Alpha Boötis Interview 26/4/21
MM: Can you tell us about your Band and whos your biggest influences
I’m Ozymandias, from the Montreal space disco synth metal Alpha Boötis. We’re a five-piece metal band with synths and saxophone. Our music fuses the bombast of classic prog rock with the grooves of 80s disco music and the intensity of heavy metal, all wrapped in lush synthesizers and science-fiction concepts. Our biggest influences are Queensrÿche, Coheed & Cambria, Daft Punk and Carpenter Brut.
MM: Where do you draw your inspirations and ideas from
Musically, we draw our inspirations from a wide range of artists, from David Bowie to Motoi Sakuraba (Dark Souls, Golden Sun and many other games), power and heavy metal, disco and electronic music (like Daft Punk, Kavinsky, Ratatat). We all have a really eclectic musical diet and it shows in our playing and songwriting.
Thematically, we draw from science-fiction movies and books more than anything else. All our songs tell stories set in a science-fiction saga we created, a world in which the Earth is unfit for life and humanity survives in a diaspora of colony ships, terraformed planets and space stations around distant stars.
MM: What would you say is your Band’s favourite song ?
We all have very different tastes; but the two genres that unite us all are heavy metal and video game music. The one song we all agree on, and have wanted to cover for some time is Megaloviana, from the Undertale soundtrack. It’s a zany and high energy song, and a potent earworm, and it’s a reminder of the great times we had playing that game.
MM: Plans tour and festival wise for 2021
Our hometown Montreal is still under a pretty restrictive lockdown, and we have no idea when venues are going to be allowed to host in person shows. We can’t even meet up to rehearse without jumping through public safety hoops, so we haven’t made any plans to play shows. We’re focusing all our efforts on writing and releasing as much music as we can and writing the stories that will accompany our 2022 album.
MM: What can we expect from you guys live
When we do resume playing live, you can expect the power and energy of a metal band, with a ton of synths, live saxophone and costumes. We have a ton of fun playing live and we try to communicate that energy to the crowd. Since our sound has evolved a lot from our humble beginnings as a two-piece synthwave studio project (more on that later) our live sound is quite different from the recordings. We’re actually going to be releasing a re-imagining of our first EP closer to how we play those songs live, with drums, guitar, saxophone and electric bass mixed with the electronic elements.
MM: What do you like best and worst about touring
Haven’t really toured, since our first plans to branch out outside of Montreal were thwarted by the pandemic last year. I do anticipate that the long hours in a car will be a burden for me and meeting a ton of new people in different cities will be the highlight.
MM: Which three Bands would be your ultimate touring buddies
White Crone, King Gorm and She Died In A Parking Lot. All of these bands are choice people, with a great work ethic and sense of humor, two qualities I feel are hugely important for touring musicians, and the blend of vintage heavy metal and synth based production would make for a varied but coherent concert experience.
MM: What's the most memorable concert you've been to (other than your own) and why?
Boris at the Ritz Bar Spectacle in Montréal, in 2016. It was my second time seeing them on the Pink 10 year anniversary tour, after catching them 6 days earlier in Philadelphia. The Ritz is a 240 capacity venue and it was sold out. I went with a dozen friends and by the end of the night, the venue felt like a sauna, we were all drenched in sweat and stood dumbfounded at the sheer brilliance we had witnessed. Boris are a force to reckon with live, and the way they built up the energy higher and higher throughout the night to culminate in a 10 minute wall of distortion and noise was majestic.
MM: What do you feel has been your biggest accomplishment so far with
We’re really early in our career, but I am really proud of our first full length record, Space Vikings & Other Stories. I poured my all into that record, and basically taught myself how to mix as I was doing it. We were flying by the seat of our pants, into the great unknown, and we managed to pull off a pretty cool record, in my not so humble opinion. The first steps are often the hardest!
MM: Which are your Two favourite Albums of all time?
Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories and In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3
I have a thing for concept albums it seems. Without these two records there would be no Alpha Boötis, and I know these albums inside out but keep returning to them for inspiration and enjoyment.
MM: Can you remember the first time you ever played live and how it felt to have people watching you?
Now this is a fun one! I mentioned above Alpha Boötis started as a studio project of two members; Frak and me. 3 days after we released our debut EP, in 2017, we got an email from a San Fransiscan band, Shark Jackson, who were coming on a tour 3 months later. They had heard our music on the Bandcamp new arrivals page and wanted to offer us the support slot on their Montreal show. We said yes, and promptly recruited Harakoa on keys and Jotunbot on drums, both longtime friends of mine (and former bandmates). We got the band show ready in three months, and played a 45 minutes set, half of which was covers, since we only had 20 minutes of original music.
A lot of our friends showed up, and they keep coming back to our shows, so we must be doing something right... I will always remember that night as the start of a great adventure. Seeing the people dancing and smiling to our music convinced us that we had found a cool sound that we could explore a lot more.
Thankfully, a friend videographed it for us, so anyone can watch our seminal show on Youtube.
MM: Growing up which Bands posters did you have on your bedroom wall.
I had big Iron Maiden and Ne Obliviscaris banners (still do) and a few posters from Metal Hammer, featuring Meshuggah, Tesseract and Coheed & Cambria if memory serves. Never was big on posters, I like the look of cloth banners a lot more.
MM: Who do you think influenced the world of Metal / Rock more than any other person?
Ronnie James Dio. He brought the fantasy and the epic storytelling that was lurking beneath the surface of many metal and proto-metal songs to the forefront and gave us the Devil’s Hand! He’s the voice I think of when I hear the words Heavy Metal.
MM : What's the most important thing to the band right now?
We worked up a huge backlog of songs during the past two years, as the pandemic pushed recording plans and release dates over and over. As such, our main focus is finding a way to record and release all of these songs with our limited budget and while under lockdown.
MM: If you could do a cover of any song which one would it be and why?
We love a good cover, and we always include one of them in our live sets. The one song I’d love to cover but still haven’t found a correct way of adapting is Die Erlkönig, by Franz Schubert, which I think would make an amazing metal song. I just haven’t managed to write an adaptation that makes the original justice.
MM: Tell us why we should buy and listen to your Band
There’s nothing quite like us in the metal scene! Listen for the soaring saxophone lines and vintage synth vibes, or for the rousing power metal choruses and galloping drums, or for the disco grooves, and stick around to hear the science-fiction stories!
MM: Four words to describe your Band
Space Disco Synth Metal. Says it all right on the tin.
MM: Final Words for your fans and our readers
Thank you for reading this interview! It means a lot to me that you are paying attention. To our fans, old and new, I’m extremely grateful for your support. We’re unveiling a new album soon, so keep your eyes and ears peeled and spread the word! We’d also love if you were to join us on our weekly community streams, every Monday night at 6pm EDT. We’re currently building locations from our stories in Minecraft, but we switch it up every 2-3 months.