The Volcano Diary

The Volcano Diary is a Seattle-based electro-acoustic project started by singer-songwriter Alicia Dara.  Dara, born into a musical family in Vancouver BC, has a background in cabaret and musical theater. She made her recorded debut in 1997 and has released a total of five solo albums, including the acclaimed The Secret Dream of Tigers (Chroma Records).

Guitarist Gus Palaskas and drummer Dave Bush round out Dara’s newest endeavor, The Volcano Diary. The band will be playing select dates around the Northwest to promote their understated yet dynamic debut, which was produced by Steve Fisk (Nirvana, The Posies, Low).

How do you describe your music to people, Alicia?
Electro-acoustic Americana spiced with 60's pop; a slow-burning fire that can flare up at any moment.

Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
My parents are professional symphony musicians and music teachers. I performed onstage for the first time when I was seven as part of a children's choir in a concert of songs by Benjamin Britten. The only rock records in our house were "Abbey Road," "Free to Be You and Me" and the soundtrack from "Hair." Acoustic instruments were considered the most important and nobody paid attention to music that wasn't made with them. My parents put food on the table by performing with the symphony: four nights a week, and sometimes twice on Sundays. I didn't see a rock concert until I was 20.

What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
Make music, make pie, and a few things that can't be printed here.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
Making sure that everybody does their laundry thoroughly. And making sure that everybody eats before we play a show... low blood sugar is our mortal enemy! Fortunately, I'm a dedicated amateur pie maker so I often help out in this way. And then I have to make sure we all get to the gym, so we don't end up looking like gluttonous pie-eaters!

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I thought I would grow up to use my voice for good and not evil. Oh, and I was interested in Paleontology for awhile, in school, but missed all the extra science classes because of choir practice.

In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
My community of musicians and artists is mostly a barter economy, so I get to trade skills and resources a lot. I go sing and play on people's records and they come and play music on mine. I've gotten to learn from a fantastic array of amazing musicians, and working with them has made me better in every way. Also, last month I traded background vocals for some repair work on one of my amps. How cool is that??

What other artists out there do you love?
Seattle bands I love are Land of Pines, Cober, Another Perfect Crime, The Fading Collection, Stingshark, Elliot Knapp, Mia Katherine Boyle, Ian Moore, Mark Lanegan, the Gutter Twins, and anything our producer, Steve Fisk, works on. Some current influences are Jose Gonzales, Junip, Bat for Lashes, the Black Keys, the Black Angels, Feist, Imogen Heap, Joseph Arthur, Rufus Wainright, Sia, Ryan Adams and Jenny Lewis. Some long-time influences are Jeff Buckley, Kate Bush, Sheila Chandra, Chris Whitley, Jane Siberry, Annie Lennox, Nina Simone, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Morphine, Debussy, Cole Porter and a whole bunch of assorted pop songs from the 60's and the 80's (the 70's don't do much for me, musically...)

What does your future hold?
A Northwest tour to support may band's new CD, a compilation CD of local bands benefiting Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, a psychedelic rock record, a trip to Europe and a really good lemon meringue pie recipe!