Saturday, Oct. 1, Alesana took the stage at The Studio at Webster Hall. It was the third show of their headlining tour for their album “Confessions.” The Hofstra Chronicle sat down with lead singer Shawn Milke.
Hofstra Chronicle: You guys released your album “Confessions” last year. What went into that?
Shawn Milke: It was a way different kind of process. I wanted the record to feel urgent and kind of claustrophobic, so I put these self-imposed deadlines on that were … impossible to meet. I just forced myself to meet them. It’s way different because with the previous two records we had tons of time pre-recording and several weeks in the studio. I wanted it to be like … not even think about it and just go. No second guessing anything.
HC: Do you have any new music in the works?
SM: Yeah. I have my hands in a lot of different things but with Alesana I always know I’m ready to write a record when I start jotting down stuff. For Alesana I just started doing that a bit in the last couple of weeks.
HC: How has the tour been so far?
SM: This is only the third stop. Both of the first shows were incredible. Just packed and I guess people liked that record.
HC: You have a crazy fan base. I’ve met fans that were around 11, and I’ve met some who were in their 40s and 50s.
SM: It’s incredible to me. We’re doing a 10-year-anniversary tour and there’s people and kids showing up to the show who might have been like 5-years-old when the records came out. It’s just mind-boggling.
HC: But what’s your ultimate goal with the band? Where do you want to take it from here?
SM: Exactly this. There’s a band called Refused, who I’ve always used as kind of a guide in that it’s never about how big you get, it’s about longevity and about mattering for a really long period of time. All the art we’ve done was with that in mind. It was always like, well I don’t care if we play for 1,000 people a night, I want to be playing for core fans for as long as I live and that’s kind of where we’re at … We prefer playing shows like that too so it’s really worked out.
HC: I’ve heard your music described as everything from punk and screamo to post-hardcore and rock. What would you say it was?
SM: We’ve never really put anything to it. In fact, we actually came up with this made up word, we call it sweet-core. It’s just because when we were first coming up we had a group of fans tell us we were too sweet to be hardcore because back then hardcore was the thing and we were like oh sweet-core is funny.
HC: Influence-wise, who do you look to?
SM: I mean, nobody would ever guess it, like we’re all hugely inspired by things that sound nothing like us whatsoever. Between Mew and Mae and bands like that; just bands that are completely out of the scope of what we do. But we use what they do well and try to play with it.
HC: If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
SM: Uh … Paul McCartney if he would have me, but I would also love to collaborate with Darius Rucker. I think he’s brilliant.
HC: What’s your favorite tour memory? It doesn’t have to be from this specific tour, but from any of them.
SM: I always loved the first time we were in South America. They tried to knock our van over because they were so excited to see us. The guy who was taking care of us had to open the doors and like kick his feet out and we had to run to get into the venue and I just laughed the whole time.
HC: If you were doing something that wasn’t music or band related, what would you be doing?
SM: Video editing. I love editing video and making films.
HC: What about the band? You guys have been together for a while. How did you all meet?
SM: All over the place. We’ve all known each other for years and years. Pat and I have been friends for 15 years, so we just all go way back.
HC: What made you decide to do the rock side of music?
SM: I was always just a fan of pop-punk, and I wanted it to be a little edgier than that. I met Dennis, who was a metal screamer, and it felt really awkward and uncomfortable and that’s what made it awesome, just two very opposing schools of thought.
When the show began, the crowed screamed and shoved to the stage. Throughout the night, fans were crowd surfing and even ended up on stage just to jump back into the crowd. Needless to say it was an insane night full of loud music and great energy.
Along with the album released last year, the band released a book called “Annabel,” written by Milke, about the first three albums. The book is available on Amazon Kindle and is definitely worth the read.
Interviewed by Robyn Kass-Gerji