First off, thank you so much for graciously opening yourself up to an interview with Doomed & Stoned. I've long been an admirer of the band and would like to use this opening question to acquaint people with Alunah. Tell us, how did the band come to be? Under what circumstances was Alunah given birth?
No worries, thank you for all the support you've given us. Jake, Dave and I started back in 2006 without a bass player. Dave and I have been in a relationship since 1998 and met Jake at a Sonic Lord gig; one of Dave's previous bands. We got chatting and Dave and Jake decided to have a jam, I went along for a laugh and ended up singing. It was some time before we found a bassist, and Dan is now our 3rd bassist. We played with just a lead guitar for years, then I decided to carry on something I had started aged 13; playing guitar. It was some time before I mastered singing and playing together, but after I did I'm so glad we made that decision to have a second guitar.
Over the past decade and in the last several year, especially, we've seen a welcome increase in female-fronted doom and stoner bands. What has the experience been like for you? Is there an upside or a downside to being in this role?
A lot of people see female fronted as a genre on it's own, we're nothing like any of the female fronted bands out there so this is a bit of a bug bear. I love lots of bands with female singers (Jucifer, Acid King, My Ruin, Royal Thunder, Jex Thoth, GOLD, L7, Witch Mountain, The Devil's Blood, Portishead and Rose Kemp to name a few) don't get me wrong, and you're always going to be categorised in life, but unfortunately having a female singer means being categorised by gender. When we started, a lot of people dismissed us due to my vocals not being heavy enough, or presuming that I'm not taking it seriously, or that I'm a groupie of some kind. There are so many awesome bands with women in now, that we have seen it become less categorised and less talked about which is great. We used to play a lot of festivals and gigs which were marketed as "femme-fest" or "femme-metal" etc and we were often on the bill with gothic, operatic metal bands, we turn those gigs down now as I don't see why my gender is important. If you enjoy us and want to book us, great! If you want to book us because there's a woman in the band, we're not interested! We recently played with the incredible Jex Thoth, and our mates band Moghul (all men) were also on the bill. Someone actually made the comment to me that it should have been 3 female fronted bands, as if Moghul didn't have the right to be there, and we should only play with female fronted bands - that kind of ignorance towards both sexes makes me angry! On the positive side, I have only had a handful of sexist encounters, our gigs are always full of men and women who just want to have a great time, regardless of the gender on stage.
Being a classical pianist, myself, and knowing a little something about the joys and pains of composing music, I am forever curious about how song-writing works in the bands I interview. A what point do you as a singer enter into creative process of the songs that Alunah writes?
I have a book of lyrics ready to go, and when I hear a new riff I know in my head which song is going to fit it. As soon as I hear that new riff I get the melody, and it's as early on as that. We're pretty lucky in Alunah that once we have an initial riff and melody, the song comes together pretty quickly. It may get swapped and changed, but generally it's a painless process.
It seems like only yesterday I discovered Alunah - and it happened through social media. One of my FB friend (Tangy Zizzler, aka MrStoneBeliever) uploaded some of your songs to YouTube and I was an instant fan, then began sharing via metal forums and Doomed & Stoned. So here's my question: What lessons have you learned through your experiences on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, etc. that have helped you become a more savvy promoter of the band?
Yeah he really helped us get the songs out there on YouTube, and because we didn't have a video to promote it, it was really appreciated. My main job is actually as a maketing manager, so I promote and market things all day - a large part of that is on social networks. Our drummer Jake also works in marketing, so we had some useful skills to bring to the band. For years we released our own music, did our own press and booked our own gigs. The last year has seen us being relieved of some of those pressures which is great, but we still do our own marketing, design and t-shirt printing. Saying that though, the incredible Michael Cowell has illustrated our new album, so that's something else I don't have to do haha
This one's just for fun: what are your joys in life? Pet peeves?
Personally I love spending time with my dog Olive and husband Dave, I spend a lot of time with my mom and sister - we love shopping, drinking, eating, and of course I love going out with my awesome friends. My family have had a lot of heartache in the last year, and not only has it made us closer, it made me realise how precious life is. I saw my Dad go from a strong independent retired police officer, to a weak ill man who couldn't do anything for himself, so when I see healthy people wasting their life it really pisses me off! Also, irresponsible dog owners really get my goat! Generally though I try to be as positive and thankful as possible, which is why I love talking to guys like you!
What are Dan, David, and Jake like to work with? Tour with? What do you guys like to do in your down time?
AWFUL!! Nah, they're the best guys a girl could wish for! Dan joined us in June, so we haven't yet toured with him, but we're so lucky to have found him. Not only is he a great bassist and song writer, but he's easy going and a good laugh! I spent the first Alunah tour back in 2007, with my husband sleeping in the front of the van, and me sleeping in the back with Jake and his girlfriend (and Alunah Manager) Liv... so that shows how close we are. Jake was also best man at our wedding in 2011, so we're all really close. When it comes to Alunah, Dave and I are band mates; not husband and wife. We don't want things to get awkward for the other guys so that's how we handle it. Down time consists of watching other bands, eating, drinking and sleeping!
Have you played in North America yet? If you get a chance to do so in 2014, where would you like to go first and what are some of the major cities you'd be excited to visit?
We've never played America, but between us we've visited New Orleans, Memphis, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Orlando on holiday. We'd love to visit as a band, excuse me if I get this wrong as I'm not overly familiar with the area, but when I think of North America I think of the New England area, I'd love to spend sometime there, especially in Autumn when the scenery turns. Also, my old school friend lives in New York now, so it would be great to play there and visit her. Seattle would be great also, to follow in the footsteps of those great bands!