Interviews

Interview: Awake For Days

Awake For Days are an alternative metal band from the island paradise of Sardinia off the coast of Italy. Recently AFD have started getting serious traction on radio both streaming and air in several markets in the states. Awake For Days are getting ready to drop their latest album Multiverse and support the album with heavy touring.


Does your music seem to be different from Italian groups since you are from Sardinia? And if so tell us how?

(Nick) There are a lot of reasons why our music is different compared to other Italian bands: we dunno if it’s because we live on an Island, but there’s a word that defines quite good our music: “urgent”. Maybe the will to emerge, maybe the fact that we see the world from behind the sea make us write songs like “Now or Never” or “Break your Chains”. We have URGENCY to bring our music everywhere meeting people that deeply understand this message. We have to share passion and strength and this has to happen NOW.

When does the band expect to tour this year? And will you tour Europe or the USA first?

(Nick) Hopefully, we’ll be in the U.S. for spring/summer, and it will be in support of a great band. I’m sorry, but that’s all I can tell you right now! Fingers crossed!

After listening to your song “With You” I feel more needs to be researched and done to help people with depression and mental illnesses, what do you feel about this and what brought you to write a song about this topic? Are there any specific charity or awareness groups you would like to mention?

(Lukas) This is the effect we hoped it would have on people. It’s a song that aims at three different sensitivities:
– For those suffering from depression
– Whoever has a loved one next to them who suffers from it
– To those who have never had to deal with depression either directly or utterly, and understand what they can do.

Since you asked me, I want to share my story with you.

The decision to talk about depression wasn’t made by chance, we considered the topic in a really introspective and personal way.

On May 2, 2017, my cousin Antonio decided to end his life. Before his illness, he was full of life, a young guy with 3 beautiful children, a wife and a job he loved. All of that couldn’t keep him in the world though because depression is an illness that kills you slowly and when it’s finished eating you up, it leaves you completely empty.

Antonio was more than just a cousin for me, he had a sensitive, kind soul and he was always there for others. I owe it to him that I make music today, I still remember when my parents didn’t want me to buy a guitar because they were afraid it would distract me from school. When Antonio found out I was about to graduate, he showed up at my house with his beautiful Les Paul Epiphone and told me to ‘keep it warm’ for him while he concentrated on finishing school himself. He left me that guitar for a whole year and it was the first time I had the opportunity to really delve into playing music. It was the beginning of everything for me.

When you see depression from the outside, you don’t have any idea what it’s actually like for those going through it. You don’t know how to react, you’re afraid of doing the wrong thing, you think that maybe it’s a temporary phase that will pass but, unfortunately, that’s often a huge mistake.

After having had this terrible experience I spoke to my bandmates and told them I wanted to talk about it on the next album, so we did. Antonio’s guitar, the one I first started playing with, was given to me by his brother Marco and I used it for some of the recordings. It was my way of paying homage to him….

There are different awareness and sensibilization group all over the world, specifically, we have reported the website “suicide.org” which contains the main worldwide hotlines dedicated to listening to those who are going through a bad time of depression and who have suicidal tendencies. The message is: “if you feel depressed and you’ve thoughts of suicide, don’t stay silent, talk to your friends, families or ask for help at a suicide prevention center.”

There are many artists coming out of Europe, do you think that there is a movement for artists to come to the USA? And why do you think that is?

(Mick) Most of the famous metal bands we used to listen in the past and we still listen nowadays are from the US, and the incredible point is that they are all different from each other. We really hope to have the opportunity to make a tour in the US: Of course, a tour in Europe would be great as well, but for us, USA will be the dream that comes true. Since I was a child I used to see the USA on the TV by movies or documentaries, and I have always been fascinated by this amazing huge country: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, are some of the cities I always wanted to see as a tourist, and If we’ll have the chance to visit them as musicians, it’ll be the greatest achievement I could ever imagine.

Where do you see your band in the next couple of years and what are your goals during this time?

(Mick) We’d like to sign a record deal and plan some tour in the US; this will be supported by the hard work behind the scenes, where we try every day to improve ourselves, as people, as well as musicians. Then, well, everything will assume a different shape!

“Awake for Days” is an interesting name for a band; can you tell me if it has some special meaning? And how you all came up with the name?

Lukas: The name Awake for Days comes from a non-sleeping month we had to face producing and promoting the first album Magnificent Disorder.

DreamHost

Nino: This story is really simple, back in 2012 me and Lukas were composing “Magnificent Disorder”, and we lost literally nights of sleep to take to perfection that album. Obviously, the story repeated again with the upcoming album, but now we were not alone in this task since Nicola and Michele joined the band.

Are there many rock bands in Sardinia? And how do you think they perceive you and your goals for spreading your music to the world?

(Nick) Unfortunately, we don’t have many rock bands in Sardinia. Most musicians make tribute bands or are forced to emigrate in order to live a life as musicians, so the rock scene is poor: Plus, Alternative Metal is totally unknown and we rarely have the chance to hit a good big stage in Sardinia. Despite this, there are some “human spaces” where there is support and friendship, and we have wonderful friends who believe in our project (when you come to Sardinia, go to Bar Sonos in Ittiri!) Of course, as we’re releasing new tunes, everyone believes that we have to bring our music worldwide in order to be fully appreciated.

Tell our readers about what type of food is the main culturally unique dish that is eaten in Sardinia and what are the band’s favorite types of local cuisine beyond that?

(Nick) In Sardinia there’s no alternative metal scene, but for our happiness we are blessed with breathtaking nature, great culture and FOOD: we have every kind of pasta, from the “Culurgiones” (handmade ravioli stuffed with potatoes, pecorino cheese, and mint) to the “Sevadas”; a fried pasta cake stuffed with cheese and lemon that is then sprinkled with honey. We have some weird things like “Casu Marzu”; (rotten cheese, full of maggots, declared illegal but consumed anyway) or the “Sanbeneddu”; (a cream made with animal blood that is cooked in the stomach of sheep). Beyond that, we have the best of Italian cuisine, like pizza or tortellini, we have great wines and beers, so in that terms, Sardinia is a great place to live. Me, personally, I’m vegetarian and I’m fond of all Mediterranean recipes, and I love middle-east and Indian kitchen too: anything full of spices is my perdition!

Talking about the band and songs the vocals are excellent and varied with a changing style to fit each song, does Lukas have any special vocal training he does before a show or rehearsal?

First of all, thank you for your compliments, I’m glad that you listened carefully to our songs, and that you noticed how the voice varies between songs.

I did different kinds of training before rehearsals and before a show, and in these years I had the opportunity to study different registers and timbres that allow me to vary a lot both during a song and from song to song. It has helped me a lot to study over the years different singers and styles from different musical genres. Currently, the rehearsals themselves have become my training, I master at best all the techniques available to me so I do not need to do special things before a show or rehearsals.

When your band gets a recording contract and starts working a new album, do you plan to record some of your older songs mixed with new songs?

(Mick) We’re doing the best we can to sign a record deal with one of the most important American music company. Our two albums are quite different from each other because they have been written at different times and moods. So I think that if something new will come, we will record new songs, with new emotions and feelings of the moment.

What is your ultimate stage design and setup for touring? Do you prefer going elaborate like say Rob Zombie or more scaled back and simple?

Nino) Surely we would like to setup like Rob Zombie with a lot of visuals, at my modest level of light technician, I’m programming a simple but solid light show for clubs and studying visuals, but for higher level gigs this task should be assigned to another tech who fits our needs and ambitions!
(Lukas) Our show is completely structured to be played on the metronome with the use of backing tracks, with all the extra instruments that we do not play live, so once the song starts all the lights go in sync with our show, just as we are used to seeing from established bands in the music business. We use, triggers, amplifiers and cabinet simulators such as AXE-FX and Kemper, so we have no amplifiers on stage, and we all have our own In-ear monitors with sounds and volume levels pre-produced in the studio, so we do not do any stage soundcheck, except that to set the volumes in the PA system.

What have been some of your favorite albums released in the last year?

Shinedown – Attention Attention
Five Finger Death Punch – And Justice for None
Paparoach – Who do You Trust?

My last question and again thank you for your time and music: What other endeavors and hobbies does Awake For Days partake in besides music?

(Mick) As we already said, we all have really modest jobs, and we are very easy-going also in our spare time. We have different hobbies, Mick likes playing PlayStation and go running, Nick loves riding the bicycle and tripping the world. Nino prefers to spend free time traveling around the beautiful Sardinia with his girlfriend, and Lukas works in his recording studio, which he built in his house, where he works with local bands. Also…Pornhub can be filed as a hobby?

 

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