ALEX SOMERS

Artist, Composer, Producer

December 2017
Wearing many musical hats, Alex Somers is involved in a wide range of the music making process, from composer, producer, mixer, engineer, and arranger to album artwork creation. Alex conceives intimate music by himself or surrounded by friends, and he often sets music to picture. Alex found it instinctual to stop eating animals and has been vegan for more than a decade.

“It made sense somewhere inside of me to skip all the animal stuff entirely. More and more, when I look back, I think of turning vegan as a pretty important shift in my life. You can choose to include more kindness and goodness in your life." - Alex



"Being a positive influence by way of your own actions is our best way to navigate that potentially difficult landscape."

You’ve gone back and forth from America to Iceland. What's the biggest difference you’ve noticed about vegan culture in the two countries?

I’m from Baltimore, but I’ve spent the last 12 years living in Reykjavík, and very recently moved to Los Angeles. Iceland is very, very small. It’s tiny, so things there change and evolve very quickly. A new idea can spread over the whole country and seep into the fabric of its society overnight. Everyone reads the same newspaper, frequents the same swimming pools, grocery stores, and coffee houses. It’s incredible really! It may be the only place on earth that’s currently like this. Because of this smallness, vegetarian and vegan food and ideas have been rapidly growing in Iceland. It’s crazy how quickly vegan went from being a word that no one knew to being a household word that literally everyone knows, and it’s also very trendy in the restaurant scene now. It’s all really encouraging. Los Angeles, on the other hand, is easily the vegan food capital of the world. There are so many amazing options for every kind of plant-based food you could ever dream of! It’s insane! I love it all! It’s such a never-ending treat zone! Snack attack!! I guess the main differences would be that Los Angeles is just like a solid 20 years ahead in vegetarian stuff compared to most cities in the world. In Iceland it’s still very common to think that you need to eat fish in order to be healthy. They have such a history of eating fish there, so fish and fish by-products are very prominent. It's changing slowly, however, as families are transitioning to hemp oil and flax oil instead of fish oil, and that has been very cool.

Have you influenced anyone else in your life to go vegan? How do you get people intrigued about the lifestyle? Are you militantly pushy, passive, or a combo of the two?

I tend to be pretty mellow when speaking about it with friends. Actions are always more powerful than words. My friends and family have seen its presence in my life and all the good it’s given me. Nearly all of my friends and family have been experimenting with vegetarian and vegan foods. Two of my partner’s sisters went vegan just this year after experimenting with stuff on and off for years! They both feel great and are helping to make Reykjavík more and more vegan-friendly. In the end, people have to discover it on their own, in their own time, on their own terms. Then it’s real. Being a positive influence by way of your own actions is our best way to navigate that potentially difficult landscape.
Do you surround yourself with plenty of other vegans, or do you often feel like an outsider?

I do sometimes feel like an outsider, but I always have. Isn’t that what makes musicians first start to pick up an instrument and make something of their own? It makes you create your own space. Very little history exists around vegan foods. It’s weird how all of our family traditions center around sharing food and some folks get so attached to a specific meal from their childhood. It’s the feeling and nostalgia attached to it. We need to create new traditions, slowly move away from harmful foods, and include the more beautiful foods. We need to uphold the same traditions and come together over the same rituals, just without the animal meat! It’s going to take a long while, but I see it happening clearly in my mind. Maybe a few hundred more years?

Some say music can heal, and I’m sure you’ve experienced this in your creations and collaborations. Do you think it’s true that animal companions can heal?

Of course! Everything can heal, and everything can destroy! I try to surround myself with as much goodness as I can all the time. That includes a lot of healing sounds and healing people. I also have a crazy cute dog named Atlas. He’s just a furry little freak that I love so much! He sleeps right in the bed with my partner Jónsi and I. It’s the best to have a goblin to snuggle with, isn’t it?



"I try to surround myself with as much goodness as I can all the time."


"I think eating animals is just a really uncreative state of mind to live in."

Certain cultures believe it’s OK to eat dogs, while some believe it’s not OK to eat cows. Do you think it's morally worse to eat one animal vs. another?

I think eating animals is just a really uncreative state of mind to live in. It’s the old way, a way which hasn’t worked for thousands of years and was only ever done for survival. We can do more than survive now. We are in a new context - a context in which we could be thriving so much further on this planet. Together - us, animals, plants, mushrooms, everything could all be far more interconnected and by eating plants and appreciating animals and nature, you are connecting those dots inside of you in a very strong way. It strengthens your bond to the outside world and to all living things. I don’t even like to kill bugs. I just never have. Let them roam and be weirdos, I say!

In order to survive, all living things need to take energy from other living things. Do you feel it’s morally OK for us to take energy from plants, or is it just the lesser of two evils?

Good question. That’s something I’ve wondered myself. It’s so next level to think about the plants we eat and their well-being. I’m into it! You can never show too much care or love for something or someone. I’m not really sure what the solution is for now, though, but I think going down that thought path will take us to really interesting places.
Do you bring your beliefs into your work? For example, if you got hired to compose a McDonald’s commercial, what would you do? Have you ever composed or worked on a film for something that supported health, animal rights, or the well-being of our environment?

I do carry my beliefs wherever I go. I would never, not in a million years, make music for McDonald's. I think they are a bunch of losers, and I just couldn’t do it. So far, I haven’t worked on a project that promoted health or nature or anything like that, but I’d of course be really into trying that! I have given my music to charity causes a few times over the years when asked, and I was always happy to do that.

Do you think humans will catch on quick enough as to how animal agriculture is strongly affecting our environment, or if everyone went vegan tomorrow, do you think the earth as we know it would still be doomed?

Nothing is doomed. Ever. There is always a chance for good to spread. It’s happening right now. More and more people are waking up to the idea that they can feel better, treat the planet better, and slow climate change all in one fell swoop! So yeah, it’s all happening!




VEGAN COMPANY PLUG

The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation is a really cool non-profit charity. Their only goal is to plant edible fruit trees all over the planet! Simple. Beautiful.

MUSIC PLUG

I recently got my paws on two 1/4 inch tape machines and learned how to make my own tape loops. I have been having a lot of fun experimenting with the loops and getting different sounds out of simple loops with the two machines playing at different speeds and overloading the machines in really pleasing ways. I have been using micro cassette machines in my music forever, but this is a first for me with 1/4 machines. It's really a thrill!

Tis the season for charitable efforts. Please consider donating to Apex Protection Project, an amazing sanctuary for rescued wolf dogs.
Photography By: Amanda Farmer