The Vast Progressive Rock Tapestries of AJNA
The Vast Progressive Rock Tapestries of AJNA
AJNA present thoroughly ambitious progressive rock instrumentals that infinitely set the imagination in flight. Based out of Hungary, AJNA recently issued their debut album Rengeteg, available worldwide via Inverse Records. In this interview, Highwire Daze reaches out to AJNA to discuss their exhilarating compositions, the music scene in their Hungary village, releasing new music in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, and other topics on intrigue. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Ajna, and how long the band has been together.
Hi, I’m György Piller, I’m the bass guitarist in Ajna. The band formed in the end of 2010 when I entered the band, but the guitarist and the drummer played together since 1999.
Where is the band based out of and what is the local music scene like there?
The band comes from a small village in Hungary, Kondoros. I can’t say much about the musical scene. Not as big as it could be. Lots of talented teams disappear into the sink just because people don’t go to concerts where they don’t know the performers. A few years ago there were a couple of places in the surrounding big cities to go to concerts, but most of them closed slowly due to a lack of interest. It’s hard to get out of here and get success by the music. Fortunately, there are a couple of bands that are both active and dedicated. Mainly rock and metal.
How did you wind up signing with Inverse Records?
We got to know about Inverse Records through bands who are friends of us and who also release their records with them. As I mentioned that it’s hard to get out, there was a definite need for outside expertise to bring our music to more people. At home on our own, this would be a mission impossible.
Is there any overall story or concept behind the Rengeteg title?
The song was born first. After the mood, the name somehow gave itself. Rengeteg is an ambiguous word in Hungary. One means plenty and the other means a vast forest. This is also indicated by the video clip shot for it. When we were looking for a record title, we soon stayed in this title, somehow this mood suited the whole album and Rengeteg is a good description for it.
What were the inspirations for a few of the song titles and music found within Rengeteg?
The inspirations for this record are quite diversified. There are songs that were born in the early 2000s and there are some that have been made in the last few years. This record is an introduction. We do songs like these. The kind of inspiration spans several years. Musically, Tool, is in the common set, but the musical world we draw from is quite diverse, but the end result only resembles a few of these. I could also say that we inspire each other. Everyone brings their own taste to the music.
Who did the beautiful cover art for Rengeteg and how much input did you have on it?
Beautiful? Oh thank you, because the cover art was my idea. I also took the photo and the post-production so the whole thing. The concept was to display the most common drug of today’s youth: mobile devices, and to wash this together with on an image that reflects ancient Hungarian traditions and values. This is also a small mocking glass for ourselves.
What has it been like to release a new album right in the middle of a pandemic?
It’s a pretty bizarre thing. I didn’t think we were going to live such a thing. Pandemic, we’ve seen something like this in movies and documentaries so far. It’s pretty serious, but to be honest, I imagined a situation like this differently from going down to grocery stores and face masked fools giving threatening glances from behind the toilet paper tower. By the way, we didn’t plan it that way, but that’s why I don’t think we should have to delay the release. We were very late with this anyway. Now everyone is sitting at home, at least they will have time to digest what they hear.
Have you had any shows cancelled because of it?
No, we have only one show fixed in August. We dont know how long this pandemic will take, but the show is not cancelled yet.
What could one expect from a live Ajna show?
Usually we standing on a pentagram, trying to summon the spirit of GG Allin and toss goat heads among the audience. Oh no, that’s my other band 🙂 Seriously, we can be seen playing our songs buried in our instruments. We know it’s not a strong stage image, that’s why we use projectors and show some cool videos with our songs.
If Ajna could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Wow, that’s a good question. I think all three of us would say different bands. I’d settle for Tool. Why? Because I’m a fan of them. So far, they have played in Hungary once. and every situation has to be exploited to see a concert. Why not as backing band?
Are you or any other member involved with any other band outside of Ajna?
Our drummer played a lot of bands, but I think Ajna is the only one now. I play in a prog rock band in my town (I’m not from the band home town Kondoros). This is a hobby band for now. So much so that we don’t even have a name.
What’s up next for Ajna?
We’re waiting for this epidemic to end, and then I think concerts are coming, but I don’t think we’re exaggerating. We would like to work on newer material now and not wait 10 years for it to be released.
Any final words of wisdom?
Stay at home and listen to Rengeteg…a lot!