The Stratospheric Reveries of Alazka
Alazka is a dynamic post hardcore collective whose music soars high into the stratosphere. Their debut release is entitled Phoenix – and judging by the compositions heard within, there is no doubt Alazka will be rising into the hearts and minds of many a music fan all over the world. They’ve opened for the likes of Northlane, The Ghost Inside, and Parkway Drive – and are about to commence on a European tour with The Amity Affliction. We recently caught up with bassist Julian Englisch to find out more about the auditory adventures of Alazka, the making of Phoenix, their recent tour with label mates Imminence, and many other towering topics of interest. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Alazka, and how long the band has been together.
Hey, my name is Julian and I play bass and write lyrics for Alazka. The band was founded in early 2012 as Burning Down Alaska but due to many line up changes with Kassim being our latest addition we changed our name to ALAZKA earlier this year.
Where is the band based out of and what is the music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
We come from a town called Recklinghausen, which is located in Western Germany. When we started out there were lots of talented local bands but nowadays it seems like most of them quit and we haven’t really been involved with the local scene for quite some time now. I think there are still some bands with lots of potential that have just started out but not as many as back in the days.
How did you wind up on SharpTone Records?
I don’t think there’s anything really special about it. They contacted us some time last year and simply asked if we were interested in working with them.
Is there any overall story or concept behind the title Phoenix?
The whole album is about the hardships we go through while we live our lives. All the times that make us want to give up and that we look back on in regret. It’s up to us to overcome and to learn to live with them because that’s what makes us who we are. Those times shape us and the only way to move on is to accept them as parts of our lives. The phoenix is a metaphor for it. It’s not it’s immortality but that it has to „go through the fire“ for it what makes it special.
Select any two songs from Phoenix and what inspired the lyrics.
Empty Throne is about mental illness and the way people who suffer from it are treated by those who don’t. I know what it feels like to be the one who doesn’t understand, who treats it lightly and that’s where the song came from. Depression is a terrible disease because you can’t see it from the outside. If you know someone suffering from it, please don’t make the mistake of ignoring them or not taking them seriously. Some kind words and a smile can help a lot more than one might think.
Everglow is a very personal song for me. It’s about the feeling of not being good enough for someone and about the sacrifices we make if we dedicate our lives to something at the same time. If there’s someone you want to be with but you know you’re gonna hurt them because of who you are it’s tearing you apart.
Who produced Phoenix and what was it like working with them?
We recorded Phoenix with Carl Bown and Jim Pinder in the Treehouse Studios near Sheffield, UK. It was a really interesting time for us because we’ve never before been in a professional studio. We stayed there for a whole month which really helped us focus on the music and turned the recording process into one of the most intense times we experienced as a band.
What could one expect from a live Alazka show?
We want our shows to be a place for people to forget about their everyday lives, a place where they can embrace their emotions and scream them out because that’s what we do ourselves at our shows.
Has Alazka ever played in the States or plan to do so in future days?
Unfortunately we have never played in the States so far but we definitely want to in the future! We hope to make it over the pond as soon as possible.
How did your tour with Imminence go and what were some of the highlights?
The Phoenix release tour was amazing! The response from the fans has been overwhelming every night. To be honest we didn’t really know what to expect from this tour but now that it’s over I can say it was literally the best tour we ever did! Especially the shows in Dortmund and Berlin were sick but the highlight was definitely the last show of the tour in Karlsruhe. Finishing a tour like this is a little like a dream come true.
What are you looking forward to the most about your upcoming tour with The Amity Affliction?
Since we’ve already been on tour with TAA and Casey, this tour feels like a reunion. We’re definitely looking forward to seeing many familiar faces again but the shows themselves will be great too! It’s been quite some time since we were able to play on such big stages and we absolutely can’t wait to be back on the road!
Any strange or scary happenings on the road or at a show?
When we played in Milan last month our drummer’s phone suddenly went missing and since we thought someone stole it we traced it via GPS and went to get it back. In the end we found it in Across The Atlantic’s van, inside the bass drum they were carrying.
What’s up next for Alazka?
We’ll be touring with The Amity Affliction in November and December and then we’ll see what 2018 holds for us.
Any final words of wisdom?
Listen to 7 the Element by Vitas and make your life complete!
Kassim Auale – Vocals
Marvin Bruckwilder – Guitar
Dario Sanchez – Guitar
Julian Englisch – Bass
(Interview by Ken Morton)