by Hombre Rancio
Ajana is a great Deutsch band, “Dualismus?“ is this new album, great sound, its very original. It is a pleasure to talk to her.
Congratulations for your Work. Your work is receiving good reviews. Were you waiting for yourself that reception is good?
Thank you very much! Yes, I´m really happy about all the good reviews incoming so far, especially for a project like Ajana that can´t rely on promotional work from a label. It’s awesome if your work gets respected and reviewed in a good way.
How did the band form?
Ajana is no “typical” band but a solo project I founded in 2003. Since I was a young child I felt the need to express my feelings through art – be it music, writing or drawing. Some very tough times in my life made me even more creative and I felt the urge to write music and lyrics about that. Music always was some kind of a therapy for me and it´s a pleasure for me to work creatively. Over the years I continuously wrote new music and released my first EP “Ruins” in 2010, the first full-length “Home In Decay” followed in 2012 and my new album “Dualismus?” in 2015.
The band was formed in 2003, what did it change in the way to compose?
Well, now and then composing music for Ajana isn´t following a masterplan. Sometimes I sit down at the keyboard and improvise some music, or I write down ideas running through my head. Other times I record vocal melodies or write a new song using parts of old demos I made. I can´t really plan the process of composing but get into a mood and express what I feel the particular song needs. After writing down a song I check some details and do minor changes. I arrange the score for every instrument and the vocals and afterwards program it as MIDI-files.
Which are your musical references?
Ajana is no band that was founded to sound exactly like some band XY or reproduce some sound ideals. Therefor I can´t really name my musical influences – making music is a very personal thing to me, a tool to express my feelings. You can say that Ajana has a quite unique sound and style which always was one of my aims when creating music.
I like your sound, how was the recording process?
We recorded all instruments and vocals at Iguana Studios near Freiburg/Germany and the album was mixed and mastered there as well. The studio owner Christoph Brandes has a great knowledge and a lot of experience when it comes to producing albums – especially with Metal. I´m happy with the result, the album sounds exactly the way I wanted it to – powerful, deep and leaving room for each instrument and at the same time the guitars and drums have the good portion of “dirt” that music like this needs.
How do you see the underground scene?
I think nowadays it´s quite hard to define what “underground” really is – every band can easily present their music via the internet and thus fans have a nearly unlimited amount of music they can experience. In my opinion there are a lot of less known bands with an individual style that don´t get the attention they deserve which is even harder if these bands don´t have a label or beneficial contacts. On the other hand there are also a lot of underground bands that just try to copy the sound of other bands blindly – maybe it would have been better they formed a cover band, but that´s just my opinion. In Germany we have an underground scene consisting of bands from both sides.
My favorite song is nonexistence, which would you choose and why?
That´s a really hard question. As I like all my songs and put all my passion in writing them I can´t name one song.
You mixed several styles. Doom, Folk, progressive, post… How would you define your sound?
Again a difficult question. I think it´s one of the hardest tasks to name Ajana´s style. There are influences of so many different styles within Metal (Doom for example) but also from outside that genre, for example Jazz (listen to “Profanation”) or classical music. Some parts are progressive when it comes to the arrangements (of single instruments, vocals or the full “band”), the harmonic structure or instrumentation. All in all it´s more or less impossible to pigeonhole Ajana´s music.
The drummer and guitarist are part of the band or are session musicians?
The drummer, Cornelius Heck and the guitarist, Simon Schillinger are session musicians. I am the only permanent member of Ajana and worked with session musicians on all my releases so far.
What themes do you touch in your lyrics?
I Will try to explain the lyrical concept of “Dualismus?” as short as possible. The intro «… et non descendit» summarizes the key ideas of the text concept quite well. Here the first line of its Latin lyrics: «He descends into the river and doesn´t descend» (In flumen descendit et non descendit). Here I am referring to a quote from the Roman philosopher Seneca from his «Epistulae morales», I modified it a bit. He writes that we descend into a river and do not descend – you could explain that metaphor as the river of life or death. Life and death are opposites of each other, but also thoughout life one is confronted with the most diverse dualisms. Pretty much every thought, every principle and every thing can be viewed from two sides. But a pure black-and-white-/good-or-bad-thinking is often too one-dimensional to describe thoughts or feelings. Therefore I used a «?» behind the album title to express that dualisms isn´t always the right concept to explain reality.
On the other hand there is the line «Abyssus abyssum invocat» (from «… et non descendit»), which you can translate as «an abyss evokes another». This generally relates to difficult and dark times in life, inconvenient things that you have to learn and experience. More and more «abysses» seem to open up in front of you, even if you think that the situation as it is couldn´t get worse.
And then «Tempus antiquum repeteret» (translate as “the past repeats itself”, from «… et non descendit»). Definitely everyone has already experienced how certain situations seem to repeat in life, be it pleasant or less pleasant ones. However, certain behaviors may, consciously or unconsciously, repeat. One makes a mistake or is treated several times by another person in the same way.
The three Latin phrases taken from the intro «… et non descendit» grasp the basic ideas of the concept. Each song deals more or less with the concept and various other aspects differing from song to song. Sometimes I write more or less metaphorically, then again more directly. The lyrics are – like anything I do for Ajana – an extremely personal matter and have an almost cathartic effect on me when writing and singing them.
How can the fan get your album?
Can buy “Dualismus?” at Bandcamp. You can download the music including the full album artwork and PDF-booklet (to print yourself), info sheet and promotional photos.
Here´s the link: http://ajana.bandcamp.com/album/dualismus
What future plans do you Have?
I am writing songs for my third album and wish to create a unique and personal piece of music again. Apart from that I don´t really have plans for Ajana as it is a studio project. A dream of mine would be to play live on stage some time but at the moment it seems quite impossible (too expensive, hard to organize and even harder to get good gigs as a relatively unknown band – especially if you don´t want to practice “pay to play” – a thing I would never do with Ajana – an absolutely absurd thing in my opinion).
Thanks for your amability, and congratulations once again for your fantastic work I recommended a lot Ajana “Dualismus?“ very good album: passion, rawness, old school, folk, doom, prgressive …. One of the surprises of this summer.. If you want to add something, forward.
Thank you very much for the interview! All the best for you and your mag!