Alesana holds a special place in my heart. They were a band that I didn’t know much about when I first started doing interviews, but have since become one of my favorite bands to follow. When you see them live you are allowed into their crazy Story Land full of time travel, poetry, and sweat… Lots of sweat. 

While touring to promote their latest album Confessions, I got a chance to sit down with Shawn & Dennis to talk Sweet-Core, fans, and the Annabel series. 

So the last time I spoke with you, you only had 2 artists on Revival including yourselves. How many are you up to now, and who are they?
Shawn: 5 now including ourselves. So we’ve got UH HUH BabyThe Things They Carried, Funeral Portrait, and Megosh

Photo: Chris Duke
Photo: Chris Duke

Is it tough being the premiere Sweet-Core band of the 21st century?
Shawn: How about being the ONLY Sweet-Core band, of the 21st Century?!

Dennis: Heavy hangs the crown my friend. 

Do you ever feel pressure to be even sweeter?
Shawn: Oh we’re already as sweet as a chocolate-bar, baby.
Dennis: I am an absolute asshole, so I feel no pressure to change whatsoever haha. 

One thing I noticed that seems to differ from your typical show vs an Alesana show, is this overwhelming amount of love that get’s thrown back and forth between you and the fans. Why do you think Alesana has such an intimate relationship with their fan base?
Shawn: I think because we’ve never tried to pull the wool over their eyes. Everything we stand for and our artistry has always been out their for the world to see. Our fans let us in and they trusted us, and we’ve never let them down in that sense. Likewise we’ve let them in and they haven’t let us down either.

Dennis: Another thing is that these fans have watched so many of their favorite bands try and change who they are and their sound to fit with trends, and we refuse to do that. 

Now Shawn you’ve said that Philly is one of your favorite cities to play in. Why is that?
Shawn: It’s where I’m from! 

Of course I would forget that. So how did you end up down South then?
Shawn: Well Patrick and I were living in Baltimore when we started the band, and the scene there wasn’t very welcoming to local music. We had played a show once in North Carolina and it was pretty obvious that they just had a better scene, so we rolled the dice and the rest is history!

Dennis. Donatello of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was recently killed, in the original comic book series. How does that make you feel?
Dennis: Pretty upset.

Shawn: That makes me really sad man!
Dennis: There are a lot of different schools of nerds though, and don’t get me wrong I like TMNT, but I’m more of like a witches and naked elves kind of guy. Just like there are all different kinds of Metal, there are many varieties of nerds.

Have you guys considered turning the Annabel series into a book, or graphic novel?
Shawn: We’ve definitely talked about it, because the stories we have done with the albums have been fairly abridged. We’ve talked about expanding the world a little bit and potentially putting it out in book form.

If we could do a graphic novel with it though man, that would be amazing. The key there though is finding an artist who we not only trust enough, but that has the same desire to do it that we do. There is so much art and imagery in the way that we paint the stories, to have those brought to life would be amazing.

So with Confessions, are fans going to be happy with the way the story ends, surprised, upset?!
Shawn: I think musically, people who have been there since the beginning will be pleased because we’ve written another record that is not like anything we have written before. Story wise…
Dennis: Story wise you know we’ve got The Emptiness, which is about Annabel and the artist, and then you have A Place Where The Sun Is Silent, which is the dream the artist had the night before he woke up out of timeline. Then we have Fatima Rusalka which is eluding to what’s about to happen in Confessions. Confessions pulls everything together with time travel and chaos.
Shawn: I think my favorite thing we did was Fatima Rusalka from a story writing stand point in that it was like a bridge, getting us to where we ultimately wanted to end up. That’s part of why it was so much fun because The Emptiness was what it was, and even as a stand alone would have been a cool story. A Place Where The Sun Is Silent was that abstract and weird kind of journey, but Fatima Rusalka was like “Oh but THIS is about to happen.” So Confessions is the bow on top putting it all together.

Dennis: Kids are either going to be really, really excited – because they understand everything, or they are going to absolutely fucking hate us. We took some liberties with some of the characters and some people might not be too happy about that haha.

You can get your copy of Confessions here and be on the look out for future tour dates!

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