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Ashenspire interview (09/2022)

With: Alasdair Dunn
Conducted by: RaduP (skype)
Published: 21.09.2022

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In this interview, vocalist/drummer/songwriter Alasdair Dunn of Ashenspire tries to convince me that Scots is a real language and that folk metal can be empathic. We also talked about their newest record, Hostile Architecture.

Posted on 21.09.2022 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 80 users
22.09.2022 - 16:42

Cool guy. Intelligent. Interesting and fun interview, and a very interesting album they have released. I expect SSUS to reply to his statement that Sabaton make music for teenagers.
24.09.2022 - 23:22
delicious dish
Fun interview. Not really surprising a lot of his drumming influences are outside of metal. I really liked the discussion about folk metal and its romanticizing of the past.
You are the hammer, I am the nail
building a house in the fire on the hill
25.09.2022 - 17:44
I didn't realize until you brought up Chat Pile that I'd been remembering their song "Why" as being from Hostile Architecture. I liked both albums (and I guess that was the song I remembered most clearly from either), but in general I liked Hostile Architecture a lot more. I guess I'll have to listen to it again. And in fact I've come away from this interview with more interest in Ashenspire in general (gosh it's like this is why people do interviews).

I like that when Alasdair shared this on Ashenspire's Facebook page he mentioned that he'd been asked a lot of questions he'd never been asked in an interview before. I flashed back to that when you asked him about the last time he and the lads got drunk and showed their asses to the English.

The Varangian Way is one of my favorite folk metal albums, too. I found the whole discussion of folk metal (which cropped up throughout the interview) very interesting, not only because I enjoyed his perspectives on folk metal's value and purpose, but because I felt there was a lot of folk sound in Hostile Architecture. Not folk metal in the conventional manner, and not identifiable Celtic folk, really, but rather like folk punk.

I really enjoyed this interview. You had quite the diverse battery of questions for him, and he was a great sport and played along in an entertaining fashion. I very much liked his choice for the moment when history could have changed for the better - the Christmas Truce is something I think about a lot in terms of, as you were talking about earlier in the interview, history being glorified unjustly. If it had led to something, it would have been worth glorifying. I think the fact that it immediately collapsed and the troops were reprimanded and the war dragged on for three more years means that it was the most depressing and abject failure of the entire war and it gives me a bad taste when people romanticize that incident. There was a beginning, but there was no lesson learned.

Speaking of...

Written by nikarg on 22.09.2022 at 16:42

Cool guy. Intelligent. Interesting and fun interview, and a very interesting album they have released. I expect SSUS to reply to his statement that Sabaton make music for teenagers.

I can offer no defense against this, though - he's totally right about Sabaton. I mean, from a musical perspective, sure, their music is extremely simplistic and repetitive and catchy, since it's just pop music, so yeah, in that way it's music for teenagers and that's fine with me (I was a teenager when I got into them). That's just a taste thing. Conceptually, though, I share more of the consternation that he's getting at: all their songs about the worst horrors of history are still "power metal bangers." I've had the same conversations within my head many times; as Radu brought up, World War I was when societies throughout the world largely stopped seeing war as glorious, and Sabaton translating that historic realization into more epic choruses about how cool the Red Baron is feels just a bit tone-deaf, to say the least. I'm independently interested in history and I consider myself to have enough context to enjoy Sabaton without making them my primary source for learning, so I can experience their music without getting fully drawn into this heroic image of warfare, but I do see a danger in, say, teenagers getting too caught up in that imagery without an adequate fundamental understanding of the subject matter. At the same time, though, people engage with that music and those topics in different ways and I do think that Sabaton are capable of communicating some of the despair and horror; I'm not shocked that it doesn't connect with some people, Alasdair included, but I don't see it as an impossibility to arrive at a respectful handling of the stories through Sabaton's music.

If he hasn't listened to them since Coat Of Arms, though, he's really missing out.

This was an interview about Ashenspire, not Sabaton, though, so... great job, both parties. I loved his story about being blocked on his way home by the Queen's funeral procession.

And brilliant final answer.
"Earth is small and I hate it" - Lum Invader

I'm the Agent of Steel.

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