Let’s start with the most obvious question: Alan instead of what? Singer-songwriter and sole member Will Iermini provides the simple answer:
“My middle name is Alan, so I just decided to go by that name instead of my full name,” Iermini explains.
With that out of the way, let’s discuss his debut album, Ghosts These Days, which came out last year, and is an excellent, intensely emotional record. It’s just Iermini on vocals and acoustic guitar, but these tunes don’t sound like the standard coffee-shop acoustic songs. They have dynamics, a larger-than-life passion and a lot of nuance in the songwriting.
“I never set out to be a singer-songwriter. I am first and foremost a rock ’n’ roll fan. That’s really what I like to listen to: loud music, big amps and a lot of energy. When I was writing these songs, I always had that in mind,” Iermini says.
The album is also highly reflective. Its title is a reference to the ghosts of memories that haunt him, and the cover is a faded black and white image of a street corner. This reflective tone is all over his music, whether from the eight songs on his debut record or new ones he’s written since.
“Very rarely will something happen to me and I’ll go home and write a song about it that day. It’s usually stuff that I look back on and go ‘wow, eight months ago that was crazy.’ I write from there,” Iermini says. “It always happens organically. It usually starts with the guitar. I might have some guitar work for years that I’ve never done anything with, then all of a sudden I’ll remember some event from six months ago and everything will come together.”
INFO: 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 30. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $10. 429-4135.