Tuesday, September 24, 2019

interview: Dialith

Earlier in 2019 the symphonic power metal band Dialith (Connecticut, U.S.) issued its debut full-length album Extinction Six. The general consensus has been that it is a rather impressive work. The songs, the skilled instrumentation and the singing have been noticed by reviewers and fans. In the review of the album this publication observed that the music “will be interesting for fans of guitar-driven heavy/power metal with soprano singing and keyboards.” Let’s learn more about the album and the band.
Congratulations on Extinction Six! People say that musicians have all their life to make the debut album. Does it feel that way?!
Alasdair: Thank you so much! It certainly feels that way! In a sense, it personally took me nine years to finally release this album. As glad as I am to have hit this milestone, I have no intention of taking a break. Krista and I made the agreement when we started that we would take this band as far as it would go, and after the success of the debut release, I’m as motivated as ever to write more music!
Cullen: I sought out looking for bands in my high school days. It wasn't until after those years that I found my first band and then later down the road came into contact with Dialith who was seeking a drummer. Finally meeting musicians that shared the goal of releasing an album I couldn't be happier that I can finally say I have recorded on an album.
Was anyone a nervous wreck and doing re-takes during the recording?!! For instance, are there several versions of the sweet guitar solo by Alasdair at the end of “Where Fire Dwells”?
Krista: I had just taken a few days off of my job over the course of three weeks in August, then went back to make a few edits in early October.
Cullen: In the studio I felt confident with almost all the songs. I recorded 8 songs in a 2-day period that I was comfortable with. Weeks later we went back to track remaining songs including the closer “Extinction Six” and that was the biggest challenge as I did not have very long to prepare for it as we wanted drums done first so the others could record along. It was a beast of a song to get through.
Alasdair: I’m certainly a perfectionist! I’ll re-record as much as I need to until I’m satisifed. That’s a great benefit to recording DI at home, I can take my sweet time and not worry about running up a recording engineer’s hourly rate. Another benefit of DI is I can re-use tracks. All the guitars from our first EP were re-used for the album, with only very minor tweaks. So it’s interesting you mentioned the “Where Fire Dwells” solo, it’s simpler because I wrote and recorded it quite a while ago! Fun fact: The fast legato run at the very end was totally improvised since I couldn’t figure out how to end it. Never quite learned how to play that back exactly so I always improvise that part during our live shows.
Is that a cowbell at the beginning of “Where Fire Dwells”?! (“I’ll be honest, fellas, it was sounding great, but I could have used a little more cowbell! I’m telling you, fellas, you’re gonna want that cowbell! I gotta have more cowbell. Guess what?! I got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell!” -SNL)
Alasdair: For the intro to that song, we actually incorporated exotic instrument effects taken from Charlie’s keyboard. Of course, any song could use more cowbell ;)
Cullen: I'll keep cowbell in mind for the next release ;)
On “Libra” is that an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar starting at 2:33? It sounds a little bit like a Spanish or Mediterranean bit. Nice. What about at 3:33 again? Is that the same instrument as at 2:33? It seems to make a return there.
Alasdair: People have called that part flamenco, others have called it Middle Eastern. I’m not diverse enough to have enough knowledge of those cultural genres, just something I came up and thought “hey, this sounds cool” haha. What you’re hearing is two takes of acoustic guitar, playing the same thing an octave apart, blended together. For the part at 3:33, that’s a clean electric guitar with a flanger effect.
“Libra” features some very nice keyboards, but currently you don’t have a keyboard player currently, right?
Cullen: Charles Woodruff recorded the keyboard parts on the album. He left earlier this year so when we perform live I play to backing tracks so we are still able to incorporate keys into our sound.
Do you need a full-time cowbell player? I have no musical skills but I want to be on stage rocking out. Maybe I could take some cowbell lessons?!
Alasdair: Depends, how fast can you blastbeat on the cowbell? :D
On your Facebook chat on release day you guys sounded a little less enthused about the ballad “The River Runs Dry.” It almost sounded you were apologetic about it. Do you not like it that much anymore?
Krista: I don’t think we’re apologetic or that we don’t like it much—we’ve just never had the opportunity to play it live and we’re not as invested in it as we are the ones that we’re constantly practicing.
Alasdair: “The River Runs Dry” is technically the oldest song on the album. I wrote it in 2015 and feel I’ve grown as a composer since then and it’s not my best work. I look forward to writing a much improved ballad in the future.
On “The River Runs Dry” your singer Krista gets to take the singing both very high and very gentle. It’s no wonder reviewers call it heavenly or angelic singing. Before you had a singer, were y’all attending shows at the local opera house, looking for a singer?!
Krista: Haha, Dialith always had a singer! I posted the ad on Craigslist that Alasdair responded to. I actually don’t sing opera, though I’d like to take some opera lessons someday. Symphonic metal has always been my favorite genre.
How did your singer Krista figure out that she could sing this way? How much can Krista tell us about her range and all those things related to being a soprano?
Krista: I don’t remember exactly, this is just my natural voice. I have a very high speaking voice, so it follows that my singing voice would be high as well. I used to sing along to Tarja Turunen and Sharon den Adel, so that’s basically how I figured out singing in this style. I’ve been singing in choirs since I was 12, and then when Dialith formed I started taking lessons on-and-off with a couple different vocal coaches. My goal for the next release is to develop a lower range and practice belting. As for my range, my lowest note is an F3 and my highest is a B5.
How much does making an album set you back financially?
Krista: We did as much as we could ourselves! While this was a big undertaking financially, it was nice to be able to have the freedom to do what we wanted.
Alasdair: One of the biggest cost savings for us was recording guitar, bass, and keyboards at home. For the guitar and bass, we recorded direct tracks which the mix engineer reamped later on. Cullen saved us a lot of money by recording 10 songs in only 3 days! He’s a beast.
Who are the members of the band in 2019? Is your band a dictatorship or a democracy?! Being in a band is like being married to a bunch of people, so what type of marriage is Dialith?! I hope that you won’t need a life coach like Metallica did.
Krista: The lineup as of September 2019 is Alasdair Wallace Mackie on guitar, Mark Grey on bass, Cullen Mitchell on drums, and myself on vocals. Alasdair wrote the vast majority of the music, but he’s always open to our suggestions. I wrote most of the lyrics. I like to think that we’re a pretty stable band! We’re all good friends outside of the band and a life coach definitely isn’t in the cards at the moment.
Have you received offers from labels now after the album?
Krista: We have not received any offers! In the age of self-releasing, I think a label would have to offer us a pretty sweet deal for us to take it, primarily in terms of promotion and booking.
Do you have any ideas about when there will be more music released? What are the best places to support your band without having the hated middle man taking your money?
Krista: We’re thinking there will be something new as soon as next year! Currently you can buy shirts and physical copies of the album in our Bandcamp store, at dialith.bandcamp.com. Buying merch helps us the most! Also sharing our music and the music video that’s available on YouTube is a huge help to us.
Alasdair: We already have new songs written, and we’re hoping to return to the studio early next year. If things go very well, we may be releasing something next year as well ;)
Cullen: Subscribing to our Dialith YouTube channel is a great way to support us as we plan to release plenty of video content. Following us on social media is another good way to keep up with us.
☙❦ DIALITH ❦❧ - The Sound of Your Voice

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