Saturday 18 March 2017

An Interview with ALASTOR

We did the interview with Norwegian band Devil just few days ago, so it’s natural to continue with their Swedish neighbors Alastor for which debut album “Black Magic” was released by Twin Earth Records recently.

Our chief editor Steve already reviewed this record but I invite you to take a trip deeper in the blurred and fuzzy realm of Alastor’s hypnotic and highly psychedelic doom. Their guitarist H is our guide tonight.

Hi H! Thanks for the time you find to answer my questions. There aren’t many facts known about the band, so how did it all started?

Alastor started like any other band really. We started rehearsing in the summer of 2016, did our first gig a few months later and recorded our first EP in late 2016/early 2017. Nothing special really.

Well, I didn’t find information of Alastor’s current lineup, so who’s on board? What’s your musical background?

We have all been active in bands before Alastor but none who are relevant to Alastor. Who’s on board or who isn’t is not as important as the music itself. Although I can tell that music has been a huge part of our lives as long as we can remember. Whether it’s playing an instrument, listening to a record or seeing a band live. It’s what gets us through the day.

I found 7 heavy bands named Alastor, and I can understand why this name is so popular. How did you choose it? Did you have other variants back then?

Alastor was the first name we came up with when the band took form. We knew that there were other bands that shared this name but none of which bare any resemblance to our music. The name ”Alastor” can be translated to ”enemy” or ”avenger” so we thought it was suiting to our music. Alastor is in many ways our way of getting back at society.

Twin Earth Records is going to release your debut album “Black Magic”, what’s the story of your relationship with the label?

Twin Earth Records contacted us soon after the digital release of the track Black Magic and wanted to release the other tracks on the label. We felt that the label understood us and the direction we wanted to take as a band so we thought that we would fit right in with the rest of the Twin Earth family.

Alastor – Black Magic

The album consists of three massive heavy songs, how long did you work over this material and how did it take this form?

The songs have all taken shape in our rehearsal. Hours of jamming and jamming to get a form that we feel satisfied with. In a way all songs form themselves over time, the hardest part is to know when the songs are final, in some cases they never are. The song Black Magic was in fact the easiest song to write as it almost wrote itself. I guess the dark energies worked through us on the day that we wrote that song.

I guess that we can tag Alastor as psychedelic doom band, so what are your main “psychedelic” and “doom” influences? What does inspire you to write this sort of music?

Contrary to what you might think we are not huge connoisseurs of doom music, sure there are exceptions but overall there are not many new bands in the genre that we feel inspired by. I think the main thing that drives us to play this kind of music is the feeling of trance we get when we jam our songs in the rehearsal. There is something extremely soothing and hypnotic about standing in front of a high powered rig and drone on one riff for hours and hours. Maybe we are all just to slow and lazy to play death metal. As for psychedelia, Pink Floyd and Camel are huge inspirations for me.

As it seems that you prefer really distorted sound… well, what do you find appealing in sounding like that?

Well the quickest answer to that is that it just makes the music more analog and alive. We don’t strive to achieve perfection when it comes to musical skill or sound, we’d rather have a breathing sound with lots of distortion and feedback. In a way you could say that there's an ongoing struggle between us and the sound emitting from our amplifiers. We are just trying to tame the beasts within them and I think that has a certain charm as the songs will always sound slightly different each time we play them.

Black Magic” is the name which is natural for heavy doom music, but what does it mean to you? Do you believe into it yourself?

We wanted a short and concise title for the album. We already had the song ”Black Magic” and thought about naming the album something else but decided that the title in many ways symbolize what we wanted to create. What it actually means to us is something that we all have a personal bond with, something that we are all interested in. Let’s leave it there..

What kind of message do you put in your lyrics? What are your songs about?

We don’t try to limit ourselves in what we feel falls under the moniker of Alastor. Some of our lyrics deal with very personal experiences that we have gone through. It’s a very cheap kind of therapy really.

Photo by Karin Haglund

What are your plans for 2017?

Write more songs and play as many shows as we can. That and watch society crumble around us of course. Alastor takes up much of our time but this is what we all want to do even if it consumes us.

Words by Aleks Evdokimov and H