If you want it progressive ALIZARIN might be up your alley. Anders Ekdahl ©2020
What fascinates me is how you can still come up with new combinations of chords to make new songs and sounds that have not been heard before. What is it that fascinates you into coming up with new songs and albums?
-Listening to new music or discovering new great artists is probably the biggest drive when writing. I’ll hear an intriguing chord progression, melody, or an amazing arrangement that just blows my mind and I think, “I have to try something like that” or perhaps it makes me completely reconsider something I had already written. Regardless, I’m always playing and writing music. I can’t really help it. Even if a lot of it gets tossed out eventually, I can’t imagine not tinkering around with musical ideas on the regular.
How is this new recording different from the previous? How do you take your sound one step further?
-The biggest difference is the addition of vocals. Our first album was strictly instrumental but the new record features vocals on all songs, usually pretty prominently. But even beyond that the music is always evolving, and I try to always explore different song structures, chords, and riff ideas. A fear of mine is to repeat myself artistically unless there was a specific intention to do so. There is less of an emphasis on the guitar this time around, and even less on guitar solos in particular. Each instrument is given more room to breathe and serve a purpose.
When you write songs about the topics you do what kind of reactions do you get? How important is it to have a message in your lyrics? What kind of topics do each song deal with? Is there a red thread to the songs?
-Since this is the first time we’ve incorporated lyrics/vocals we haven’t really received too many reactions in that area. I do look forward to audiences hearing the words and hopefully poring over the lyrics. The lyrical topics range from societal reflection, the trappings of modern technology, grappling with personal monsters, and hypothetical dramatic tales. Some songs are influenced by film and literature, and several are shrouded in brooding cynicism. Personally, it’s nice to discuss some of these matters, as instrumental music can certainly convey incredible emotions but it can also fail to capture certain details that these newfound vocals can convey.
Whenever I think of you I cannot help wandering off to different bands. What bands/sounds do you identify with?
-I think that’s great. We draw influence from many bands, and we strive to be difficult to pin down stylistically, even if the music falls into the prog metal genre as a whole. We identify most with bands like Opeth, Nevermore, Haken, Alice in Chains, Intronaut, Animals As Leaders, and Porcupine Tree. The music on this new album is also heavily influenced by Portishead, XTC, and film soundtracks, such as the score for Interstellar.
How did you go about choosing artwork for this new album? What was important to have in it?
-The artwork was done by me (Josh) and I had a few ideas to work with before the album was complete. The original piece of art ended up becoming the back cover of the album, and I created a second piece that was destined to become the front cover. I wanted the art to have a very ominous, dark, and almost apocalyptic feel. The back art depicts a towering structure, seemingly constructed of both mechanical and organic materials, grounded by roots and discharging into the atmosphere. Several aspects of this are linked lyrics within the album. The centerpiece, a glowing green sphere, decaying and derelict, became the inspiration for the final cover art itself. Having strong artwork is very important to Alizarin. The visual work is part of the larger product, and I aspire to have the music evoke the images, and vice versa.
Something that scares me a bit is this I hear from more and more bands that they aren’t that bothered with artwork anymore because people today download rather than buy physical. To me the whole point is to have artwork that matches the music. I don’t know how many times I’ve been disappointed by weak art work to an otherwise cool album. What’s your opinion on this subject?
-I very much agree. I love staring at beautiful album art while listening to the music. Of course, I know that it’s all subjective, and seemingly simple art can be quite complex when considering the context, especially paired with particular music. But to me, the visual art really is an extension of the sounds, and I do enjoy the link between the two. It only adds to the experience and can communicate certain qualities in a more thorough manner.
How do you come up with song titles? What do they have to have to fit the songs?
-Song titles are very important to me, maybe more important than the lyrics. The titles are the ambassadors of the music, to some extent. I enjoy keeping them slightly vague (or maybe very vague) and try to evoke powerful imagery. If an interesting song title grabs me I’m already hooked before I even hear the music. I keep them relevant to the songs, complimenting the lyrics within, but usually not directly referencing a chorus or obvious phrase.
I use Spotify and Deezer but only as compliment to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when you’re out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
-It’s a fascinating topic to consider. Listening formats have changed so widely over the decades, or even centuries. Before recording technology we essentially only had live performances. We developed phonograph records, then various tapes, compact discs, and now purely digital formats. Some of that old technology might never fully disappear, as displayed in our affinity for vinyl, but the future marches on without remorse. I try to embrace it as much as I can, mostly because I know it is inevitable. Many of the successful artists in history were champions of the new technologies of their time. If we can use it to our advantage we can attempt to stay relevant and perhaps lead listeners to new experiences that we have yet to hear.
How much of a live band are you? How important is playing live?
-We played live shows more often in the very early stages of the group but have been focusing more on the music and recording as of late. Essentially, we took a hiatus at the beginning of 2020 to produce the new album. Then, Covid-19 hit and ensured we wouldn’t be playing live for a little while. Depending on how and when that matter is sorted out, I’d like to focus more on touring and festivals when the time is right.
What lies in the future?
Aside from the touring and festivals, I’m already writing new music for a third release. I would like to work with a label for future releases, and/or for a vinyl release of our upcoming record ‘The Last Semblance’. Otherwise, we’ll be making a music video or two, heavily promoting this new music, and keeping a close eye on the climate of the ever-evolving music industry. Enjoy our new album, and be sure to follow us on any and all social media!