Music

Studio Session: Alialujah Choir

OPB | March 29, 2012 7 p.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 12:59 a.m.

It began with a song — the roots of Portland’s Alialujah Choir go back to the collaboration between Adam Selzer and Adam Shearer found on 2008’s rather interesting all-Portland charity compilation (D)early Departed. It seemed a natural choice to pair the Adams, the former well known for his work both as a producer at Type Foundry studios and as part of the band Norfolk & Western; the latter the affable and increasingly visible frontman of the fast-rising band Weinland. “A House, A Home” was the result, a song that builds a fictionalized doomed romance into the real-life historical backdrop of Dr. James Hawthorne’s psychiatric hospital (and makes for stunning video, which we recently premiered).

Selzer and Shearer felt like they were onto something in the recording’s aftermath, and a late-night text message or two later (which may or may not have also been drunken), the Alialujah Choir was born with the piano and vocals of Alia Farah (a sometime member of Weinland) rounding out the trio. They set about establishing what might might be called rules of creative conduct for the project — the first being that it remain something enjoyable, the second being that it’s all about the voices. You’ll notice the sparse nature of the arrangements, purposely throwing the trio’s harmonies into the spotlight. Indeed, it’s a rare moment anywhere on the record where you’ll hear a lone voice singing.

We joined the Alialujah Choir in the same Type Foundry studio space where they created their debut for live versions of the songs, and also talked with the trio about the specifics of their formation, the reasoning behind their “rules,” and their extremely long-term plan moving forward.

Watch and listen to the full opbmusic session

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