“ALASE” Interview by David Maloney
Hello, I would like to start off by thanking you for joining us for an interview with Metalheads Forever Magazine. How are you? How are things in the world Of Alase?
Thank you for having us! We have definitely enjoyed your Facebook groups and from them we have been getting a lot of new friends who live all over the planet and share the interest to great music!
At the moment we are preparing a new song called Vielä (“Still” in English) which will be released some time during this spring. This song will be released with our first real music video of which we all are very excited about. At the same time the rehearsing for the upcoming live shows will slowly start to take place. First individually and then as a whole group. We will take our time and are in no hurry about rushing to the stages. More information about shows will be released later.
I understand you are from Finland, For a small Country such a diverse Metal scene Commercial and Underground. What is your opinion on the Music scene in finland and how has it helped you and your vision with Alase?
For the small size of our country we really have amazing amount of bands and also many bands that are well known all over the world. Many times we have been surprised how highly these more well known Finnish bands are appreciated among metal fans globally. It also helps us to get interest even though we are still very small band and have existed only for a couple of years. We feel a bit that the metal music scene is bloated in Finland and even though the quality of music is very high still there are not that many bands that sound really original. We wanted to do many things differently. Maybe more about that in later questions!
You are considered a “Project” band, is this an accurate statement? If so can you explain to our readers what this means in terms of Alase as a band.
Alase started with the idea of making just a few songs sometimes just for fun and you could well call that phase a ”project band” with no further plans. As time went by and people got more interested about our doings things got a bit more serious in a way that we started planning on a larger scale. The mindset of a project started to transform shape to a real band. This is what we think now even though we are not yet a live band and have never played all together. Yeah – even until today we haven’t had even one band rehearsals!
Alase has such a diverse sound and people like to categorize everything and label everything, it’s a simple truth. Where do you consider yourselves in this melting pot of Genre Mongering or better said what Genre do you consider Alase to be? I dislike this generic type questions, I’m sure you get it all the time but I have to ask due to the complex and unique sound you possess. I want readers of this publication to get a good idea of the band and sound encase they haven’t heard you before.
We have defined our musical being with sentence “Atmospheric metal in Finnish language” – we know that it does not define so accurately about our genre. In a way it is good because it is damn difficult to tell what our exact “genre” would be. Maybe it is easier to say that our music is a diverse mixture of many different metal genres and also music outside the big block “metal”. We don’t want to limit our creative process to some certain thing. The easiest and fairest would be to say that most of our influences come from doom metal and progressive metal. But then again we are not either of them accurately.
From the music I’ve heard so far which I loved, you are very melodic and atmospheric , very ambient yet other material very heavy and riff driven. How did you decide to take this approach and write such complex and articulate songs? My point being most bands take the sex, drugs , rock n roll approach , while you guys even as a young and up and coming band sound so very mature and very intelligent, very tight. You sound like you have played together for years. How do you keep things so tight so together? Where do you find the inspiration for your music? Who does the writing , is it a collective effort or more individualized?
Genre breaking diversity in music is something that both song composing guitarists (Janne Lunnas & Mikko Häkälä) have been highly influenced by for years. We have listened to wide variety of bands and taking influences from here and there which mirrors to our current music. We feel free to be able to create music with absolutely no boundaries. This together with the fact that we have been playing and composing music for quite a long time together creates the formula for our music. Janne and Mikko used to play many years together in a melodic death metal band called Chromatic Dark and it is the key reason behind the existence and tightness of Alase’s music. In that band we realized that we have very similar thinking about music in general – about what we like and what we think that does not work. This helps a lot as in Alase everything is done remotely across Finland. Usually at first Janne and Mikko come up with a new song and when the overall frame for a song is ready we give it to the bass player (Ari Miettinen) and drummer (Janne Kusmin) to fulfill their parts. This way of doing our thing has worked surprisingly well.
All your songs are in Finnish , such a beautiful language. I love to research the meanings to your songs, as I elluded to earlier so wonderfully written. Any plans in the future to write and record in English? Or you stick with your already winning formula?
First of all – it feels so great to hear that our language sounds beautiful to you! We have been getting a lot of requests that if we could provide English translations about our lyrics – but it would be so difficult to make a translation that would do justice to Anni Aho’s lyrics in Finnish language. They are always with multiple different meanings and lots of lyrical layers. When we did our first song “Sanaton syytös” Janne did a decision that the lyrics will be in Finnish language because not even many metal bands here in Finland sing in our own language. And for ourselves the Finnish lyrics feels much more meaningful. But we are not going to limit what we can do and that is why we do not say that we will never do songs also in English language!
I understand you alternate Lead singers on each track, very interesting concept, this idea brings a lot of extra versatility and obviously works well for you. Who’s idea was it for this approach? Are you planning on staying the course of alternating front men or will you one day go with a full time lead?
Janne came up with this idea as we think that the vocals are the most important factor on how the song will work. This way we are able to get the most suitable vocal style and sound on each composition. Markus Hirvonen has now had the roles of all vocals on song “Utopian hellimät” and backing vocals on “Kidukset” where the leads were sang by Mikko Kotamäki (Swallow The Sun). It seems that there will be even more of Markus’ vocals to be expected on songs to come in the near future. But we don’t have any plans of having a full time lead vocalist.
You guys record remotely since all the band members are spread out across Finland. Can you tell our readers how this is accomplished. Explain how such riveting music can be so well produced from such distances apart?
Janne and Mikko have been making music for so long time together before Alase so that they have so good symbiosis and understanding how each other is thinking. Sometimes there are some small clashes but we have come over those pretty easily. Each guy records their parts at home – all the string instruments are recorded in DI signal format so that our mixing guy can make the actual final sounds by reamping. Janne has also done some final sounds at his home studio with some hi-end plugins. We have been blessed with amazing other musicians – Ari Miettinen is a great bass player! Before Janne Kusmin (Kalmah) we had another amazing drummer Juuso Backman (Throes Of Dawn) with us helping to achieve our vision with our music. And one very important factor is that Ari-Pekka Repo is also talented musician and he has been mixing and mastering our home recorded material from the first release – making us sound like Alase!
In closing, what’s in store for 2017? More new music? New album? Any chance you may get together for some sort of tour or festival anything of that nature?
The year 2017 will bring some new Alase songs to be released. One single release is planned for the spring and probably also a collection of multiple songs will be coming out later this year. As spoken, the live performances are still yet to come and we’ll make sure everything is ready for the shows before doing any detailed plans. It’s hard to say when this will take place, but not before the end of the year for sure. The smaller clubs are the one’s to start with.
David Maloney / MHF