Phil’s Picks recently had the chance to speak with Clinton Cunanan of Another Lost Year. Along the way Cunanan discussed a range of topics. From the band’s new album to more serious topics such as Spotify’s place in today’s music industry, to the more lighthearted discussion on sports loyalties, the topics run the table. Cunanan jokes his way through some of his responses, as readers will note while in others he is more matter of fact. The discussion in whole is both entertaining and informing and available in whole here.
— You guys have a new album due out very soon titled Alien Architect. Now unless I’m incorrect, this is ALY’s second full-length studio recording. What can you tell me about the album’s release date? Right now I know that it’s due out some time in June. That is all that I know of its release date. Is that right?
Clinton: Technically you are correct, and technically you are not. The Revolution is a full length album that was broke up in to 2 EP’s the second half just released with the preorder of Alien Architect on Good Friday, June 10 is the actual street date for that bad mamma jamma, and we couldn’t be happier about it. Now You See Me 2 also drops that date, they don’t pay me to talk about that or Spaceballs
— Along with the album’s release ALY is getting ready to launch a new tour in support of Alien Architect. The tour kicks off with a show in Hickory, NC on April 8th at the Wizard Saloon. This is a pretty well-known North Carolina venue. It has hosted both big names and lesser known acts including: Saving Abel, The Veer Union, Like A Storm, NoMara, and even ALY previously. So being that ALY is based in Charlotte, where I’m sure you had your pick of venues, what made you guys want to kick off your upcoming tour at The Wizard? Can fans expect to hear more of the band’s older material, its newer music, or a little bit of both? Aside from the current schedule, are there any more dates currently in the works?
Clinton: Are you saying these are more known bands or lesser known? Hickory isn’t known for much. The Wizard is a dirty old place that we love to play. Honestly we just like playing here, we will play anywhere. And if its one of our shows, fans know to expect anything and everything. We never have a set setlist, we have skeletons that we use and fill them in accordingly. There are a ton of dates coming, we are just kind of going out jamming, no rhyme or reason, we just party.
-ALY has been around since 2011. In that short time, the band has already turned out at least one full-length studio recording and an EP. That is actually pretty impressive considering that the band is currently apparently working without a record label. Have you had any interest from any labels in the time in the time since the band released those two recordings?
Clinton: Like I said before, AA will be our 2nd technically full length, Better Days was a full length, SO CAL was an EP, The Revolution pt 1 and 2 are EP’s that make a full length, we get down a lot. We aren’t like most bands, we keep songs on deck, Im already 8 songs into the new album. We have had interest, we just imprinted our own label with EMP, we are pretty in house. We like it that way.
–The band just recently premiered the video for Alien Architect’s new single ‘Wolves.’ The song’s sound, to me at least, is very similar to that of Breaking Benjamin. What bands would you all say are ALY’s biggest influences? On a related note, what can you tell me about how the song came to life? Was it more of a structured formation with the lyrics or music coming first, or was it more of an organic process? What is the message or story within the song’s lyrics?
Clinton: Heres a few questions I ask when I hear this comparison, 1) is that supposed to be an insult or compliment 2) Have you ever heard Motionless In White and 3) have you ever really listened to BB? Maybe its the substance that people compare us to, something real, musically we are nothing like them. I’m influenced in my songwriting by old country music, storytellers, we structure similar to Limp Bizkit and lyrically I would compare us more to Greenwheel, Trapt, Evans Blue. We aren’t really influenced by other music, more on peoples work ethic. Wolves got thrown out because it was done, the most haha, this time around we wrote a lot differently, more in studio than anything, we were writing and recording 2 songs a day, whatever the mood was is what came out. The story is for you to decipher yourself, the message is clear. Run like hell and because I’m coming for everything.
–On a related note, I’d love to get the band’s thoughts on the ‘Wolves’ video. It’s a very dizzying piece in regards to its camera movements. Was that effect intentional or did that come from the creative process involved in the video’s creation? Did any of you have a favorite or least favorite part of making the video? Are there plans for anymore of the album’s singles to get the video treatment?
Cilnton: It just kind of happened, it was my first stab at really directing from setting the shots to editing, it was all a blast, I was not a fan of the editing process, but even that I learned to start loving. We will be shooting a video for every song if I have any say in it, and I have a lot of say in it.
–I want to switch gears for a little bit. Spotify, Youtube, and other online outlets have been in the news quite a bit recently thanks to a certain well-known pop star. What is YOUR take on the Spotify debate? Do you think artists should receive royalties for a certain number of plays on Spotify and other online outlets? Have you found that online outlets have played a role of any kind on your own record sales or not?
Clinton: Considering we pull in about 8k in streams through spotify alone a week, I would like to see a higher royalty paid, its a catch 22, if you pull your music you’re limiting your audience, if you keep it, you’re lowering your worth, in some aspects. I discover a lot of artist using these online systems, it is what it is. The real problem is radio, money rules it. Plain and simple, no one talks about how payola still exist. It does, I said it.
–Staying on that note (no pun intended) digital music sales in the past decade or so have played an obvious role in the decline of physical album sales. One need just go to Best Buy and Target, and see their massively streamlined music departments to see that for one’s self. The numbers also back up that decline in sales. So do you all prefer digital music for your own libraries? Physical? Or a mix of both?
Clinton: Man every Tuesday I used to go to target and scoop up the new releases, you could get the unedited versions and well I like profanity, digital is super convenient since you can keep your library at your finger tips, there is nothing like having that physical copy that someone put their heart and soul into, and just wait till you get your hands on the physical copy of Alien Architect. Its a masterpiece from looks to sound.
–On another related note, Record Store Day is coming up once again. The big day is used to celebrate all things vinyl. With vinyl’s continued popularity even modern acts are seeing their albums released on vinyl. Do any of you collect vinyls new or old? If so do you have any favorite vinyls?
Clinton: I dont collect them, yet.
–I want to switch gears again here and delve into ALY’s hometown music scene. As anyone knows, North Carolina is obviously not just a country music state anymore. Corrosion of Conformity and Between The Buried and Me have both put North Carolina on the map as have other bands past and present. Other than yourselves, are there any other Charlotte-based bands that really stand out to you guys? What about bands from other parts of the state that you’ve either toured with or heard?
Clinton: Uh K-ci and JoJo, haha Paper Tongues, BTBAM is great, and so is COC not my cup of tea, but pioneers to say the least. There are a few bands out there grinding, not many, people don’t want to work for it anymore. Its a shame money overrides talent these days, its killing our industry, like I said, work ethic stands out to us, the dudes in Almost Kings, really influenced me to go out and grind it, they are from ATL, not far from us, as far as Charlotte, probably the one that stands out the most in our scene today is Beyond The Fade, good dudes, good jams, horrible drinkers, 1 shot and Neils clothes start falling off.
–Changing things up again, with the current NCAA tournament getting ready to wind down for this year, I wanted to ask, since you all are from North Carolina, are any of you college basketball fans? If so are you all Duke or UNC fans? Or are there some loyalties to other schools? What about the NBA? Are any of you Hornets fans or fans of other teams?
Clinton: You’re getting into some uncharted territory here, I am the only Duke fan. Thats all I will give the pleasure of divulging, due to the fact the other guys are obviously sick in the head for being Tarhole fans.
–Charlotte is also NASCAR’s home base. So are any of you NASCAR fans or maybe other auto racing series? If any of you ARE racing fans, can you share any memories of trips to races?
Clinton: Being from here, you hate nascar, I have some friends that drive. My buddy Chris Lafferty actually helped me direct and shoot the new video, we have some great ties to racing, but the traffic, get out of here, its awful we try and stay far away during race weekend.
Thank you very much again for allowing me the time to talk with you all. I am really looking forward to Another Lost Year’s new album. Will fans be able to pick up Alien Architect in stores when it’s available, and will those stores include the likes of Best Buy and/or Target or will it be more available at the band’s shows and the band’s website? Thank you again for your time. Good luck on your upcoming tour and your new album.
Clinton: Thanks for your time! When the album drops we signed a bistro deal with EMP (Dave Ellefson of Megadeth) and eOne, so fingers crossed you’ll see that beautiful product sitting right there, in the A’s…. Its like it was premeditated.
For all of the readers out there, more information on Another Lost Year is available online now along with news on the band’s upcoming album and tour at:
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