The abridged version of the juggernaut that is the Soundwave Festival is upon us. After a somewhat stuttering start, The Soundwave Counter Revolution festival tour was scaled back a little, but has now commenced with full force. One of the drawcards of the festival is North Carolina based post-hardcore act Alesana, and vocalist and rhythm guitarist Shawn Milke filled “Oh it’s going very well,” vocalist and rhythm guitarist Shawn Milke enthuses on how the festival is going so far.
“This is our second time [in Australia],” he states, “we did the actual Soundwave tour last February. We love it here. The last time we played, we were the opening band on the bill, so it’s like the doors open and we’re already playing. This time’s been a lot more relaxed for us because it’s much less of a rushed schedule, and we’ve had an opportunity to go out and see some things, we’ve got four days off now in Sydney. We actually flew in to Brisbane, we got there from Bangkok and we got there a couple of days early. It’s been a nice change of pace from a normal tour, where you show up, you play, you leave. It’s nice to be able to experience the culture a little bit more this time around.”
Shawn finds the more relaxed pace of the festival type of tour more enjoyable than the hectic pace of a headlining jaunt: “Oh, much more so,” he says, “we did the Pacific rim, doing headlining shows, which is great, when you’re headlining you’re the big dog, there’s always a certain element of awesome that comes with that. But at the same point, we’re not even off stage until after midnight, and we’ve gotta be at the airport by 5am the next morning to do the whole thing again. It’s pretty exhausting. So to be able to come here and not have to be the top dog and actually be able to relax and enjoy the day is kinda nice.”
The tour hits Melbourne this coming Friday, and fans coming along are urged to check out Alesana’s set, since it promises a high energy spectacle, plenty of audience interaction and generally a massive commitment to the cause from band and audience alike.
“Well there’s one thing we’ve always said about our band,” he describes, “even if you don’t necessarily like our music, one thing we will always give you is 110% onstage. Regardless of the time of day, how long the set is, we kill ourselves up there and come prepared to enjoy a very energetic and very interactive live show.”
The band recently completed the ‘Allstars’ tour in the States, a massive bill featuring many of the luminaries of the modern heavy music scene such as Emmure, Born of Osiris and In This Moment, and Shawn was quick to draw ‘opposing parallels’ (for want of a better term) between that tour and the current Australian jaunt, and make an interesting observation about the different types of fans that their band appeals to.
“It’s interesting, referring to this tour now, it’s almost the stark opposite of what we’re doing here,” he observes, “we’ve always said we’re a very poppy band and a very heavy band at the same time. Whereas, on this tour, every other band is much poppier than what we are, we’re sort of the heavy band of the tour. On the Allstars tour we were the poppy band of the tour! Where every band on there was much heavier than we were. It’s actually interesting to have spent the whole summer being on one end of the scale, and then to come over here and be on the completely opposite end of the thing! To see how differently a certain type of fan reacts to a different style like that. We definitely prefer to play for the poppier fans, because the poppier fans generally have more excitement, more appreciation of different things, whereas the heavy fans, if you’re not heavy enough they just switch off straight away. Being a heavy band that is poppy, it’s easier to win over pop fans than it is to win over heavy fans, that’s for sure.”
Coming up after the Counter Revolution tour, the band are taking an unusual step for bands in this scene, and releasing a concept album, entitled A Place Where the Sun is Silent, which draws its story from the Seven Deadly Sins.
“I write short stories and turn them into records,” he explains, “it’s one of those things where you can read along with the story, look at the pictures, and everything’s fully interactive. And it interacts with our live show as well, if you would come and see that. It comes out October 18th worldwide, and the weekend we get home from Australia we go out on tour to support the record in the States.”
Alesana will be performing alongside The Swellers, Story Of The Year, Funeral For A Friend and a whole lot more at Counter Revolution, going down at Festival Hall this Friday September 30.