Altered Aeon interview (03/2005)
- Hi there! Some people may know that Altered Aeon is formed with some members of Theory In Practice, Scar Symmetry… but that's about it... Please please, tell us more!
Yeah, I hope everyone decides to check out our debut album "Dispiritism", that way you'll get an idea of what this band is all about! Kjell Andersson (ex.Azotic Reign) and I formed this band in 2001 and I recruited a friend of mine on bass called Niklas after a while. I actually played both guitar and drums in the beginning so we had some weird rehearsals back then (with pre-recorded drums), we weren't that serious about the whole thing around that time to be honest! In 2003 Niklas switched from bass to rhythm guitar and we recorded our first and only demo called "Light Creates Shadows", it was around this period we found the sound we wanted for the band and we became more serious about the whole thing. My friend and guitar-extraordinaire Per Nilsson recorded solos for the demo and he became a full member soon after the recording. We found a bassplayer in a guy called Tord (ex. Azotic Reign, now in Cardiac Arrest) but he left the band pretty soon, we found a replacement in Anders Hedlund (ex. Theory In Practice-session bassist) and that's the lineup we've had since then. We got some offers from some labels and Black Lotus records gave us the best deal so we decided to sign for them in mid 2003. In February 2004 we entered the Black Lounge studio to record our debut album "Dispiritism" and by April we were done recording and mixing. The album was mastered at Athens Mastering and Pär Johansson did the artwork (Scar Symmetry, Torchbearer, Satariel, Thy Primordial etc). In November 2004 the album was released and we're promoting it as we speak!
- The band existed since 2001 under the name Thrawn. Why did you change it?
Because we wanted a bandname that was more aligned with the lyrical content and there were also rights´ issues with the old bandname.
- Is Altered Aeon bound to remain a side-project, or do you have more definite plans for it, like other albums...?
I've never considered Altered Aeon a side-project, it is a real band and we definetly have plans to record more albums. I'm currently working with new material and I've done that for some time now, but we haven't rehearsed anything new with the band yet. There's actually enough new songs to record a new album right now but I think we'll throw away a lot of material cause the second album will only contain the best of the best!
- What do you expect from Altered Aeon? Has it been formed for you to express new feelings that didn't fit your respective bands?
We will try to take the band as far as we can obviously and we hope that everyone will recognize the uniqueness and brilliance of the band. Personally I wanted to form this band because it was a chance for me to have a lot of freedom as a songwriter, you know, and evolve in that area of music. I've always written lyrics for my bands and I've always played drums but in Altered Aeon I have much more influence on the musical side of the band since I pretty much write all the material. So Altered Aeon has been an important part of my evolution as a musician and I don't think I could have done what I've done with Altered Aeon in any other band. The whole thing has just been a blast!
- Like every respectable Swedish band, you've recorded at the Black Lounge Studios. Was it really the best choice for Altered Aeon, or did you just want to be seen with the metal bigwigs? ;-)
Oh, I didn't know that the Black Lounge studio was the new hyped studio in Sweden! If that's the case then I'm happy for Jonas, who owns the place. You know, when we looked for a studio to record our demo back in 2003 I was just searching the internet for some unknown studio that wasn't too far away and Black Lounge was the logical choice. I had never heard of the Black Lounge studio before I found the place through a search engine on the internet! It is absolutely true. And when the time came to record our debut album we decided to go back to that studio because we enjoyed being there and Jonas has become a personal friend of mine since then. We both play in Scar Symmetry as you may know.
- What kind of echoes have you received from the fans and the press so far?
There's been a lot of good reviews, Black Lotus even put some of the great rates of the album on their website so we must have done something right, he he. We're quite pleased with the reviews and it's cool to see that there is still a place in the metal scene for unique, unusual, technical metal.
- Can you enlighten us on the title of the album, "Dispiritism". Does it qualify the shit going on in the world today, or is it more on a personal level? Do you feel dispirited by anything?
Well, I would say it's about the shit going on in people's heads rather than the shit that goes on in the world. But maybe that's the same thing, he he. What I mean by "Dispiritism" in this case is that most of us are indoctrinated into a belief that makes us self-destructive and weak. We are told that feeling dispirited is normal, or at least it is a common way of dealing with life. We're fooled into believing that it is a normal to approach life in a dispirited manner, I think. I present an idea that we can break that negative chain and break free from the negative aspects of the collective subconsciousness of humanity and embrace a stronger world-view for ourselves. I feel dispirited every now and then as everyone else but I think it's important to analyze your reactions and the reasons why you think like you do so that you can shorten the periods of suffering and go into a more constructive place mentally.
- If I wanted to savagely sum Dispiritism up, I would say there are two sides to it: one is rooted in power/thrash, while the other sounds like typical Swedish melodic death. Which one do you prefer, and which one is the easiest for you to compose?
It's always hard to b objective about your own songs and the opinions regarding what we do vary a lot, it really depends on who you ask. I think that all the music has come naturally and there's not really anything on the album that has been harder to write than anything else. Songs like "Dispirited Chambers", "Patriots of Sin", "Dreamscape Domain" and "Transcendence Duology" is the oldest material on the album cause those were the demo-songs while songs like "Desensitizer", "The resonance of form in transition" were written right before we entered the studio. So I guess the songs sounds a bit different depending on which period they were written in, I have mood-swings in my song-writing and I just go with the ideas that comes up in any given moment!
- One of the highlights of Dispiritism is undoubtedly Kjell Andersson's vocal performance. The peculiarity is that with such an aggressive music, I would have expected a screamer, not a melodic singer. Was it (I mean the balance between the music and the vocals) something you had in your mind, or has it just come up with Kjell?
Yeah, you know, when I heard Kjell in Azoic Reign I immediately liked his voice and that was the reason I wanted to work with the guy. His voice has also inspired me to write more thrashier tunes than I would probably have done without his presence in the band. The vocals are basically just Kjell doing his thing, you know, he's more inspired and influenced by the old thrash vocalists rather than the death metal vocalists in all the neo-thrash bands you hear these days.
- Will we have the chance to see on stage, during a tour or a festival for example?
Yeah, we are open for offers as far as live shows go, if anyone wants to book us then just contact us through our website or something. We will do some shows here in Sweden in April-May this year and that's all we know right now.
- Do you consider the great number of Swedish metal bands to be a good thing, or do you think it's harder than ever for a young band to emerge? More generally, what do you think of the Swedish scene?
I think it's pretty easy to get signed these days but it is hard to get noticed through the stream of bands that keeps emerging. Most of it depends on the label's work, how good it is at pushing for their acts and promoting and all that. The swedish scene is really interesting, I think, there's a lot of really good bands coming up and I think that the underground is just as dedicated as ever. Metal is cool style of music because of the dedication of the fans, they are always ready to support.
- To finish, can you give us any news of your "main" bands?
Well, the latest news for Scar Symmetry is that we'll most likely sign to a very big metal-label soon, you'll find out which one in the near future. Scar Symmetry is also getting ready to play live shows, one will take place in Stockholm in April along with Imperious and Insision. Per has joined World Below recently and they have recorded their second album which is supposed to be released in April or something. That's about it at the moment!
- And the traditional last word for the fans...
Cheers to you all and remember to visit our website for constant updates and general info!
Many thanks to Henrik, Altered Aeon and Elias @ Black Lotus Records
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