UK Garage; when I first started producing music, I was constantly making House Music so, naturally, Garage caught my attention. I was obsessed with MJ Cole and have dozens of Garage tunes on my hard drives that I never released! The most important thing though, is that through all these genres that are indigenous to the UK, I learned so many production techniques and genre tropes that became part of my own sound in a unique and natural way.

Which is your most personal and honest lyric?

It’s from an unreleased song that’ll probably make the album. The song is called “Not you” and it’s about a secret love/crush on your best friend. The lyric goes:

“Cuz you’re the flower I’ll never smell,
you’re the secret I’ll never tell,
I could have anyone I want
but not you, not you…”

I guess I choose this one because the song is a bit more “traditionally” structured, with full verses and choruses and because, even though the first half of the line is quite sweet and metaphorical, it ends in a cocky and literal way, that I guess is also a bit more optimistic than how I usually view these things in my real life.

What would you change in the music industry?

Honestly? If there was an app in which you could upload your videos/performances/reels/stories, whatever it may be, that also magically organizes them and neatly uploads them to all your social media platforms, that’ll change the game! The social media world is very exciting and creative but at the end of the day, as an indie artist, it’s very hard to handle Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok, Twitter and all that all by yourself. I guess I wish there was a way we could either all settle for one, or for that magic, imaginery app to exist!

What is the best advice you’ve been given?

I guess to just work within my own timeframe. It’s very tough, especially in our era of social media, to remember that success comes in different ways and times of our lives. Just because others achieved more at a younger age, it doesn’t mean you are failing or trying to catch up! I just learned to take my time and enjoy each success as it comes.

When was the last time you danced?

In my kitchen last night while cooking? I try to cook everyday because it’s my second passion and I always play out loud music and dance to it! Some of my songs have even been inspired by my dishes, such as my song “Sexy pasta & Korean film”!

Thank you!

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Alvinos Zavlis – Alvinos Vs Lofi [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

Experimental, dreamy, spacey

Tell us a few things about your new EP ‘Alvinos vs Lofi’.

My new EP is completely different from my previous releases. In 2020 I started experimenting with Lofi music, a genre that I always enjoyed listening to but never
really found joy in producing. I tried to create Lofi music that fits my personal style and uses characteristics of IDM, cinematic music and ambient. I think the
end result is a collection of unique and fresh-sounding songs when placed in the context of this genre.

Which song of the EP is your favorite?

This is a hard one! I love all of them and while people seem to connect to “The day we met” a lot, “Neverland” is the one that stands out to me, because of how
long it took me to put together and all the different things I got to do harmonically in it.

Is realistically your type of music a genre that can be performed live?

I’d say yes, definitely. There’s so much technology to support electronic artists nowadays that I think almost any genre can be performed live. Just give me an
Ableton Push, a couple of my synthesizers, a big monitor for my visuals and you’ll have a hell of a show!

Cypriot based in the UK. What do you love and what do you hate in each place?

I had to leave Cyprus in order to pursue music, so that is the thing I hate most about it. There’s just not an industry to support electronic music yet, although
I wish to help change that in the future. The weather and food are the things I love most about Cyprus. And in England, I love how alive and multicultural everything
is, especially London and Bristol, where I’m currently based. Ironically, the weather and food are the things I hate most!

What was the best film you have watched during the quarantine?

Definitely Uncut Gems or Guns Akimbo! Great films, both so tense in their own way from start to finish.

Any future plans?

I’m currently working on an audiovisual reimagining of Michael Jackson’s ‘Billie Jean’ which will be released early in 2021, and is also the first video I ever
directed. I’m also working closely with my main artist Youngsmart, we are planning on releasing his debut album in the summer, produced and mixed by me. Finally,
I plan on releasing another project before the year ends, hopefully it will build on the Lofi inspired sound of “Alvinos vs Lofi”.

Thank you!

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