The crowd is still screaming at a sold out show in Anaheim, California as the sweetcore phenomenon known as Alesana exits the stage.
"I don't think I’ll ever get used to this," says frontman Dennis Lee as he tips back the last swallow of his water bottle. "Seeing kids go crazy like that thousands of miles away from home reminds me that I have the best job in the world. Oh, and that wearing cowboy boots on stage probably isn't the best idea in the world...but it simply must be done." Crowd response like this is something that the six-piece from Raleigh, North Carolina is quickly becoming accustomed to all over the country and other parts of the world: and this is only the beginning.
The band's debut full length record On Frail Wings of Vanity and Wax, in stores nationwide on March 20th, 2007, is built around a dynamic, emotionally charged, three guitar, three vocal attack. "We're all about dynamics, both musically and vocally," says vocalist/guitarist Shawn Milke about why the band elected to employ three guitarists and three vocalists. "We don't try to be like anyone else or to be something we're not. By having six members we are able to pull off the same guitar and vocal harmonies in a live setting that we have on the record."
Forming in November of 2004, Alesana has always focused a great deal of their attention on having an energetic and memorable live show. The raw, honest intensity of the band's performance on stage has played a huge role in their growing popularity over the last year. "Our music is always fun," says drummer Jeremy Bryan. "There isn't a single night on tour that I don't have a blast on stage. We give everything we have each and every night and it is a great feeling to see that same energy increasingly coming back from the crowd everywhere we go...and always play 'til you puke." Having already completed tours with Drop Dead Gorgeous and Greeley Estates in 2006, the band is ready to continue hitting the road hard and strong. At the start of 2007, Alesana already has over 200 shows booked including their first headlining tour they’ve sold-out shows in Detroit MI, Anaheim CA, New York, and Texas. Starting in March ’07 they will support Haste The Day and From Autumn to Ashes, and then in June and July a spot on the first half of the 2007 Vans Warped Tour.
The Alesana love has even begun to spread down below the border. The band did their first ever Mexican tour in October 2006 and played to the largest, craziest crowds in the bands short history. "It felt like a dream when we were there," says guitarist Patrick Thompson. "I was in total disbelief of what was happening. The Mexican fans are so passionate and truly excited that I found myself forgetting that it was even us they were screaming for." Upon arriving at shows the band had to be escorted by security to avoid being swarmed by the over 500 fans waiting in line nearly six hours before the doors would even be open for the show. Even more insanity is expected during their second Mexican tour scheduled to kick off on February 20th, 2007.
In June of 2005, Alesana released their debut EP Try This With Your Eyes Closed on Tragic Hero Records. After selling nearly 3,000 copies of the EP at shows and online, the band hit the studio with producer Kit Walters to record their first full length record On Frail Wings of Vanity and Wax. After nearly two months of pre-production and two solid weeks in the studio, the band felt that they had finally locked up the exact sound that they were striving to achieve. The record did a soft release which included being sold at smartpunk.com where it remained in the top 10 for six months running. The success of the record prompted Fearless Records to come check out the band live near their headquarters in California. Less than one month later, the band was signed to their new label. "We feel very at home with Fearless," says guitarist/vocalist Adam Ferguson. "I feel like I can pick up the phone anytime and call anyone on the entire staff. Plus, with a smaller roster of bands than some of the other labels out there, it feels more like family." Bassist Steven Tomany adds, "Our success is their success and vice versa. We don't feel like all of the pressure is on us to do this by ourselves because Fearless is working just as hard as we are with the record. Its a great feeling to have such good people in your corner." Fearless is re-releasing On Frail Wings of Vanity and Wax as an enhanced disc with plenty of extras including all new artwork, two bonus tracks, four live videos from a performance in San Antonio, Texas, and a 20-minute interview with the band.
Alesana will be shooting their first music video with producer Jeremy Jackson at the end of March. The debut single Ambrosia finds the band at their lyrical best. "Shawn and I write all of our lyrics together, completely 50/50," says Dennis. "We like to tell stories from two different perspectives in every song, constantly intertwining both points of view. It creates an almost 'stream of conscience' effect where its hard to tell where one side ends and the other begins." Shawn adds, "Writing with Dennis makes the songs that much more fun for me because we are both writing the same story but from different conclusions. In Ambrosia, for example, we are telling the story of a man who has been given a sort of divine gift. Dennis is singing about his obsession with the power his new gift has given him, while I sing about the simpler things of life and love that he has left behind in spite of it." A complex story-telling lyrical style is what listeners can expect to find all throughout On Frail Wings of Vanity and Wax.
2007 is shaping up to be the year that Alesana breaks completely into the scene. With a vigorous touring schedule, a national record release, and a rapidly growing and strongly dedicated fan base, the band is looking to just keep working as hard as they've been accustomed to for the past two years. "Touring and playing shows for the fans is what its all about," says Shawn. "We've made some great friends and had the privilege of sharing the stage with not only awesome bands, but good guys as well. It is a really special thing when you can share your passion and art with people everyday for a living. There isn't a minute that goes by that we are not eternally grateful for the opportunities we've been given."
With the sincerity of their lyrics, the energy of their music, and the passion of their live show, there is no doubt that Alesana will fight its way into your stereos and into your hearts.
And when asked what kind of toast he would like with his breakfast, frontman Dennis Lee simply states, "Buttered."