Motivated by the allegedly impossible, producer and DJ Alberta Balsam who recently released her debut EP Higher Dreams, introduces herself.
Who are you?
Alberta Balsam. I am an electronic music producer, live act, and DJ.
Where are you from?
I am from Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
What do you sound like?
I make electro and breaky experimental electronics with an IDM flair. It’s all quite atmospheric and rich in harmonies/melodies. I am heavily influenced by 90s musical aesthetics, sci-fi narratives and classical music.
Which of your tracks sums you up? Why?
My personal favourite is the closing track of my EP, it’s called “Suspended in the Manifold”. I think it really showcases my love for interesting melody and harmony in an IDM-electro way.
What or who is your biggest influence and why?
What have you released so far? What else have you got coming out in the near future?
My debut EP “Higher Dreams” on Dekmantel just came out on all digital platforms, but the vinyl is landing soon. It also features a sci-fi story booklet/poster that goes with the tracks. There are some other things cooking but nothing I can already make statements about.
How did you get into DJing/ producing to begin with?
I actually came at it from a musician’s perspective. I played the violin until I was 12, but then got completely hooked at playing the piano and started writing my own pieces.
It wasn’t until I was a student and had a MIDI keyboard instead of a real piano that I started discovering that music production was something that I could do myself. I had a period of 2 months where I did not have any classes and decided to learn Ableton. I never wanted anything else after that.
What are three things on your studio shopping list?
I am actually trying to purge instead of shopping for more. I feel quite overwhelmed with all the stuff I have and there are only a couple of things gear-wise that I’ve really fallen in love with.
It’s the Sixtrak and the JX3P for synths and a Syncussion Clone for drums. For live, I absolutely love my Analog Rytm. I think those 4 pieces of gear are already enough to make music with for the coming years. I dabbled into modular during lockdown but find it way too expensive for the results it yields.
Who or what have you sacrificed for your art?
I studied medicine and health sciences for 4 years before deciding to quit and pursue and study music. Since then, I’ve been working all kinds of jobs, I have been quite low on cash for a long time and I have sincerely doubted my sanity about whether making music for a living was a realistic pursuit. But I am not sure it really feels like a sacrifice. I love making music and playing music live so much. I love my life and I don’t think I can or want to do anything else.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself
I’ve actually trained as an epidemiologist, so during this pandemic, I’ve been the most useless epidemiologist turned DJ ever. I think that’s pretty ironic.
What’s been your favourite place to play so far?
During summer I played at Micro Fest, Luik. It was an amazingly fun festival and being able to play for quite a large crowd after the lockdown was cathartic.
Where can we hear your music?
On all regular platforms.
What one song would feature on the soundtrack to your life?
Shadows by Wagon Christ. It’s happy and sad and beautiful and driving. There is darkness and fun in it at the same time.
What motivates you?
I’m motivated when people tell me that things are impossible, unfeasible or too hard to do.
Complete this sentence: At heart I’m just a…
Jovial, happy, all over the place and kind of crazy provincial girl.
What’s the best bit of advice you’ve received?
Don’t try to do everything on your own. Dare to ask for help and advice, then give help and advice in return wherever you can!
Where will you be in five years’ time?
I hope I will have some solid releases under my belt and a more elaborate AV – live show.