Alunah wouldn't think twice

Here is a interview with Jake and Sophie from Alunah from November last year.

First of all I have to say the "psych doom" tag seems to fit you but
I also hear a lot of late 60's Psychedelic influences also. Are any of
those bands and influence and if so which bands?

Jake: Well we've pretty much adopted the "psych blues doom" tag… I'm not
really sure where it came from but I think it suits us pretty well. The
"psych" thing mostly comes from Soph's contribution to the band.

Soph: Yeah I'm in love with the psychedelic style, whether it be the
art of the poster artists or the music, and even though I wouldn't put
us in the same category of say 13th Floor Elevators or The Grateful
Dead (even though If I had my own way then who knows…), I'd like to
think that some of my influences shine through. I would love to have
been in San Francisco around 1967… or Paris around 1895, both exciting
times and areas for psychedelia.

The one thing that sets you apart from other bands is female vocals,
which makes a refreshing change in the world of Doom and Stoner Rock.
What is the general reaction you get from people regarding this?
Jake: Well it's definitely been a talking point. Some people love it,
some hate it but hey...we feel it works and more importantly we are all
friends…this is what ALUNA is so take it or leave it is the attitude.
Obviously we would prefer if you take it (laughs).

Soph: We've been criticized for not being true doom (whatever that
is??) and it's a bit of a joke with the band to be honest, the people
who matter to us are the ones who listen to our music with an open
mind. A lot of the time, the doom heads prefer the music to the vocals
and the classic rock / stoner heads like the vocals but would prefer a
less heavy sound. We get a lot of, let's say, mature fans – generally
people who have grown up with Sabbath and Zeppelin, which is pretty

Speaking of vocals, I love the lay back approach to singing that
Sophie has. It gives the music a serene quality, was this something you
set out to achieve or did it just happen naturally?
Jake: Naturally really. I don't think we have had a master plan other
than we wanted to have "songs" and maybe try a stand out a little from
the crowd for better or worse (laughs). We know we aren't re-inventing
the wheel and but it would be nice to think we kinda have our own
sound. I think all of us are improving with our own instruments and so

Soph: Thanks, I'm not a balls out, loud, in your face singer and even
though my voice has developed I've never trained it so the voice you
hear is just how I naturally sound. I think the contrast to the heavy,
doomy nature of the music makes my voice appear even more laid back.
The contrast has happened naturally, but we're happy with it.

You come from a famous part of the UK for Hard Rock/Metal, is this an inspiration for you?
Jake: Well I guess I kinda take it from granted about how cool it is to
come from the same region as Sabbath, Priest, Napalm etc. If you stop
and think about it then yeah it's a really positive thing to be able to
say you come from that area. To be honest though I think the local
scene is pretty shit now in terms of both local bands wanting to do
something even 1% original and turnouts to gigs for anything other the
emo or deathcore/hardcore/applecore or whatever the "in type" of music
is at the moment. Having said that there are a couple of new venues
recently opened up in Birmingham so maybe that will help get people out
to see live bands.

Soph: Lots of people who live outside of the UK always point out that
it must be really cool to come from The West Midlands and we never
really think of it… it would have been cooler for us to have been
around in the late sixties / seventies when we would have played
amongst the legends. Robert Plant occasionally pops up at our
guitarist's other band's gigs, Zeppelin are my favourite band so
hopefully one day he'll come to an Aluna gig, Napalm Death practice in
the same studios as us, we see Lee Dorrian of Cathedral around at gigs,
Slade used to play my local town hall and I see Roy Wood from Wizard
down the supermarket (laughs) so I suppose it is pretty cool!!

The "Fall to Earth EP" has been getting some great reviews, are you happy with the reaction so far?
Jake: Yeah mostly. You can't please everyone all the time and we've no
desire to but it is nice to have the positive feedback. I think the
album will be step forward again though - we can't wait to do that.

Soph: It's always nice for people to appreciate your work especially
when so much time, effort and money has gone on it. The EP was a vast
improvement on the demos and the next release will be a vast
improvement on the EP.

I am a big fan of vinyl and I read somewhere that the EP is going to
be re-released on Vinyl on Nasoni Records. Any more news on that?
Jake: We're due to record the extra bonus track "Halo" mid November for
it so hopefully Nasoni will get it out early '09. No date set in stone
yet though. I think it's planned to be a ltd 10" release so that sounds

You played with some killer bands, is there any one band or gig that stands out above the rest?
Jake: Well the "big" bands that we've played with have never been
anything other than 100% really friendly & encouraging towards us.
To have guys from Trouble & Paradise Lost say they enjoyed your set
is obviously a bit weird but they are conversations we'll remember for
the rest of our lives.
The gig that stands out for me though was the one put on by Ninehertz
(kinda like the UK version of where we supported Toner
Low in Sheffield. It was prob the best we'd played and gone down in
terms of a stonerish/doomy kinda crowd and I think that gave us heaps
of confidence in terms of moving forward and forgetting any negative
crap after playing to two men and a dog propping up the bar in

Soph: Yeah Trouble, Paradise Lost and Orange Goblin were the best gigs
for me in terms of how we played and how friendly and accommodating the
bands were, I don't think I managed to say a lot to Trouble – far too
star struck, I let Jake and Dave do the talking!! The Toner Low gig was
amazing, I hadn't really heard of them before and they blew me away.
One of the top gigs for me was in Bristol courtesy of Land of Nod
Promotions, we played with our friends and label mates Grifter, we
invaded each others sets and it was a really fun night!! We now have
the attitude that it doesn't matter who you're playing with or where
you're playing, play it like it's your last!!

Tell us a bit about inspiration for lyrics?
Soph: Mother Nature is at the forefront of my inspiration; she's the
driving force of everything we do and how we feel on a day-to-day
basis. All of the songs are pretty happy and positive, the only "dark"
song I have written is called "Call of Avernus" which is about a
poisonous lake in Italy whose fumes are so toxic, birds are believed to
fall right out of the sky… I thought that was pretty amazing so it
became our "dark" song (laughs).

What is the scene like in the UK for this style of music? Are shows easy to get and how often to you like to play live?
Jake: Mixed at best I'd say. There's like a circle of venues/promoters
throughout the country that will put the decent shows on but I've been
to some where I wonder how they get anywhere near to breaking even.
Thankfully they care enough to keep putting the gigs on …otherwise we'd
all be screwed. We play live as much as we can though. So far this year
we've done about 30 gigs up and down England with some more in the
pipeline. It's the only way to get ourselves out there and we love
doing it.

Soph: Yeah we have promoters such as Land of Nod and Ninehertz who
specialize in stoner / doom, and venues such as The Old Angel in
Nottingham, The Civic Halls in Wolverhampton and The Barfly & The
Academy in Birmingham where bands such as High on Fire, Clutch, Orange
Goblin, Baroness, Brant Bjork, Hermano and Taint play. We hassle
promoters on an hourly basis if there is a show we want to play and it
generally works out for us.

Tell us about what you think is the best track on the EP and is
there a track that the crowd at shows seems to enjoy more than others?
Jake: I think "Spend My Time" is the strongest on the EP, we tend to
close with that live…but I have a soft spot for "Show Me How" as well -
it's really simple but really catchy. Saying that, the new stuff we've
come up with recently is a big progression in terms of writing…we
really want this stuff to be heard now.

Soph: My favourite is "Spend My Time", live I prefer "Circle of Stone"
or our new one "Call of Avernus", the one which seems to get the crowd
going is "Living Fast in An Ancient Land".

Tell us what are your favorite bands and what does the band listen
to while at home relaxing if you get much time to do that. You seem to
be pretty busy.
Jake: Well I'm lucky - I work from home so get to play music all day. I
like a lot of different styles really. Stoner/doomy stuff I guess is my
first love but it can be anything from Slayer, Entombed to industrial,
Electro.. whatever (Guess that means I loose my Doom credibility now?).
At the moment though I can't stop listening to The Dawn… a British Rock
band from the late 90's. They only recorded two six track mini albums
before splitting but are well worth checking out if you get chance… very
classic bluesy sounding with dreamy vocals.

Soph: I listen to all my music in my car on the way to and back from
work. At the moment I'm listening to a real mix such as Jeff Beck,
Janis Joplin, Goatsnake, Life of Agony, Acid King, May Blitz, Captain
Beyond and Jethro Tull.

What is planned for "Aluna" in the upcoming next 12 months?
Jake: Well from the 1st of January we'll be known as "ALUNAH" due to
minor irritation this side of the pond which we've had to take care
of!!! We've got the "Fall To Earth" vinyl coming out, a split 7" with
Queen Elephantine on Catacomb Records then we want to record the album
and do a stupid amount of gigs… that's the plan at least.

Soph: Pretty much what Jake said.

I would love to see you come to the USA. Is there any chance of that happening anytime soon?
Jake: We'd love to but there aren't any plans due to money/time/work.
If a tour came up and we could somehow find a way we'd jump at the
chance. We're open to offers !!!

Soph: I would LOVE to come to America, I've never been I know Jake and
Dave have, and for my first time to be with the band would be amazing.

Finally is playing at the Roadburn Festival something you would be interested in.
Jake: Yeah just to see the other bands would be awesome, I was watching
the Solace DVD from there the other day funnily enough. If we were
offered it we wouldn't think twice.

Soph: Yep, it would be ace. I would be happy with just visiting as I've never been. Playing would be awesome!!

Thanks for spending the time answering these questions,would you like to add anything?
Jake: Only a massive thanks to you for your help & time. Very grateful to people like yourself for caring.

Soph: Yeah cheers for the interest and your time.

Check out
Interviewer: Ed
Nov 9, 2009

Share this: