Bekoming is the newest offering from the star-studded metal outfit The Alien Blakk. Joshua Craig the guitarist with the band spoke with me about Bekoming and the nearly four year process that went into the writing and recording of such a personal project. Joshua is passionate about his music and that passion is evident in every song on this disc. The sheer songwriting and level of musicianship is nothing less than stellar. This is a band that is worth checking out.
Many of your songs are so hard and intense that I am sure they translate well into a live setting taking on a whole new life in front of a live audience. How does it make you feel when the emotion and power that you envisioned in the recording studio, come to life while playing in front of a crowd? Joshua: With these songs, I actually toured on them a year before I committed the final parts to tape. I had the basics (drums, bass and rhythm guitars) done for the final master, but the vocals and ad libs along with the leads tracked after running through a bunch of the tunes live, so the record translates quite accurately. With the newer pieces, we happen to be rehearsing right now, they are a whole new direction and approach then some of the recorded parts as I have combined arrangements to suit one guitar live. I usually feel "full throttle: live, no matter what the setting/crowd.
Different groups have unique ways of writing their songs. How do you guys go about writing your music? Is it a collective effort or is it more the efforts of one particular member of the band? Joshua: I write all the music. David has come in as a session type of approach as well as he works on his own ideas at home and we work on stuff together. The harmonic approach for the bass is a whole spectrum that needs to be served up on these recordings. His sound is the foundation for the rhythm guitars and our string based personalities work exceedingly well together. The drummer and I work on the drums away from David, so by the time all is put together, it is a bit of a mysterious puzzle that no one really knew about except me. That way it keeps the recording fresh and viable.
The name of the band The Alien Blakk is interesting to say the least and sounds as if there is a story behind it. Where did the name come from and what is the story? Joshua: Alien is something different and unknown and black is enigmatic and the culmination of all colors put together. Kind of like the unique approach to my music and textured approach color-wise. Blakk as opposed to with a "c" because its easier to Google and come up with our music specifically.
Give us some insight into the record, Bekoming and the meaning behind its title? Joshua:Bekoming was a work that was a lifetime in the making and over 3 years in the recording process. It was a personal project that involved many people and spanned seven different States in the recording process. The album is a concept record that tells a story of how I dealt with the grief over losing my father. Bekoming is about my personal transition/becoming through another state of awareness and approach into what is almost a second half of my life.
Now that your brand new CD, Bekoming, is complete, how do you feel about it? Are you satisfied with the outcome? Joshua: I am fully satisfied with Bekoming. Almost a four year process is hard to see come to an end, but now that I see the final packaging and can hold it and see some of the earlier reviews, it seems most people have understood why the delay was so great. I appreciate the gift of musical expression and am happy to share mine with the world. Music is the most satisfying thing in my life.
When you began to write Bekoming, were you concerned at all about commercial success? Joshua: No. Commercial success is great because it means your music is getting to a much wider audience, but if you are not doing it for you, anyone can see right though you and then what is the value to that?
Can you tell us how this project began and introduce us to the members in the band? Joshua: The project began as an answer to my needing an outlet from my day job of being a session musician. I needed a way to fully express my guitar playing approach and odd sense of skill. The first CD was instrumental and this one follows suit with another personal expressive stand. David Ellefson plays bass in studio and out, Kelly Conlin (former Death bassist) plays bass as well when David is unavailable and we are working with a couple different drummers, situation depending.
Every band has its musical influences. What are some of the other bands and artists that have greatly influenced you guys and your music? Joshua: Metallica. The integrity and personal approach to what they do is far and away from anything else that exists personally or professionally. A conversation I had with James (Hetfield) even inspired the lyrical setting to "The Path" (a track off of the new offering, Bekoming). As far as guitar, Buckethead, Slash, Al DiMeola and all the greats.
In a hundred years from now what will the music history books say about The Alien Blakk? Joshua: The most enigmatic of any question I have been asked! I think that the guitar approach I have will be more the situation. A modern Zappa is what I read mostly, but I have no idea. Who can even think of that when I forget to do half of what I have to do during the course of a day!
Any closing words? Joshua: Anyone who is interested can always check out some music for free at our website and see for themselves if this is for them.