Alex Sill

Guitarist & Composer

Experiences: Real and Imaginary 

Music as an Interior Cinema


Music as an interior cinema: A concert or recording begins, and each of its beholders conjures up a personal, image-based narrative that corresponds to the sounds. But for the 26-year-old, L.A.-based guitarist and composer Alex Sill, this extraordinary symbiosis between music and the mind has led to a far-reaching search for answers.

“I started questioning how universal this interior cinema phenomenon was, and I thought to myself, ‘I can’t be the only person who relates to music in this way.’” Sill began delving into psychoacoustics and related fields, but no satisfying answers emerged.

While studying jazz and music theory at CalArts, Sill absorbed the work of Carl Jung in earnest, taking particular interest in the pioneering psychoanalyst’s concept of archetypes. Common human behavior patterns are inherited Jung argued, and they represent themselves psychologically as images. Music, he insisted, brings these instinctively understood human tropes and myths to bear. Jung investigated dreams with an intensity typically reserved for reality; music, with its unique ability to pull the listener into a reverie, therefore commanded a similarly high regard. 

Jung might argue that notions of a life in the entertainment industry were archetypes instilled in Sill before his birth. He’s the grandson of the late music mogul Lester Sill, an architect of West Coast rock-and-roll and R&B who founded the Philles Records label with Phil Spector. Lester’s sons, including Alex’s father, Lonnie Sill, carved out highly successful careers in music supervision, production and publishing. Sill’s mother is the singer and actress Nicci Sill, whose father was a great doowop singer.

Performing around Hollywood, Alex Sill often feels as if he’s communing with that grand past. “Early Hollywood is a big part of my family’s history,” he says. “I wonder if this is where my grandpa used to hang out?” 

About Alex Sill:

Bolstered by his family’s background, Alex Sill began playing guitar and piano at age 12 and progressed briskly, amassing both prestigious awards and acclaimed mentors over the following decade. Sometimes, like when Sill earned a top spot in Lee Ritenour’s international Six String Theory Competition, the two intersected. Other important teachers and heroes have included Larry Koonse, who inspired Sill to enroll at CalArts, and Steve Vai, who has said that “Alex Sill is one of those rare talented individuals that has all the elements in place.” Sill recently paid homage to Allan Holdsworth in a series of official tribute concerts, playing alongside Holdsworth band veterans Virgil Donati, Jimmy Johnson, Steve Hunt, Joel Taylor and Chad Wackerman. During a set opening for Robben Ford in 2013, Sill premiered “Montana Suite,” a longform piece for three guitars; he’s also written for disciplines including film score, rock band and orchestra.

In 2019, Alex was selected to be a new member of Simon Phillips’ Grammy nominated group Protocol for the band’s 30th anniversary tour. Following a June run in Japan, Protocol will continue to tour worldwide throughout 2019. Make sure to check on Alex’s CALENDAR page for updates.

Alex onstage at the Crown of the Continent Guitar Festival in Bigfork, Montana with guitarist Karl Marino (August 2013)

Alex onstage at the Crown of the Continent Guitar Festival in Bigfork, Montana with guitarist Karl Marino (August 2013)


Awards/ Accolades-

-Winner of Rock Category in Lee Ritenour's Six String Theory International Guitar Competition (2012)

-Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Jazz Studies (Minor in Music Theory), California Institute of The Arts (2015)

-Recipient of Louis Armstrong Jazz Award (2011)

-Lew Wasserman Scholarship Recipient for Two Consecutive Years (2013-2014)