A Melodic Metal release with real bite and attitude? Enter Aktaion’s début album, Throne. It’s an album that makes a mark and will rightfully be giving the band some deserved exposure. It’s time to find out a bit more about the band…
For those who are unfamiliar with your band – introduce yourself!
Francis: We are four individuals from Halmstad, Sweden. A medium sized city in Halmstad, known for being the home of Roxette and Arch Enemy among other things. We are:
Me, Francis Larsson, on guitars and most of the writing and anything production-wise.
Jonas Snäckmark, vocals and some beautiful screaming!
Axel Croné, bass and anything that you need to blow into.
Jonatan Ney, guitars and backing vocals.
Give us a bit of background to Aktaion
Francis: Aktaion as it is today was together under another banner in 2010-2013 where a lot of the playing and writing for Throne took place. With the release of Throne in 2015 we wanted to reform as Aktaion, without much changing except the attitude towards the band and music! This is why you will find us referencing to the “early days” of us in the group playing together before Aktaion was formed.
Where did the name come from?
Francis: While recording vocals for Seven in the current home of Axel we were in the process of finding a name for the band. While warming up I picked up a big book which contained myths and symbols from different cultures and almost at the first page I came across Aktaion and we felt at home right away. Aktaion is the Swedish version of Actaeon, the ancient myth of a hunter who comes across Artemis in the woods, bathing naked. Actaeon is therefore to be turned into a stag by Artemis if he is to speak again. He speaks and is then devoured by his dogs.
What are your influences?
Francis: I find inspiration almost everywhere. I listen a lot to non-metal like Ulver, Swedish Bo Kaspers Orkester. But of course I also listen to some metal, lately a lot of Pantera and Soilwork, which I discovered a couple of months ago. Always in for some Machine Head or Baroness and some Arch Enemy, especially their older records.
Jonas: Zappa, Lamb of god, At the gates, Primus and Gojira.
What are you listening to at the moment that you would like to recommend?
Francis: Except all of our new songs, all the time, all day… I listen to the latest Bo Kaspers Orkester. And of course all the classic Christmas songs.
Jonas: Son of Mr. Green Genes – Zappa, great track with a great flow that suits every situation of the day. And Moral in Corrosion – Construcdead, great song with impeccable refrain!
Give us a bit of background to Throne – any particular concepts or ideas you want to discuss?
Francis: As of a unified concept for all the songs on Throne, no! Those songs are truly “old” for us now. I started writing some of them as early as 2010 and the last one was finished by 2012-2013 and finally released in 2015. There is quite a span of time between that. In writing the lyrics I always have some kind of a vision ranging from destruction by nuclear war to critique towards faith in general.
This differs quite radically from our upcoming album where there is a strong concept behind the whole album and I strive to bring a strong connection not only in the music itself but also throughout the lyrics of the whole album.
How do you go about writing your songs?
Francis: Wow this really changed through the years. For Throne the songs were mainly written with the help of Guitar Pro 5. In the recording the guitars a lot of the parts and riffs changed and then with adding the vocals they could change yet again. Very few of the songs were played together as a band and written in the moment. Almost always I would bring complete songs into the rehearsals.
Nowadays I mostly write directly into Pro Tools through the Kemper. With the help of Addictive Drums the songs grow through the movement of the guitars which forms the base of all the songs. With us not doing any rehearsal now our first encounter with the songs are while recording them.
Was it important to you to keep a high-level of aggression on these songs?
Francis: Yes, and yes. In a lot of ways that is a must! Either there is a chorus, an aggressive build up or pure aggression. I always strive to make the riffs and music themselves stand alone in delivering aggression and power, and then the vocals just add to that base I tried to establish.
How did the recording process go?
The recording process of Throne was long. Years. Not because it needed it but because we did not know what we were doing in the beginning. In the early days Jonatan played keyboard in the band. So the first version of Throne (say 2011) was quite different from the finished product you hear now. Then came a long process of trying to make the record sound anything like a record and periods of not even thinking about it. For some reason (quality based) we re-recorded the guitars and bass in 2014 with Jonatan changing to guitar and therefore re-recording most of the keyboards parts with the guitar. I found that the sound the songs needed came through much better without the keyboards in between everything. It got a much rawer sound which the songs really thrive in. Then in the summer of 2015 I came to a point when I though we need to get out of this prison so I got the logo for the album, released it and felt freedom. Then my life opened up again and I and the band realized our music is fun! Which is very much the reason why we are working towards our new album right now!
What’s your favourite song on the album and why?
Francis: Hard to pick one, I have a real love/hate relationship with each and every one of them. Nothing really beats the chorus at the end of The Disease but that special song for me is M.A.D!
Jonas: Thousands, just because it gives everyone a chance to show off the skills and mindset of the band, although I love Prison Walls, Thousands gives so much with its complexity and nuance.
What does the future hold for Aktaion?
Francis: Right now we are deep into writing and recording our next album The Parade Of Nature. We just released our first single of it called ‘Seven’. It is quite a ripper and does not hold anything back, even in some ways go from the classic down-tempo-choruses-trend we heard on Throne. There will be more of that on the album as a whole but this song sets the bar for what Parade is all about.
The Parade Of Nature will be released early 2016 and then we are hitting the road in the last two weeks of March for several dates in Sweden and Finland, together with Finland’s own Coraxo. We are looking into mainland of Europe for June!