Roses – A Is For Arrows (Interview + New Debut EP)
Alt-pop act A Is For Roses have just released their debut EP “Roses”. The album is driven by the radiant vocals of Toronto native Alessia Balasbas and takes the listener on an emotional and immersive journey over the course of 7 tracks. A is for Arrows teamed up with producer Joel Stouffer (bülow, Dragonette, Carys, Ria Mae) for the creation of this highly personal, vulnerable, and self-evaluating collection of songs with a get-back-up resilience. From the fear and anxiety expressed in “Talking In My Sleep” to the self-confidence of “Go Slow,” the loneliness of “Without You” to the maturity of the project’s debut track “Roses,” A is for Arrows offers a complicated dive into the feelings and turmoil of the coming to age journey. In addition to the latest infectious track “Can’t Stop”, the EP introduces two new songs for fans to relish with “Every Now and Then” and “All The Stars”. The album is filled with beautiful electro-pop atmospheres and touching lyrics that really let Balasbas velvety voice shine through.
Less than a year out, A is For Arrows has already gained the attention of industry and tastemakers alike, having earned praises from the likes of SiriusXM, Wonderland Magazine, Popdust, Atwood Magazine, and Buzz Music LA, in addition to being added to a variety of popular playlists such as Spotify’s It’s a Bop, New Music Friday, Fresh Finds: Pop; Apple Music’s New In Pop; and Amazon Music’s Artists to Watch, Fresh Pop and Brand New Music, to name a few. An impressive feat for any new artist, A is for Arrows has already gained national acclaim with Top 40 radio hit with “Talking In My Sleep”. We had the opportunity to interview A is For Arrows about the new album, it’s music and lyrics, the quick rise to success, thoughts on the future of the music industry, favourite canadian artists and more! Click below to watch the video for the albums title track and to listen to the whole album and keep scrolling for our interview with A Is For Arrows!
Interview with A is for Arrows
You just released your highly anticipated debut EP Roses! How does it feel to finally have that out in the world? What has the reaction been so far?
I’ve received nothing but love on this EP. I’m at a loss for words, and I definitely cried tears of joy when it came out! It’s such a huge milestone for me. I’ll always be grateful for this body of work and all of the experiences that came with it. Everytime I look at the EP cover, I smile. It’s been a long road to even get to this point, so I’m proud and I’m excited for the future!
The lyrics on Roses are highly personal, vulnerable, and self-evaluating. What made you approach the songwriting for this album in the way that you did?
I don’t know how to write music that isn’t personal haha I’m the kind of person that hates small talk. I want to get down to the core, I want to know your deepest desires and all of your fears or I don’t want to talk at all, so I think I navigate songwriting the same way. The only difference, is in songwriting, especially on this ep- is that, I’m not talking about someone else’s stories or problems. I’m talking about mine- so I couldn’t hold back. I hope I never do. Music is a release for me, and a way for me to connect to other people. So I have to be vulnerable. It’s more important to me than even hitting the perfect note. It’s expression.
Joel Stouffer, who has worked with bülow, Dragonette, Carys & Ria Mae produced Roses. How did you begin working with him and how was the experience of creating this album together?
Always a riot! Joel is such a fun-loving kind of guy and of course, immensely talented. He’s an absolute wizard and it was very natural. We’re just a couple of friends hanging out and creating music we love!
Your single “Talking In My Sleep” has already gained some national acclaim as a Top 40 radio hit! Can you tell us about the meaning behind that song?
It’s about finding the right words to express how you feel about a person. Sometimes you want to say more than just “I love you” . You wan’t to tell them that they mean absolutely everything to you- that you would jump in front of a train for them if you had to. In my head, this person saves my life on the daily, in so many ways. So I wanted to just talk about that and also give a glimpse into how dark it gets for me. Anxiety and depression is very prevalent in my life so I’ve always felt it necessary to be transparent and open about it!
You’ve said the album’s title track “Roses” will forever be one of the most special songs you’ve ever written. Why is this song so special for you?
It’s about meeting “the one” so it will always hold a very special place for me. Finding the person you want to spend the rest of your life with is a pretty massive part of life haha so I imagine we’ll both look back at the song and the memories that came along with it, well – for the rest of our lives!
You only started releasing music in 2019, but you’ve already gained the attention of and earned praise from the likes of SiriusXM, Wonderland Magazine, Popdust, Atwood Magazine, and Buzz Music LA. Did you expect things to grow this quickly?
Honestly, no. It’s a very surreal experience when you release music. You just never know how it’s going to be received or if anyone is even going to care, so the fact that I only started releasing a year ago AND that it was received so well is just incredible to me. I’m just so grateful.
I usually try not to ask artists where their name came from, but I know yours comes with a beautiful quote! Would you mind sharing where you got the name “A is for Arrows” with our readers?
Haha I appreciate that.
It goes something like: “An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward…”
As an artist- we deal with a lot of stress and a lot of pressure. Personally, as I said before, I also deal with Anxiety & Depression, so I try my best to work at myself. I try my best to live as positively as possible, always moving forward, always aiming for growth and being better than yesterday, but remembering that I’m still just human. It’s okay to have set backs and that failure is not something to fear, it’s something to learn from. That’s what the quote means to me and that’s what A is for Arrows means to me.
Who are some of your favourite Canadian artists right now?
Jessie Reyez, Lights, Valley and The Weeknd
2020 has been a crazy year, especially for the music industry. What do you think the Toronto music scene will look like once this is all said and done?
I’m going to be completely honest and say I don’t know- I miss live music. I miss playing shows and I miss going to shows more than anything, so I hope that we’ll all be able to experience that again. I think even if the music industry still flourishes in streaming, there will be a huge void if we can’t have the live experience. We need it.
What can fans expect next from A is for Arrows?
A lot of truth telling. I’m still finding myself so stay tuned.
Do you have any last words for our readers during these unprecedented times?
I just want to say that I know this year has been rough for a lot of people, but I think it’s amazing how human’s always find a way to support each other. I think it’s important to reach out and check in with people you care about. You really never know what anyone is going through in their lives, especially right now. Your message or phone call can really be the difference in someone’s day!