The Danish quintet A Cold Night For Alligators have been slowly making a name for themselves in the progressive metal scene for quite a while. Delivering performances as memorable as their quirky bandname across their home country and at UK Tech Metal Fest last year they have quickly become ones to watch. Having released a debut album, Singular Patterns, for name your price download in September and recently being picked up by the management company Monolithic Music. Recently Nick Durdan of our team was able to catch up with them for an interview and exclusive playthrough video.
How long has Cold Night for Alligators been playing live? Did you start writing music with the intent of forming a band or did it just kind of happen naturally?
We’ve been playing live as CNFA since 2010. The three of us (Krelle, Jack, and Roar) already played together in another band, before we decided to form CNFA. The band started because we wanted to play metal music instead of the sort of hard rock we’d been playing in the former band.
What bands outside of the metal scene do you draw most of your inspiration from?
Jack: “Oh, there’s a whole bunch. We feel that it’s very important to draw your inspiration from several different sources. It helps us as musicians to expand our horizon and it can often be a rewarding exercise to listen to music from all around the world and ask yourself: “How can I apply this to my own writing?” both in terms of structure and rhythm. To name a few, it could be Dutch electro trio Noisia, guitar god Allan Holdsworth, soft pop duo The XX, or the even one everyone loves to hate: Kanye West.”
When it comes to the writing process, how do you write material for Cold Night for Alligators? How often do you encounter writers block and how do you deal with it?
We usually write stuff individually in Guitar Pro and Pro Tools and then present the rough ideas to the rest of the band via Dropbox. We all take part in writing the music. Even Seb is contributing to the writing of the music with ideas and thoughts besides doing all the lyrics.
When we’ve agreed on a piece of music one of us wrote, we meet once a week and try it out in the rehearsal room. That’s how songs are made.
Roar: “Personally, whenever I struggle with writing new material I just listen to the ideas Krelle and Jack have send me. Their ideas almost always kick start some sort of writing flow. Otherwise I’ll just listen to the music I find interesting at the moment, whether that be fusion jazz, electronica, metal or what not. Listening to others is a huge source of inspiration to me. “
For all of the gear heads out there, what do you currently use in the studio? What is the one piece of equipment that you could never part with?
The guitar parts are recorded with our two amps: Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier and EVH 5150 III. These are both really great amps with a massive tune, especially when both of them are plugged to Rectifier cabinets. We use our Ibanez RG2228 guitars for all guitar recordings as well. This guitar is incredible to play and it sounds amazing. We tune our lowest string down to E, an octave lower than the normal E on a six string, and it still has a clear sound. This is probably the most important equipment and I will definitely keep it if we change to AXE FX sometime in the future.
Is there a specific brand of guitar that anyone in the band swears by?
Krelle:“I haven’t been playing enough on so many different brands to review which I like the most. When that being said, I have been very happy about the guitars I have been playing so far. Before switching to 8 strings I played an ESP Horizon FR2. This guitar is really fantastic and the only reason I don’t play it anymore is that we now play 8 strings. It felt great to play and its sustain was scary good. “
Roar:“I’ve always been a huge fan of Ibanez guitars. Both their rock/metal guitars but also their jazz guitars are excellent instruments I reckon. “
Protest the Hero have announced that their next album will be funded through indiegogo.com and met their goal of $125,000 within
a ridiculously short amount of time. What are your thoughts on this, and do you think this will have an effect on the industry?
Krelle: “I really admire PTH for this initiative. As a band you can’t help how the music industry develops, you just have to be able to restructure yourself to the changes. Clearly, PTH have been able to do this and I think other bands should consider similar initiatives to help themselves. Today you don’t make money as a band by selling CDs. Instead you use a lot of money to pay the record companies for distributing your product because you often have to release an album to be taken seriously. A lot of the record companies have lost their status of a necessary partner for a band today and we know more bands that pay a record company way too much money compared to what they get in return. We will definitely investigate our opportunities when we are going to release our debut album and if we can involve fans instead of a record company, it sounds very exciting!”
How important is social media (myspace, facebook, bandcamp, twitter, etc.) to Cold Night for Alligators? Would you attribute the level of success you have seen thus far to social media?
The social media is perhaps the most important factor to promote CNFA. We are especially active on Facebook and it is much easier getting people to hear your material on Facebook than outside this media. This has already resulted in small tours in Belgium and UK. These tours happened because some awesome people found out about us, and they afterwards set it all up for us. We don’t believe this would happen without the social media because everything was so much difficult before this.
Personally, I feel that album artwork plays a large factor in how I perceive an artist’s music. Do you feel the same way? How important is album artwork to Cold Night for Alligators?
It means a great deal to us and we think it does for everyone, subconsciously or not. The artwork is more than often the second contact (after the name, that is) you have with a new artist, so this still counts in the phase of first impressions. There are plenty of pitfalls in choosing artwork but we’re very happy with the designs for both our EPs, as they have elements that make them unique and recognizable, both very important factors.
What has been the most memorable moment in your career thus far? Are there any milestones that you would like to see Cold Night for Alligators achieve?
It was either being awarded with “Best Metal Act” by the Danish underground community or our first UK tour. Both were great accomplishments for us since they were both testimonies of the recognition that we had gotten for our first release “Ulterior Motives”. Being named the best in your home country is always nice, and the support we got on our first tour overseas was just immense. To notice is that Seb wasn’t with the band on either of these occasions but we’re betting that he’ll be joining us for even greater accomplishments in the future. These could be a spot on Roskilde Festival or Euroblast, a full grown EU tour, or a trip to the states.
If you could form a dream band, who would you recruit and why?
Roar: “For that question I have to name two bands.
For the first sort of fusion jazzy band I would hire Victor Wooten or Alian Caron on bass, Virgil Donati on drums, Eric Johnson and Allan Holdsworth on guitars, and Herbie Hancock on keys.
For the second more metal oriented band I would hire Travis Orbin on drums, Evan Brewer on bass, Tosin Abasi and Paul Masvidal on guitars, and Tommy Rogers on mic and keys/piano.
Why I would choose these guys? ‘Cause they are some of the best musicians I’ve ever heard.”
What can fans of Cold Night for Alligators expect to see happen with the band 5 years down the road?
Are there any plans for a large scale tour in the near future?
We are committed in our rehearsal room on new material the next months. We can’t wait to release our debut album and we’re writing a lot of new tracks which is really amazing. Besides this we are working on some EU shows this summer. We are trying to get as many UK shows as possible – this is like our second home and we love being over there!
What piece of advice would you give a band that is looking to make a name for themselves?
Seb: “Well… The first thing you need is a banging product and tons of persistence. Never give up on your vision. You gotta just keep truckin’ no matter what people say or do.”