I know absolutely nothing about Ashaena. What is your story?
-We are Ashaena from Romania and our story begins in the summer of 2006 when I have started this band first as a solo project. After 1 year I have felt the need to present the songs that already made on the stage so I have started to search for people. From the begining I wanted that our message would be filled with words about our traditions, our ancient history and pre-christian culture and symbols combined with the occult lore.
When I was young in the 80s all we had was clear cut genre definitions like heavy, speed, thrash etc. In today’s scene we have folk, dark, pagan, Viking etc. that to my ears all seem connected in one way or another. Why so many different genre definitions?
-Indeed, nowadays metal scene has so many genres and sub-genres that sometimes it gets confusing. Anyways, I consider that we are playing a heathen metal (because of our ideology and because we are singing about pre-Christian mythology and religion) and in the same time traditional metal because our mainly pool of inspiration is our Folklore and traditions. In the same time we riffs that sounds like black metal. In conclusion, our music is a sum of small pieces of genres filtered through our souls and gifted to the audience in our own style.
To me folk metal is much more than just adding harpsichords or accordions or violins. What is folk metal to you guys?
-For me / us, folk metal is a way of expressing your inner ideology and spirituality. Is that kind of music deeply rooted in native folklore, mixed with history and mythology. For me, folk metal is a way of honouring our ancestors.
How important is your country’s folklore to the way you write lyrics? Do you tell stories with your lyrics?
-Is very important. As I stated before, the Folklore is the main area, the big pool I am getting my inspiration from, musically speaking. Talking about the lyrics, yes, they do tell a story. There are some songs about apocalyptic storms, there are other songs based on historical facts, there are songs with spiritual lyrics based on my ideology and path. I just want to spread the message, to touch that inner core in every man, to make them understand that living in harmony with the nature, making peace with yourself, in the first time and then with the others is a better way of life. Common sense and unconditional help, if you can and stays in your power.
How do you view your country’s folklore? Is it an interesting one or is it just tales of not so interesting happenings?
-We have an amazing cultural heritage and fabulous folklore. Too bad that the teenagers don’t know much about these things. This is again, our mission, to make them understand the beauty of the ancient roots, the beauty of traditions and symbols.
How do you make your metal stand up to the lyrics you write? Do they have to have a connection or can the lyrics and music resonate different emotions?
-I think the lyrics and music have a strong binding. There cannot be one without the other. Each part sustains the other in a perfect harmony, at least I am hoping for that and that’s my goal as a music and lyric writer. For me, the music and the lyrics are the only way to express my feelings and ideas towards the heart of the others.
What kind of scene do you feel you are a part of? In the last decade or so the whole folk metal scene seem to have exploded like crazy.
-We are for sure included in this scene, in the folk metal scene. And indeed, this scene is growing very fast but to be honest I care more about people liking our work, our music than in which scene we are…
In order for people to discover you how important are the social media?
-The social media, the promotion and marketing are very important. Social networks are great tools for promoting your band or your work, no matter what kind of artist are you. It is easier to reach more and more people with these tools.
How do you take the interest generated on-line to actually mean something in the real world?
-The interest generated online is lesser that the real world one. There are people that can give you a “like” on your facebook page but they won’t come to a gig or viceversa, there have been situations when a lot of people that has discovered us online have been part of the crowd at our gigs and felt amazing.
What can we expect from Ashaena in the future?
-We are about to record our second album. It will be called “Calea” (The Path) and will have 10 songs. Probably it will be done recorded till the end of the year. In September we will start an European tour. Cannot give you more details because we are still waiting as well words from our booking agency. In March, next year, we are already confirmed for playing at the Heathen Crusade Festival in St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A. and following that festival we will have an U.S. tour. That’s our activity in the near future. Of course, this summer we’ll have several gigs In Romania as well.