DEATH ALLEY (EN)

– Hello and first, of all, thank you for ansewring to our questions. How has everything been lately into the DEATH ALLEY’s camp? How does it feel being about to release your second album?
It feels really good I can tell you. We’ve been working on it long and hard, and it’s taken some profound to get here. Having ‘Superbia’ here now feels like being re-born.

 

 

Photo by Lupus Lindemann

– You are named after a ZEKE album/song. To what extent does that represent DEATH ALLEY as a band? What does it mean to you personally?
I wouldn’t say we’re really named after Zeke, it’s not really meant in that way. But I like the reference because Zeke is a great band and Death Alley is probably my favourite album of them. I think the faint link to that high-energy, short banging music style of theirs is only very cool. It’s also present in our music, but it’s also a sharp contrast with our elaborate and calmer songs. I like that people who have an idea of our band because they think of Zeke can be very surprised when they first hear us.

 
– Your debut album came out in 2015 and in 2014 you had the chance of playing nothing else but Roadburn. What did that mean for the band? Did it open many new doors to you?
Playing Roadburn was really the real starting point of the band. We had played some shows before, but when we were booked for Roadburn we said to each other: let’s make 100% sure we have our shit together before that one! We threw away all the songs we had, except for two, and wrote a whole new set – which later that year became the album Black Magick Boogieland.

 
– In fact now “Superbia” is being released by Century Media. How did everything happen?
We met the guys from Century Media when they came to see our show at Freak Valley in Germany last year. They really liked the show, we had some beer and then some more beer and we ended up having just a very good night at the festival. When the personal click is there, you know it’s a good starting point. Even better when the label behind those guys is something like Century Media which can really give a good push behind your release.

 
– As I said, “Black Magick Boogieland” came out in 2015. I guess a first album is more like an experiment, a learning process. Do you think you are right now closer to your actual sound? What lessons did you learn from your debut album?
I like to see everything we do, in every phase of the band as an experiment and a learning process. We don’t pin down our music to one style, and in that sense we cannot really ‘discover’ our sound because part of it is that it should keep on moving. That keeps things exciting and fresh at all times.

 
– You have toured a lot during these years, how this help to shape your own identity as a band?
I think touring is the essence of being in a band. So touring a lot is a fat-track to shaping your identity – both personally, as a group and music wise. Your music starts to live when you play in on a stage in front of an audience, so when you can do that 40 nights in a row, it starts to grow fast.

 
– “Superbia” is an album that has a lot of different things: psychedelia, complexity, Funk, Punk, RNR, progressiveness, atmospheres, straight forward songs… But everything ala 60’s/70’s, it doesn’t feel overthought, it isn’t too long… It’s like the identity of the album has many sides yet strill being strong as a unity, and is also has different emotions so what emotion could you say are represented on the album? Those ones you channel or do you think can be transported to the listener. Those feelings or attitude you want your music to cross with.
Can I just take this question as a big compliment? Thanks a lot. Glad to hear this is how it comes across to you! Especially when you say it doesn’t feel overthought, I think it’s a very good sign because of course you write music, but it should in its core be an energy that you present through the music. And energy or emotion cannot really be overthought.

 
– I read the album was crafted after a somehow dark and not so good period. Would you mind to elaborate a little bit on this?
Well, let me just say about that that the roughness and difficulty of pulling through that period has been the fertile ground for the new album – the story is really embedded in the music of this album so I would let that speak for itself. I think that when you wanna go all the way, you should be prepared to also fall down all the way – the art is in turning that into new creativity if you still wanna continue going all the way.

 

Photo by Lupus Lindemann

– In fact it overall sounds more fierce, that Punk basis shines even more. Is every album you release a portrait of the moment you are in that exact moment on a pesonal/emotional level?
Yes, I would like to think that every release is a portrait of the moment. And maybe for that reason the fierce punk basis shines through a bit more on this one… Up to everyone for itself to connect the dots.!

 
– Songs as the single “Murder your Dreams” prove it, in fact you just released a video for it. What could you comment us about this single and its video?
The video is a perfect match for the song, in that it represents the pursuit of a dream which can also be the hunt within a dream. The feverish feeling of the video reflects the urge to run away while not having a clue of where to go. You cannot be murdered in a dream: you cannot really die in a dream, but what if the dream itself is murdered?

 
– “Superbia” is as earthly as it is spacey. This is why I said about having an identity with many sides. Are constrasts important for DEATH ALLEY?
Yes and no. Just kidding. Yes, I think contrast is what drives us and also what we try to do with encapsulating so many different styles and blending it together into an unorthodox combination of influences. If you keep surprising people, you keep them sharp and awake – and that is also true for us, the band itself.

 

– Anyway the album is pretty short, 50 minutes, so it has the old vinyl format so to speak, something I really like, as I can’t think of any song that is too short (if it is, then just play it again). Whas this something you were consciously striving for?
Not really. Music also writes itself to a large extent: the song itself dictates how long it should be. Sometimes the whole story is told within 3:20, and sometimes you need more than 12 minutes. And the freedom lies in letting that happen really. The album is just too long for one LP by the way, but we didn’t wanna cut out a song just for the sake of putting it on one piece of vinyl, so we decided to press it in three sides (A, B, C) instead. So the music overruled the format: function follows form!

 
– Though it has an epic 11 minute finale, just as you did on your debut with “Supernatural Predator”. Is this now a tradition of the band or something that just happens?
I refer to my earlier answer when responding to this one: I think it’s a risk to bind yourself to traditions of that kind. So the answer is: we shall see. It’s an option, but it’s not an obligation.

 

– Talking about such, how do you use to work on the writing process? Moreover you’re individuals with different music backgrounds and influences, what does this bring to DEATH ALLEY? And consdering this record has more Prog elements, even wider influences and I’d say all in all is more demanding in writing terms, was it any different to your usual procedure?

 
Some songs that you write require some practicing because they are more challenging or demanding indeed. Some others can be played in one go. But I think that will be the case in any process of writing so that as in itself is not too different from earlier writing processes.

Photo by Lupus Lindemann

– Even though they have been playing for you for a while now, this has been your first album with both Sander and Uno. What have they brought to the album?
Like I said, we take influences from anywhere and the style or sound of the band is not confined to one thing. So when new blood comes into the group, that also means new musical influences are brought to the table. We thrive on such new sources of inspiration. On top of that it feels like we have been able to stretch up the scope of what we can play with Death Alley with this line-up, so it’s broadened the scope of possibilities to have Sander and Uno in the band.

 

– In fact I really liked the bass sound on the album, it’s really present and delivers a lot of personality. Was this how you envisioned it? How did you record it?
Thanks! Yes, I think it turned out the way we wanted it to. The sound and the way Sander plays is just what the songs need. The way we recorded it was to borrow a bass guitar and an amp from Sander’s brother, put Sander with us in a studio and press ‘record’ – that guy can play..!

 
– Anyway the overall sound on the album is really organic and natural, it really depicts how you sound live, with that raw energy. In fact you worked again with Pieter Kloos for production duties. What are the pros of working with someone who I guess already may know your sound?
The main thing, apart from knowing that he has the skills to make the perfect sound is that you just trust the person you work with. Pidah is someone who is really nice to work with when recording, but also someone who has got taste, who has got his own opinion, and who is not afraid to present that opinion. When you trust someone enough, you can sometimes fare on his insight because when you’re in the eye of the storm of recording your own music, you don’t always oversee the total picture.

 

– With a lot of live experience and a different line-up, what’s left and what differs from the DEATH ALLEY that released “Black Magick Boogieland”?
Everything we did since before Black Magick Boogieland is still part of the band – and that includes the line-up changes. This is just part of the Death Alley path and defines what and who we are now. Sound-wise I’m very happy about how we do absolutely develop and expand, but how you can also still really recognise the fundaments in Black Magick Boogieland – that is a fine balance to find.

 
– You recently did a Spotify playlist with the “sources of your creation”. It has surpsised me a little bit to find WATAIN in there. How or in what sense have they influenced “Superbia”? Or is it more like a playlist with some of the music you have been listening to while working on your new wecord?
Those things go hand in hand. Sometimes the influence is less direct. Sometimes you’re not even conscious of the influence or you’re not aware of how exactly it affects you.

 

Photo by Lupus Lindemann

– All this about “Superbia” being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words?
Neat neat neat.

 

– You recently announced a European tour with Honeymoon Disease, what can we expect to see on those dates? In fact you’ll be back in Spain, where we oculd already see you late last year with Mantar and Kadavar, how was the experience like?
Last autumn was our first time over in Spain – and what can I say? It tasted like more! So we’re coming back.

 
– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Words are just words – it’s their meaning that gives them power. So when finished reading this interview, it’s time to play Superbia, play it loud, and play it again.

 

Tania Giménez
tania@queensofsteel.com

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