ALWAID is another of these bands that I discovered surfing the net. You should check them out and support them. © 2015 Anders Ekdahl
When you release a new recording does it feel like you have to start a new a couple step back because so much time has passed and so many new bands have entered the scene since the last album or do you just pick up where the last one left?
-So far, we have only issued one album, but we started thinking about the next one as soon as it was out. Writing and creating something so huge takes a lot of time, and general choices have to be made early in the process, not to waste any efforts. We don’t compare ourselves to other bands and don’t strive for being absolutely unique and original at all cost. For us, the important thing is not to repeat ourselves, to show we have more in store than what people have heard so far, and to go beyond what we’ve already done.
Do you have an aesthetic that you keep true to from recording to recording (i.e. stylistical same art work, lyrical theme etc.)?
-Our bandname and logo are representative of our core meaning: they refer to the night sky (Alwaid’s the name of a star), which has inspired man’s imagination from the earliest times and still triggers extraordinary dreams for our future, through science and progress. This is a symbol that sticks with us, in our lyrics, music and visuals.
How hard is it to come up with lyrics to the songs? When do you know that you have the right lyrics?
[Marie – singer] I write all the lyrics, which usually come after the music for the song has been completed. I have a general theme in mind (for our debut album, it was the various stages of sleep, from insomnia to all kinds of dreams) and listen to the music as many times as I need till I get the feeling right and find the proper story that it’s trying to tell. I find inspiration in all kinds of myths, legends, literature – art in general, and I like it when our songs include references that people may recognize. I know the lyrics are right when the feeling they evoke fits perfectly with the emotion of the music. When you have to sing the words, that’s the kind of thing you need to be sensitive to!
How hard is it to find the right art work? What are you looking for?_
-We think the artwork is of paramount importance since it may be the first contact that someone will have with your musical world. People may never read or pay attention to the lyrics of the songs, but any illustration has an immediate impact on what they will expect you to sound like. So the artwork has to be striking and to stand out of course, but also to create a relevant background or frame in which all of the songs will fit, like scenes from a play.
For our album “Lacus Somniorum”, we talked a great deal about what we wanted with our artists, explained the general theme and movements of the album and the lyrics for ALL the songs. They came up with ideas which perfectly represented the idea of the journey to the unconscious, and basically added an 11thnarrative to the 10 stories that are told by the songs!
Do you ever feel that you get misinterpetated because of the metal you play?
-Of course metal is a very wide musical style, some people will only see the ‘dark part of metal’ when we speak about it and will have a negative impression of it. When you say “metal” to people who are not familiar with the genre, they think of extremely violent music. Especially in France. It is a barrier that needs to be overcome, just to get these people try and listen to your music. When they do, you usually get funny comments about how unexpectedly melodic it is, sometimes even pleasant!
But there are also very judgemental people amongst metal-lovers, especially people who despise the so-called “female-fronted metal” (which is NOT a genre in itself, may I add!). A number of people think it’s not metal enough. This is notably a problem when we try to get and play at some festivals…
Let’s not forget, however, all the extremely open-minded people who see the wide varieties of metal as a richness that should be cultivated! There’s a true sense of friendship and solidarity between many small bands like us, whatever their genre of metal, which is so much better than sterile competition!
Do you feel that you get the recognition you deserve, nationally as well as internationally?
-What do we really deserve? It’s hard to be objective on this. We think we are very lucky since we’ll to be able to play in the U.K this year in May, to play in Belgium and in fact to be able to play our music live, for people.
We’ll never really get any wide recognition in France, where metal is really a niche genre! And even abroad, there are so many small bands like us that it is very difficult to stand out, however talented you are! But since last year we found opportunities to play further from home (UK, Belgium), and more and more people are encouraging us and giving us positive feedback. Which is already a great sign of recognition. But that’s something you have to earn each and everyday!
Is the end of physical close by or is there a future for all formats?
-There is no denying that it is harder to sell physical material now, because people have other options. But at the same time, the Internet is a tremendous way of reaching more and more people, all around the world. We are also lucky than the metal community is built up on passion and commitment: listeners want to support the bands they like, and many have a collector’s spirit: a band is more than just music to them, and they take pride in owning “the real thing” (the CD, and even other items such as T-shirts). I don’t believe this is going to fade away any time soon.
And as long as bands keep producing vinyl records and CDs, it will not be the end for the physical format!
I get the impression that today’s touring scene is most made up of festivals or multiple band line-ups. Is it harder/tougher to tour today?
-We don’t really know how it was before, but yes it’s a lot of work (e-mails…) to confirm just one date… And a tour is more than one date! But it’s a part of the ‘job’.
Organizing your own gig in some local bar is not that hard, but you will get very limited visibility and recognition that way; reaching bigger events like festivals gets very competitive. You need to know the right people. But I’m not sure that it has not always been the case in music!
If you were to decide how would the stage show look like?
_Like we said, a band needs to get a strong visual identity to support the music. Seeing a band play live should be a memorable experience! We’d like to think of a show as if it was a play, with every element – props, lights, costumes, speeches, and so on – designed to fit together and produce various emotions. So we’d do things big! But today we are still very limited by technical possibilities, and we consider ourselves in luck when stages are big enough to accommodate the six of us!
What does the future hold?
-Our future? The future of all mankind? That’s a hard question! Who can tell anyway?
We’re quite convinced it definitely holds music, though. If it doesn’t, this world is not worth living in!