The Stockholm-based band was formed in 2007 by brothers Gabriel Alares (vocals, guitar) and Christian Alares (drums). With an ultimate goal of playing their music for a career instead of as a hobby, the two added professional guitarist Mikael Hörnaeus to the lineup. And as of 2008, bassist Magnus Nilsson has rounded out the foursome.
After a handful of setbacks in the first couple years, 2010 saw the release of a self-titled EP, and the debut full-length, “Lost in the Light,” came out the following year. German-based label Rockhit Records signed the band and sent them on a tour in the late Fall in support of the album’s Dec. 2 release date, which brought them to the Comet Club on Dec. 13.
While the members were delighted and surprised by many of their dates, they certainly also encountered a fair share of roadblocks, such as having half of their gear stolen in Prague.
“The highlight was not when they crashed a window in our tour bus and stole half of our equipment. We had to cancel shows and waste all our money on new equipment,” Alares said, citing a price-tag of between 3,000 and 4,000 euros.
That setback aside, the band has been powering full-speed ahead with the music making. Alares and Hörnaeus are the guitarists of the band, and it follows that both are also the primary songwriters. However, they admitted the songwriting process has changed over the years; whereas the group used to rehearse four times each week and write then, now they rehearse less and write on a more individual basis.
“Sometimes I write a song and it starts on the subway on my way home. Then I just quickly record it and then it’s done,” Hörnaeus said of his own process. “But sometimes I come up with an idea and struggle with it for a year and nothing ever really works. [Still], I don’t give up on a song.”
Alongside the change in the way they write songs has come a change in the style of music the band is creating. In particular, Alares said the band is more open in experimenting with what its sound is and less grounded by the notions of what the general public will like best.
“The sound is a bit different from what we did before…before we mostly wrote catchy stuff. And now we, I don’t know, I guess we maybe grew up a bit and matured a bit,” he said. “Some of the songs are a bit slower and a bit darker and more minor chords than major chords and more atmospheric. That’s just like, you can never plan really how an album’s going to sound. These were the songs that came out of us throughout this period of time…we didn’t really think much about what people would think, which I think is a good thing. We needed that.”
However, Hörnaeus said his own approach is less intentional, and the songs turn out how they turn out.
“For me, personally, I just write stuff. I don’t really think about minor keys or major keys or how the song is going to be. I just write a song and see what happens,” he said. “There’s no, like, conscious way of doing it.”
According to Hörnaeus, the songwriting is the part that gets him the most excited about the band and its prospects.
“It’s not really the live show. For me, it’s more like if we’re playing something and I manage to actually get into this sort of bubble…it’s like getting high,” he said. “Your ego sort of goes away for a bit. That happens quite rarely but when you get a new song, you’re, like, in that bubble for the first time, for every new song.”
Meanwhile, Alares shared that performing is what reaffirms his decision to pursue music as a full-time gig.
“Doing a live show is a give-and-take relationship with the audience. It’s a dialogue and sometimes you just get along from the start,” he said. “It’s absolutely the [best] part when you’re on stage and everyone is singing along, and everyone comes up to you afterward and says, ‘You know, this was one of the most brilliant live shows I’ve ever seen.’ That’s of course obviously a huge thing for your motivation.”
In spite of the common goal of making it big, the members unanimously agreed that time – more specifically, finding a balance between working to pay the bills and dedicating themselves to the music – is the biggest struggle, but one they’re all willing to work through.
“We’re really on the…threshold now,” Alares said. “We’re in-between being able to do this as a living and the other…half. So it’s hard. You have to, like, put all the bits and pieces together in [order] to make it work.”