With so many cool bands out there to check out I offer you some minor guidance by introducing you to CROWNASIDE . Gabriel Pastor Sánchez (vocals) answered the questions. Anders Ekdahl ©2019
A band name says more than thousand words, or does it? How important is a band name to get people interested in your music?
-I don’t think the band’s name is the main reason someone would listen to a band. It’s probably the artwork or the fact that it’s related to certain genres you like. Of course there are exceptions, I don’t doubt some people will just go and listen to a certain band for their name, be it because it’s funny or something really weird and clever, but I don’t think we’re in any of those categories. In the end I’m expecting people to listen to our music because someone recommended it, because they like the genres we move around, or just because they want to discover something new, not because our name.
When you finish a recording and then sit back and relax, what kind of feelings do you get? Are you glad it is finished? Does the anxiety grow, not knowing if everybody will like it?
-For us it was almost like a fantasy. We had so many problems surrounding this album that we thought we were never going to finish recording it. We started to record it a long time ago, and halfway through we lost a guitar, so we had to re-record all those guitars. Then, when it was almost over except for a couple solos, we lost our bassist and had to re-record all the bass tracks (without a bassist, thanks Álvaro!). Coming to an end, we lost another guitar, so everything that was left to record was put into Álvaro’s hands, who had to learn a lot of different tracks and solos. You can imagine the relief when it was over. It was hard to believe we finally did it. We’re happy with the result, but not so much with the process, it should have been way smoother had we not lost so many band members on the way.
Will people like it? Well, we think it’s a pretty damn decent album, I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s more than an 8/10 but it’s overall solid. Now, if you don’t like groove or melodic death you probably won’t enjoy it to the fullest, and I’d say the band has grown a lot since we finished composing the songs included in ‘From Mud to Ashes’.
What is it like to be in a studio recording your music? What kind of feelings and thoughts race through your heads?
-We recorded our first EP in a studio and the feeling, well… You’re pressured to do everything perfect, as it should be, and you have a professional by your side. Some people might feel judged, or get all nervous and not perform well, then you usually think about last-hour changes to certain songs and have to race it so those changes made it to the final product. For ‘From Mud to Ashes’ we recorded it with Javier Almansa, a friend of ours who has a home studio. He also did all the mix and mastering, and we’re happier with this result than with the one we had with the EP. Working with Javier was great, we felt a lot less pressured and he helped us a lot through it.
Today I get a feeling that the promotion of a band lands a lot on the bands themselves so how does one promote oneself the best possible way in order to reach as many as possible?
-Yeah, unless you’re in a label you have to look for everything yourself. We decided to work with Qabar – Extreme Music PR as we didn’t have many contacts to reach out of Spain. We would have been able to make a decent promotion nationally, but Qabar helped us a lot both national and internationally to reach a biggest audience. He found us amazing sites willing to premiere our singles and album, gave us advice on how to approach certain situations, etc.
I’d say you have to find professionals to help you with the promotion, even if that means spending some money, because it does help you get out there and find new fans. If you have the contacts and you’re confident, well then, you could try and go by yourself. But if you want to be sure, then look for help!
Today we have all these different sub-genres in metal. How important is that you can be tagged in one of these? Why isn’t metal enough as a tag?
-Well, as music develops it’s natural the tags develop aswell. You can like death metal and not like black metal, for example, so all those sub-genres are just tags to help you get an idea of what you’re about to listen to. They help bands to reach bigger audiences. Bands’ sounds nowadays are different enough to justify the existence of sub-genres; you don’t have to be inside just one of these, though. You can be a symphonic, progressive black metal band, for example. It just helps people to choose what they’re going to listen to based on their personal preferences.
For us, being tagged in one of these is just a way to attract a certain audience, I guess. It’s not the most important thing, but it’s always good to have them as a reference for people who don’t know us.
What importance is there in being part of local/national/international scene? Does playing in a band make you feel like you are a part of something bigger? I know it does to me knowing that in some slight way I was a part of the Swedish death metal scene in the 90s.
-Well, I suppose it’s as important as relevant you are in that scene. I wouldn’t say we’re the most relevant band in ours, but we have our public and we aim to make it grow. Being part of the local scene is work nowadays, there are way too many bands; the offer is huge, so you have to fight for people to go to your shows instead of any of the other 2 or 3 shows that are taking part at the same time. At the same time, that work translates to new fans. You get enough fans you might jump to the national scene, start touring around your country, which might lead you to the biggest scene. We’re not at that point yet, we had a really bumpy ride but we’re finally putting together a strong line-up of talented individuals with a great work ethic, and we have a brand new album to help us getting known!
Ever since I first got into metal the art work has been a main motivator in buying a record. What part does art work for album covers play in the world of the band?
-We’ve always thought the same. Since the very beginning we aimed for our artworks to be something memorable, something people would take a look at and think “woah, that looks cool, I’m going to listen to it!”. In the end it’s a tricky thing, as not everyone has the same tastes when it comes to artworks but, for us, our designs are as amazing as they get.
How important is having a label to back you up today when you can just release your music on any sort of platform online? With the ability to upload your music as soon as you’ve written it the freedom to create has become greater but are there any negative consequences to music being too readily available to fans now that every Tom, John and Harry can upload their stuff?
-Music being easier to make (everyone’s having a home studio today) and to upload (you just need to pay a very affordable fee and you get to have your songs uploaded to every single music platform) makes the offer HUGE. The amount of new music that gets released every day is way too much to listen to. If you release something new, you have to compete with a bunch of other bands that play something similar to you and have just released their albums, so you have to try and be smart about how you do it, that’s why I recommend having professional help! Of course, if you’re with a label there’s a lot of work you can forget about, as they would usually take the promotion and distribution part on their own. The label is more a commodity than a necessity and, in many cases, way more expensive than going on your own. Things change a lot if the label is a big one, known by a lot (and I mean a lot) of people around the world. Think, for example, about Nuclear Blast. If you get to work with one of those big labels you can rest easy knowing your fanbase will steadily grow, that people will actually sit down and listen to your music.
What is a gig with you like? What kind of shows do you prefer to play?
-This is a tough one! With our current line-up we haven’t had the opportunity to play live yet, but we’ll be doing so the 18th of May in the Rock Culture Fest 3 and we’re planning on something out of the common. We don’t want to spoil the surprise just yet, so we encourage anyone interested in this question to check out our social media a couple days later for pictures and videos. That’s the best way to answer this question!
What lies in the future?
-Once we’re done with the upcoming show we will most likely be back to composing. We have some songs almost ready, but it would be great to have another album, a more mature one, ready to record by the end of the year. We’re confident we’ll be improving a lot as both musicians and as a band in the near future, and we want to prove it to everyone. We want to make music that people will remember, music that everyone will be looking forward to hear, so we have a tough path ahead of us!