Photo Credit: Stephanie Sais
The silky throes of love and life have been delicately orchestrated as of late by multi-instrumentalist Ethan Thompson, better known under the moniker for his new project, Alt Bloom. The Los Angeles-based artist, who has a hefty musical resume, is stepping into a solo light which almost acts as a pardoning of unnecessary thoughts. As a result, the liberation of Thompson sees warm textures, fused Alt-R&B productions, and lyrical sincerity. "The concept of the music is all matters of the heart, anything between living and loving," Thompson tells Ones to Watch.
Following up his hazy debut "Call It Home," Thompson raises the tempo and the intent on "Potential." Leading with a directive tone and modern splash of electro-soul, "Potential" is a fresh take on romance. "The song itself is a reflection on dating. I'm always finding myself on the edge of diving in with someone rather than jumping," he shared.
Thompson's lush vocals glide on the possibility of "being the one" and onwards for a summery single that begs for repeat. With an equally fitting visual introduction for the track, which reflects the freedom that Thompson has created, "Potential" continues the self-discovery core of Alt Bloom.
We had a chance to talk with Thompson on the meaning behind the video of "Potential," his upcoming live debut at the Resident, and taking into consideration "matters of the heart" when composing tracks.
OTW: Leading up to your first release, "Call It Home," there seemed to be a substantial amount of philosophical messaging and quotes on your social media channels - which are still refreshing to read - such as "chasing" what brings you joy. Have you found a sense of rebirthing on this latest project?
Alt Bloom: I'm glad you enjoy them. The quote posting for me was a little daily ritual I developed to keep myself always looking for something new to learn from daily. I have felt a sense of renewal since starting this project, even the name Alt Bloom plays into the feeling of taking the step down a new path.
OTW: Only really ask because you're not a stranger to the music realm. The need to start over can be nerve wrecking. Were there any fears that kept you from unleashing this sooner?
Alt Bloom: There's always fears when starting something new that can be strings holding you back. There were some in this stepping off of my own. Since I was a kid, being solo was always what I wanted to do and I think my main hold back was not trusting my own gut. I always listened to pretty much any opinion over my own for a lot of my life and I've finally stepped out of putting so much weight in others words. We are all beings just trying to figure it out and no one's thoughts should hold you back from doing what brings you happiness.
OTW: Similarly, within your first offerings there's a sense of freedom. "Call It Home" depicted a familiar transition of coming to terms, in this case realizing your feelings for someone have evolved into love. Is this an overall concept that will shape future releases?
Alt Bloom: The concept of the music is all matters of the heart, anything between living and loving. When I'm writing, one song usually ends up with seeds from a couple different stories that had similar emotions and questions in them. "Call It Home" was more a reflection to me of where I want to go in a relationship but never can bring myself to. It's why the chorus has such a divide from the verse. It's a dream world to me I hope to reach someday by finally putting my own walls down that got put up from living life. "Potential" follows the same story line of being so close to going over the line but not quite able to bring yourself there. The concept of the music is all matters of the heart, anything between living and loving.
OTW: On your debut, which you worked with producer Brian Phillips, you experimented with certain sounds and devices such as the Tremolator plug-in which you attempted to play with on other tracks. What made it fit on "Call It Home" versus the rest, and was this an overall sound that you always wanted to go into? Because I pick up a lovely Mac Miller influence.
Alt Bloom: When making music there's often ideas you have that sound good in your head but don't click when you try it. The moving Tremolator at different rates over the bar, which really just pulses the chord, was something that I had tried on a few songs thinking it would bring them home. It was a failure until it finally worked on "Call It Home" which was a song we were about to throw out before we changed chords in the chorus and added this effect.
OTW: Any new pedals or plug-ins that you're looking forward to mess with on upcoming releases?
Alt Bloom: My roommate has a guitar banjo we've been jamming with on a regular basis. I'm not sure if it'll be in any upcoming releases but it'll be in some videos for sure!
OTW: Your second single "Potential" is a smooth complement to your first release. Can you tell us more about the track?
Alt Bloom: "Potential" was a blast to make. Initially when we were stacking the chorus vocals, it was over a full track. After we got them all layered and tight we muted some parts to hear if they were clean, and when we heard the result that's how the chorus was left. The song itself is a reflection on dating. I'm always finding myself on the edge of diving in with someone rather than jumping.
OTW: Following the track, the visual [Potential] follows you on the trail. It's been noted that you are an avid hiker, and how Mount Siyeh is the perfect metaphor behind the creativity on this new project. Was that one of the main outlets that led you to Alt Bloom? Seeing as you kept a piece of nature in your name.
Alt Bloom: I love the outdoors and it is what brings me balance in life. It's my goal to always have it be a part of my music so I'm never too far away from it. Alt Bloom was a name that started off as me slamming words together that I liked and after reflecting on what the thought Alt Bloom meant to me was what sticked. To me it is the start of something new but something that was always meant to be. More of a "remember who I am" then a "forget what I've been." It's all part of the same path.
OTW: You will be making your live debut at Resident in Los Angeles on August 6. First congrats, and second, is there a sense of relief with this show? In terms of, "finally," you get to share your new beginnings with the world.
Alt Bloom: I am very excited to live this music with the Resident gang coming up. It's a sense of a first step. I know that daily there are always ups and downs in anything we do in life and shows are always an up. We get a chance to move and sway together for a moment in time, a chance to forget trouble together and go through troubles together. I always get up in that feeling.
OTW: Anything else you'd like to add?
Alt Bloom: Thank you so much for sharing my music with your people! I hope to do a show with you guys soon and see you at the Resident coming up! And as always thank you for listening.