With members coming from bands such as SHALL NOT KILL, DEAD FOR A MINUTE and ESTEBAN, Metz/Lorraine based screamo band ALESKA have managed to release a perfectly flowing album that is as soothing as it is chaotic. Drawing from bands like ENVY, KIDCRASH, or RAEIN, they strike the balance, enfolding us in almost cathartic experience, enhancing its edges with well-thought content. We sat down t learn more about their experience, creative process and a lot lot more. Hear they arrangements grow by the song and scroll down to read the full interview.
Welcome gentlemen. Thanks a lot for taking some time with is. How are you? How are things going for you this warm Winter?
First, it’s a great pleasure to have the opportunity to be featured on IDIOTEQ . Your content is always amazing with a lot of cool bands so thank you!
Everything is alright, we are on a basis daily-routine, rehearsals, gigs, working on our next album
Warm winter or not, it’s always cold in our wasted / abandoned Lorraine (North-East of France) haha
Thanks for the kind words! :) Your new, epic self-titled record is obviously the main reason for our chat and one of its most striking features is the cover art. Please tell us about this stunning graphic and its relation to the core content of this offering.
There is no real relation between the music and the graphic. In fact, it’s Alexandre Goulet that created it on its own. We gave him total freedom with no special recommendations. He simply listened to our music and brought this awesome graphics. We were stunned when we discovered the cover art. The only thing was to respect our love for black and white stuffs. He is a great artist and he made this without our help. As he really felt our music, we couldn’t say no to his amazing work.
What shaped these narratives presented through the lyrics?
Lyrics act like a mirror of our lives, it tells how it’s difficult to simply be in a world like ours. Between every songs, there is a link. It’s like a journey, an iniatic roadtrip.
You want to fulfill something, an emptiness that rests inside your mind and your heart but you are not aware of it. It’s the beginning of our concept with the first song “Instaurer le vide”. This emptiness is a curse, a lack that can’t be satisfy but we try to fulfill.
It can be our metaphysical approach of time, the relation with our family or with the society or as a lack of confidence that put you away from the others.
But there’s still hope, you have to fulfill the blank, to try to be yourself with this distance that you’ve created. Even if you think and feel different in your state of mind. The last track “combler le vide” is like a remedy for this curse because you are the only one that can make a difference for yourself.
What is the significance of these stories? Can you expound a bit more on that?
Like we said it talks about the way to find our place in all this messy occidental world. There is something strange, something that doesn’t work in our societies nowadays. We want to fulfill something but we don’t know what exactly. We create our own blanks because we all are deficient in direction and inspiration.
When you are aware of this fact, it becomes more difficult because you’re against the grain and it is worst when you notice that you’re not fighting what you are supposed to fight, but self-awareness, to find a path in this world. At the end, it’s like trying to find who you really are.
What do you feel is the most fulfilling thing about the process of creating and unveiling this particular record?
I think, it’s two different things that you can combine together which make the special process of creating. It’s like an epic journey of creation ^^
First, we had a lot of issues with the rehearsal of this album. We recorded it one time but we were not satisfied of the mix and we decided to give up this recording.
Then, we created new songs, waited for a couple of months (doing some gigs…) and tried a new recording in our rehearsal room with Jeremy Borowski who recorded all our previous records.
Once we finished the actual version of the recording, we have started to search for labels. This steps took two years of work and allowed to change our way of music creation. Also, we were aware of what each other’s loved in the band or not.
It’s all this process, these steps that are the most fulfilling things.
Is there something exceptionally important you’d like us to take away with us after listening to this record and understanding it?
Only to be yourself everywhere and at every time of your life.
It’s difficult but that’s the point. In the song ” de la cime au cimetière” the last sentences talk about this idea. Don’t pretend to be someone else just trying to be yourself or you’ll get lost.
Ok guys, let’s go outside the record itself and wrap it up with more detailed information on your project in general. Does ALESKA let you be involved in other musical projects? What other bands are you still involved?
Because of the daily work, three of us have only this band to perform and create music. The last one, has a project named FEAR OF TOMORROW and he played in a band called APRES LA CHUTE ( skramz/ french emo screamo) that stopped its activities on October 2016.
But for example, Mike and Vince played in great local bands like DEAD FOR A MINUTE, SHORT SUPPLY, STRONG AS TEN, ESTEBAN…
And we could be interested in putting on the rail an emo/math-rock band with pop punk influences for two of us.
What led you to form ALESKA?
Nico and myself were playing in some local bands (MISTER E MACHINE, LOKHA, BETWEEN BLUE SKIES…) but our goal was to build a skramz band. We were without any drummer that wanted to make a band like that. So we decided to call Vincent that was playing with his skramz/screamo band ESTEBAN in 2011 (Mike was also playing in this band). He accepted and that’s how it started.
At the beginning, we were 6 in the band with three guitars and a lead singer but it has never work. The bassist, the singer and one guitarist left.
Vincent called Mike and he joined us in the beginning of 2012. They know each other very well, it was the best choice to take at this time.
And this is how our actual line up was born.
Can you talk about some of the inspirations that have influenced this specific mixture of styles you’ve decided to perform and develop with ALESKA? How have they shaped your work?
It’s very natural because we have all our specific influences. If we have a band in common, undeniably, it would be ENVY.
But for the rest, it’s more complicated.
Vincent, he loves a lot of old school prog (YES, GENESIS, KING CRIMSON, PINK FLOYD, DREAM THEATER, HAKEN…) with some trashy metal bands (PANTERA, SLAYER, MACHINE HEAD, SEPULTURA, EXTREME, SKID ROW) or trip hop music like MASSIVE ATTACK or PORTISHEAD.
Mike prefers some old school post hardcore bands like at the drive in or grunge bands like SOUNDGARDEN, ALICE IN CHAINS. He’s often talking about foo fighters too.
Nico and I have in common a lot of screamo or post hardcore bands, in a non-exhaustive manner it would be: RAEIN, SUIS LA LUNE, BIRDS IN ROW, I CREATE, ALGERNON CADWALLADER, SPORT, ALEXISONFIRE, GLASSJAW, THRICE, THURSDAY, THE GET UP KIDS and a lot more :)
You can add some personal listening to hip hop music for me, pop punk for Nico etc etc..
At the end, we don’t waste time to discuss about our influences, we are just trying to mix all of them without thinking about it.
For a new song, it’s very simple, a guy comes with a guitar/drum/bass riff, no matter, if we love it we will jam on it and it’s how we do to write.
What artists helped shape the current state of your local independent music scene? Can you expound more on how thriving it is and how it’s organized?
To begin with, I think putting a gig in France is more difficult that in others European countries. I don’t know why exactly, but what is real is that there are few places to put a gig. Especially, in Lorraine that is an old industrial area that has been forgotten by the rest of the country. Do you see a lot of great band making more than 3 gigs in a tour in France?
To answer the question, I think bands like AS WE DRAW, THE BRUTAL DECEIVER, BIRDS IN ROW, THE PRESTIGE, NINE ELEVEN, NO VALE NADA are the last one bands that can make great shows because they are all good and motivated. They inspired us in the last years and we want to preserve this actual French hardcore scene by playing at all the gigs that we can. For Mike and Vincent, it’s different. They were playing an amount of shows back in the 2000’s, they have known the hardcore scene and played with a lot of extraordinary bands like ORCHID, KAOSPILOT, COMEBACK KID, JR EWING and more. They are the most disappointed and think the scene is dying nowadays in France.
Do you think things are improving in the independent arts and DIY music in this fast moving times?
For sure! Awesome bands release some incredible albums every days (The last Casey or love your lifestyle for example), EPs or whatever, the German scene is truly alive with a tons of shows in squat. I’ve been to the Fluff fest for 6 years now and it seems that everything evolves in a good way. Every year, there is an improvement in the scene. Whatever this improvement is, it could be a great show of OATHBREAKER, JUNGBLUTH with new kick ass songs or more people that came or simply a feeling of going forward altogether with something better to live. DIY has never been so creative and alive but it’s a shame that in France things do not work like this except for a few survivors.
Has your approach to running a DIY hardcore band changed over time?
Not really. We feel that it’s become more difficult over the years to exist a band because of where we are living (France). But it never changed our friendship or our way to be a band. We are simple guys loving to play and we don’t care of what people think. That said, we would not be against some help for our future album or for a tour in Europe ;)
Ok, so lastly, where and when can we have a live chit-chat see you guys performing these amazing tunes?
When you want :)! If we could have some possibilities to play in your country, in Germany, Czech Republic or else, it would be a great pleasure for us :)
Do you have some dreamed placed you’d more than excited to go next?
The next big thing would be to make a tour and to record our next album. If we could do that we will be extremely satisfied! Maybe a new LP split ? Why not ?
Cool, thanks so much for your time. Feel free to add you final thoughts and take care. Best regards from Warsaw!
Thank you IDIOTEQ and all the persons involved, it’s always cool to read and discover new bands with you :)
Everybody can listen to our music on our Bandcamp , and follow us on Facebook.
We hope that next year will be more tolerant and peaceful with a better international context and that we will push our love for the music forward.
Take care, best regards.
Adrien and all the guys from ALESKA