Dooms best kept secret, Alunah, have just released their 3rd album, Awakening The Forest, via Napalm Records. I spoke with the woman steering this mighty ship, and we talked about the new album, and brutal things to do with hair straighteners.
As you do.
First up, how would you describe Alunah to a complete noob?
Soph: Well, I don’t want to say the ‘BS’ words, but you know, Black Sabbath. But if I’m talking to say, my mums friends, and they ask ‘what’s your band like?’, I’ll say ‘You know Black Sabbath? Kind of like that, but with a girl singing’. But if I’m talking to someone who knows their stuff, I’d say its a little bit doom, classic rock, psychedelic, even a bit pop. We’re labelled as a doom band, but there’s more to it really.
We once got described as Black Sabbath with Blondie on vocals. I don’t know whether that was reference to my hair, or what. *laughs*
So you’ve just released ‘Awakening The Forest’, how has the feedback been so far?
Soph: Yeah it’s been good. When we released our last album, it was all pretty much good feedback. The majority on this one has been good, but there has been a few criticisms as well. I think that when you send it out to a wider array of people you’re always going to get more of a mixture. Rather than just stoner and doom press, there’s been wider range going out, but the vast majority have been happy with it.
If it makes you feel any better, I really liked it.
Soph: I read your review actually, thank you so much for that.
No worries. Now,forgive me if I’m wrong, but this is your first album with Napalm, correct?
Soph: It’s the first album, but they did release the second on vinyl. But yeah, first with new releases.
How are you finding your new home?
Soph: Well, we released our first album on our own label, then the second on psychadoomelic, who paid for everything, did a little bit of press, but we did a lot of the work ourselves.
So it’s been nice this time to have someone invest so heavily in your band. Not just paying for it all, but also sorting out a tour and sending the album out to different areas of the press industry, it gives you an extra weight you didn’t have before. Some magazines and websites take you more seriously if you’ve got a label behind you, and that’s something we couldn’t of done by ourselves, but Napalm really helped us with that.
As a band though, we do like to do most of the things ourselves. We do most of the designs, most of the t-shirt printing, that kind of stuff. We book all the UK gigs, but it’s nice to have some of the jobs taken off your hands. They act like a, I really hate to say this, but a business partner, which they are really. I mean if I have this idea that I think is great, I can go to them and say “I’m thinking about doing this”, and they’ll tell you whether its beneficial or not. It’s free advice really, it’s like having an expert on your side that makes sure you don’t do anything shit. *laughs*
We interviewed you earlier in the year. Apart from the new album, what have you guys been up to since then?
Soph: We went to Europe for a couple of weeks, did some really good gigs over there. Getting the video sorted for the new album, as that’s something Napalm like to do. That was a big deal for us.
We also got a new bass player last year, he helped writing the new songs with us, but we also had to get him up to scratch with the older songs, because we obviously played them live. So just practicing as much as we can for that tour in October, and making sure everything was ready for that really.
What’s the plan going forward into the new year?
Soph: We’ve got a label from Canada called PRC, who approached us about re releasing the first album, as it’s sold out. That’s coming out in April with new artwork. White Hoarhound just sold out too, so they’re releasing that as well, also with new artwork, but that won’t be out until the end of the year. It doesn’t affect our relationship with Napalm, as it’s not new releases, so that’s cool.
We’re looking into a few tours, just looking into whether we can do them or not. It’s a bit crap really, as we can’t say anything until its officially announced. We’ve had a few announced in Scotland, and maybe Ireland, which will be cool, because we’ve never played there before. Then some festivals in Europe towards the end of the year, but they haven’t been announced yet.
Are there any bands you’ve played with, or are listening to that people need in their lives?
Soph: Some of the dates on the recent tour, we played with a French band called Mars Red Sky.They’re really well-known around Europe because they’re constantly touring, but they hardly ever come over here. I think they played Desertfest though.
Oh yeah, I got shown them a while ago.
Soph: Then you’ll know they’re incredible! I heard little bits before, but when I first saw them live, I was absolutely blown away. We did four dates with them and are looking into doing something together next year. They’ve become my new favourite band. We got all their albums on that tour, we’d play with them at night, then on the bus, we’d have the albums on rotation and completely immersed ourselves in Mars Red Sky.
There’s another band called Monolith Cult from Bradford, they’re incredible. I’m also in love with Hexvessel from Finland, they have the same singer from Beastmilk. I’m getting into a lot of neo folk bands at the moment, there’s loads of really cool stuff out there, and perhaps an indication as to where the new album is going to go.
Last question, it’s a bit silly, so you have been warned. Alunah have been entered into a trial by combat scenario. What’s your weapon of choice?
Soph: Defiantly hair straighteners, I don’t think enough people are killed by them, an incredible weapon. When I’m pissed off with my husband, I just snap them at him, then he behaves. Definitely my weapon of choice if I was wielding them. It wouldn’t be a quick though would it?
My girlfriend left hers open a while ago and I brushed my arm against them. Fuck me, that was painful!
Soph: *laughs* I heard this story once where a woman found out her husband was cheating on her. So she got her straighteners and shoved them up his bum, cooking him from the inside out. I mean, if you’re talking instant though, then they’d be useless.
Bloody Hell, that’s grim.
Soph: Your fault, you did ask. *laughs*
Granted. Although that’s an image I can’t get out of my head. I think I’ll end on that bombshell.
Soph: No worries. You’ll be having sweet dreams tonight then. *laughs*
‘Awakening The Forest’ is out now on Napalm Records.