Alta Mira started out in Clifton Park, NY in the summer of 2004 when a mutual friend introduced Michon-Huneau to Tommy Krebs and the brothers Sagehorn, who were rehearsing several upbeat ditties. After playing two of his solo songs, Michon-Huneau was inducted into the band’s lineup.
Initially they played coffee shops and parking lots, working their way up to local clubs and bars within a year. In 2006 they really began to develop their distinct style, opening for such national acts as The Felice Brothers, The Join, Lisa Germano, and Steel Train.
A mixture of indie, progressive and alternative rock, Alta Mira has been turning ears throughout the Northeast. After recording at Barefoot Studios in Massachusetts, they released “The Fables and Fabrications EP,” in 2007 with the support of Indian Ledge Records—an Albany-based record label who scooped up the talented quartet at its inception.
Press for Alta Mira has been encouraging. In 2007, Alta Mira earned Metroland’s “Best New Band” category and has garnered the praise of Albany’s Times Union, Schenectady’s Daily Gazette and Hudson Valley’s Chronogram magazine, as well as various online reviews from InYourSpeakers.com and RadioExile.com.
Having returned to Barefoot Studios, Alta Mira recently finished recording their first full-length album. Mixed by Grammy Award winning engineer Corin Nelson and mastered by the world renowned Bob Ludwig, their debut album is now widely available online for purchase.
How do you describe your music to people, Tommy?
I usually tell people we’re kind of an alternative rock revival, but we tend to use a lot of non-traditional timing and chords. It’s just noise that sounds pretty sometimes.
Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
All of us starting playing music on our own somewhere in the middle school days. Hunter played trumpet in middle school growing up in San Jose and also had his mom’s Epiphone acoustic laying around. August, Hunter’s brother, played the saxophone in middle school but didn’t play bass until high school. Joe was never a lead singer before Alta Mira but was writing and performing his own music. I think he also has some experience playing the piano when he was younger. Being the son of a drummer, I always had access to a drum kit so I began playing in early middle school. When I was little I played along with a lot of southern and classic rock.
What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
I like to do interviews on company time. I also love writing songs with these three people.
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
If you’re referring to the band as our business I suppose it’s separating monetary woes from making music. It really affects everyone when you’re stressing out about how to sell your music, who might like it, and viewing it as a product. You need to pay attention to both aspects but if you’re neglecting the creative side you might as well do something else.
When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I don’t think I gave it too much thought but I probably thought about being a farmer more than anything.
In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
I’ll answer this in terms of our song writing. The rest of the band might disagree with me but I think our songs do reflect where we’ve lived for the past five years or so. We do a little too much over-analyzing and nitpicking over structures and melodies and so on. I think that has to do with growing up through our mid/late teens in suburban Clifton Park, which is just north of Albany, NY. There are a lot of droning maze-like neighborhoods, new construction, and lots of retail stores. There wasn’t too much to do in my town that I felt comfortable doing so I spent time in my basement playing music. That sort of answers the question.
What other artists out there do you love?
Personally, I love Deerhoof. I think they’re super talented and insanely creative. They’ve been a standard favorite of mine for a while now. At the moment I’m listening to the new Antony and the Johnsons album, which is incredible.
What does your future hold?
Hopefully our future holds more changes for us. Since we’ve been together we have gone through quite a few phases sound-wise. Every time we write a new song it’s always a step in a new direction. At the moment we have a bunch of songs that we’re working on. We plan to do some home recording this summer and maybe try to release something soon, maybe an EP.