AT THE LAKE. Just the name alone got me interested. And after having searched the net for their music too I knew that I had to interview them. Read the interview to understand why you too should check them out. Anders Ekdahl ©2012.
What was it that made you want to be in a band yourself and not just be the spectator?
Milena: This is an interesting and… tricky question. The idea of setting the band up was found accidentally. When I was 17 years old I was listening to Rhapsody. I liked their arrangements so much that I started to dream of writing a song and sending it to the Rhapsody. Then I though maybe they would like to perform it. Yes, I am a dreamer. But! When I told my mother about this idea she asked me one question, which later showed to be one of the most important and carrying the biggest change questions in my life. It sounded: “Why are you going to waste you ideas for someone else? Why won’t you set up your own band?”. My own band? My own band! Holy God! I’m setting my OWN band!” – that was more less my rea_ction. Next steps like searching for people who would like to start this journey with me, first song, first rehearsal went on very smoothly. Like everything was so obvious.
Do you feel that the band name has to match the music you play? How important is the band name compared to the music?
Milena: Band’s name should be somehow connected to its inspirations. At least it is in At the Lake’s case. Both me and Krzysiek were fascinated with Scandinavian culture, especially Finnish one. I was reading many books written by Finnish writers, we were listening to all kinds of Scandinavian music. Finland is called the Country of Thousand Lakes. That’s the origin of our name.
When you write music what kind of process do you go through?
Milena: Usually it is a melody or a chord sequence which comes to me first. When I have a melody I start to fit it to the chords. If I have chords I am searching for a melody. This is very exciting stage of the process because you suddenly realize that literally you made something of nothing! I’m always enjoying this fact like a child – I run, I scream, I cry and laugh at once… but okay. What next? When the whole song is ready, a mean, the form is ready – chorus, verse, bridges and so on, I record it at home (yes, I sing – I officially beg my neighbours pardon… poor creatures) and send it to the members of the band. When they finish digesting the audio file that I sent them we start to arrange it together on a rehearsal. And this is the second most exiting stage of the process – suddenly from imagination we move our ideas to the reality, so again… I run, scream, cry and laugh at once and the rest of the band looks at me like I was crazy. However, I wish everyone have such a moment of total ecstasy when he realizes that the dream comes true, as it is with music in my life.
How do you find the right words to go with the music? Do you try a lot of words to see if they fit?
-Milena: No, I never try words. Words carries very strong message. I always know what I want to say by the song’s lyrics. Usually the first words come with the line of melody or a chord sequence. It happens simultaneously.
How important are titles? Should they tell what the song is about? Or are they just a necessary evil?
Milena: Titles are very important. They cannot say too much about the song, but only turn the listener’s imagination up. Sometimes it takes a long time after the song is ready to find a good title. However, sometimes it comes first, even before the first word of lyrics or a melody.
What kind of feelings does holding your finished record in your hands bring out?
-Milena: Very ambivalent. The recording session is very tiresome, but… one could not live without it. When I was holding our “Maya” album first time I suddenly realized, that… this is over! I was so amazingly happy about that! But in the same time, the consciousness that from now nothing can be changed was like first notes of Beethoven’s symphony no 5. God! That was thrilling and terrifying. I know the weak points of this album and I took my composing lesson of it. But, there are many bright notes on the album, many succeeded experiments. I am proud of it.
How does the digital V/S physical consumption of music affect smaller bands? Is there a future for the physical product?
Krzysiek: I’m certain that physical records will never be killed by mp3. Just like with books and e-books. I agree that digital media are much more convenient for daily usage but when you really want to enjoy reading or listening you take a book or play a CD. Digital distribution simplified the process of music production especially in foreign markets but I doubt if our society is ready to switch to digital consumption. I’ve got orders for CDs from all continents, maybe except of Antarctica, so it proves people still need to keep the music on their shelves and not only on hard drives or mobiles 🙂
Illegal downloading has become a massive problem. What can you do to stop people from robbing you of your intellectual material?
Krzysiek: Actually, we support the pirates 😉 But seriously speaking we consider this kind of obtaining our album as a sort of promotion. We believe that people who really enjoy our music will sooner or later buy it. Of course it’s great support for us when someone decide to pay for our songs and we strong encourage to do so as we’ve got no financial support of any main labels or sponsors but we won’t sue anybody for downloading ‘Maya’ from peer to peer networks. 🙂
Do you think that the social media soon will have played its role? What is there beyond the social media?
Krzysiek: Social medias are great way of communication with our fans. We always listen to their feedback after shows. It has in example impact on set lists. I guess there are songs we’d give up playing long time ago but they became fundamental parts of concerts because people still ask for them 🙂 Moreover, Facebook is obviously a great tool of spread the word promotion.
What future do you see for At The lake?
Milena: Tons of good music. Unforgettable adventures. Strong friendships.