Alessi's Ark's début record 'Notes From The Treehouse' went down well here at Strange Glue earlier this year and so she was definitely a name that we were looking forward to catching at CMJ this year.
Luckily, we managed to grab the up-and-coming songstress (known as Alessi Laurent-Mark in real life) and threw a few questions her way relating to both the upcoming shows in New York as well as some of her favourite music from 2009 so far.
Here's what she had to say:
SG: So is this your first time in New York? Have you been advised of anywhere to visit yet? We heard there's a place named Artichoke that does a great late-night pizza slice.
I've been to New York quite a few times and it's always a treat. No new recommendations so far but i recommend having a peak at Laura Levine's new exhibition of paintings at the Brooklyn Museum - it kicks off October 29th!!
SG: There's tons of great up and coming bands playing over the week. Are you looking forward to seeing anyone in particular?
I haven't had a thorough look at the list yet but I hope to catch Magic Magic, Chief and Forest Fire. It'll be the first time hearing Forest Fire live - I can't wait!
SG: So after three smaller EPs, your major-label début record, 'Notes From The Treehouse' was released earlier this year and was given the thumbs up by a heap-load of critics. Does it feel strange to have your music out there and under the spotlight all of a sudden?
I feel fortunate to have made an album with such lovely people. It's more exciting than anything to share music with other ears.
S.G How is it to be working with a label as big as Virgin?
The people that work there are kind. We didn't work that closely together, instead they pretty much left my family, friends and I to put things together as we wished.
SG: Can we expect lots of 'Notes From The Treehouse' in your set? Any brand new ones for the fans perhaps (you have a lovely Lynyrd Skynyrd cover up on the internet for instance)?
I'm playing two sets - one on the 23rd at Santo's Party House on Lafayette Street, at 5pm and then another on the 24th at the Living Room at 7pm. I haven't thought about what songs to play yet, there'll probably be a few new ones.
SG: Events like CMJ must be such a different experience to just touring solo and planning your own route through cities. Do you prefer that low-key type of touring or are Festivals and week long music events like this more your type of thing?
I enjoy them all! It's always fun coming across other music you might not come across normally - at SXSW, it was like christmas! Heartless Bastards and the Low Anthem were discoveries I'm not sure I would've found otherwise. Also, got to catch Whispertown 2000 live after keeping their two albums close for such a while and not knowing if I'd ever hear their songs live.
SG: Will you be doing lots of exploring when you're not playing? The Film side of the event looks pretty awesome this year. We hear Woody Harrelson's making an appearance.
I'm looking forwards to seeing some friends and having a walk along the highline. It used to be a rail track and has been turned into a park in the air!
SG: A lot of people include your name in the expanding list of 'internet stars' from London who have grown in popularity through networking sites like Myspace. Are you ever conscious about the buzz going on around you?
It's wonderful that people are finding the music and thinking to share it with others. That's what music is all about.
SG: Finally, what's your top 3 records of 2009 so far??
Oh there are lots! Hmm...'The Mountain' by Heartless Bastards, 'Survival' by Forest Fire and i'm listening to 'Up from Below' by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros at the moment. I recommend Neva Dinova's last album 'You May Already Be Dreaming' and McCarthy Trenching's 'Calamity Drenching' - they were both released in 2008 but it feels not enough ears heard them.
Alessi's Ark - The Dog: