Reviving authenticity in metal: Wake Arkane’s artistic journey with ‘Awakenings’ – Exclusive interview insights

Welcome to a journey into the realm of Wake Arkane, a collective that skillfully blends progressive death metal with romantic themes, aggressive rhythms, and refined melodies. The band features Mike Lunacy, the voice and driving force behind the legendary Dark Lunacy, contributing not just his vocal talent but also guiding the artistic direction. But there’s more to this extraordinary band. Enthusiasts of fine wine and local spirits, the four members retreat to the Italian countryside to conceive music and stories, indulging in extensive banquets. Wake Arkane revives metal music without virtuosity or competition, sporting a wild yet classy attitude. Their authenticity shines through in their meticulous approach to recording music, striving for high quality while steering clear of artificial solutions. For aficionados of melodic, extreme, and progressive metal from the 1990s and 2000s seeking pathos and drama, Wake Arkane offers an authentic and compelling musical experience. And on the occasion of their new album “Awakenings,” we had the pleasure of interviewing Ricky, who shared fascinating anecdotes and stories about the behind-the-scenes of this remarkable record.

How did the concept of “Awakenings” come to be? What was the primary source of inspiration behind this album?

The concept was inspired by a short-story written by our singer Mike Lunacy, and it talks about awakenings (as the title of the album suggest). It’s the story of the main character, Mr. Wake, awakening and becoming aware of his life and himself thorough a near-death-experience and his path in a parallel world described in Mike’s story.
Musically we worked creating the music mainly inspired by the story written by Mike, trying to create musical landscapes and descriptions that represent the environment and the feelings of the characters, like a sort of musical comment to the storyline.

Could you share something about the creative process behind this album? Were there any particular moments or significant challenges during the production?

The creative process begins during the long meetings we use to attend among the silent hills of the province of Parma, where Mike lives. On these occasions, full of silence, wine and great food, Mike usually tells us his ideas concerning the stories that will be told.
Afterwards we usually work using different creative processes. Sometimes Ricky or Andrea come up with a riff or a scratch of a song and then we work together to arrange it and to develop it; other times someone could write an entire song and then together we make the final arrangements and finishes. It really depends on the song.
The hardest challenge that we had to face was trying to translate the story and its message as well as the most significant parts of the concept into music, and we think that the final result is exactly what we were looking for.

The concept behind “Awakenings” is deeply narrative. How did you translate this intricate story into music?

That was a real challenge. We tried to identify ourselves with the characters trying to feel what they feel in that specific part of the story. Then, starting from that, we organized a sort of “soundtrack” of the main passages of the story, in order to allow the listener to follow it through both the music and the lyrics, maintaining the pathos of the story.

“Awakenings” encompasses a wide range of musical influences. What were your main artistic reference points for this album?

We all come from different musical backgrounds but we all have metal in common. Someone has more progressive influences, others have more classical or symphonic stuff or extreme stuff as main influences. I think this is reflected in our compositions. Some ore more prog-oriented, some other are more rooted in the melodic death metal tradition. I can safely say the fans of Opeth, Dark Tranquillity, Edge of Sanity, Orphaned Land and In Flames, i mean the fans of the whole melodic death metal school of the 90’s, will appreciate our album 😉

Is there a particular song on “Awakenings” that you feel best represents your message or the story you’re telling?

All the songs on Awakenings tells a different part of the story and all the songs together make the message clear so I fear you need to listen to the whole album to get the story in its entirety. Actually, even if the single song can be appreciated if separated by the whole concept, we feel it like a unique soundtrack to the story.

Have you had the chance to gauge the audience’s reaction with the first four released songs? What has the response been so far?

Yes we’re very happy with the people’s reaction, we received a lot of kind words from the audience we fortunately have a lot of old and new fans who are appreciating our work.

Mike Lunacy’s vocals have been described as emotional and full of pathos. How did you work on the emotional expression of the songs in “Awakenings”?

Doing what we do is a very instinctive and natural thing, It’s all about pathos and feelings, we use our music to express ourselves, and the voice of Mike, with our music is for sure the best way for the audience to become part of the journey that we wanted to tell with “Awakenings”. In the whole album his voice is both the narrator and the character’s voices that he channels through his lyrics and singing.

Could you share some details about your upcoming tour? Are there specific destinations or venues you’re particularly excited to play at?

We recently had our first concert with the current lineup in Milan. It was a special and very successful event that we organized with a local agency and where we played with the Italian band “Novembre”.
We are planning more dates, also within festivals, initially in Italy, then we will play abroad, in Europe. We will announce official confirmations of these concerts as soon as everything is ready.

Is there a central message or theme you want your listeners to take away after experiencing “Awakenings”?

Yes, we’d like our audience to become aware that sometimes you have to face your demons to be “awaken” and be a best human being, a new you with consciousness and deep feelings between you and everything around you.

The album was mastered by Dan Swanö. What was the experience like working with him, and how did it influence the final result?

Oh that was so cool! We already worked with Dan for our previous album “The Black Season”. He also putted some vocals on the song “The Numb Experience” and it was awesome to have one of our main musical influences and metal-idol on our record. So we contacted him again for this record and his work and mastering engineer was absolutely great! That’s why we wanted to work with him again. He was the “icing on the cake” of “Awakenings” after the masterful mixing and recording made by Frank Altare.

Your first album, “The Black Season,” came out in 2012. How do you feel your music and approach to music creation have grown and changed between the two albums?

It did not change so much during that time. We made a great creative team with the old lineup, and we’re glad for being able to work with such wonderful musicians and human beings. The changes in the line-up obviously changed our music in some ways, also because the new band members have different musical background and skills, but fortunately we found the right chemistry with all of them since day one, and the creative process had no significative changes.

What’s your main goal with “Awakenings”? What do you hope this album brings to your audience and your career as a band?

In my opinion our first and most important goal as a band is that we didn’t quit. We passed many difficult and frustrating moments since the old members left the band, but we didn’t give up and now we’re proud of what we are now as a band of friends and what we made with “Awakenings”. This is a new start and the beginnings of a long era of gigs, goals, music and of course… pathos!
Our aim is to become an internationally renowned band and to ride the best stages in the world where our genre of music is played. In this we are very determined and aware that we have the potential to do so.

Technology plays a significant role in the music industry today. How do you perceive the impact of artificial intelligence on music creation or production? Have you ever explored using AI in your music-making process?

We are not so informed about AI and it’s use in musical environments. In general,as everything in technology, it’s a mean; it then takes the conscience of its use to try to ecploit the possibilities it creates or to just use it in a lazy way. Look at the software that now are available to everyone, if these are used to reduce time, find new sounds and solutions that can be useful tools; if these are used in a lazy and non musical ways these can damage the whole musical scene.

Streaming platforms like Spotify dominate the online music scene. What are your thoughts on this monopoly-like control they hold over the industry? How do you think it affects both musicians and listeners?

I don’t think music streaming is the greatest evil. It certainly changes the rules of the music business. I am convinced that any innovation, such as AI, must be understood. After that, it is important to realize that the rules have changed, so it is necessary to study, test, ask, and even dare. Certainly, if there is one thing not to do is to feel sorry for oneself and remain nostalgically “in the past.”
Every innovation has become an opportunity the moment man has learned to know it and handle it in the appropriate way, respecting art, nature, and fellow men.

In an era where online streaming is prevalent, what do you believe are the biggest challenges artists face in terms of fair compensation and exposure, especially with the existing streaming model? How do you navigate these challenges as a band?

Music business, as every business, is made by numbers and statistics. There’s a part of this job that requires more than just being able to write and play good music. Nowadays you have to be also a good social media manager, promoter, computer engineer and so on… that’s the hardest part since we started from young metalheads who wanted to spread their music to the world 🙂 The money around music business is not the same as 80’s or 90’s so for an underground band as we are, is not so easy, but we try to do our best. Every one of us has his own skills, and that makes us able to be an operative and co-operative team where everyone has different tasks.

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