The pop/r&b artist Alt Bloom is the new project by the LA-based singer songwriter Ethan Thompson.
When dreaming up songs for his new project Alt Bloom, L.A.-based singer/songwriter Ethan Thompson aims for a total lack of inhibition, a deliberate freedom in mining the musical inspiration that most deeply resonates with him. On songs like “Potential,” that means leaning into his lifelong love of hip-hop, in part by taking a distinctly rhythm-driven approach to his vocal delivery. “I’ve always loved hip-hop and loved freestyling, and with Alt Bloom I finally felt comfortable enough with myself to really show that in my music,” Thompson points out.
With its warped beats and airy grooves, “Potential” brings Thompson’s graceful flow to a lighthearted look at the lovely confusion of falling for someone, his lyrics putting a gently flirty twist on the classic seduction jam (sample line: “Come put your heart up on my sleeve”). “So much of Alt Bloom comes from never taking ourselves all that seriously, and letting ourselves be a little goofy a lot of the time,” says Thompson. “We always know that if we’re listening back to a song and end up dancing around the room, then essentially we did something right.”
Check out Alt-Bloom’s newest single “October Eyes” Here-
Learn more about Alt Bloom in the following All Access interview-
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you?
I just got back from the beach in sunny LA and am sitting in the studio about to start a night of mixing on some tracks. Bringing that sunburn feel to the sonic.
Now that we are more than half-way through the year, how has 2019 been treating you? What are some goals that you have for yourself this year? How close are you to reaching them?
My main goal for this year was to learn more about my own expression of music and start putting out the music I have been working on for some time. I’ve learned, like in science, that in diving into your own art, once you discover and learn a new mountain in your world you see how many new places you can now discover from that vantage point. It’s all about keeping your feet and mind moving.
Growing up, how important was music in your life? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
Music has been my home since I can remember. Ever since I was a kid I was always trying to play anything I could get my hands on whether I knew how to play it or not. I loved the experience of not knowing what was going to come out when I crash coursed a stand up bass, accordion, harmonica, etc… There are many moments along the way that reaffirmed what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I wanted to write my own songs the minute my piano teacher wanted me to learn another’s music. I would spend my time trying to write something rather then learn the song. That would make many of my teachers mad and I always didn’t mind cause I loved the creating aspect more then the learning.
Why did you decide to create a name to go by other then your own name? How did you come up with Alt Bloom?
It was a new stage in my life. I’ve had many moments with my given name and I knew that this was a new moment for me, coming from a place that was always there but I never leaned into. It was a statement to myself that this was the path I was always meant to be on and I was finally stepping into it. Alt Bloom first came from me slamming words together that I liked over the course of a few days. After sitting with a few names from that process a while longer, Alt Bloom grew on me. So I called the team and we went for it.
Was there ever a time when you thought about doing something else? If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing? Would you be as fulfilled in life?
Being a vagabond in the woods, Jack Kerouac style. I wouldn’t be fulfilled, music always calls me back and I would be restless until I gave it the attention my heart wants me to give it.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
Sticking to your own path. Being a kid from Montana who didn’t know anything about this business I would often listen to people around me who had more experience in this world. I finally realized the most important part of making art is making it your own, learning from it and sticking with the people who feed your magic as you do theirs. Together we rise.
Let’s talk about your newest single “Potential.” What was the inspiration for this track? How do you think it compares to your previous songs?
Most times when I get into the studio I’m looking to chase whatever moment comes into the room. Sometimes it starts with a hook idea buried in my phone or a track idea somebody has. Potential was a bass line Brian Phillips played, the producer who I’m working with on most this project, and the chorus came pretty much right out my mouth. I think the song is a little less serious in tone then most. It’s got a bounce in the track that the lyric stepped into.
When do you plan on releasing more new music and a full collection of new songs?
Early next year we are leaning towards an EP. I have a ton of music that’s been created this year that I’m already playing at shows. We want to get it out and then keep the cycle of create and release going.
Where can people see you perform next? Do you plan to tour at all this summer or later this year? What has been a favorite performance of yours so far?
We had our debut show literally a few weeks ago! There was an energy in the room I’ve been ready to be in for quite some time and can’t wait to play more. Right now we are taking shows as they come. The plan is to play everywhere, if you see some kid standing on your porch with a guitar, give him a listen, could be me.
How do you think you have grown as a musician since you first started making music?
I’ve grown probably about three feet since I started. The place I’ve grown the most in the last few years is listening. Listening to what’s happening around me and also in my own head. Trusting my own gut and intuition while reflecting on those around me.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now? What has social media done for your career so far?
My favorite way to connect with fans has and always will be shows. Social media is a beautiful thing in many ways but it hurts some musicians more then it helps. As an artist you want to focus on the thing that makes you you, which is art. In today’s day and age there can be such an emphasis on numbers and analytics that takes away from your focus on grooming your craft. Sometimes I dream of being an artist pre-2000’s. When cell phones were the size of your forearm so nobody toted them around like the little pocket televisions we are all IV’d to now. That being said when connecting online I try to think of it as writing mail verses a social media engagement.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
Tom Petty, Mac Miller, Anderson .Paak, Lucky Daye’s project is mad, Drake, Bon Iver, Steve Miller, Oasis (admittedly their hits). I’d love to work with some lo fi artists such as Smart Face, Philanthrope, as I love the mix that’s being done in that field of studio music mashed up with laptop vibes. In the studio I’d be honored to work with any of the artists I mentioned and would have to take some serious screaming for joy to work with the Bon Iver team. They (I say they because Justin Vernon now has a crew) are so inventive in the way they make their songs have a feeling just by the music alone.
If you had an unlimited budget and your schedule was free, what would your dream music video look like?
I’d backpack around China’s wilderness, Switzerland, Yosemite, Glacier, the Mayan and Aztec ruins, Sierras, and anywhere else on my list and composite the whole thing together so it felt like a seamless adventure deep in places that few people get to around to seeing. Basically make my own planet earth with a soundtrack of my music behind it. Ready when you are.
What has been the coolest place/TV show/commercial that you have heard a song of yours? Where would you still love to hear a future song of yours played?
I’d love to hear my song sang back to me in an arena of people all connected and singing together in a moment. I don’t weep often, but when that happens, goodbye. Hearing it played places is mostly exciting because it’s reaching more people and hopefully improving their day.
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
I hope people just listen. I’m writing my stories and hope people can relate to them and each other through them.
Would you like to share anything else with our readers about your music?
Give it a listen. If you love it keep it, if you hate it, we still good.