Musicscan: You guys have been around for some time now. What fuels the fire and keeps you guys interested in the music you create?
My Own Private Alaska: We consider that music and life are related. So, if we keep on being inspired by life, we’ll be musically inspired. We play a music that cannot cheat, and we cannot hide behind walls of guitars. We play our music such as we’d live our life: truthfully and without artifice.
Musicscan: How does your band feel about having post-hardcore and post-rock become the 'new' thing within the underground rock? What makes MOPA stand out from your artistic point of view beside the instrumentation?
My Own Private Alaska: We are proud of what we do. Play some piano with screams over it, was our will, just to propose something else in this post-rock-hordcore-thing, and if other bands follow this way, well, it’s cool because I think there so much to do with it, but that’s absolutely not our goal. Our only goal is to play our music with our heart. You know, the only way to be different and special is to be yourself! But being yourself in rock music is probably the hardest thing to reach because all its modern side (glitter, haircut, clichés,…)
Musicscan: Do you still remember when you wrote your first song and what it felt like and how it feels like now when you finish a song? How has your relationship to music changed over the time that MOPA is around?
My Own Private Alaska: Oh yes we do! The first time we played a song, we felt like Christophe Colombes! We were reaching a new musical continent that was totally virgin of in terms of codes of composition. Now with our new songs, of course things changed a little bit because we know where we go, but we still have the same excitement of playing something that is original because it looks to us. Anyway, to us, this kind of music sounds “normal” neither experimental nor distinctive. It just sounds obvious, as it needs to sound.
Musicscan: It seems that your sound is continually changing, while other bands are stagnant. Is it just me, or is there any truth to this?
My Own Private Alaska: As I said, music is related to life and because, as human, we constantly evolve, it cannot be otherwise! We particularly love bands that make evolve their sound. Listen to the Beatles or the Doors for example, or even Korn in a way. The simple fact of reaching another musical way to explore is, to me, a proof of sincerity and authenticity. It’s so easy to do the same music over and over, apply the same recipe. This is not music anymore, it becomes a business.
Musicscan: What are you looking for in a song? Have you ever achieved something like a perfect song in your opinion? How would you define such a perfect song?
My Own Private Alaska: We are just searching the emotion in accordance with who and what we are as human. It’s most of the time violent and dark because of lyrics, but only. It expresses often longing and desire for a better place where we fell good. Probably the womb. Anybody knows what is the birth trauma.
Musicscan: Do you think modern information technology will inevitably change not only the way music is listened to but also how it is written?
My Own Private Alaska: That’s a good question. For sure, Internet changed the way music is listened. The problem is that people had access to this technology before we establish rules for it. It is not so much a technological problem than an educational problem (a pirate does moral values?) and economical problem (could a Romanian fan buy a CD or MP3 as expensive as a US one?). Technology is a part of liberty and progress.
Regarding how music is written, technology changed that as well, of course. It’s not necessary to know music theory anymore, to know what sounds good or bad. To stand back with his music by listening to will allows making good choices. It gives even more genius to Mozart or early blues composer!
Musicscan: Do you think it is reasonable to assume that the concept of an album will soon be a thing of the past and people will solely listen to certain songs? Will the songwriting and the music change as well because of that, too?
My Own Private Alaska: What is sure is that none of us can stand back on this issue. We cannot know what can happen. Of course there are trends and CD’s crisis is a reality, but things can evolve so fast…Don’t forget that music and life are cycles…I guess there are two kinds of musicians: those who compose songs independently each other, and those who write concept albums. I guess those in this category are closer to what I call “making art”, and could easily pass the ages and modes. The other ones could easily disappear as fast as they arrived…
Musicscan: Where do you guys see the line drawn between progressing on what you do well, and completely offering a new direction or sound? Especially in the context of MOPA of course...
My Own Private Alaska: Another good question! I think keep on doing what you do well is the wrong way because it cuts down the creativity. Of course, MOPA has its own sound but if you let your feelings drive, I guess new things will come because we definitively need to hear and feel different sounds. We are in 2010, and we still see AC/DC, Kiss, G’N’R on magazine covers…Do you think it’s normal? Music needs to evolve otherwise it will die.
Musicscan: Do you think there are still genuinely new sounds to be discovered or can modern music basically be said to be a recombination of already existing forms and elements?
My Own Private Alaska: I wanted to explain this point! I think an original line-up with non-common combination of instruments can really help to reach a brand new sound. Of course everybody is influenced by what he heard before, but I’m sure that searching the unknown and braving the danger allow you to find new musical territories. Taking risks bring human outside the normality, and thanks to that, life evolves anytime.
Musicscan: Right now, the harder music scene seems to go even more extreme than ever before. Bands are pushing the boundaries as far as complexity, technical approach and extreme arrangements are concerned. In a way you did the opposite, as you are focussing on the homogenous flow, melodies and the emotional intensity of your tracks. How did you go about writing your new record?
My Own Private Alaska: I have pretty much the same feeling as you have about it. But we didn’t thought at that while we wrote the tracks. We cannot play as technical as Meshuggah or The Dillinger Escape Plan! We aren’t such good enough! But we don’t care because we think that emotional intensity finds its place in the sobriety and sincerity. You know, we are huge fans of Nirvana: playing and singing few notes in wrongs keys, is absolutely not a problem if you can feel that the guy gives everything he has. No cheat, no lies, 100% fire on stage. That’s what we expect anytime and that’s the same for composing songs.
Musicscan: Musically, and especially lyrically, MOPA seems like a band fueled by raw emotion which is at the same time tempered by a "reflected" vibe. What are the motives behind writing in this style, what reactions are you seeking to evoke in your audience?
My Own Private Alaska: We’re indeed involved in a epidermic process, in terms of musical emotions. We try not too much to intellectualize the way we feel our compositions. So when I write my lyrics, I try to give what comes naturally through my body listening to the sounds coming from the other dudes, piano notes and drum hits. The emotions coming out from my mouth are also raw indeed, sometimes harsch, sometimes a bit vulgar… it’s like real life. It’s about love, pain, sex… so it’s often raw. I feel sometimes ashamed using pictures too hard, too raw, too rough… but that’s finally the easiest and best way I found to touch the people directly in their deepest flesh.
Musicscan: Every band has a vision of how their album should sound like after the recording it. Listening to Amen right now. Would you say that this was a successful mission or would you even say that the band was able to surprise itself? If this is the case - in how far?
My Own Private Alaska: To be honest, we absolutely didn’t know how this record would sound! We had faith on Ross Robinson’s style! But we knew we were looking at other directions than the EP for the record, because it’s totally dumb and useless to record the same album over and over, especially at 15.000 km away from France with a man that changed the world of rock. When I listen to the record, I am so proud of the final result. It’s so dark, extreme, and with no concessions in terms of tracks format. Most of the tracks are running on 6 minutes. In the other hand for this record, we gave things we had never given mentally speaking. And we surprised ourselves many times because of entirely opening our heart and soul to the music.
Musicscan: Final thoughts?
My Own Private Alaska: We’d like to thank all the people who help and support us with keep on buying our album because we think that it is a real „militant act“ to buy CD’s nowadays with all these money/record/financial crisis. See you soon on stage for sharing this passion of musical feelings.