Allegaeon has just released their second album. “Formshifter” upped the ante over their previous release, entitled “Fragments of Form and Function”. The new album is more cohesive and it has a definitive technical edge. ThisIsNotAScene got the chance to catch up with guitarist Ryan Glisan of Allegaeon to talk new release and more.
Hi Ryan, thanks for taking some time to talk with me, so how do you and the band feel “Formshifter” is going, are you happy with the results?
The band feels pretty good about “Formshifter” and the sales and results so far. Personally I am very picky and a little obsessive about things so I find the areas where we could have done it differently or I don’t like that little part but overall I/we are are happy with the results. “Formshifter” is a little more structured and organized compared to our first CD. We are really striving for a sound and maybe by the third or fourth CD we may find that sound and structure.
Interesting you say that. What kind of sound are you striving for?
We are really not trying to fit into anyone’s mold or genre. Personally people lump is in melodic metal or technical death metal but in the end we are really trying to do our own sound or something we can call all our own. We are young as a band and still trying to carve out our spot in the world, if you think about things, it may take a band three or four CDs sometimes to get the sound they are completely comfortable with and can call their own.
How is not having a permanent drummer impacting that sound you are striving for, how are things on that front?
To be honest we don’t work like a lot of other bands, either Greg or I come to the band with complete songs written. We live far away from each other so we send out ideas through email and then we each add parts in or take parts away. When we get a good complete structure we add in lyrics. Given that we typically program drum parts into our songs when we send them to each other so at this point not having a permanent drummer has no real impact. To be honest I am not sure how some bands can collaborate on songs, I believe we might kill each other if that was the case. We just have something that works for us.
Interesting, how do the lyrics get written in this type of environment and who writes the lyrics?
We have all contributed to lyrical content, I guess the lyric approach is a little more “traditional” that composition for us.
Who would you like to tour with?
Whatever band has the largest audiences would be ideal for us.
I can understand that but if money and crowds aside, what bands would you just like to be on tour with and hang for a couple of months.
I guess for me it would be bands that I would love to listen to on a nightly basis, like Scar Symmetry, Symphony X, Obscura but I am kind of drawing a blank on this one now that you mention it.
I looked at some fan footage of live shows on youtube and it really seemed that you and Greg have a great chemistry together on stage. What I like to call the Tipton-Downing approach, a nice display of cooperative type of soloing and playing. Is this by design or does it just sort of happen?
Greg and I as well as the other guys have been together for a long time and we just have learned to anticipate what the other is going to do and where the right parts are for them. When we write songs we always leave spots for each other to solo or add their own flair to the song. Greg knows what I will do and vice versa I have a good idea of what Greg will do, so its been a thing that has developed over the years. Greg is classically training and I am “Ryan-trained” so we do have different a approach to things. Where at times I may be a little more free with things, Greg may revert to a more structured approach. In the end we each kind of know what the other will or may do so we leave room for that in writing and that really seems to translate well when we play live.
What are your thoughts on downloading music?
I go on and on about this particular topic. There are both good and bad things about this topic. Recently I have come to realize that downloading has been around what for about 15 years or so, meaning that younger kids in the 17-23 age range have grown up with this way to get music, its really become the nature of the beast. Personally I have known and talked with producers that used to make millions on CDs until downloading came in and now they barely make a quarter of what they used to. Don’t get me wrong that’s still a lot of money but the difference is really huge when you start to think about it. Its just something that is part of things today.
How are things with Metal Blade, I always associate Metal Blade with a label that seems to be open and honest about stuff, its just my impression that I have formed over the years.
We have really had a great experience with Metal Blade, they were very open and honest even before we signed any deals with them. As a band we understand that we are not their top priority but they still are helping us and push us to gain traction and get our music out. If you think about it, it can take 3,4 or even 5 CDs for bands to really get big and we are only on number 2. They have been helpful to us and its been a good experience with them. Lets face it with how the industry is today, very few musicians can be exclusive musicians without day jobs and those bands have worked hard, put out many CDs and have been around a long time. Even today when parents and kids ask me for advice about “breaking into the business” I always tell them to be good at something else, it’s great to want to be a musician but always have something else that you can do as well.
So what’s going on in with tours, do you have touring you are going to be doing this summer?
We have been focusing on getting the CD out and promoting the CD. We have a couple of one of shows in the area and on the west coast we are doing. Here is Ft. Collins there is a festival and we got asked to play the main stage. Not sure how that one is going to work out, its a family friendly type of environment and last year they had bands like Earth Wind And Fire play so I am not sure whoever booked us did their research. We figure it will take about 8 seconds for everyone to realize we aren’t your typical rock type band. We are hoping that maybe when the fall rolls around some opportunities to do a small tour will show up. Until then we will keep promoting the new CD and see where things go.
Thanks again for taking the time to talk with me.