Altayon is very rich in acoustic guitar and clean singing, it almost reminds me of days of old when a musician could travel town to town with just his/her guitar and sing to the locals. Is this sort of the theatrical effect you are going for?
Not at first. Over time it became something we are known for. The acoustic stuff came organically out of convenience. Altayon is at its core a theatrical doom metal band. Its design is set to include a theater performance shrouded in the darkness of driving guitars. It’s easy to put together an acoustic show than it is a full production. And when we’re asked to perform on short notice it ends up being acoustic. We love playing either version. The experiences come with it pros and cons, but ultimately it’s still Altayon at its base. Our theatrical effect comes in the form of a full production. As if an audience is going to see the musical Jekyll & Hyde or Phantom of the Opera, but original songs from Altayon.
"Altayon in the Raw" has 3 volumes. How did you come up with this concept? Was it just a way to continue one long story?
Altayon in the Raw is taking our songs to the bones. Playing live with either a full acoustic performance or just me and a guitar. Ultimately it was to keep ourselves entertained. Sometimes a musician needs to musician. It keeps our audience fan base fueled with material and our creative minds flowing. A majority of the acoustic songs on those volumes are more of an exercise to keep my writing muscle alive. I take written poems and try to write music to them, practice the song for a day or two, and record the track. The Raw volumes are a lot of fun to put together. Though I do love getting the full band heavy stuff finalized.
What are some of the themes/stories that you use in your lyrics?
All the songs have a common theme based on the world of Zandeya. The stories follow the ever pondering eye of Lord Telmorn Altayon upon the world he birthed. Within there are tales of woe, love, betrayal, destruction and even sacrifice. As most doom metal touches on divinity, death, and love, so do the foundation of our Altayon songs.
Your website says Altayon is mostly a studio band, and even with musicians not really touring right now, would you consider it and where would you like to go?
We would absolutely tour anywhere in the world. We already had a successful band back in 1997 to 2007. Altayon turned into more of a musical project that filled our desired interests as artists. Though we do perform for causes to raise money for cancer, or MS, even mental health awareness. We try to make all our performances events instead of a string of concerts. If we were to choose one place particularly to perform at it would really take away from the unique experience all locations come with. Though, we prefer autumn weather wherever we are. Time of year and location always come into account.
Are there any particular theatrical acts/plays that have influenced the style of the band?
Jekyll & Hyde would be the main influence from musical theatrical. My dream role would be to play Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Musically we are influenced by My Dying Bride, Dream Theater, and old 1970’s-80’s Black Sabbath. If you listen closely you’ll hear some Iced Earth in there too. Music is truly influenced by emotions as they cliche’ suggests, but all those who have come before us have laid the path to the evolution of music ahead of us.
What are some modern bands that you might compare your band to currently?
If I were to pick a few modern bands I would like to say Angles on the Battlefield. Cause they need to be heard about. I love their instrumental scores to emotional conquest of struggle into success. Not sure if Killswitch Engage is considered modern at this point. I know Opeth is a band that really inspires us too. Their musical changes from one album to the next always have an interesting appeal.
When/if you perform live, is there a certain mood through the use of costume, lighting, etc.?
Our hope is to always pull people out of their world and into ours. We want their minds to focus on the change of environment that comes with our stage performances. The show is filled with small stories within each song acted out like a modern day King Diamond show but with more of a narrative throughout the whole night. There is a sense of dread touched with divine gothic elements blanketed within our appearance. We want our audience to follow the emotional narrative and leave feeling the experience beyond the show.
What do you hope people feel/relate to with your music?
That they get a sense of wonder filled with enlightenment into a world beyond their own. To invoke that possibility that life is more than right now. Our profound hope with music is always to take people away from the life they know. To escape their lives and be something more. Life is a journey of ideas and sometimes people are frozen in their physical forms by the fear that it is impossible. But anything is probable if the imagination is let loose to explore an infinite exploration of the human mind’s spirit.