Hey Angie, happy new year to you! Yeah we had a nice time thanks - plenty of eating and drinking!
I gladly discovered you for the first time while writing the chronicle of your last album White Hoarhound released last September, your second full-lenght after Call of Avernus. How was the recording compared with the previous one? Who recorded and mixed the album?
Greg Chandler recorded both albums at Priory Studios in Canwell, on the first album he also mixed but this time around we had Tony Reed mix and master the album. Greg is in Esoteric and has worked with Sepencult, and Tony is in Stone Axe and Mos Generator, and has worked with St. Vitus so a great team to have on board. We spent a few more days recording this time around so we gave ourselves chance to fix anything that wasn't right, and also add more layers.
Have you spent two whole years for the composition and the recording, or have you make the most to take a short break to breath?
We did so many gigs around Avernus that we didn't have much time to write, I'd say the main writing went on mid 2011 right up to the last minute of recording in April 2012.
With hindsight, do you have a positive or negative opinion concerning your old productions? Is White Hoarhound your little favorite? It’s my personal opinion but Call Of Avernus seems slightly more sluge than doom, isn’t it? (Which does not displease me, I said!)
My favourite is definitely Hoarhound and I'd say the rest of the guys feel the same, but I'd be worried if our recent album wasn't our favourite. I still love Avernus, I get what you mean regarding the sludgier sound but Hoarhound is closer to our live sound - we spent more time making sure the guitars were a true representation of Alunah live. All in all, the only bad recordings I believe we did were our first demos back in 2006.
About old albums, your Fall To Earth EP released in 2008 generated as for that a much more fuzz, stoner sound. Can you explain this quite natural evolution over the albums to a darker and darker sound?
When we set out I don't think we quite knew what direction we wanted to give in, we have so many different influences that we seemed drawn to that generic stoner sound. Over time we got bored playing that style, and had much more of a connection to the darker sound. I got more into darker subject matters, and the music took on those subjects quite naturally.
From Fall to Earth, you were recorded on Catacombs Records. PsycheDOOMelic Records recently signed on for White Hoarhound, can you tell us more about this choice to change your record company?
Dave and I run Catacombs Records, originally we started it for Alunah as we had zero label interest. We then started releasing friends bands and Alunah gained the interest through doing that release. We have a distribution deal with Catacomb so our first release made its way into the shops, and we traded with PsycheDOOMelic... which is how they heard of us. Quite a nice transition, we're now working with Napalm Records and their sub label Spinning Goblin Productions who are re-releasing Hoarhound on 12" vinyl 25th January.
Recently noted as the "future of doom" by Terrorizer Magazine, we guess your Black Sabbath influencies without much difficulties! Aside this master of doom, who are your biggest musical influences?
Yep Sabbath are all huge influence but we're also influenced by Alice in Chains, Janis Joplin, Goatsnake, Acid King, Eric Clayton, Soundgarden, Led Zeppelin, Rose Kemp... the list could go on forever, we love so many different bands and artists.
Question for Soph : You sing and play guitar, are you in charge of the full composition, only of the texts or do you do this all together ?
My main job is writing the lyrics and melodies, Dave and Gaz write the riffs... Although, I've recently written a real beauty that I'm proud of! We all contribute to how the song fits together so it's a real mixed effort.
Female singing is still rare in doom scene, have you got rather good reviews from this choice in the band or have you ever been harmed by snatches of macho spirit? (God! I hope not!)
I think when we started we had snidey comments from keyboard warriors (those hiding behind their computer screens on forums), and probably still get them but those people don't concern me. At gigs we have only ever had positive responses from people, we did have one guy in Newcastle who was obnoxious about me but he was so pathetic it didn't affect me. There are so many woman doing this now, that hopefully a female singer in doom it's becoming 'normal' for people, and not something we have to talk at length about.
By the way, what do you think about doom scene today? Did you get real heartstoppers last 5 years? Maybe other groups from Birmingham?
I'll tell you a secret, I'm not massively into doom. I'm more into psychedelia, folk and blues - I'm not keen on straight up doom, I love it tinged with other elements. For me, the real heart stoppers in the past 5 years are have been Rose Kemp, Witch Mountain, Ray LaMontagne, Jess and The Ancient ones, Coven (who I only discovered in the past couple of years) and Witchcraft. There are plenty of heavy bands from the area but none that can really be described as 'doom'... Whatever that is nowadays?!?
Apart from your first bassist Andy, up to now there is no big line-up change ! Uncommon nowadays! The group does seem really close, can you talk about your first meeting, your beginnings? Are you old friends or did you cross your path during auditions?
Well Dave and I are married, and we met Jake at our local venue watching Daves old band Sonic Lord, it was quite a drunken encounter and we agreed to meet for a jam a few days later, we've been best of friends since! We met Gaz when we played with his band General. When Andy left, even though Gaz is a guitarist primarily, he expressed interest in joining us on bass and we all fit together really nicely!
I saw you got some gigs in the UK, did you get others in Europe, even on other continents? Which groups do you consider to have had the honor to play with?
As yet we've never played anywhere else in Europe or indeed any other continent. We've had offers to play in Australia but it was just too expensive. We're doing a European tour in April and May this year which is still in its planning stages, we're ending the tour in Denmark at the Heavy Days in Doom Town festival which were stoked to be playing. We've had the pleasure of gigging with some amazing bands in the past, some of whom are our direct influences such as Trouble, Paradise Lost, Witchcraft, Fu Manchu, Acid King, The Sword, Roadsaw, Orange Goblin, Nebula, Karma to Burn and Graveyard to name a few. We're very lucky but we do work very hard.
Quite a lot of European festivals are fond of the music you experiment, I think especially about the Desrtfest, do you have any forecast for 2013? I am convinced that the HELLFEST Festival in France would welcome you with open arms. Come on! We want you there!
Last year we played DesertFest London which was a great experience, playing alongside such greats as Church of Misery. Hellfest would be great but as yet were only confirmed for HDDT in Denmark, Copenhagen. There may be another announcement soon though, regarding another festival date on our tour.
The inevitable last word is for you! In any case, thank you for having devoted time to answer this interview and I hope to see you soon!
Thanks so much for taking the time to interview us. More info and tour announcements can be found at http://www.alunah.co.uk andon our Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/alunah.doom. Cheers!