The second Aktaion album has arrived. After being very impressed by their first album Throne, The Parade of Nature is even better. Following up their debut with more experience and even better tunes, Aktaion continue to be one of my favourite modern metal bands out there. Head honcho Francis Larsson gave me an update on all things Aktaion…
Tell us a bit about the background of Aktaion
Well the roots of Aktaion go back to 2010 as most of the members worked together on another project which would turn into a studio project where most of the songs on our first album Throne would take form. With the release of Throne we decided on starting Aktaion as a new name for the band and we took the project to being a “traditional” band. We released Throne and quite soon after that toured Sweden and Finland. After that we joined the Blood Mantra Balkan Tour behind Decapitated, Hate, Thy Disease and Krysthla and visited most of the Balkans!
What are your influences?
Influences range from metal to singer/songwriting to very much everything else in life. And a great guitar tone is essential to spark some most of the ideas we morph into songs.
Name five things you’ve listened to recently that you’d recommend
Gojira’s latest, Magma (of course). Lots of Machine Head, Fink and Bo Kaspers Orkester (Swedish stuff) Also, sue me, but Reload by Metallica (I love Fixxxer!!!)
Tell us about your latest release
It is called The Parade of Nature and came from the excitement and motivation from releasing the first album. I realised we had to get another album going ASAP after Throne and the idea of doing a short EP grew into the final product we are releasing now! The concept of The Parade of Nature grew from the lyrical themes you hear in the song Walrus March. I took a lot of inspiration from the cruelty of the meat industry and ideas about what nature are and where humans stand. Angst, regret, loss and sorrow are quite central themes throughout the album!
How did you choose the cover artwork?
The actual Deer is painted by an Swedish artist named Katarina Dahlquist. We later decided to rework it somehow and started working with the Sigma Collective. We kept the deer untouched and the central motive for the release. You can see another version of it on our shirts!
How important do you think album artwork is in this increasingly digital age?
I still appreciate a physical album. A great artwork can add a lot to the feeling of an album. If I find the artwork not interesting I will not let it influence my listening experience a lot. Great artwork only adds to the experience.
With music becoming increasingly digital in nature, what’s your take on the digital/physical debate and the current state of the music industry?
I love albums and I love streaming music. Being in Aktaion the way we can keep doing what we are doing is selling the album, shirts from home or on tour. I find it essential but the digital era does add several challenges and possibilities new bands must face and conquer to move on!
How were the songs on The Parade of Nature written?
Most of it came out from me, Francis, as I am the main songwriter. I mostly sat down with the guitar, and focused 100% of my energy on the writing process. I also like to fuse the recording and writing process. This leads to some of the song parts being sung over a simpler version of the song or a simpler riff that I will later form from how the lyrics feel and sound. We did this with some of the songs and went back and forth. Mostly I used the fact we were not bound to a studio and the tools that you find in modern recording software. And also having to many ideas to be able to get them straight in my head at any given moment.
What’s your favourite song on the album and why?
Hard to answer. I love the “softer” songs. The title track features a solo by Christopher Amott that is just beyond this world! It just makes the song amazing. But the song always on my head is called “The Silent Song” It is amazing! A soft builder with one of the heaviest riffs I ever written (which I almost threw out). It has a lot of vocals and harmonies going on and is just as rewarding to sit through as the title track!
How do you think your music will progress in the future?
Playing more and more live I find that I’m influenced from the live experience and being influenced by how the crowd interacts. We are just moving into a more focused space. The riffs will get heavier, but the huge choruses and weird turn-arounds you will find on The Parade of Nature will stay.
Playing live – essential or pointless?
Essential!!! That is what we love and why we do it! A studio project is fun in one way. But playing in front of a crowd and exchanging all that energy is the main thing moving Aktaion forward now! Balkan is still in our mind and we are building upon all that energy still.
What are the next steps for Aktaion?
Stuff I’m not able to talk about… But the rest of the year and even more in 2017 we will only get more present and more active!