Area 11 Interview – The Aftermath of All The Lights In The Sky

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At the end of January this year, Area 11 released their debut album, All The Lights In The Sky, with the dream that it might one day make enough money to cover the costs that had been incurred creating it. As it turns out, that wasn’t something they really needed to worry about too much as the album jumped straight to #1 in the iTunes Rock Album Chart, sprinted into the iTunes General Album Chart top ten, and was by all accounts one of the most successful launches ever for an anime or gaming themed album.

Now that the dust has started to settle and some time has passed, the band have had time to reflect on the whole experience. I thought it would be a good idea to catch up with them and see how they feel now that they’ve been thrust into the public eye.

Q – What’s the reception been like for your debut album, All The Lights In The Sky?

Sparkles* – Much better than we expected! We were all very happy with how the record came out, but we had no idea that so many other people would agree. We figured it would take a few months to sell enough copies to cover the costs of making it, but we actually covered those costs in the first day! Absolutely amazing response, barely a negative review!

Q – What can fans expect from Area 11 after the huge success of your first album?

Leo – We’ll be writing and releasing new songs, making new videos and hopefully we’ll be going on tour later this year!

Q – What were the months spent recording the album like for you guys?

Kogie – There were a lot of fun times, although occasionally it was quite gruelling. Having a big project to focus on gives you something of a sense of purpose, as well as a reason to get up in the morning… well 2pm, whatever. Working together as group was definitely rewarding, despite the occasional clash of opinions/foreheads.

Sparkles* – It was really hard for me. The early tracking stages were fun, especially the two weeks I recorded with Leo. Recording with Kogie was a breeze too, and we had a good time. When it came to recording guitar, it became hell. Due to us loosing a guitarist, Parv had to learn and record parts he didn’t know for some of the songs, as well as writing a load of new stuff. It was often difficult to motivate Parv, and I spent a lot of my time coaxing him into recording. I was also doing this while working full-time for the Yogscast. After tracking was over, I mixed the album during the December Livestreams. At this point it became a living nightmare, as I was working 10am – 5pm for Yogs, livestreaming from 6pm – 1am, and then mixing from 2am until I passed out. A few times I just worked through the night and did two days in a row. Life felt like a numb dream, and I was kinda losing my mind. I brought in Phil (an assistant engineer who works behind the scenes on the Yogscast), who had co-engineered during the drum tracking, to assist with the mixing so I could get some sleep! But yeah, my social life pretty much shut down completely. In January, it got a bit easier, and we did manage to deliver on time, but there were moments that I had no idea if it would be finished at all. I had made a promise to the fans and to myself to get it out by January, and we JUST made it (31st!).

Leo – For me it was great! I only had about two weeks of hardcore recording for the entire process! Fortunately, those two weeks had what was about about a three week break in-between. But I developed a load of blisters on my hands during that time, so towards the end of each session it was getting pretty difficult to play. However for those two weeks it was pretty brutal, playing for essentially eight hours a day, staying up until ridiculous hours, then getting up again super early. One night, me and Sparkles* travelled to a gig in London, having recorded during the day, then getting a train back that got in about 4am, then attempting to be up at 8am for another eight hours recording! The drums were the first instrument that needed to be done, so I had a lot of freedom when recording to tinker with how I played certain areas if they didn’t sound right. So that was nice for me to have, in comparison to the Blackline recording, where I only had a day to record everything.

Parv – I found the process stressful at times but in general the months were enjoyable. Sometimes when tracking days were going badly the frustration would get on top of me, but we got there in the end! I think the months were hardest for Sparkles* as he had to engineer every tracking session for every member.

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Q – Did you have much of a vision for the first album when you started recording it?

Parv – The vision was disrupted when one of our guitarists left the band, and so the writing style had to adapt to a one-guitarist setup, although the central concept remained the same. For the older tracks, when we had two guitarists, we featured more dual harmonies and counter-melodies, which you will notice aren’t as prominent in the new material.

Q – What are each of your favourite songs on the album?

Sparkles* – Dream & Reality

Kogie – Cassandra (pt II)

Parv – Vectors

Leo – Strays

Q – Was there anything you guys wanted to do with this album that ultimately had to be scrapped?

Sparkles* – There are definitely two tracks that we wanted on the album that ended up not making it. One was cut very late in the day (we’ve pretty much recorded it) because I felt it wasn’t as strong as the rest of the album. We then split Vectors into two, moving System;Start to be an intro. We will revisit this song, as we all love it, but I think we all agree it wasn’t quite as good as it could be.

Kogie – It just wasn’t ready. It was a new sound for us and we didn’t want to rush it.

Leo – It was my favourite track, but it was too under-developed to release.

Q – What was the biggest challenge for each of you between starting the album and its release?

Kogie – Sleeping on the sofa with Leo.

Leo – Having to leave Kogie on the sofa in the morning.

Parv – The counter melody in Vectors.

Sparkles* – Yeah, that took three hours to record! Mine was getting the snare sounding good, took about three days.

Q – What’s the first thing you guys each bought with your “I’m now a super sucessful recording artist” money?

Sparkles* – We’ve still not really seen any of the money, as any profit we did make has gone back into making videos etc. One day!

Kogie – Scratch cards and scented oils.

 

Fans of the album can check out our review of All The Lights In The Sky here, and our interview with Sparkles* from last year here.

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1 Comment

  1. i love Area 11 music! i sleep to their music, and i never start a day without listening to vectors ^^

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