Alteration is the latest EP by Swiss post-metallers Khaldera. It’s a short, sweeping collection of instrumental music that uses texture and colour well to create the moods that the band want. It’s a slow-burner, one that demands repeated listens as it slowly, inevitably reveals its secrets to the keen listener.
The music unfolds in such a way that there seems to be more to it than a mere 18 minutes, bit no; soon enough it’s gone, and you’re left wanting more.
It’s time to delve a bit deeper…
Give us a bit of background to Khaldera
We’re three Swiss Shamans born deep below the earth’s crust, wandering through the dark woods, finding our way into space.
What are your influences?
Of course we are somehow influenced by our own “music consumption”, but we don’t orientate ourselves on any other bands in terms of crafting our songs. There are a couple of influential artists, although they’re not necessarily recognisable if you listen to us. At the time when Sven and Fabio started the band, the hypnotic sound of Minsk‘s great “The Ritual Fires of Abandonment”, as well as their live performances ignited a certain energy to go beyond what they have done up to this point. In general we appreciate bands who are able to transform themselves and musically grow over the time.
What are you listening to at the moment that you would like to recommend?
Everybody in the band listens to his individual music. But the last band we all got hyped on was Lento from Italy. Even though they don’t have a recent release out, they’re totally worth listening to. Especially live they manage to create a very unique and powerful atmosphere.
How do you feel that you fit into the wider metal scene?
Well, we never really thought about that, as we never described Khaldera to be a metal-band per se.
But the heavy part of our sound is a natural thing and very important to us. We‘re not restricting it to a certain genre that we want to copy or something like that though. We just just play what feels and sounds good to us in a certain moment. So people may be, and already are hearing many different types of (metal- and rock-) genres in our songs – which is amusing, but also a great compliment to us. So in one way we can maybe approach a bigger part of the metal scene while from another perspective some people won’t like us, because we’re too experimental.
Give us a bit of background to Alteration – any particular concepts or ideas you want to discuss?
There is a small concept behind it and its’ great that some people are recognising it by themselves.
Obviously it’s about change. Plain said, it’s about impacts on ones personal life, while each title represents a different stage of an impact.
We (from Khaldera) all have our own personal interpretation of what the songs are exactly standing for. But we don’t want to put a stamp on the songs, so the listener can explore the music in connection with his inner world by his own.
The EP-title is furthermore a metaphor for our own personal life experiences, as we faced a lot of changes during the time the songs were written. It also stands for the evolution within the band. We particularly looked at “Alteration” as a chance to experiment with new sounds, and evolve our music with new aspects, that you will find as a part of our future songs in one way or another.
Actually the main parts for two of the songs came up in the very beginning of Khaldera (around four or five years ago), but were never completed. So they were the perfect opportunity for us to mess around with and to create something new out of something old
Tell us about the album artwork
It was done by our drummer Fabio sometime after our first release “Relief”, when we started working on new material again. Just like we did with the music, he was experimenting around, not intentionally with the purpose to be an album cover. After the whole idea around “Alteration” was shaped, it seemed to be a natural fit. It is the visual addition to the music and also marks a transition/transformation.
How do you go about writing your songs?
The main idea is usually based on a jam-session. But there’s not much of a recipe after that. Except for some detail work in the end, we mostly write the songs as a collective though. Which is probably a more time consuming method, but it‘s working for us.
Why have you decided to take the pass less travelled and remain and instrumental group? Do you think this will always be the case?
We didn’t decide or plan on anything, it just turned out to be this way (again). We talked about some experimentation with it before, but nothing serious happened.
We wouldn’t be adverse though. If somebody crosses our path in the future, who’s able to add something to the music, or at best truly transmit the feeling of the instrumental and get one with it, why not.
How did the recording process go?
We learned a lot from our first EP “Relief” and managed to improve the process on many aspects. But still, to almost do everything ourselves, requires quite some effort. At first Sven recorded all the guitars by himself. Then Fabio played the drums on top of that. This time we went to Simon (Jameson of BlackArt Audio Studios and our live-guitarist). He recorded drums there for the first time, but it turned out very nice. In the end Jonas played the fretless bass, which was recorded at BlackArt Audio as well. The Ambient-Intro on “Impending Tempest” was arranged and pre-mixed by Fabio. The synths, percussion and arrangements for the other ambient parts were recorded at our bandroom and pre-mixed by Sven. The recording-process for “Afterglow” was pretty chaotic and continuous, as we combined improvised material from various jams with intentional, arranged sounds. In the end Simon mixed and mastered all songs to its final result. He also created the Synth-Outro on “The inevitability of Transition”.
What’s your favourite song on the EP and why?
Well, it only has three tracks and all of them have different aspects, so they are pretty much equal. “The Inevitability of Transition” is really fun to play, which gives you a lot of energy. But “Afterglow” might be the biggest step out of what we did so far and we are curious what’s going to happen with that in future songs.
What does the future hold for Khaldera?
First thing on the list is to finally get on stage and experience the songs in a live setting. The rest will take its natural course. Probably get back to the rehearsal space and keep working, there’s no lack of new material…