Alfie Lucero Canaan - Music Interview
Born in Tijuana, Mexico, Alfie Lucero Canalan is currently living in Los Angeles. Alfie tours, performs, records and writes sessions. He received his B.M. in performance from Musicians Institute, and his M.M. in Commercial Music from CSU Los Angeles. He has extensive experience working with a variety of music ensembles of varying sizes and styles, including big band, jazz combos, blues/rock trios, Afro-Cuban big bands, wind orchestras, etc. He is proficient in sight-reading, transcribing, and arranging, as well as comfortable in performing numerous contemporary styles, from jazz, funk, R&B, blues, and rock. Includes experience in the studio, as both a performer and an audio engineer (assisting or leading roles). Current projects include alternative rock/pop band Coat Check Girl, cinematic-pop band All Follows Eve, rock group Scenic Underground, Soul/Pop/Hip Hop artist Kia, and more.
What got you into music?
I got into music later in my life simply because I have a passion for it. I feel like it's easier to creatively express myself through music rather than through words. Something about feeling the weight of the music or the fragility of the intentions within music truly resonates with me. Music to me is a special language that not many people get to learn and communicate with.
I initially started with classical guitar and switched to electric guitar when I was younger. However, I didn't quite have the passion or discipline to treat as anything but a hobby. I was sort of stuck in my teenage years because I really loved music but didn't have a knack for it based on my musical level of the time. I was depressed because I felt I didn't have a clear direction in life, so my mom suggested just trying out a different instrument, bass or drums.
I decided to try bass and I fell deeply in love with music. Somehow, I could connect far better with bass than with guitar and fell in love with the process of practicing and learning. That feeling of wonder and curiosity has not waved since. In short, I got into music because I believe it's part of who I am as a person.
What is your favorite part about being an artist? Is it songwriting, performing, recording, something else?) Tell us why.
My favorite part of being an artist is definitely performing live on stage. The energy felt on stage performing in front of an audience is an incomparable feeling not many get to experience and for that, I am eternally grateful for having the opportunity to do so. The feeling of dancing and letting the music move the body, hitting big fat low notes that shake the whole room, feeling the tension and release within one's body only encapsulate a small aspect of performing live.
Being on stage and performing is quite exhilarating. The best part of that is collectively collaborating with other musicians at the same time. When a mistake is made, I smile and groove even harder. But most importantly, everyone is collectively listening and become part of this special moment. On stage is my natural place to be.
Can you tell us what being in the recording studio is like for you?
In the recording studio, I am a completely different person than on stage. On stage, I feel free to make music happen. In the studio, I focus on grinding out the work that needs to be done. I'm quite methodical, detail-oriented, and overly critical of myself. Being in the studio requires a completely different set of skills; focus, consistency, control, and time management. Every time I go into a recording situation, I prepare for days before the session's date. I want full control of what I want to play. However, the studio is in fact a creative tool, so it's a great way to explore tone construction, phrasing, groove and time, and variations. The studio is where music is created and packaged, hence I treat the studio as a place of work. Not particularly easy work, rather a very demanding one.
Over the years, I learned to relax my approach to recording and trusting the engineer or producer. If I had full control of the session I would not hesitate to do a million takes. However, I trust that the music will be great in the hands of people in production.
As a songwriter or musician, are there any obstacles you have had to overcome or obstacles that you are facing right now in your career?
There are many obstacles to a musician. Mostly small and tedious ones like maintaining steady work or finding creative projects to be part of. But at the end of the day, I feel the biggest obstacle is being satisfied. I am very critical of myself and put immense amounts of pressure on myself. It's very difficult for me to feel happy with a song or performance, or arrangement. I always thinking after completing something if it was my absolute best, and immediately thinking my best just won't do and go back to practicing and perfecting the craft. In other words, the biggest obstacle is overcoming my own insecurities and anxieties; I'm my biggest stumbling block is myself. However, I have learned the hard way that being critical of one's self is not a bad thing, it can be a blessing and a curse. I thrive for perfection knowing fully well that it's unattainable. But that is gives me drive and determination to work hard. There's always room to be better, as a musician and as a person.
Who do you admire most in the music scene today and why?
There are many who I admire deeply in the music scene. One that truly stands out is my friend, producer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist Noel Waters of All Follows Eve. One of the hardest working musicians in the business without question. She understands as much as I do what is needed to succeed in the music industry and definitely has the drive to make it happen. She composes, produces, arranges, etc. She's a monster musician and amazing friend; I'm extremely honored to work alongside her. She's also a bad-ass guitarist.
To date, what do you think your best song is? Can you describe the song for us?
The best song for me is Coat Check Girl's "Audience of None." The song was a part of a string of released singles for Coat Check Girl. Originally, it was suppose to be part of an EP, but the drastic success of the music video was a catalyst to Coat Check Girl's pursuit of a new sound. We decided to follow this new musical approach to writing music and we stuck to it. We worked hard in composing something that the whole band was satisfied with. The song is a dark, energetic, and a great representation of what Coat Check Girl is. It was recorded at Megawatt Recording studio.
Are you working on any new material right now or what's in the works for the upcoming year?
There's a lot of stuff in the works for future releases. All Follows Eve has more music and more live performances in the works, which will be announced in due time. Scenic Underground is finalizing a full-length album with LA rock producer Jesse Holsapple. In addition, we have a few music videos in the works to further promote the album's release so watch out for that. Coat Check Girl has returned to a writing phase with plans of recording and releasing more singles this year, possibly taking a slightly different musical direction (just a tease). Finally, Kia is about to release a full-length album herself with more plans for live shows throughout the year. In terms of me, I'll be around LA just doing fun stuff. I'll announce things as they pop up.
Tell us where fans can access your music.
Coat Check Girl Videos
Coat Check Girl Website. Scenic Underground
Listen on Spotify
Scenic Underground Videos
All Follows Eve Videos
All Follow Eve Website