For those without speakers, here's the transcription:
This past week, the British doom metal band Alunah released their second album, titled "White Hoarhound" on PsycheDOOMelic Records. Soph Day, lead singer and guitarist of the band, was nice enough to sit down and have a chat with Gabriel from 339metal about the new album, performing live, and more!
To hear the interview in its entirety, you may stream the recording through our Bandcamp profile as it was originally run on Saturday Night Metal.
339metal: How have you and the guys reacted to all of the positive buzz going on with "White Hoarhound"?
Soph: It's really amazing. I don't think we actually expected it to go as well as it's been going, but so far we haven't had any terrible reviews yet. I mean, there is time yet, it's only been out a week. But yeah, so far everything's been great and people have been really kind about the record. So, we couldn't be any happier about it really.
339metal: In comparison to "Call of Avernus" your first album, there is a lot darker, and a lot deeper of a feel than the previous album. Was there any difference between the two writing sessions? And if so, what would you say the difference would have been?
Soph: Yeah, with "Call of Avernus" we started the band in like 2006. So it came out in 2010. So that whole time really we were writing material for "Call of Avernus." So, sort of 3 to 4 years really. And in that time we had a change in bass player. And our new bass player contributes a lot more to the writing process. He's actually a guitar player as his primary instrument. And he's contributed a lot to the album, and that's a change. And also, with "[White] Hoarhound" I think we had a better idea of where we wanted to take it; the sound we wanted to create. So, that helps. Whereas "[Call of} Avernus" was like a real mash-up of ideas over quite a long time really. Whereas "[White] Hoarhound" has been like a year. It's a lot more targeted, you know. We said, "Well, this is how we want it to sound. This is the direction we want to go in." Also, I think the subject matter, like the lyrics- I started to look at other areas to explore. And, I think the subject matters have been darker. I think the music sort of lended itself to that really.
339metal: What would you say the writing process, or the writing session was like for "White Hoarhound"?
Soph: With "Call of Avernus" I think we sort of wrote the songs, and sort of went with what we wrote, straight after. There was a few tweaks, but generally we just went with what we wrote in the first place. But With "[White] Hoarhound" for example, "Demeter's Grief" that has had like three different versions. It's almost like we wrote three different songs and settled on the final one. And, "The Offering" that had two different versions. Originally it was really, really fast. It was almost like a punk song. But we really slowed it down. Because we had a direction of where we'd like to take it, it does flow better. "Chester Midsumer Watch Parade" that was the first song that we actually wrote off "[White] Hoarhound." We kind of used that as an influence, or a benchmark. We wrote it, and we were all really happy with it. And we were like, "This is how we want the direction of the album to go. So we kind of used that as a standard really, for the future of the album.
339metal: Anybody who follows you guys on Facebook or Twitter, etc... knows that you're very hard workers, especially over the last year, when it comes to live events and hitting the stage. Do you or any of the guys have any quirky, pre-show rituals that you have to perform before going up on stage? Anything odd or crazy?
Soph: Not necessarily, I wouldn't say odd or crazy... The past few months we've actually had these lava projectors. So we have this like, sort of "lava" light show going on onstage. But before we go on stage it’s normally us desperately trying to make sure they work. And they're pointed in a certain direction, that we want. You know, that looks good. Or it’s me trying to find a pint of cider from somewhere... We'd love to have the chance to have a bit of a chill before we go out on stage. And have someone else set all our equipment up. And set our projectors, so we can actually have time to have some sort of a ritual before we go on. That would be a lot better. At the moment, our sort of quirky ritual just tends to be trying to point lava projectors at the stage and trying to find a drink from somewhere, really.
339metal: Have you had any crazy show experiences, or anything particularly interesting that's happened at an Alunah show? Like anything out of the norm?
"I don't think we actually expected it to go as well as it's been going..."Soph: Well, we're a little bit like Spinal Tap, the stereotypical English band. I think because of the slow plunge of the music, we don't tend to get any crazy circle pits happening, or stage invasions. Or any storming the stage, or going mental, or smashing things. We do attract a lot of nutters. I'm sure a lot of our fans won't mind us saying that. But, they usually grab us before we're going on stage. We've had a few things but I wouldn't necessarily say they're crazy. I'd say they're more embarrassing. Things you could do without. We played a gig in a town called Lester. It's kind of in the midland. It's near sort of where we live. We were doing this gig and there weren't really that many people there. And our guitarist Dave, he used to work in like a salad factory. And we're halfway through the gig, we've got this atmosphere going. And we've got this sort of like vibe going, and suddenly there's this shout out from the audience. This woman shouted, "Are you Dave from the salad factory?!" And we've had something recently in Bristol... every time I touched the microphone; I was getting this electric shock through my mouth. And the sound guy took one of his socks off and put it over the microphone. So I'm singing into this dirty sock. It's normally embarrassing things like that that happen to us. It hasn't been anything spectacular. I think our audiences tend to be too stoned out of their mind to cause any crazy things to happen.
339metal: Even though they're not that crazy, singing into a dirty sock has to be somewhat memorable I'd imagine.
Soph: Yeah. Yeah, definitely memorable.
339metal: You guys switched record labels in between Avernus and the new record "White Hoarhound" What was the experience like switching over from Catacomb to PsycheDOOMelic?
Soph: Well basically, myself and Dave, we actually run Catacomb Records. Originally we started the label to help Alunah out. Then we moved on to other bands. So we expanded it for us as well. But we deal with Mark from PsycheDOOMelic. We do distribution as well. We trade our release for the other labels’ releases and we sale them in our online store. We used to deal quite a lot with Mark. He was like our main guy that we used to trade things with. So we'd send him Alunah's stuff and other bands off our label. And so when we wanted to do the second album, we did actually want to branch out and put it out to another label, basically. So we approached Mark, and he'd got "Call of Avernus" in his shop, and it'd been selling well. He was interested in us basically. It's just really nice to work with someone we've got experience with. We knew his history; we knew he's put some amazing bands out. We were like, over the moon when he wanted to invest into our band. It's great really. He's based in Austria, and we still wanted to make sure that our album was in the shops. So we're still involved with getting it distributed. We worked together on that one. It's really amazing for someone to believe in your band. And to want to spend that much money on you really. And he's been really supportive. And he's been great.
339metal: That's awesome. It seems that you've found a label that works as hard as you and your band mates do.
Soph: Yeah, it's great.