Intergalactic Pop Band
Formerly Alien is the house band on an intergalactic cruise ship, currently parked on the edge of the galaxy after the destruction of earth. Every night, passengers gather in the lounge to listen to songs of the world left behind, in order to learn from the past and create a collective vision of a new future.
Music is unique as a form of communication because it allows harmony between ideas that seem contradictory. There’s so much nuance in the human experience that gets overlooked in our efforts to be right, to understand everything as either/or. Music is a sneaky way to sit with sounds, ideas, or emotions that are hard to pin down, to relax into the contradictions with an open mind. Bonus if it makes you dance. If you can find a way to dance to the chaos, you’re doing something right. As lifelong musicians, we recognized the power of music to unify people through chaotic and dissonant times like these.
What's it like being in two person band?
It’s heavy yet nimble! It means we have a lot of control, but we also carry the whole load. In this first year while we were still creating the Formerly Alien universe, it’s been great to be a small band — easy to travel, rehearse, and birth new ideas. Now that this universe exists, we’re starting to expand to include more musicians and creators, more “passengers” on the ship, which is exciting.
The follow-up question is probably “what’s it like being in a two person band with your romantic partner?,” which it turns out is an insane idea, but one that feels inevitable and ultimately heightens our connection and joint purpose.
What are your biggest struggles?
Rising above the noise. Music needs space to breathe, but sharing art (especially these days) is about making as much noise, taking up as much space, as possible. Space is the thing we talk about most actually, given that we live together, work together, and make music together. Our biggest struggles involve creating and maintaining inspiring spaces for all these things.
What are your favorite accomplishments?
Putting on our first show (in December 2017). We brought this fuzzy spark of an idea to life without totally understanding what we were making, just that we had to make it. I think keeping this knowledge just out of reach was what kept our imaginations running full throttle. It was a beautiful exercise in patience, collaboration and trust, and when it was all over it was like looking down the side of the mountain we’d ascended and thinking “wow, how did we do that??” Plus, we were falling in love with each other at the same time, so that particular summit feels like just about all the magic there is in this world.
We’ve also had the privilege of opening for classic rock band America, who B used to play guitar for. Formerly Alien’s brand of future-nostalgia was directly inspired by watching America take audiences on a journey through time, night after night. How fully we filled up these opening slots also felt like a great accomplishment: there we were as blips on a massive stage, singing and playing our hearts out for hundreds and hundreds of fans waiting for their favorite band to come on. We heard afterward from the fans that they loved us: they got it, they were on the ship and riding the waves of feeling and imagination with us.
What part of your personality are you most thankful for?
We are grateful to have complementary personalities and operating systems. B (a gemini) often lives with his head in the clouds and is motivated by big nebulous ideas; A (a taurus) lives with her feet on the earth, and is able to translate lofty ideas into reality and action in the world.
What does your favorite or ideal sunday afternoon look like?
It looks a lot like nostalgia for planet earth: surfing a gentle California break, laying out a picnic after a walk in the redwoods, reading a softcover book on a freshly-cut lawn, listening to the buzz of bees and birds and silence.
What gives you hope for the future?
The expansive mindset of youth, and the infinite power of imagination.
What would you like to bless the world with? Pick one word.
What excites you about being an LSA ambassador?
We’re so inspired by the way Thomas and Matthew have created their own world, just like us, and we’re excited to co-habitate for an evening and collectively dream up some new ideas of what’s possible.
What are you doing next? How can people get involved?
We’re putting on an immersive show in May called “2069,” which will be our most fully realized vision of the spaceship to date: it’s a night of interactive art, music performances from our friend and multimedia artist Steve Dukeheart and comedian Ben Tseitlin, plus video installation artists, costumes and future-fashion, and a drama that unfolds during the music sets. It’s going to be epic. We're also playing at the Bootleg and at Late Sunday Afternoon. People can get as involved in the creating the world as they want to be: reach out to us.
Where are all the places people can learn more about you?
Our website - formerlyalien.com
Instagram - @formerlyalien
YouTube - youtube.com