Alne, Alna – it is one of the first names of the Łyna river. This name can be found in medieval chronicles, as early as the thirteenth century. In Old Prussian Language "Alne” means "doe”. The old Prussians used animal names for rivers, lakes, hills, etc.
…et demum descendendo ad prenominatam graniciam super fluuio Alna…
…ex illa parte Alne versus solitudinem…
…in aqua Alna prout ipsorum limites…
…ex utraque parte Alne…
…que Alna vocatur…
…ad fluuium Alne…
Hello, Klimorh! In this interview I would like to focus on your new project - Alne. However, first of all, please tell me something about your other bands - VolfenKreuz, Alnestabs, Non Opus Dei, and others.
As you wish - let's begin with some history. Non Opus Dei is certainly the most important band of mine. And it also is the only band of mine which has existed for many years, without any break. This year it has been 15 years since the band was called into being, well, time marches on so fast, ha ha! The music of Non Opus Dei has often been labelled as avantgarde black metal. We are working on some new songs and we are going to release the next album in 2013.
Regarding Volfenkreuz - this band was founded about eleven years ago. Together with my friend Marqs I created something that could be referred to as experimental folk-pagan-metal, well, honestly, I have no idea how to label this music... Only one album ("Vulfhymnen") was published by Thundra Records (a subsidiary of Fluttering Dragon). Although nowadays I don't really consider it a good album, probably you could find there one or two interesting songs. After the release, we played one gig and prepared some new songs. However, our paths diverged and I did not want to record anything under the banner of Volfenkreuz without Marqs and his instruments.
Concerning Alnestabs - I am not involved in this band. This is a one-man band with Marqs playing all the instruments and singing. Eastside has released one Alnestabs album so far.
We also played some neofolk music (bodhran, samples, accoustic guitar, female singing) under the banner of 13eclipse, I am pretty sure you can find one or two songs somewhere on the internet... It is a pity we never recorded more songs of this project, I really liked them.
I have also played in some more bands and projects, but I guess the ones you mentioned are the most important ones.
Let's focus on your recent project. The debut album of your folk metal project Alne has just been released. Is Alne in any way similar to what you play in Non Opus Dei? I can see some similarities, it is like the brutality and vehemence of Non Opus Dei has been given some new qualities.
Well, my opinion is that Alne is a totally different story than Non Opus Dei. As far as both the music and the "idea behind music" are concerned, these two bands have nothing in common. In Alne we tried to abandon the kind of brutality which is a permanent feature of Non Opus. So, in Alne you won't find any blast beats, extreme tempos, incredible double kick pedals, haunted guitar riffs - no, nothing like that. Of course, sometimes you will hear that the musicians in Alne have played extreme metal all their lives, we did not forget about our roots, we did not abandon certain patterns, why should we? Thanks to this, Alne is really different from any other folk-metal or folk-rock band that you know. But that is enough talking, I just encourage you to check it out on your own!
Alne is described as folkmetal. There are many elements typical of Romanticism in Alne, there are poems by 19th century writers. Why did you decide to use such elements? Do you try to come back to the time when our culture was fascinated by the pre-christian stuff?
Yes, you are right, most people refer to Alne using the term folkmetal. Personally, I don't really need such labels, I don't feel like belonging to a certain group... And I think you can really hear this on our debut album. We did not desperately want our songs to fall into this specific genre. And indeed, when I read the reviews of Alne's debut, people usually claim that it is a multidimensional, complex, indescribable album. I am really happy with such opinions, because the most important things for us were the idea, feeling and the message behind our sounds, and not the commercial aspect of making songs within a particular genre.
Romanticism? Fine with me, there are indeed some common points, like putting emphasis on some mystical, spiritual aspect of the world, the mysticism of Nature, etc.
Moreover, I don't think that we have to travel back in time if we want to find some fascination with the pre-christian stuff. The references to the Old Faith are really common throughout the centuries in Polish (and, generally speaking, European) art, literature, music, etc. Today also many people are inspired by the Old Native Faith of our fatherland, in Poland there are some really great contemporary poets, whose poems I would like to use in Alne's songs in the future. So, one can say that the Old Faith is still alive, it never died out.
As for the nineteenth century poets... Well, it is a truly spellbinding challenge to try to interpret such an uncommon poem like "Latawica" by Konopnicka. The poem contains so many references to the pre-christian spirituality, it seems that the author simply used some parts of ancient folk songs from the territory of today's Poland. As for the poem by Tetmajer (The Melody of Nocturnal Mists) - it is a true masterpiece which makes you feel the mystical might of Nature...
Your debut contains also some Romantic English poetry...
"La Belle Dame Sans Merci" is a poem that we had planned to use a few years ago, when we played under the banner of 13eclipse. As I had mentioned, 13eclipse recorded only a few songs and it never became a serious project. However, it was not possible for us to forget the poem. Mr Keats for sure exerted on us some necromantic influence from the other side, ha ha... Seriously, it seems that he simply forced us to use his poem.
Not all the lyrics come from the nineteenth century. Are you inspired by this epoch? Or are you more inspired by the contemporary "paganism"?
I would say that Alne has its roots both, in tha past and the present. When I was preparing the lyrics, I studied lots of sources connected with folksiness, folklore. I found references to really old, pre-christiian traditions. I studied the works of such Polish ethnographers like Moszynski, Gloger, Kolberg, Kuchowicz, and I managed to find some stories, traditions and facts, which later became the base for the lyrics you can find on Alne's debut album. For example, the first four lines of the text "Czarcie Wesele" ("Tchort's Wedding") were written down almost two hundred years ago by one of the mentioned ethnographers. Of course, these lines are much older than 200 years.
The lyrics and the melodies were created over the span of many years, they were inspired by various mystical places, journeys, rituals. At some point you just reached the state of mind when the lyrics seemed to write themselves down... It was really fascinating to feel that it is not really just me who is writing, that I am not the only creative force behind the project. Once you tread this path, you do not really have to think where to go, the road itself goes ever on and on. It is a great thing to be able to create in such a way. You are sort of torn away from your own ego, you start to perceive more than only your own self, and you finally stand in front of something incredible.
As for the melodies, personally, I think there are many folk elements, many stirring, moody moments, which make me think of some distant small villages, hidden somewhere in the forests... Were you inspired by some particular folk songs, or is it your own vision of what such folk songs should sound like?
The melodies don't come from any particular folk songs. We just tried to make most of our songs sound in a folklike manner. Moreover, our singer, Kasia, made all the vocal lines on her own and it is largely due to her that the debut contains so many catchy, folklike motifs. Some of the guitar riffs were also created by her.
A few words about the pagan motifs in Alne... Could you explain why you have both, Slavonic and Old Prussian elements in your lyrics?
Well, that is an interesting question... Indeed, some people had strange objections because of the fact that we referred both to the Slavonic and Old Prussian spirituality. For example, some people wanted to know why one of our songs is entitled "Perun's Stone", and not "Perkūns' Stone". On the other hand, in the song "Heart in Stone", a short part of the lyrics is in the Old Prussian language, and some people also didn't like that... It seems that we broke some strange rule of political correctness, ha ha! As far as I am concerned, the mixture of the two elements is obvious and genuine. Firstly, it comes from being interested in and fascinated by my roots - so, it is obvious that Alne derives its inspirations from the Slavonic spirituality, traditions and rituals. Secondly, you know, I have lived so many years (including my childhood) in Warmia, one could say - in the shadow of "The Prussian Hags” (Old Prussian stone statues)... I think this fact explains why Alne is also inspired by the Old Prussians, their history, theology and spirituality.
I have been exploring these two elements of "paganism" throughout most of my life, the same goes with creating music... So, Alne is just a natural outcome of these fascinations.
Well, let's return to some more mundane stuff now... How long did it take you to prepare the songs? How long did it take you to complete the line-up for the recording? How did you find the right people? Why did you choose to publish your debut via Archaic Sound?
The first songs by Alne were created in 2006, and all the songs from our debut were ready in 2010. So, it wasn't any unexpected whim, we had a lot of time to plan everything. As for the line-up, I didn't really have to look for the right people. I just asked my friends to join the project, one could say it all remained in the family, ha ha. Since 2006, Kasia was arranging her vocal lines, she also invented a few guitar riffs. In 2010 I started rehearsing with my friend Gonzo (he plays the drums). Together, we arranged all the songs in the way you know them from the debut album. In the meantime, Szymon Czech agreed to record the bass guitar for the songs (he was also responsible for the mix down and mastering).
Archaic Sound is a small label, but I knew Yurij wasn't a new person in the underground, he had already had some "experience" in it, and the conditions he offered were fine for us.
What is your opinion about folk metal scene in Poland and abroad? I am asking about it because I think that Alne's debut is a true pearl among other folkmetal bands.
Thanks for the kind words about Alne! My opinion about the scene? Well, I am not the kind of guy who tries to know every band and follows every new album... I just know some of the bands and I do enjoy their music. I must say that I am not intrested in complete discographies of bands. I am the kind of man who rather enjoys single albums, or even some single songs of a particular band. I would not sit and listen to ten albums in a row, I would rather pick up one or two songs from each of the albums... And, like every fan of music, I pretty often return to these tracks, which are connected with some personal experience of mine, which are connected with some important moments from my life.
So, I don't really have any opinion about the whole scene, because I simply do not know it, I do not follow the whole scene.
Is Alne just a studio project, or do you intend to play live?
Well, unfortunately it turned out that we are really busy people, both in music and private life, so no live shows for the time being. That's is a pity, because we got really lots of offers to play gigs. However, in the future we may start playing live. Time will tell!
Let us say I do not know Alne and I want to know some things about the band as soon as possible... Where can I get some information and listen to some songs?
Here we go...
Our website - http://alne2.wordpress.com/ - here you can read about our inspirations, lyrics, have a look at some photos, chceck the news concerning Alne, listen to some songs, or just check who supports us.
Some songs from the debut - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rYcRxSkRPA&list=PL60DF26F7D2752A72&feature=plpp_play_all
Our profile - http://pl-pl.facebook.com/pages/Alne/219425088085100 - here you will find various news...
That is it, thanks for your time!
Thanks for supporting my new project - Alne! Listen to the voice of the past... The voice of the ancient pagan Europe, which is still present in each of you! Hail!
Interviewed by Vilcin