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Interview with Alienator
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I got into music at a young age. Bands like Metallica at first then Nirvana and the punk scene, It’s always been a big part of my life. Music doesn’t pay the bills, so I’m doing what I would be doing, which Is working as a social service worker working in harm reduction, addictions, mental health and homelessness for many years.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Music’s my hobby so when I’m not playing or writing, I listen to a lot of music or podcasts. I read as much as I can and y'know … try to get exercise and stuff. I try to expose myself to media that’s in some way inspiring or helps me relax and de-stress.
How long has your band been around?
I guess when we officially started was 2014. It was myself and a drummer, just a two-piece in the beginning. We had a couple of other folks float in and out from that time before we arrived at this line-up.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We’re based out of Thunder Bay Ontario. Interesting question. One way in which its influenced the lyrics is that our town has reputation for racism, specifically against Indigenous people. The police are super racist here and don’t investigate properly when someone Indigenous dies in our river system for example, which inspired a song called “Drag the River,” from our first album. Some of those themes carried over to the new album.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Alienatör means a disagreeable or unpleasant person according to the dictionary. That seemed to fit our music somehow.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Our first show back from the pandemic was off the hook. Lots of energy. The bar was packed and people were stoked. There was a whole new crop of kids who turned 19 (Canadian drinking age) during the pandemic and hadn’t gotten to go out to a show in 2 years. Everyone was super into it.
What is your favourite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Way play at a place called Black Pirates pub here in town a lot. There are a ton of places we’d like to play in the future like … other cities. Our first tour was supposed to be in March of 2020 but got canceled
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Roadburn would be fun.
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?
Take the music seriously but don’t take yourself too seriously. I’d tell my younger self to relax and maybe practice more.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
If you mean the whole band, I’m not really sure. Maybe “be patient, the pandemic will end.”
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Regrets, the title track is probably the most personal of the new songs. I like a song called the Priest a lot as well because it’s probably the most intense. Both gave us a chance to stretch our boundaries a little and expand on what we were able to do musically.
Which songs are your favourite to play and which get requested the most?
There’s a song on the new album called The Less Dead which is super fast and fun to play live. Drag the River from our previous album has stayed in the set cause it’s always fun to play.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
This is our first album writing together. We recorded demos for each other, which were anything from a couple of riffs to a completed song, and then we brought them into the jam space and worked on them and refined them as a band. I tend to write about social issues or personal issues. The current state of the world and the erosion of truth we’ve seen from the media and people in positions of authority has inspired a lot of this album.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Well, there are definitely some political songs. I don’t know that we have a message per se. Expressing feelings about the state of the world perhaps is part of it for sure.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Yeah, we disagree occasionally on small things cause we’re all passionate about what we do and want it to be as good as possible. This is the first album where we’ve had a lot of creative contributions from people other than myself, so sometimes I have to get used to other people having opinions. I think we are at a point where we trust each other's suggestions and can agree to try things. I think picking your battles is important. You have to be willing to compromise sometimes. There’s a give and take.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We’re going to be promoting this album as much as possible. Playing shows here at home and then getting material ready for the next album. Out-of-town shows would be the next logical step and we’ll talk about that as soon as it makes sense for us to do so. Thanks for talking to us.
Music Video - The Priest -
Single - Blood Red Blood