An Interview with Red Alone
Updated: May 15, 2021
In search of self-identity, Red Alone discovers a mixture of sound like no other. This Miami-based duo aims to create music that blends different genres and themes centered around their own interests without hesitation. Red Alone's first single 'You Are a Godform' debuted last week and now we are presented with a music video directed by Mario Escoto all shot on mini-dv. We caught up with Matias Segura for a bit to discuss the sound, inspiration, and video.
So I feel like we’ve spoken a bunch over the years about the music you’ve created in bands but this is the first time you’ve done a solo project. Does the process differ when you work alone?
Absolutely but this is not the first time I’ve done something solo. In 2019, I did a project titled ‘Pom’ when I first got my computer and did it all in GarageBand. That was my learning process for writing. I feel like being in a band you can write all the music or have an idea of what it’s supposed to sound like and you can bring it to other people to progress the ideas you have. Whereas, when you make music by yourself the way you imagine it in your head you have to figure out how to get that going. When you hear the song and you know how you want to take it you’re the one that has to figure out how to make the instruments work. So I’ve done that once before and it flopped super hard but I learned enough about recording music by myself and that helped out a lot. Idk if I answered the question.
You definitely answered it.
I’m sure we’ll get to this throughout the questions but though I did write the music, and played the instruments, I did have my friend Robert help me out with producing, recording, and engineering.
That was actually my next question. Who did what on this new single? What friends did you reach out to?
On this recording, I played guitar, bass, the microKORG, and vocals but I did have my friend/bandmate Robert help me with all the technical stuff. He’s essentially the producer/my right hand man and he helps me get out of my own box because if I do everything exactly how I want it then I’ll be making music that no one would like. He helps me pull my ideas together and did a vocal track on ‘You Are a Godform’ and his girlfriend Star did as well. Robert also did all the drum samples and midi stuff. There’s also a movie scene in there too.
What’s the movie sample? I didn’t even notice.
There’s a sample of Godzilla vs Megalon. It’s the one where Jet Jaguar shows up but there’s a specific reason we chose that one. The name of the project is called Red Alone, which was the original name for what would end up becoming Jet Jaguar in the Godzilla movies. Jet Jaguar was made from a create-your-own kaiju competition in Japan and the guy who won created Red Alone, but they got the idea, paid him, and just changed every single thing about it. It ended up becoming Jet Jaguar and the only thing that stayed the same was the color scheme. So we picked that movie because we thought it would be a funny hidden joke in there.
Explain the sound, influence, and vision of Red Alone and what you want to accomplish with it.
The idea of Red Alone has been an idea for a really long time actually. Like I mentioned before, my first solo project was something I did in early 2019.
Did you ever release that stuff?
I only put it on Bandcamp and promoted it horribly. Honestly, some of those songs are pretty good but I don’t think it was anyone's shit other than my own. It was really niche but back to the question. I wanted to just create something different, even if it has been done at some point in the past, I wanted something that I can really use as a form of identity to myself. I feel like now, especially in 2021 and well into the quarantine, people realize that they love music but you can’t be in a hardcore band right now. You can but what about when things like this happen? There has to be some other forms of expression and this time has definitely helped a lot of people pick up new artistic endeavors.
The inspirations for it, there is one really obvious one that I won’t say. You know and I know and if you don’t know then it’s better off that way because I don’t want it to stay like that.
I get it, you don’t want to be known for what you’re influenced by.
Yeah, I’ve always been against being a ‘for fans of' artist and I want to stay that way. There are very clear inspirations for the sound that I don’t mind naming though. I was trying to make something that mixed pretty much all the different forms of music I like that isn’t punk or hardcore like early Bossa Nova, lounge music, trip-hop, drum and bass, and bedroom pop. I wanted to put all that together in a way that felt cohesive.
I feel like this project for you, in the 3 or 4 years I’ve known you, kind of showcases you maturing over the years and finding music that you want to create.
Exactly, that’s definitely a quicker and better way than I just put it.
How do you find the motivation to make music during this time?
To be honest, finding motivation is the hardest part. Well maybe second hardest after recording the music because I think that process is the worst thing in the entire world and if I never had to do it I never would. Finding the motivation is really hard, once you’re there though then the song comes easy but searching for something that will get you to sit down, put it on a piece of paper, play notes on an instrument is really difficult. I usually find motivation when I am not looking for it like when I watch a movie, watch a show, listen to a record, or read. There’s always something, whether it be a line or an image, that can motivate me to take it and repackage it the way I interpret it. The method I’ve been doing recently has surprisingly worked though, you just have to dedicate at least an hour of the day and just sit in front of the instrument and play it until something happens. All the best things I’ve ever written have come from just doing that.
One of the hardest things besides motivation would probably be continuing a project by creating more music after you’ve done the first EP or demo. You do it then kind of forget about it sometimes. Maybe that’s just me.
I’ve always had the same issue and it has happened with bands of mine. You have a clear idea of the music you want to make, you write, record, play shows and you go “we did it” but then it’s really hard to continue doing it. If you really want to you can but personally, I think it’s good to have a wide variety of inspirations for sound when you do continue. The worst thing that anyone could do is pigeonhole themselves whether it be the way they act, present themselves, the music, or art. Anything you do should be for yourself not because other people put the idea on you to do it. If you leave yourself enough room to do whatever you want then you get a lot more done, there’s a lot more longevity.
True, I always at least try to make something that people would question because it’s more interesting when you put something out and people wonder why you made it. But let’s talk about the music video, our good friend Mario directed it and used a VX1000. What was that experience like for you?
It was really relaxed because we live together so it was easy to plan and funny because the first Friday we were supposed to shoot we filmed stuff in the morning then we were supposed to film more stuff at night but Mario just fell asleep. The first day we just didn’t get anything done. We didn’t really plan too much and just watched a bunch of other music videos for reference. It turned into us having a bunch of really loose ideas and just filming whatever we could for an hour with each idea. I picked up a backdrop and some lights and we tried to use that as much as possible. You can see a lot of different themes from a lot of different ideas. The only thing that was really planned was the shots with the projector and the dance party at our house with like 6 people. We all just got as wasted as possible so we could all not feel weird dancing in front of a camera. It felt like the ‘Fred’ movie if you’ve ever seen that.
I’ll add it to my watchlist.
There’s a scene where he throws a birthday party and no one shows up, so him and his friends make it look like the dopest party ever. They film a bunch of fake party shit, post it on the internet and everyone was like “yo were you there? That party was lit,” so it felt like that.
I think what people should do more is make their own music videos because to me they’re kind of a lost art unless you’re on a big label.
Music videos, for me personally, are one of my favorite art forms. I was talking about this with my friend Sergio, who does Wonderaze, that the general attention span of your average consumer is really short and everyone is in need of constant stimulation. How many times do you open Instagram and there's nothing new then immediately open it up again. From a standpoint of wanting people to listen to the music, there needs to be some sort of stimulation to get your average Joe to pay attention. Honestly, when I listen to music on YouTube I mostly click on the music video. At that point, I think it’s really important to have something to attract people to your music. Music videos are the dopest art form, it is a visual expression of your music.
It’s just another form of expression through music that people should explore more even if it’s low budget.
I mean yeah, we filmed everything with a VX1000 and almost all of it in my house. The entire budget of it was me buying everyone McDonalds.
What’s your favorite shot in the video?
There are 2 shots I really love. The one with two silhouettes shaking hands and dancing, which was unplanned. Then the shot with my friend Robert and me in front of a white backdrop with a bunch of toys and books. We just set up all the props and did whatever we wanted with it.
Judging from the lyrics, is it about a single person/memory or just a feeling you want to get out there?
It’s just a specific feeling that’s supposed to be positive. I don’t want to get too deep like lyric genius style and break down every single lyric but it’s just a feeling and not about anyone specific. They’re just lyrics that came to me while I was on acid haha.
Any last words on Red Alone before my closing question?
I hope anyone who hears the song likes it and if you don’t then let me know why. If you don’t want to let me know why then it’s not a big deal. To anyone that’s doing music or art, just do it and get out of the mindset of worrying about what people are going to say about it.
I recently watched something that inspired me to ask the same question to all my friends so here’s my last one. What is your philosophy of life?
My philosophy today may not be the same tomorrow but I believe your happiness is your obligation. Do whatever you want because people will judge you or hate you no matter what you do. Do what makes you happy. There’s a quote that pieces it together a little better that says “the ultimate, hidden truth of the world is that it is something that we make, and could just easily make differently” (David Graeber). That’s my philosophy of life.
Stream Red Alone's 'You Are a Godform' now on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and Soundcloud.