For how long have ALGEBRA been around and which releases are already available?
Tony: We formed in 2008 and have released "Procreation EP" (2010) and "Polymorph LP" (2012) since then.
Phil: We hope to release the next LP in about a year. The new songs are coming along very nicely.
You've released "Polymorph" by yourselves and it is an awesome record. Did you have negotiations with record companies or was it a conscious decision to do a diy - release?
Mat: We haven't signed anything yet, because until recently we only got rip-off offers asking us to pay thousands to promote and sell our record, which didn't look too attractive.
Phil: And I think we may not be the most trendy or accessible band nowadays, which is a limiting factor to get a proper deal with a label.
Ed: Perhaps if they offered to charge us a fee per album sold, we would be more confident that they might be trying to promote us, but paying a flat fee for distribution on such a saturated market nowadays seems silly. So up to now, we have been going with DIY (Thanks, internet!) until something better comes our way. Just recently and for the first time, we got a couple more interesting offers that may conclude to some promotion and distribution of our LP in the US. We shall see.
"Tim's Calvary" is a song with very impressive lyrics and maybe you can describe the general idea behind the song?!
Tony: It's a résumé of how Beethoven viewed his own life at his own time, but transposed to our time. For me, Tim Calvert (Forbidden) is similar in the sense that he didn't get the response he deserved after giving so much time and energy, which ultimately made him quit music. "Calvert" has the same phonetic as "Calvaire" in French, which means "Calvary" or "Burden".
"Crook" deals with infiltrating the system, basically trying to find a life worth living in a world dominated by greed, corruption, exploitation, militarism and
violence. Is there a personal story connected to the song or does it have a conncetion to the world of work?
Ed: Yeah, it was initially meant to be about my guilt of not doing things right and that it is considered to be a crime against humanity to not do your job at best when you are in such a privileged country. But it turned around completely when I showed it to the others and talked about it together for a while.
Tony: Indeed. All guilt was abolished, the use of serving this planet and some of its inhabitants was put into perspective. It's about questioning priorities and not getting used.
How come bands from Lausanne have such a high musical standard, is there a program for children at schools, or free rehearsal rooms... I mean, it can't just be coincidence?
Phil: No, it surely isn't a coincidence. I think it is mainly a passion that exists here for music, practice and experience. Many kids listen, share and discuss music, start bands in high school, meet more people at concerts to join forces and create new bands. There has been a lot of synergy in the last decade and people are trying to share rather than put each other down.
Tony: Other than that there are no particularly interesting music programs, just work! By being more objective and critical on your songs, you learn not to just focus on your instrument, but the whole picture. You have to listen to a lot of different music, which is easier when you have built a group of friends with the same passion. As time goes, we are always meeting more musicians and people who are passionate about music.
Mat: It is also great to play in different bands. Ed and I have learned a lot while playing with Bagheera (which you recently interviewed) and we shared another perspective with other guys. I unfortunately had to part with them this year due to my other obligations including Algebra.
Lisa Voisard did the artwork and integrated the idea of metamorphosis into it as well. She's also a musician, right? What is the general idea behind the title "polymorph" and what inspired you to choose it?
Ed: The title comes from the basic concept that people adopt and switch between different personalities or forms, in order to adapt to environments.
Tony: The only way to conform!
Ed: Yup, most of the songs deal with the fact that if you lack that craft and stay blocked in one state, you die. For the artwork, initially the idea was to make 3 humanoids - one solid, one water and one gas - plunge out of a spiraled triskel, but it was a bit complicated to draw. We therefore asked Lisa to draw a baby, an adult and an old man, which works since time also requires morphing and adapting.
Mat: Lisa did an awesome job and we are very grateful for it. She is a talented graphic designer and plays guitar in a brutal death metal band called ANACHRONISM.
Check her out here if you are interested: http://www.lisavoisard.ch
After work I just bought a metal magazine and it has about 300 pages, comes with 3 cds that feature 36 bands and has about 40 pages of reviews in it. As a consumer I think that's great but as somebody obsessed with music it is a challenge to listen to all the bands and value their work. Where do you see the drawbacks of the musical explosion?
Mat: It's cool that so many people can create their own music and bring something to an audience, but it is too bad that some of the "good" creativity goes unheard because of all the crap that saturates the internet.
Tony: According to Derek Roddy (ex HATE ETERNAL, ex NILE) there will be no more live metal music in 10 years and you will see more shows on internet. I saw this interview of him which I found interesting, since people are increasingly in need to get entertainment instantaneously from computers and could stop moving to shows. Although the internet may bring many good things, I think the whole "I'm doing videos at home and not playing WITH people" is more of a barrier to the creation process, as more people are isolated and not sharing opinions and ideas. Also nowadays everything is audio-enhanced, off beats are moved to the right place, tracks are edited beyond the limits of natural musicality. Although it is easier now to make music sound tight, it doesn't have that raw and genuine feeling as much as it used to. You can hear some of these "tight-sounding" bands actually suck live...
Do you actually listen to new groups, maybe even local ones or do you rather stick to traditional bands that have a certain reputation?
Phil: Not so many newer bands. Despite my continuous efforts to find good new music, I tend to prefer more old-school stuff. I don't listen to many local productions, although the level of musicianship is quite high.
Tony: New bands! Ok, I agree that Slayer's Reign in Blood will remain great forever, but some new bands are great too, so they deserve to be heard. And we do listen to local bands and give them our honest criticism and appreciation to move forward and receive the same in return. This is how the local scene moves forward.
Mat: It's important to listen and have interest to both big and small bands as long as they are good. Too many people are limited to popular artists and do not go and support the small local artists, which is too bad since there is a lot to discover.
Ed: Yup, both as well. There are awesome local bands like Kurtains, Green Fairy, The Burden Remains, Coilguns, Unfold, Nostromo (R.I.P.), etc...
You've recorded the album yourselves and the sound's just great. Any advice you'd like to give younger musicians concerning the diy recording process? Did you use analogue equipment as well, did you record live or have separate sessions for each instrument?
Tony: I would say take time, practice, think, listen, practice more, think more, drink more! We recorded with a Yamaha AW1600 (basic analogue stuff, no computers) in seperate sessions for each instrument.
Phil: Then you can send the tracks to Andy Classen to be mixed and mastered, because he is the man! He recorded many metal bands, including Krisiun, Tankard, Belphegor,... and we were very lucky to have him make the sound on our record so in-your-face!
Picure by Antony Butticaz