ALTHEA

ALTHEA might be a girl’s name but it also the name of this beautiful Italian band. Read this interview and then check em out further. Anders Ekdahl ©2017

How important is the band’s name in giving out the right kind of vibe?
-It is very important! Very often you can get a sense of the band vibes and attitude by reading their name. In our case the choice of the name was pretty random so I cannot tell you if it fits our music or not…we hope so!

I wanted to start a band in the 80s but couldn’t find the right people to do so with. What was it that made you want to do the band?
-Definitely love and passion for music. We were a bunch of friends with the same interests and happened to be in the same place at the right time! There might be a reason for it!

With so many genres and sub-genres of metal today what is your definition of the music you play?
-If you one of those people that still think that progressive means creating music free of schemes, we definitely fall into the big “progressive” rock/metal genre (at least as per our main sound). We prefer not to be defined too much specifically because you can hear a lot of different genres in our music. I think nowadays people tend to classify as progressive any kind of “technical” type of music (or, any kind of music similar to Dream Theater…), which is the least correct way of defining Progressive music…

How do you arrange the tracks? Is there a method to how you arrange the songs on a record?
-Indeed we put a lot of efforts in arrangements and we consider arrangements as a big part of a song. I’m afraid we don’t have a specific method, sometimes the arrangement can even come before the full song is composed, sometimes at the end!

I am fascinated by how people can still come up with things that hasn’t been done before, chord structures that hasn’t been written, sentences that hasn’t been constructed before. Where do you find your inspiration to create?
-Well this the essence of progressive music! Being experimental it what you can consider being progressive today. Nowadays very much has been already discovered in music and pretty much every sound has been sampled. They key is how you use them. We don’t have a specific reference band and in our music you can hear ambient sections, metal sections, as well as acoustic parts or narratives.
There is a great chemistry between us…sometimes it simply happens that one of us has an idea which is exactly the same idea we all have without saying anything…at the end the song is the song we all have in mind.

How important is the graphic side of the band? How much thought goes into art work etc.?
-This is a tricky question. We try to avoid judging the quality of a record from the artwork and packaging, unless it is functional to the concept. When it comes to concept albums this might be really part of the whole story. We try to cure as much as we can the artwork, so that the physical version of the album can still be of interest to the listener….keeping in mind that what the listener will listen should be reflected in what he is watching and vice versa.
Funny enough, some of the best albums I bought from stores when I was younger, caught me because I loved the artwork, irrespective of the content.

I get the feeling that more and more metalheads too are just downloading single tracks. Is the album as relevant today as it was in the 70s and 80s? Is digital killing the album?
-I don’t think digital is killing the album, but the lack in curiosity and interest are definitely killing the album. In every field of life, people tend to be lazier and lazier; they want everything for free and now! People tend to be eager and eager but then do not have time to really be passionate about stuff. For example, our new album cannot be easily split in single songs without missing the full message. You need to take 50 mins of your time and listen to it all to fully get it.

Are we killing our beloved metal scene by supporting digital downloading or can anything positive come from supporting single tracks and not albums? Will the fan as we know him/her be gone soon?
-I don’t know if fans will be gone, but bands definitely yes! (“laughs”). There is no way a band can survive selling single track at €0,99 per track, unless they sell millions of tracks! Recording and Producing an album is a big work, it takes time and a lot efforts. Not to say, also musicians need food (beers?) and have to pay bills.

Is there a scene to speak of for a band like yours? Where do you fit in?
-We think that if you like acts such as Porcupine Tree, Steven Wilson, Anathema, etc…you will definitely find something interesting in our music!

What does the future hold?
-We are starting the live activities to promote the album around Italy and hopefully Europe, and we will then of course start writing and producing the new album….we have plenty of ideas and we are looking forward to share it with you all, but for the time being we are very keen on promoting Memories Have No Name and let everyone enjoy it as much as we enjoyed producing it.

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