If you haven’t heard by now, metal band Alesana are about to release their first (and hopefully not last) short novel, Annabel. We thought this was such a brilliant and creative idea for a band, and we couldn’t wait to know more about it. Ellen recently chatted with lead vocalist Shawn Milke who spilled details on the story, as well as the re-release of Alesana’s album, Confessions. Read the interview below!
You guys are about to release your book, “Annabel”. Can you tell us the story of how this project came to be and a little about the book?
In 2010 we wrote a record called The Emptiness. Dennis Lee and I decided that instead of basing our songs off of other stories, as had been the case with our earlier material, we were going to pen our own tale. We used Edgar Allen Poe as inspiration and decided to do a twisted and horrific love story. Over six years, and two additional records tied to the concept, later, I have finally finished the whole story. The basic premise is we follow our protagonist Annabel on an abstract journey to restore art and passion to her world.
What was the main inspiration behind the book?
We were very inspired by the dark and beautiful way Poe told his stories. I definitely wanted this book to be, at its core, a story about relationships, but I wanted it to be abstract and horrific as well. Dante Alighieri and Madeline L’Engle also played a huge role in the writing approach.
What excites you the most about releasing a novel?
I would have to say the accomplishment. I have always wanted to write a book and now I can say that I have. It was incredibly daunting and challenging, but also incredibly rewarding.
What do you want people to take away from this story?
I just want them to enjoy the ride and hopefully dig a little deeper to search for the intent of the narrative. There is more than just the words on the page, there is commentary on the relationships we have with ourselves and other people.
You currently have a reading of the first chapter up on YouTube. Are you planning on releasing any other sneak peeks before the official release?
I don’t think so. The enjoyment of reading a story can be a lot about momentum and flow and I would hate to keep breaking that up by only offering up bits and pieces. The Chapter I Video’s intent was to tease a plot twist that hadn’t yet been revealed in the album trilogy.
Is this something you would be interested in working on again in the future?
I think so, yes. I definitely left the door open to further the story and if the fans are excited and want more I would certainly be openminded to the possibility.
Where will people be able to get their copy of “Annabel”?
You’re also releasing a special edition of your album “Confessions”. What will be different about this version than the previously released album?
The artwork is reimagined. We also will be including a digital download of commentary discussion with Dennis and me, as well as two songs that were not on the original release; Fatima Rusalka and Ciao Bella.
What does the rest of 2016 have in store for Alesana?
We will be hitting the road for the ten year anniversary tour for our first LP On Frail Wings of Vanity and Wax and also traveling down to Mexico to support Slipknot, Slayer, Marilyn Manson and more at Knotfest.
Lastly, what are your top 5 albums/artists you’ve been listening to lately?
+/- by Mew
Strange Fate by Ride Your Bike
Southern Style by Darius Rucker
Grief by Alteras
Partie Traumatic by Black Kids
Alesana also recently announced the dates for their Ten Frail Years of Vanity and Wax tour, which you can see below:
09.29 Raleigh, NC @ Southland Ballroom
09.30 Allentown, PA @ Planet Trog
10.01 New York, NY @ Webster Hall
10.02 Cleveland, OH @ The Agora Ballroom
10.03 Lansing, MI @ The Loft
10.04 Valparaiso, IN @ Big Shots
10.05 Crest Hill, IL @ Bada Brew
10.06 Omaha, NE @ The Lookout Lounge
10.07 Oklahoma City, OK @ 89th Street Collective
10.08 Dallas, TX @ The Door
10.09 Houston, TX @ Walters
10.10 Austin, TX @ Sidewinder
10.12 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade