Here we go again… Last year we covered every band on the Hobgoblin New Blood and Jagermeister stages in the run-up to Bloodstock 2015. This year, we’re going one better and aim to have interviews from all the bands on those two stages as well as all of those on the SOPHIE stage prior to the event kicking off on August 11th. That’s almost 100 interviews to get online for you lucky people over the course of the next couple of weeks. I bloody love this job, but you lot owe me a beer at Catton Hall, right?
Thanks to all the bands who’ve taken the time to respond!
Aklash – Jagermeister stage, Sunday
Simple things first – where are you guys from?
The band is split between Reading and Brighton, with the majority in Reading.
How did you meet?
The core original members met at a live performance of Wolves In The Throne Room, a band that has had a large influence on the sound and aesthetic of Aklash. The whole collective have known each other as friends for many years.
How long have you been playing together as a band?
Since approximately 2011.
Where does the name of the band come from?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, from Tolkien, though not one of the most obvious choices as most of them (Burzum, Cirith Gorgor, Gorgoroth and so on) have been used by now! “Aklash” is the Orcish word meaning “music”.
What are your influences – individually or as a band?
As a band – WITTR, Drudkh, Alcest, Burzum, that kind of BM. Individually we are into a vast range of things, from post-rock and ambient to jazz, death metal and folk.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
Vast and progressive song structures, hard and soft dynamics, non-traditional instrumentation for a metal band (violin).
What’s your live show like – why should the baying hordes troop over to the stage you’re playing on to watch you?
Our live show, at its peak, is an immersive ritual akin to being pulled into a vortex of sound, smoke and colour. We are still perfecting this art and are looking into additional areas of expression in the live environment, video projections for example. An idea came up to perhaps have the band performing behind a screen featuring dynamic nature footage. Maybe only as a one off, but just things that take the traditional idea of a “rock concert” and take it somewhere else, like an art installation. Pretentions aside, one cannot really beat the pure visceral impact of an amplified black metal band. Like many bands we come across differently live versus recordings. I have always believed that the live and studio incarnations of a performance should function as the left and right hand of what a band is doing.
When/how did you find out you’d been selected to play at Bloodstock?
The same night that we performed at the final – a landmark moment for us!
What sort of setlist can we expect?
We’ve been playing roughly the same setlist for around a year now, with minor variations. We like to focus on violin-heavy material live as the audience is always remarkably receptive to it.
Which main stage band do you most hope you’re not clashing with so you can see them play?
Personally I cannot wait to see the triumphant return of Akercocke. I’m also looking forward to Rotting Christ, Behemoth, and Anthrax will surely be great fun!
What are you working on at the moment?
Our second full length, long in the making, is at last nearly ready. We just released a brand new epic track this last week. Behold! [Scroll down to listen! – Mosh]
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done on tour?
We go on tour for the first time this November with our good friends Old Corpse Road and Exquisite Ending. We’ll get back to you on that!
What advice would you give to a young band just starting out today?
In today’s music industry you can, and pretty much have to, launch yourselves. Gone are the days when a label would say “we like your demos” and invest in you in the long term. Now you bring the product to them and go from there. There’s little advice to give except: just do it, and see where it goes.
If you could be part of any 3-band line-up who else would you have on the bill? One band above you and one below – a chance to plug a smaller, unsigned act!
Probably Wolves In The Throne Room or Negura Bunget. Old Corpse Road as we always enjoy playing with those guys. We’re still unsigned ourselves so we’d probably find ourselves toward the bottom of that bill!
What stage / time are you playing at Bloodstock (if you have your slot yet!)
We take to the Jagermeister Stage at a currently unknown time on the Sunday. See you there.