MY OWN PRIVATE ALASKA is an outstanding band. They are well-known for their groundbreaking combination of screamo and piano-music as well as for their intense live-performances. And now the French trio took some time and spoke to NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION about their view on music, about the reasons why Russia is their favourite country to go on tour in as well as their future plans.
In case not all our readers are familiar with your band, please tell them for the beginning some basic things about MY OWN PRIVATE ALASKA!
TRISTAN (piano)- Sure! We are a French post-screamo trio without guitars. Only a piano, a voice and a drum. We wanted to express something quite violent and “to the bitter end” – but in a different way. Think about CHOPIN melancholy within the roughness of NIRVANA or ENVY.
You probably have answered this question a thousand times but how did you start making music with this instrumentation?
We saw so many bands doing the same music over and over with the same line-up… We were fed up with waiting for a band that really expressed something new and different. In addition, I’ve been playing the piano since my childhood and I had a couple of songs unused. So we decided to form this band by ourselves!
We didn’t even know if that would work, but it worked as soon as we tried the first song. We really felt like Christopher Columbus of music! Really cool feeling!
…like Christopher Columbus of music!
It would be very interesting if you can say some words about your musical background!
We are really big fans of uncompromised music. That’s what we consider as true, sincere, and important. Hearing the artist play his music as if his life depended of it. NIRVANA, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, KORN, AT THE DRIVE-IN, ERIK SATIE, CHOPIN, …
During 2011 you released the Red Sessions – a more acoustic version of some of your songs. What was the idea behind this record?
As you said, this record is an acoustic version of Amen, our first album. We played these songs so many times, that the sincerity of what we gave on stage, began to regress. And we toured so much, that we didn’t even have the time to compose new songs. Then, that’s why when some radio and our PR began to ask us for acoustics songs, we thought about reinterpreting our songs – the same songs from a different angle. We’ve heard a record from NOSTROMO doing the same thing and we really liked it. In the end, the result is something darker than expected!
In which direction will your musical path lead you in future? When can your listeners expect new material? Are there any further cover-versions planned?
We love to try new things in each record we make: 100% screamo for our first EP, insane American production for the first record, then an unplugged record. Next time, we’d love to have an 80’s coldwave approach. Something that sounds like an 80’s THE CURE album based on reverb snare and some extremely detuned brass. But we’ll see… We’ve already done a very limited 3 songs EP only available in Russia with these experimentations…
We are looking for recording the new album during this year, once again at Ross Robinson studio.
And, indeed, we are thinking about a new cover. Maybe a THE CURE or a PINK FLOYD cover… We’ll see!
The next two questions are related to the title of our zine HOPE & PASSION:
HOPE: Let’s talk about the lyrics: they seem to be very personal and dark. Are they all fictional or is it your way of dealing with personal experiences? Is there any place for hope in them?
MILKA (singer)- Quite all the lyrics come from personal experiences. They’re not full of joy and farniente, indeed… but they’re not without hope however. I try to express some old and bad souvenirs, to turn into new forces to get stronger. For me, for the band, and for anyone who listens to our song. My lyrics are like warnings for the future, built on hard experiences from the past.
for live shows is for us
the biggest mistake ever!
PASSION: Your live shows are stunningly intense. Do you practise your performance in a rehearsal room or is it more like living out your personal feelings on stage? What are in your opinion the most important aspects of a good live show in general?
Ah! Glad to answer such question… Doing rehearsal for live shows is for us the biggest mistake ever! Our vision of live shows and more generally music, is quite simple: do not dissociate the human personality from his art. We try to express who we are without lying or cheating to our audience. Show to people who we are as human with all our qualities and defects while we play our music is something really important. This sincerity allows us to give its own life to our songs and allows us to give different feelings at each gig. We think that the better way to propose different music is to be yourself because we are all different!! That’s as simple as that! Unfortunately, music industry looks for clones of what works… it’s a shame.
You played a couple of shows in Russia as well? How did you get there? What is your impression of the music scene there?
Yes, Russia is the country that welcomes us the best! Fans and atmosphere are incredible there – so gentle and passionate at the same time. Actually, for some reason we ignore, our first EP worked a lot there. Then, magazines and media asked us for interviews, until a booking agency proposed us to make a tour there. It was amazing, on the musical and human point of view. We love this country and its people so much that I wrote an article about our “road trip”: 15 gigs in 15 days by the trans-Siberian train from Kiev to China. But it’d be too long to translate it. Concerning the music scene, it seems that the country was oppressed so much that people directly go to the extreme side! The youth listens to a lot of screamo and post metal, but it seems that they have many years to catch up, so they copy a lot of American and French music, including the way to behave and get dressed. But last time we went there, bands evolved a lot compared to the first time we went there, so it may take less time until they develop their own musical rock culture.
recorded in Tomsk, Russia (19.09.2011)
If you would have three wishes regarding your musical as well as your personal life what would you take them for?
YOHAN (drummer)- Normally if you want to make your dreams come true you don’t talk about them until it’s realised. But I think the three of us share the same goals: We want to record the best second album ever for MY OWN PRIVATE ALASKA at a place located on the west coast of the US in a studio over looking the Pacific Ocean with the best producer in the world who is also a great friend.
We want to keep touring the world together, discovering new awesome countries and continue meeting inspiring people.
And last but not least we want to be great fathers for our children and good husband for our wives because the three of us recently became dads and are really proud of it.
Anything you would like to let the readers of NBHAP know?
Yes: The fact that we received so many testimonies from fans that say our music helped them dealing with difficult moments that we decided to be affiliated to some international associations that prevent the youth from discomfort and suicide. Because the three of us were helped by music before, we are glad to help people with our music in return. The half of the lyrics of our next record will be written by our fans and we’ll give our royalties to these associations. More information coming soon on our homepage and facebook page.
MY OWN PRIVATE ALASKA
classic / screamo / acoustic
from Toulouse / France
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