Hello there, this is Elpida and I welcome you to the Greek magazine Metal Invader. Thanks for taking the time to answer the following questions, especially since you’ll be visiting Greece next month. So, how is everybody? Are you getting ready for the tour unfolding in a few days?
Hi Elpida. Thanks for having us. Greece is a lovely place and we’re all very excited to come back.
Algiers count at least 8 years in the music industry, while each year that passes broadens the base of your fans across the world. Did you ever anticipate the warm response from the crowd, especially when you were forming the band back then?
It’s best not to anticipate anything…especially those external circumstances you can’t control. We didn’t properly become a part of the so-called “industry” until 2014 so we’re still learning a lot. The healthiest thing to do is to stay focused and try to make good work; anything else will fall into place.
What were you initial goals and how many of the goals you’ve set have been accomplished so far? Care to give us an example?
Our main goal is to evolve into our creative process as much as possible which will always reflect the world as we experience it first, as a a small group of individuals, and then in a more global sense. Art can bring the world into focus in a way that nothing else can and in a paradigm such as ours where the world becomes increasingly absurd and frightening by the day, to have both the ability and privilege to render such pandemonium legible is a very empowering thing.
Whose idea was the formation of this band and to what end? What were the messages you wanted to convey with your compositions and lyrical themes?
We’re all friends from college and we shared and exchanged musical, artistic and political ideals long before Algiers came into being. Ryan initially had the concept (and the name) for the band before we started. As individuals and as a group we stand for very basic, common sense principles: love, human, dignity, diversity, progressive, emancipatory politics in the face of a late-capitalist world which is increasingly de-humanizing and alienating. Otherwise, there are no limits to the thematic content which may express itself through our songs. We experience the world and reflect those experiences back onto it.
Algiers’ music is an assemblage of various musical expressions; the merge of gospel along with post-punk, post-rock and industrial music has led into the formation of something extremely unique. Did this mix come naturally when jamming together or was a premeditated plan?
I think you’ll find that most artists that try to make something interesting do so through incorporating or referencing a diverse palate of styles and influences. It’s no different from cooking. The four of us have very different influences at times but where our tastes overlap is the crux at which Algiers begins.
Seeing that in recent years many projects have sprung out experimenting with the same ingredients (my thought may be far-fetched, but King Dude and Zeal And Ardor pop in my mind, for example) would you say that Algiers have created a some kind of school, urging musicians to experiment the same way you did?
If anything, we’re just students of a longer tradition of musicians and groups whom you could say mixed genres to produce something interesting and unique (Sly and the Family Stone, The Clash, Nina Simone, Outkast, Arrested Development, Fugazi, Radiohead, etc). But every band has its own trajectory and we’re still so recently embarked upon ours—there are so many other elements that we’ve not yet tapped into…but there will be even more beyond what you’ve already heard.
Listening to and reading all the lyrics of your songs, noting the emphasis on political and social themes, I keep wondering whether the band’s mentality and point of view ever became trammel for the band itself. Have you ever encountered obstacles just because you (rightfully) speak your minds?
Anyone who speaks their mind is going to come up against opposition sooner or later. Our lyrics, however, don’t very often drift into blatantly topical territory, so it’d be interesting to see how someone might attempt to combat something so abstract. Personally, When I write something, its born from observation, so I’m really describing not lecturing or preaching.
In about a month you’ll be visiting Greece as part of your new tour. What have you prepared for us? Is there any chance of listening to new material or is it too soon to speak about it?
We’re currently writing for our next album which we will start recording at the end of this tour. It’s exciting because this tour is the first time that we will have been able to ‘test-drive’ a handful of new material live before we go to record it. The idea is to find that energy and bring it back with us into the studio. You’ll definitely hear some new songs.
Last question; why “Algiers”? What led you to the selection of this particular name?
Everyone wants a place to belong and to feel included. Algiers was that for us and anyone who wants to come along. Do that and you’ll find out the rest 😉
Alright, that’s all from me, thank you again for the honesty; it means much to me. Would you like to send a message to our readers?
Thanks very much. See my message above and come party with us on the titanic when we’re in town.
Peace and Love, Franklin