One can say that life has imitated art for Alexa San Roman and Dane Petersen of Heirsound. Both singer and songwriter came together from California and New York in 2014, literally merging together to create music. Alexa explains, “The release of Merge is the bridge between our old musical styles and the future of Heirsound.” We chatted with the duo about how they formed, the importance of visuals to accompany their music, and the overall ideas and inspiration that helped create their new EP, Merge.
Cliché: You started your previous band [Love, Robot] when you were 15. Was it easy to transition and leave that behind and start a new chapter with Heirsound?
Alexa San Roman: It definitely wasn’t easy, but it was something that I felt needed to happen. It was a milestone moment for me. Having grown up through my experience in Love, Robot, it was definitely emotional to close that chapter, but it was the right decision for me to progress.
Dane Petersen: I wouldn’t say it was easy, but it was definitely exciting and even refreshing to have a blank slate with open possibilities.
You two are from opposite coasts. How did you initially become familiar with each other and form a musical bond?
DP: Like so many things, the Internet played a part in our initial meeting as a mutual friend introduced us over social media. We just always kept in touch and talked music. There was a mutual respect for what we’d be working on individually for a while before we began working together. The musical connection and our process have been developing ever since.
The six songs on your EP Merge are represented by the basic colors of the color wheel. What inspired that idea?
DP: Really, all it took was sitting down with the songs and taking a good listen. To us, each song had a kind of mood or identity to begin with, so when we’d close our eyes, the colors would just come to mind quickly. At that point, matching them with their corresponding song followed shortly after. We knew we could do so much with this visually as well, which is another big part of who we are, so the whole idea was exciting to us.
Alexa, you produced and edited the video for “Hoods Up.” How did you come up with the video treatment and how important are visuals for you both?
ASR: Well, we had the game plan to have the six EP songs all tie together with primary and secondary colors, which set the stage for “Hoods Up” to be purple. I just kind of always imagined that song to have a weird, effect-based video, so the treatment kind of just happened as we filmed. We tried a bunch of different poses and positions throughout the filming of the video and wound up with something unique. I think someone could see a screenshot from the video and just know “that’s Heirsound” based on our positions. Visual is pretty equal to the audio in my mind; they go hand in hand. I hope to be fortunate enough to release a visual for everything we ever do.
Your sound is described as alternative pop, but I saw a great cover you guys did of The Internet’s “Just Sayin.” What other genres influence your sound?
DP: Hip-hop and R&B do play parts in certain inspirations for sure. Our tastes are actually rather eclectic, so we do wind up blending a few different influences in one way or another while writing.
Besides the release of your EP Merge, what have been some other highlights for your band this year?
DP: Playing our first few shows were highlights for me. We get to connect with so many different people who come from all over just to support us at one intimate show. Seeing the word spread has been rewarding, but it’s the people who support us by coming out to a show or all our friends around the world who we haven’t had a chance to meet yet that make doing what we’re doing continuously more exciting.
What’s up next for Heirsound?
DP: We’ll continue to spread the word with new content for your ears and eyes. There’s always something going on behind the scenes with us. We’ll play some fun shows as well.
ASR: We are really looking forward to writing and recording our first full-length album, which we’ve already started on. We can’t wait to continue on and to connect with the people who have been touched by our music.
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Heirsound Talks New Beginnings and Colorful EP Merge: Photo courtesy of Sam San Roman