Interview: At The Soundawn

Thank you for taking the time for this interview. When I first listend to your debut CD “Red square: We come in waves” I was just impressed! This was something I would not have expected on Lifeforce Records! How did you get there?

It’s a bit tricky! When we first sent our cds out to labels we received a feedback from Translation Loss Records, a very good label in post-core (Rosetta, Mare, Mouth Of The Architect…). They liked our stuff but couldn’t do anything for us at the moment. The thing seemed to be over, so we decided to release the record on a small label called UKdivision Records. Things moved on, we started live promotion, including a Sweden Tour in November 2007, we started writing new stuff and so on, usual band life. Then we got contacted again from Translation Loss Records. This time there was an offer but it was not from them actually. We discovered that one of the guys at TLR is also in Lifeforce America team and that’s where the deal came from. Lifeforce was offering us to release our debut cd and add us in its roster. When a big cool label, like Lifeforce is, makes an offer to a small underground band, like we are, you cannot deny. It’s your golden ticket to enter the Wonka Factories. So we signed the deal, retired the cd previously released and started working with this great guys!

What are your main influences on writing your songs? Is it more modern music, or rather old stuff? Nature maybe?

We try to get inspiration almost from everything happening around us: movies, art, music, life itself. Talking about music, we have many different influences but we can say that there just a few bands that changed our way of thinking music. As far as I concern these bands are Isis, Porcupine Tree, Jaga Jazzist, Burst, Sigur Ros. Anyway I am pretty sure that the other guys would have named other acts, because we all listen to very different kind of music. This wide musical substrate is one of the main ingredients to create our music.

What about touring? I think it is not the easiest thing to play these kind of songs live, is it? How do you manage to get a crowd silent and listen to your songs?

I was talking about this just yesterday. Listening to a cd is almost the opposite of listening to a live set. They can be both considered as journeys, especially with music like we play, but the way you approach to it is completely different. Usually live music listening is an experience you share with other people, you are not alone in your room, you don’t have an eject button, you cannot skip songs: listener is not in control of what is happening. That’s why in a live set you have to drive gently the audience into your music. This doesn’t mean that you have to start with quiet parts. What I mean is that first you have to expose, layer by layer, what you are playing, giving the audience a taste of how the show will sound, prepare the listeners to the trip. Once done that, the show must raise and grow song by song to the most powerful and crushing end you are able to create. In a record this is almost turned upside down. You have to conquer the listeners in the very first minutes, to avoid him from using your cd as a coaster. You don’t have time to create anything, it’s like conquering a lover with just one kiss. Well, if this is the nerdy-philosophical side of a live set, a less complicate point of view could be that you just have to use the right gear, play your song at best, do a great show and your music is gonna do the rest!

Well, okay, the band name “At the soundawn” is obvious! But what about the album name? Is there a story to tell about?

You are not the first one who ask us this question. Everything started when we were working on graphic for the band. We got in touch with a guy who used to play in To Kill and made great design for them and other bands. He listened to our music and we talked about our graphical tastes. He realized we were looking for something uncommon and maybe a bit weird. That’s why he came to us with something that could be also look like idiot: a red square. I have to say that it was a love at first sight. We immediately fall in love with it. It was iconic, unique and strong. It was exactly what we were looking for! Actually we loved it so much that we decided to add this concept to the original title that was only “We come in waves”.

Let..s get to the “crossfire” part of the interview (10 questions that are always the same in each interview):

At home:
In which way do you write your songs? Does anyone of you have kind of an initial idea, or do you just play on and on until something sounds interesting to you, or another way?

Usually I am the one who develops the first idea for the songs. I take them to the guys and then we start working on it together. Initially I used to take them songs almost ready to be played. In these last times we prefer to work more together, so I just bring very raw structures to be worked on.

Except playing music, what do you do in your free time?

I am still studying cinema at university, but I am graduating soon. Three of the other guys have a job and the last one just got his degree so he took a break and he’s simply enjoying his life. In our free time we try to do some sport, hang out together, go to concert… quite a simple life by the way!

Is AT THE SOUNDAWN job, vocation or hobby?

Fortunately it’s a bit of everything. It’s a vocation, because we need to do this. It’s something that keep us alive. So far it has been just a hobby, but right now we are trying to turn it into a job. It’s not easy but thanks to Lifeforce we have got what it takes to make it happen!

On the road:
Vegan, straight edge, or rather sex drugs and rock..n..roll? What does a perfect catering look like?

We eat everything, we drink alcohol and usually don’t use drugs and if we do it’s only soft one. Anyway we try not to misuse anything. The perfect catering has a lot of water, genuine food and beer.

If you could choose, who would be your favourite support band on a headlining tour / who would be your favourite headliner you would support?

I would say Isis as best headliner to support, but there are tons of bands that we would like to play with. The best supporter would be a (still) small band from our town called Donkey Breeder. They are awesome, check them out!

What was your greatest event live or on tour by now?

So far it was the first show of our Swedish tour in Orebro. A great show: great sound, good venue, great crowd! We did a good job, audience was satisfied, we sold a lot of merch and someone also asked for our autographs and photos… that it’s pretty weird for us!

Imagine you are stranded on a secluded island and your I-Pod has a defect. It only will play one song (which is none of your own ones). Which one?

I think it could be Symphony n. 9 by Beethoven. Something so layered and rich that is almost endless, you can always discover something new in every listening.

If you could start again at the beginning of your band, would you do anything different than you did?<

I would say no. So far things worked quite good, this path took us to Lifeforce and it seems like we could reach our targets!

How much does the music you are doing mean to you? Are there limits in what you would invest (time / emotions / finances)?

This is very personal and I can only answer for myself. I would sacrifice almost everything for music. Music is more than my life, music is me. I cannot be without it.

The very last question:
If there was a question you always wanted to be asked, but never were asked yet, what would it be and what would be your answer?

It would be this. I would answer like this.

Thank you for your patience, all best wishes for the future.

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