Interview with Searching Alaska

We pride ourselves on finding the best new bands and introducing them to you, because we are good like that!

Say ‘Hey’ to Searching Alaska, a genre busting five piece who play an intriguing and very listenable blend of post hardcore power and passion with pop rock style melodies and catchy choruses.

The bands debut, self produced EP ‘Summits’ is a fantastic listen,  just check out the tracks ‘Walk On Worlds’ and especially ‘A Glass Case Of Emotion’, 2 great tracks that show amazing promise.

We were lucky enough to catch up with band for this great interview.

Who are you and what do you do?  Christina Rotondo – vocals, Jake Ringsell – guitar, Toby Campen – guitar, Damien Mole – bass, Jamie Abela – drums.

Where did the bands name come from?  Damien – we were using a random band name generator and came up with something like searching for nebraska, which didn’t sound right. I was reading Looking for Alaska at the time and decided to drop the for and add Alaska instead. The whole idea of the book is finding your way out of the labyrinth of everyday life and I think this band is our way out of it

How did you get started?  Toby – After we all left a previous band, myself, Damien and Jamie started recording demos together. Shortly after Damien got in touch with Christina when we saw her youtube videos and were very impressed.

Damien – Toby, Jamie and I started a band in February 2011 but it wasn’t till January of 2012 when we met Christina and decided she’d be good for vocals. Then at university Christina met Jake and we needed another guitarist.

Jake – Me and Christina were at uni studying the same course. We didn’t really talk until I heard her phone ring and Writing On The Walls – Underoath played out. I immediately got excited because I’d finally found someone with music taste similar to mine. We then met up and practiced a few acoustic covers and played a couple of local shows at uni. After this, in a particularly boring lecture, Christina was bragging about these wonderful musicians from Essex, where I’m from, and that they needed another guitarist. I listened to some demos Toby, Jamie and Damien had written, was hooked, then began the writing and recording process.

What have you got going on at the moment?  Toby – We’re currently in contact with a lot of people – lots of new fans showing interest, booking shows. Writing songs for our next record and progressing our sound.

Favourite music and why?  Jake – I love a very wide range of music. Of course I love the music that is remnant of our sound like Deaf Havana, Funeral For A Friend and other such bands like Memphis May Fire, Woe Is Me, Emarosa, Thrice. I like really chilled stuff like Bon Iver, City and Colour, ambient stuff I can lose myself in. I love a lot of older stuff from Motown – Stevie Wonder, The Four Tops, I love Nina Simone, David Bowie. More recently I’ve been trying to draw more lyrical inspiration from people like Morrissey and Bob Dylan that I look up to in a big way.

Christina – recently I’m really into The story so far. I think they’re so energetic and I can’t wait to see them live. I’m also really into The Elijah, The Amity Affliction (who I have only just discovered) Memphis may fire, and Emarosa as they have an especially big influence in our writing.

Toby – I love bands that show alot of passion in their music. Newer bands like Emarosa, Dance Gavin Dance, Sleeping with Sirens. I also still listen to lots of bands from my teenage years like Glassjaw, Brand New and Killswitch Engage.

Favourite book and why?  Damien – The Catcher in the Rye and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, cliche but brilliant

Toby – American Psycho, because it has quite a twist and I love the writing style.

Jake – Great Expectations stood out for me. The detail Dickens goes into within his story creates such a bold image that it’s so easy to lose yourself in the story.

Favourite film and why?  Christina – I actually can’t answer this question! I absolutely love films – thrillers, action etc. But i can’t think of my favourite – theres too many! love a good horror, me.

Jake – Any of the Star Wars films except the last one (Revenge Of The Sith) that is fucking awful. I like them because they are extremely nostalgic so i can just switch off and enjoy them. Because i’m a film student they show us so many amazing films which I love – Citizen Kane, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, shit loads of film noir but they teach us to be so picky. I love nothing more than eating loads of food and watching Star Wars with my mates.

Best experience in the business?  Jake – We’ve only been going for a little while. But I love writing new songs. I write a lot with Toby (the other guitarist) and the best feeling is when we get the best idea for a song and it sounds awesome. I also loved playing our first show. People telling you that they like your music is such a nice thing to hear.

Jamie – i’ve had the chance to work with a lot of people in the music industry. I’ve played with loads of different bands before and met loads of people – its great.

Toby – Producing our Summits EP, it was a very long project that I spend so long perfecting. And there is a lot more riding on it when it is your own bands record. Although the reward was well worth it, I’m very proud of it, one of the best records I’ve ever produced and mixed.

Why should soundscape readers care?  Christina – We’ve heard a lot of people tell us that we’re doing something that they haven’t heard before (as cliche as it might sound.) I think the contrast of the female vocals and then ambient and crazy lead guitar riffs really brings out something a little different.

Toby – We have a fresh sound and hope we can bring something new and exciting to your ears.

Tell our readers an interesting fact about the band?  Damien – If it wasn’t for the internet and smartphones this band probably wouldn’t exist or work hahaha

Jake – I can quote the entire 1st and 2nd series of Might Boosh

Toby – The cover photo of our EP (taken by Damien) is actually a field in Basildon, Essex (not Alaska!) were but in the snow we thought it would make a good cover.

What’s the best and worst things about touring?  Toby – The best thing is the adrenaline rush of performing live and having a great crowd. The worst thing is being stuck in traffic when you need to get to a show

Christina – Best thing is playing shows! absolutely love playing shows – one of my favourite things to do. I guess the worst thing could be the amount of pressure and stress on everyone – I have a feeling arguments could quickly escalate and people could get irritated with each other.. haha

Most embarrassing thing to happen to you while in the band? Jake – Trying to sing a harmony in front of everyone and failing. Or perhaps the time when I leaned in to do gang vocals at practice and the microphone gave me an electric shook causing me to pull an extremely odd face.

Christina – I may have forgotten lyrics to our songs on stage… and I’m a right embarrassment when trying to talk to the audience.

Toby – Trying to do backing screams with Jake in recording, we both shouted and went cross eyed.

What’s your writing and recording process?  Christina – normally because the guys are from Essex and I am from Surrey, they will come up  with riffs or ideas, record it on their mac and then send it to me. I’ll then write lyrics and a vocal melody and we’ll go through a trial and error process  – the guys will tell me what they want to add or change and I do the same with them. We normally leave Jamie to do whatever drums he likes, as he is basically god.

Jake – Usually either me or Toby will have a song idea, we’ll record a demo, write new parts together, send it to the other guys, get there opinion and then change certain parts. Either that or we jam to some riff idea loudly with Jamie drumming some impossibly fast shit. The we get naked and record that shit…

What inspires you?  Christina – I’m going to be all cheesy and say the guys just inspire me. they come up with awesome riffs, and they’re all incredibly talented. When i listen to the music they come up with i just instantly start humming along, or I can usually think of a vocal melody straight away.

Toby – when writing a song we always try to imagine how it will come across in a live environment

Jake – People around me, family, friends, books, films. Anything and everything. My phone is full of drafts of lyric ideas, song ideas, film ideas etc.

Damien – Other bands inspire me like bands from our level right to the top, I see what they’re doing and think I want to do that but bigger and better. Being surrounded by the most talented people I know also pushes me to try harder.

Who are your role models/idols?  Jake – Bob Dylan

Toby – Adam Dutkiewicz (Killswitch Engage) – he’s an amazing producer and guitarist, and one of the funniest guys ever.

Damien – John Frusciante, one of the reasons I became a musician, don’t know him look him up!

Hardest thing about the current business?  Toby – You have to be really famous to get a nandos black card!!

Jake – I really don’t like to think of music as a business. But to be honest, I haven’t been in a band long enough to experience the “business” side of things. Probably a good thing.

Favourite Batman actor? – Toby – Tom Hardy as BANE. METALZZZ

Jake – I  want to be Christian Bale, such a hero

You can check out the band on Facebook HERE where you will find links to the bands other pages and a link to buy the ‘Summits’ EP.

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