Downloading temporarily unavailable

Due to an increased number of downloads, we’ve run out of the 200-free-per-month download credits provided by Bandcamp much faster than we had anticipated. That’s 200 in 1 week, quite a lot for a band like us. Additional downloads are being ordered but this will take up to a few days so we ask for your patience. One solution would be to charge money for downloads but we don’t like the idea so much. Check back later this week for updates on our Bandcamp status.

Other wordly developments have suddenly, and rather unexpectedly, called for a review of PayPal, a website for making international payments. Akelei will no longer use their services, that much is clear. Where we go from here is not. Bank transfers between European countries are not a problem but we will need an alternative for orders from other parts of the world. In any case, if you want to buy our album, please get in touch through info [at] akelei [dot] org and we’ll find a way.

Stay true,

Misha

Review, stats and a broken bone

The album got a fantastic review at zwaremetalen.com. It’s in Dutch, and for those of you who don’t speak it, a short summary: 95/100  To show you the immediate impact of the review, here’s an impression:

There’s a review in English, but it discusses only the album’s first song. The name of the blog was so unlikely that it made me laugh at first but it soon became clear the author takes the music he writes about very seriously. And well written it is. So here’s a link to No Clean Singing!

In less fortunate news: Merlijn broke his collar bone shortly after the show in Rotterdam. He expects to be healed and able to play guitar again in January. We do have some shows in the pipeline for the next year but nothing definite yet, so check back for details. We’ll install a gig list on the site as soon as we have more info to share. Or follow us on Twitter and be the first to know.

Misha

Après-doom

We had a good time at Dutch Doom Days IX last weekend. The gig went really well, we had some difficulties with the vocals and there wasn’t any reverb on them but these are minor details. We played a 40-minute set consisting of four songs:

1.       Verlangen

2.       De Zwaarte

3.       Meer Dan Je Ziet

4.       De Zin (die ik verloor)

This was our first gig in a year’s time and the first to have both Ward and Josha providing backing vocals. We could have used a few more rehearsal sessions for that but it’s hard enough already to find time to practise as we all live in different cities. Still, we got much positive feedback from those who were at the concert, so we figure we did a good job. It felt good to be on stage again. We definitely enjoyed ourselves and are looking forward to the next show.

The cd sold quite well. We have a ‘Pay-What-You-Want’ policy at shows which allows people to do exactly that. It means no more having to choose between bus fare and cd. You’ll have enough for both. Or the cd plus another beer. But the fact is, people were paying on average the amount we hoped they would pay for our cd, which is not so much a relief as it is reaffirmation of something we already knew: doom fans care about their bands. And we care right back The response we’ve been getting about the album has been very very positive so far and is reflected in the growing number of listeners on last.fm as well as the number of downloads on bandcamp.

I haven’t seen any photos of our gig online yet but our friend Wouter did upload a video of ‘De Zwaarte’ to Youtube, so you can watch that if you weren’t there. We’ll have another video online shortly.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jzpbYLhS3s]

Bye for now and thanks for listening/watching!

Misha

Duett & Doom Days

There’s a blog post from April that tells all about the album’s 5th song, Duett. Scroll down to find it or click here.

Now that Duett is uploaded, the online album is complete. You can stream or download (in any desired format) the entire work or pick out seperate songs.

Or buy the actual cd from us! The cd comes in a 3-panel, full-colour digipak with the song lyrics and the band photo included. The front cover is from a painting by our friend Yara Jumelet, who also made the painting we used for Promo ’08. Find more of her incredible works here.

To order the cd, send an email to info [at] akelei [dot] org

This past month we have been rehearsing for our first gig in a year: Dutch Doom Days IX, at the Baroeg in Rotterdam. That will be the official release for the album so we hope lots of people show up. We play at 17:20, on the Saturday. If you read this and you’re coming over, have a chat with us at the merchandise table.

I hope to return here after the weekend with pictures, video, stories and more! See you then,

Misha

Your shipment of awesome has been delivered

To see that yellow DHL-truck appear down the street and come to a halt in front of the house was just lovely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five hundred of these, no kidding. They look great, it’s everything that we want. We had them made at DeCDperserij.nl and they did a fine job. Service was great and the work got done within the specified time frame.

They are available for ordering from the band:

info [at] akelei [dot] org

Misha

Song #3: De Zwaarte

This song is arguably the heaviest of the bunch. Electric Wizard’s album ‘We Live’ inspired to write the main riff, ’nuff said. There’s also a chorus of sorts, without singing. Maybe that doesn’t make much sense but it feels like a chorus so that’s what we call it. For this part I recycled a melody from my drone/doom project, adding more layers and rearranging it for three guitars + bass.

The fact that we have three guitar players in the band allows us to play many melodies simultaneously and we try to make the most use of it. So, for example, we can have double leads while keeping one guitar on the riff. Some people have asked us why we don’t use keyboards instead. I think the answer is that we just love this sound more. I really can’t imagine Akelei with keyboards. (Maybe a piano some day, but only a real piano will do.)

Lyrically, this song is a bit detached, not as personal as the others. I had this idea in my head that bad things will always happen in our lives, regardless. There are few warnings and there is no fairness in life. To worry about what may come is a waste of time. The only insight lies in hindsight: learn from the past to answer the questions of today. But first we must learn to accept the way things are. A brave 18-year old girl from Kristiansund put it this way:

“Face your fear. Accept your war. It is what it is.”

Misha

Meer Dan Je Ziet (and a word of advice)

The idea for this song started with a melody from almost 10 years ago. There is a crappy recording of a jam session with it that sometimes resurfaced while reorganising cd’s and files at home and it was always nice to hear again. There never was any real attempt to work it out into a song however. So it was left alone for the time being.

Much later, during a period when it came up every time I picked up a guitar or sat down at a piano, I decided that I wouldn’t write another song if not this one first. Meanwhile in my head, the melody had evolved into a ¾ time for string orchestra, which was an entertaining thought but not very useful. It had to somehow work on electric guitar for Akelei.

Keeping the flow (1, 2, 3…), I wrote a part to fit the first one. The new part was interesting because it needs an extra bar to work well. It is also a riff that wants to go on and on, which is something we like in doom. It makes for intros that last longer than the average rock song and, in this case, it really ties the song together. The first half of it anyway.

In the rehearsal room we jammed on another new riff which felt so good that we immediately added it to ‘Meer Dan Je Ziet’, making it a lot heavier in the process. The heaviness felt good too, and allowed for the kind of finale where everything just kind of ‘falls into place’. The end was definitely easy to write, although it may not sound it. It was as if the song pushed it into one direction.

Unfortunately, the lyrics didn’t write themselves. As is the problem with all personal subjects, it is hard to decide on what to share and how. In a way, this very problem was what I started writing about. Lamenting the failure to speak one’s heart when it matters most. The hurt to see the loss it causes. It wasn’t easy. Then, I found truth in a friend’s quote:

“Being careful kills the soul.”

Misha

Verlangen means desire

The first song on our album isn’t very www. We have played it on every show with Merlijn and Josha in the band. We figure it’s a good opener because most of our fans know it, especially with a demo recording of the song online for over a year now. It’s also very representative of our style, featuring all of the elements that are so typical of Akelei and introducing some new ones too.

I wrote ‘Verlangen’ at the end of 2006, although the final version came about in 2007. This version owes much to the band’s rehearsal sessions. I wrote older songs like ‘Pijnschrift’ before Akelei even existed so there was no input from anyone else. That changed when we started to rehearse regularly and I got a lot of feedback from Ward, particularly regarding song dynamics and tempo shifts. For ‘Verlangen’ it resulted in restructuring the second half of the song. You can hear an increase in breaks as the song builds up toward the second verse, only to fall quiet again, but not for long. It’s this contrast of heavy/light that keeps the style so interesting to play, certainly in a live setting.

This is also the first of two songs featuring Ward and me singing together. Singing harmonies is great. It adds so much warmth to the music that you can not create any other way. We’re definitely going to have more of these vocal harmonies in our new songs.

As for the lyrics… Well, to put it in Sarah McLachlan‘s words: “I have the sense to recognise that I don’t know how to let you go”. That’s just it, missing the person you love and being unable to let go. ‘Verlangen’ means desire and it does many things. Desire brings people together, breaks them apart, controls their thoughts. And I’m sure that desire can reunite people as well, if only they would allow it to happen. Mostly a matter of putting heart over mind, the mind being a terribly complicated thing that doesn’t want to be understood anyway.

Right?

Misha

Album updates

Welcome back! There hasn’t been much news from our side in the last months, but as the temperature drops and the days get shorter, we’re getting back in the mood for doom. (I mean, more than usual.) We did finish the design and lay out this week and sent it to the printer along with the master. And as we wait for 500 cd’s to arrive on the doorstep, I’m going to give you some updates.

First of all: the album’s title is ‘De Zwaarte van het Doorstane’ (translation: the burden of the experience) and it will be released on the 6th of November at this year’s Dutch Doom Days IX in Rotterdam. Yes, the guys from Baroeg offered us a spot on the bill, for which we are very grateful indeed! This will be the perfect opportunity for us to release the album as it is one of the biggest annual events in the scene with doom metal fans coming in from many different countries. We actually played our very first show at the DDD three years ago and got some very positive reactions then. One can only hope that the response will be even warmer this time around.

Second: the album’s tracklisting:

1.       Verlangen

2.       Meer Dan Je Ziet

3.       De Zwaarte

4.       Een Droom in 6/8

5.       Duett

If you scroll down to a post from way back in February, you’ll see that ‘Dwaaluur’ didn’t make it to the final cut. The reason for this is that, after deep consideration, it just felt better as a stand-alone track. The new opener ‘Verlangen’ is more representative of the album and ‘Dwaaluur’ just didn’t quite fit in anywhere else. We still love it though and it’s on Bandcamp where you can download it for free. Demo recordings of ‘Verlangen’ and ‘Meer Dan Je Ziet’ have been online since September but will soon be replaced by the album versions. The changes in the songs are not big but the intro to ‘Meer Dan Je Ziet’, for example, is greatly improved.

And lastly: in the coming month we’re going to upload the album to our music page one song at a time. Every week we’ll publish another track for you to stream, download, share and get to know. Each submission will be accompanied by ‘thoughts behind the music’, reflecting on the writing process and lyrics. We’re very aware that once the album is out, it will be freely available from various other sources anyway, but we hope people will bother to visit our site and get it from us first hand. After we release the physical album at the DDD, we will make it available from our website as well. Stay tuned for more information on that.

For now, we take our hat off to you and pass it around because we’re crazy like that.

Be back soon!

Listen and download @ Bandcamp

<a href="http://akelei.bandcamp.com/album/de-zwaarte-van-het-doorstane">De Zwaarte van het Doorstane by Akelei</a>