Interview: Fire, Said The Albatross
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What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today? Caleb: “I have always been into music in someway or another. Even when I was very young I was making up songs and as I got older I had done solos for school and church, but honestly it was really rap battling online that got me into making my own music, but without music I really don’t know what I would be pursuing because music has always been such a huge part of my life.”
What do you like to do when you're not playing music and how does that influence your creativity? Caleb:”I play a lot of video games and TTRPGs and the story, visuals, and fantasy elements of those games really help to forge our story elements which I try to capture in our lyrics and promos”
How long has your band been around? Our band has been online official since 2014. We have had a lot of ups and downs, member changes, and directional shifts, so most of us feel like the band became official in 2020.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music? We are based out of West Michigan and the scene here, back when people could go to shows, was absolutely booming and a lot of close friends were blowing up, getting signed, and touring and a lot of us all talked or had interwoven band members so we all were able to share knowledge and connections with each other
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you. Douglas: "The band's name initially came somewhat randomly. I don't even remember where I had first heard of an albatross. I just remember it sounding like a really cool word. I felt that it was important to have a band name that was unique and easily findable. So I started with wanted to name the band, "An Albatross". However that name is already taken (Awesome band. Super weird). I ended up coming across some folklore behind albatrosses. A poem titled, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner", by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It essentially tells the story of a ship that is being followed by an albatross, which was thought of as being a good omen. However, one of the ship's crew shot it down, thus cursing the ship. I took it as something like, "what appears as one thing, ends up being another". Similarly to how some things in life may generally be considered a "good" or "bad" thing, but for you, or me, or anybody else they really wouldn't be. So the "Albatross" represents the uncertainty of outcomes in life, and the things it "Fires" at you through it. The band name still does represent that for me, but it does have deeper meaning now. As when the band was first started, we weren't a concept band. That was an idea that James and I came up with to do way later on in our musical endeavors. If the day were to come where we knew the band was coming to an end, we wanted to finish it all with this grandiose conceptual album. I also don't really remember how it changed from that, to "we should just be a concept band"."
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played. Caleb: “The best show I have ever played was a EP release show and we were able to sell out one of the most sought after venues in our area on a sunday night, the worst show I have played was a bar where the sound system wasn’t quite right all night and the crowd just wasn't into the style of music that any of the bands were playing”
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven't already? Caleb: “My favorite venue to play at would be either the stache or the pyramid scheme in Grand Rapids both have amazing staff and a fun atmosphere, I would have loved to have played at warped tour but that unfortunately ended.”
If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket? We would love to do a show with Of Machines, Dance Gavin Dance, Hail The Sun, and Circa Survive
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band? There will be a lot of ups and downs so make sure you have a team around you that you love being around and will always have your back when times get tough.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be? Take your time. There is no need to rush things just for the sake of having them out and hold on to things until the time is right if you have to.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
All of our songs are like our children so that is a bit tough, and with each new track it’s like sending a new piece of us out into the world so I think we would have to say the stuff we are currently working on mean the most to us because it is the freshest in our mind and hearts.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most? Favorite song to play is a bit tough as well because for each member there are different songs that are particularly fun, but as for which gets requested the most probably Poolside Parrot and Alzheimer's eyes
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music? Our songs are mainly written by drummer and founder Douglas Bishop. He writes the skeleton and the rest of us supply the flesh, blood, and muscles. Our songs are about a fantasy world we have cultivated over the years and the trials and tribulations of our protagonists, but hidden within every song is a bit of real world commentary and emotion for people to relate to.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music? We like to write in a way that portrays the story of our concept world. We like to write about great adventures as well as world building with our music, but we also like to add more subtle messages of emotions and themes for people to relate to.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them? Yes we are very close, basically like family, so sometimes we have disagreements or want to go different directions within the band but at the end of the day we all know we love each other and that we just want to do the best for our group so we talk things out and try to compromise
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming up? We have a lot of big things coming. We are working on a lot of new music, new art, new merch, and some fun fantasy based things that will hopefully be a surprise to all.