Interview: Jano Alek
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
An inner feeling, since I was a young child I have played the drums, enjoyed singing at the school and did well in music class. When I was a teenager, I met a rock musician and wanted to become a rockstar.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I often visit nature, in solitude take time to meditate and think, this somehow comes back to me later, I have fresh ideas and new compositions begin. Otherwise, reading inspires new lyrics.
How long has your band been around?
Since I was fifteen, I have been in different bands and played different styles, touring extensively back home. My chief band was together from 1998 until 2012, the last concert we had, We worked loosely, coming together and apart, but now, since I arrived in Canada, I have been working on solo projects.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I am now based in Montreal, the past seven years hasn’t influenced me too much, my original culture is the main source but the diversity of genres and styles here is something I appreciate. It has opened my eyes a little.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
I work now under my artist’s name, all my projects are under Jano Alek.
Tell me about your most memorable shows
One of the strangest was in 1999, a major show for me, where a man in the audiences stage dived, and no one caught him! The guy spent a week in hospital suffering from memory loss.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I haven't played in any major venues in Montreal, but I would love to play at les Places des Arts in the summer, an open air concert, or Metropolis.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
System of a Down, or Muse.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Follow your heart and don’t sell out. To my younger self, work more on original materials, I wasted too much time on covers.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Again, to work more on my own creativity and produce original songs, that was there, but in Syria, people only were really interested in promoting or listening to established or recognized music. There was no market for the new.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
“Big City”, which deals with starting over, something that relates to my being here, and although it isn’t released yet, “Magical Part”, it is about love, lost love and failing. It will be out in the new album.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
“Green” , the opening chords are complex, the switch in scales and movement is orgasmic, it is also the one most requested.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
As a solo artist today, daily life and daily suffering. The experience of war back home, relocating to a new country, the sense of starting over, loss of love, these are the main things.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Don't give up, despite all the shit in life. To find happiness, your own happiness. Wait for love, it will find you.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Luckily I don't have a band to compose or record with, I do that alone. I get mad at myself sometimes.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I am putting everything into releasing the new album, the compositions and material is there, I have worked very hard on that, however, I am still figuring out the best way.