If you visit the Axes Leftovers Facebook page (as you all should be!) you would see that I share their music often. As we eagerly await their new album, I had the honor to ask the lovely Soph Day a few questions. And it went a little something like this...
For those who don't know, how did you all come together to create Alunah?
Dave and I have known each other for years. We met Jake back in 2006, I gatecrashed a jam they had organised, started singing and Alunah was born - a couple of years later I started on second guitar. Dan joined on bass in 2013 after our previous bassist left.
I've been listening to both 'Call of Avernus' and 'White Hoarhound', both great albums. Which album would you say best showcases the band in your eyes?
Most definitely “White Hoarhound”. I don’t see anything wrong with “Call of Avernus”, I just believe that we found our sound on “White Hoarhound”, and the song writing is a lot better. We tried new things, and experimented more in the studio. I think we were more confident on that album, and believed in the songs more.
What is the song writing process for you all like?
Pretty easy going really, one of us (mainly Dave) comes up with a riff first, and we jam it out which generally tells us where in the song it will go. We play around with the structure and I put my vocals to it. I always know if the riff is a keeper, by how inspired I am to write the melody. We’ve never fallen out writing a song (yet!), we all have equal input and it’s a pretty nice process.
You've just signed a record deal with Napalm Records and have a new album coming out in 2014 and it's looking like you may have a busy year coming. How far along are you into recording and how is the new material coming along?
We’ve recorded some demo tracks for Napalm to get a taste of the new songs and direction, and they’re really happy with them. We’ve finished writing maybe 3 songs, and halfway through another 3 so it’s coming along really nicely. This is by far the most enjoyable album we have written, it’s cool to have some fresh input courtesy of Dan. We’ve already got a load of gigs booked, but have had to turn some down so we can really concentrate on the new album. We hate to do that, but at the moment we need to focus on writing rather than rehearsing for gigs.
What are some of your influences both musically and non-musical?
Music-wise we like a lot of the same bands, and also disagree on a lot of bands. I’d say collectively as a band we try not to be too influenced by other music, but it is quite difficult to avoid. We love a real mix of bands such as Black Sabbath, Heart, Led Zeppelin, Soundgarden, Opeth, Iron Maiden, Type O Negative, BB King, Orange Goblin, Electric Wizard and Acid King. Personally I’m really loving Jex Thoth, Rose Kemp, Monolith Cult, Witch Mountain and Purson at the moment. A couple of us are interested in such non-musical subject matters as paganism, the occult, nature, mythology, and English history etc
When you first started as a band, how hard was it to get your foot in the door of the music business to the point where people were starting to pay attention?
We found it pretty hard to get our first gig, but once we’d done it we played anywhere and everywhere, we weren’t picky! There weren’t as many “stoner” and “doom” promoters then, so we were playing to general rock and metal fans. Our 3rd gig was supporting doom legends Trouble; we were shit but it was an eye opener for us and we learnt a few lessons from it. Not long after we supported Paradise Lost and went on tour, but we had no interest from labels. So, Dave and I set up Catacomb Records to release the debut Alunah EP “Fall to Earth”. We released that EP, a 7” vinyl and debut album through Catacomb. It really helped us get our music in front of fans, established labels, as well as the press. Any band thinking opportunities come easily needs to seriously change their mindset, you’ve got to be pretty lucky to come from nowhere and get on a big tour, or label. Saying that, I prefer the way we have done it - the more shit you go though, the more you appreciate the good stuff!
What in the music business would you change if you had the chance to do so?
Well the main thing we noticed when we toured Europe last year, was the sheer amount of people coming out to the gigs. We were also shown amazing hospitality from the promoters, and paid well for our time. Some of the gigs we play in England are poorly attended (for example, the High on Fire and Saint Vitus gigs in Birmingham that we did), and in some cases we have to fight just to get some petrol money. We work with some awesome promoters, who really do work hard and spend a lot of their own money to put bands on... for hardly anyone to turn up! A friend of ours loses money a lot of the time, but loves promoting so continues to do it. So, a bit more consideration and support for smaller bands and promoters over here would be nice. Napalm Records is the 4th label we’ve been on (Catacomb, Nasoni Records and PsycheDOOMelic Records), and we’ve always been treated very fairly on that front, it’s just the live situation in England that winds me up at times. I’d also like to stop people in bands moaning on Facebook hahaha. If no-one’s booking you and/or releasing you, put your own gig on / release your own music! Quit whining!
What advice would you give to a band that is just starting up trying to break into the scene?
Don’t be too eager to play a gig, make sure you sound great before putting yourself in front of people. Also, don’t expect opportunities to fall into your lap, you may have to DIY for a good few years before anyone does anything for you. Don’t do it for the fame or the money, that’s bullshit! Do it because you enjoy it, you won’t care how long it takes then! If you work hard enough, and believe in yourself good things will happen… eventually!
Source of Interview: http://tragedyaxe.blogspot.de/2014/01/soph-day-of-alunah-interview.html