Exclusive Interview: By Will Alone talk “Cult of the Like”!
It’s not every day that a band like By Will Alone appears and offers you the chance to listen to their album when it doesn’t have a release date scheduled. That’s exactly what they did and we snapped up the opportunity to give it a listen and give them our honest opinion on it. The Israeli band wrote the EP as a trio comprising vocalist Alexander Tyrant, electronics and production from Itay “Parkison” Steingold and guitarist Chen “Shix” Shaya. So here’s a chat we had with them about the album…
You describe yourself as a “Post Hardcore/Metalcore” band but there is far more going on with your bands sound with some Deathcore breakdowns and tracks that span genres and sub-genres in a single death defying leap on “Cult of the Like”. Do you ever find it challenging to sum up your bands style in a few words?
Actually, we do find it challenging to catalogue our music in existing heavy music genre conventions. Our mission is to create something fresh and innovative in the world of metal music, something that would make the listener raise an eyebrow and simultaneously, make him interested enough to keep listening and challenge himself, so in this case, genre-naming can be a very delicate thing. Right now we are rebranding with “Post Core”, but in reality, genres are not created by the artists but by the fans, for the ease of finding and describing what they like and don’t like about their music, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see how the fans decide to describe our music.
There are a quartet of guest vocalists on “Cult of the Like” who are all from bands on the heavier side of things – how did those guest appearances come about, and did you ever consider getting a guest vocalist on board with a more melodic register for the less heavy material?
As we do not write conventional music, introducing some well respected VIPS over our material pushes both the artist, their existing fans and most listeners further out of their comfort zone, that’s where the new and existing happens. Apart from that, working with artists that we appreciate and get inspired by is plenty of fun and creates impactful music and listener engagements! Itay is the one in the band with the most heavy taste in metal and electronic music, and as the producer in the band, he generally tends to take things to the heavier side many times. As a group, we have a very broad spectrum of taste in music and the melodic guest vocals of the amazing Andrew Zink (choruses in “Dating Apps”) attests to that. As with our music, we are always exploring avenues for innovation by cooperation. We’ve engaged with core music vocalists producers and artists, pursue electronic music producers and even models, porn stars and other non musical creative minds. In conclusion, you can expect even more rad collabs in the future, and not only with vocalists.
By Will Alone strike a fine balance between the electronics and guitars with this new album – was their any conflict within the band about finding that balance in the writing process or did it all come out naturally?
From the onset of the band (2013, ‘Towers Before Us’) electronics have been integral to what we love and want to create, in parallel to more conventional metal. That musical direction is reinforced by integrating a metalhead electronic music producer (Itay), there seldom was any conflict, this is who we truly are. We can play breakdowns, then trap, play some mean riffs with dubstep half-time programmed drums, throw in some gutturals but finish with spoken word over some Lo-Fi Hip Hop, et cetera.
With that said, it hasn’t been easy.
We took baby steps in single releases and a three-songs EP, backed by hundreds of hours working in the studio, writing, producing, synthesizing, erasing, rewriting and so forth. (almost) Every song we create will attempt to deliver something unique or innovative, electronics included, Thus we are challenged and pushed to reinvent every time we’re writing. Today, this process comes very naturally. We feel like an innovation hub in the studio. We have common goal, a unified vision and everything we need to CREATE it, in musical terms at least.
As a trio, with bass and drummer positions currently listed as vacant, are you looking to get some more bodies into the band before you can go out and play the material live?
We are very happy with the current formation of the band, which in our opinion enables us to stick to our vision, and deliver. It lets us keep ourselves focused on our goals and manage our time working on band stuff in parallel to everyday life that keeps us all busy. Once motivators and opportunities arise to make a move to a full time band/group, play live or introduce additional members, we will make that happen. As per actively filling vacancies, we look for talent, not another guitarist or a drummer. In fact, we’re just as likely to introduce a talented designer or promoter to the band to work with, as they deliver a huge impact to the bands success. We are not anchored to conventional models, so we are not sure how the band formation will look in a year or two years.
Life is at a very fast moving pace – with “Cult of the Like” being very much an album lyrically for now, were you ever concerned that the material would appear dated in a few years as things progress?
The lyrics in the album, led unanimously by Alex, who explores ideas and concepts of psychology and human nature related to social media. We believe they will only become more prevalent, researched and impactful in our lives, as societies become more interconnected, digital, online-social, and respectfully impacted in turn. Cult of the Like will only become more relevant and intimate to listeners.