I have a sneaking suspicion that I might regret posting this. I sort of always do that when I write something personal on the interwebs, but I feel like I need to clarify a thing or two, so… *deep breath* Here goes!
So INFEST happened, and we had a blast. Now that I’m home I can’t help but look for pictures from the show, because I’m just plain self-destructive that way. While hunting (in vain, I might add) for pictures where I didn’t pull a completely ridiculous face, I came across a review of the festival where someone remarked that we didn’t really play a “festival friendly” set, because we were somewhat “standoffish on stage” and “chose to broadly stick to unfamiliar new songs” (just in case you’re wondering, we played 4 old songs and 5 new ones). I guess we came across as too shoegazing to be proper rock stars. I get the point, though. We’re not going to shove a microphone in someone’s face and ask them to sing along any time soon, and you can’t really sing along to songs you’ve never heard anyway. I understand that this might be a turn off to some people, I really do. But we’ve made some new art that we’re excited about, so of course that’s what we’re excited to show people. We didn’t make new material only to go and spend the time we have on stage letting the past take precedence. I suppose we’re really artists at heart, rather than entertainers.
And on a purely personal note, as a creative mind and co-creator of our new material I can’t help but feel like time spent on old songs is, for lack of better words, time somewhat wasted. This is the first time AH has had a full collaborator rather than an additional vocalist, so what we’re doing now is pretty far removed from the old stuff both essentially and aesthetically. Our new material is something that I’ve seen grow and grown with. It’s something I’ve stressed out about and lost sleep over. It’s something that I’ve and hated and loved over and over again until it was all it could be. In that context, performing old songs live always feels a bit like singing covers to me. Don’t get me wrong, Anders did an amazing job on the old songs and I think a lot of them are great, however there is a fundamental difference between presenting your own art and repeating someone else’s. In short, I want to create, not imitate. Additionally, performing material connected with past members live feels somewhat disrespectful. Even though the vocalists involved with AH in the past didn’t write any material, that material still has their voices tied to it and I don’t feel like it’s my place to interfere with that or to insert myself in their place. I’m not here to fill someone else’s shoes, and I certainly don’t want to step on anyone’s toes.
Furthermore, and on a more practical note, revamping the old songs for live use takes waaaay more time than it does to mix the new ones for live purposes since we have to rebuild literally every single sound of the old ones from scratch if we want to put them in our setlist. What this means is that even if we wanted to focus entirely on old stuff we wouldn’t be able to without taking a lot of time off from everything else in our lives, including making that new album we’re working on. And making art is what it’s all about, otherwise what’s the point? So while we don’t want to disappoint fans by playing too much unfamiliar material, we don’t want to disappoint them by making them wait even longer for the new material because we spent our time revamping the old songs, either. We’ve put a lot of effort into creating new material, we’re really excited about it, and we’re gonna be living with it, talking about it, and performing it for years to come. Hopefully, once that material is released, these things will sort themselves out.
xx - Tea