Altostratus – Interview
Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
A: We are an instrumental Progressive Metal band in essence, but when it comes to song-writing, we don’t like to be bound by any genre expectations or preconceptions. We all listen to wide variety of artists, however, our music shows strong flavours of Progressive Metal and Math-Rock while featuring guitar riffs at the forefront of many of our songs.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
A: We started in 2015 off the back of a friend of ours’ university project. He needed a band to record for his music production degree. Jack (drums) and Alex (guitar) are childhood friends and have played in bands together for years, they brought some demos that they had been working on and formed our first EP – Altitude – out of them. I, (Andrew) was recruited to play bass on the EP, the project was right up my street and I got on really well with the guys on a personal level, so we decided to make it into a full band. Coincidentally I was doing some Facebook/YouTube creeping when I happened upon Jordan’s (guitar) YouTube channel and found that he went to the same college as us. We invited him to jam and got on right away so that was it, very painless recruitment procedure. We started gigging without a singer for a while, we did try and find someone at one point but no one gelled well enough with us musically. Since then we’ve been gigging all over the place and pal-ing around like any band should, creating music we really believe in too.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
A: Musically we’re mostly influenced by modern progressive bands such as: Meshuggah, Periphery, Intervals, Tesseract, CHON, Cloudkicker, and Animals as Leaders. We’re also somewhat influenced by the cloudy northern skies and its weather (as is suggested in our band name) and try to reflect that in the soundscape of our music. If you listen to “Zephyr” you can hear a lot of ‘airy’ layers that represent this. We actually have some new music in the works that’s more experimental and draws from jazz/neo soul influences, inspired by the likes of Robert Glasper, Tom Misch, and Thundercat. We can’t wait to see how that turns out!
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
A: Our goal is to be able to make this band sustainable whilst being able to tour regularly and maintain our relationship with our fans. We love our fan base and find that they’re very like-minded, so when we get to hang out it’s always an amazing time. We’d love to make it to mainland Europe in the future but a big dream of ours is to tour the USA!
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
A: The tracks on our forthcoming album – Complete The Connection – have all been written quite differently. We tend to work on songs individually, with Alex, Jack, Jordan, and myself having written full songs that we’ve brought to the band. However, we’ll always closely review what we’ve got and make some tweaks so that the songs are the best they can be before calling them finished. A few songs on our album have been fully collaborative, “Concord Dawn” for instance started as a Jordan song that Alex and I had our wicked way with and shaped it into its final form. “Zephyr” however is a Jack song through and through, with a couple of minor nuances thrown in towards the end. As the album began to take shape, we started borrowing motifs from other songs and thought long and hard about how the album flowed as continuous piece of music. If the listener pays attention they’ll hear themes revisited, especially in the final track Starlight, this was funnily enough the first song we started writing and the last song we finished, it’s our most collaborative piece to date and our aim was to have it encapsulate our entire dynamic palette. With instrumental music it’s more difficult to have songs about certain topics, the music is more an experience that the listener can feel what they want from, we just hope to transfer the energy and vibes we felt when writing it onto the record.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
A: You can always hear from us on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram, but we’re also starting to use our e-mailing list too. You can sign up for to this and find out everything about us over at www.altostratusband.com. We have tour tickets, CD’s, and merch available there as well.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
A: I think it’s only a good thing, the last decade or so has seen a complete shift in power from only being able to record and release with the backing of a record label to being a lot more DIY. This goes for every aspect, including distribution. The Internet has made it so everyone has access to what you’re doing and can choose to support you, or just enjoy the art you’ve made; both are a win in the grand scheme of things.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
A: I was listening to The Sound Of Silence (Simon and Garfunkel version) a few days ago on the train and I nearly cried, it’d be great to be able to put so much emotion into a song and have it translate that fluently to the listener, even 50+ years on.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
A: I just moved to London and the people here don’t look where they’re going, like… at all. Coming from Newcastle where there are 30 times less people, the fast paced nature of the place has taken some getting used to. The pay off though is all the amazing artists that come though the city, I’m at gigs every week, I can deal with getting bumped into every now and then for that.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
A: Probably playing at Tech-Fest in 2017. This is a festival that many of our peers have played at over the years and it’s always been a festival that we’ve admired. The fact we got to go there for free and to play there amongst bands such as Black Dahlia Murder, Northlane, and Toska, was incredible. That was a really fun time and a big achievement for us as a band.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
A: Our debut album is finally about to be released into the world after years of hard work. It’s called Complete The Connection and it’ll be released on February 7th on all reputable platforms. With any release comes promotion, creating content, and touring, the latter of which we – and a lot of artists in the scene – believe to be the most fun part and what makes it all worth it. We’re touring with our Tech-Metal brothers Pravitas through the first half of April across the UK, check out our website for tour dates and tickets (www.altostratusband.com). Given the nature of our music, I can safely say we’re all in for a lot of long nights with our instruments making sure our performance is up to scratch.
PD: Tell us about your next shows and why we should be there.
A: Our next show is our album launch party on the 5th of February! It’s going to be at the Head Of Steam in central Newcastle and people should come because it’s free! We’ve handpicked some great bands to support us and it’s going to be a very fun night of riffs, beers and friendship. Everyone is invited!
Band/Artist location – Newcastle England
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