LASTERA: "Our vision as a band is to bring some catchy and epic music to the world, without writing lyrics about dragons and horseback riding"
January 21st seems to have been a great release day for powermetal. One band that totally came out of nowhere for me on that day was LASTERA, but they quickly convinced me with their debut "From The Ashes".
We visit them in Denmark's capital Copenhagen, welcome to learn more about their work here:
Hey, thanks for making time to answer my questions. Could you please introduce yourself and LASTERA to our readers?
My name is Emil. I'm the drummer and main songwriter for the Danish symphonic powermetal band LASTERA. Our vision as a band is to bring some catchy and epic music to the world, without writing lyrics about dragons and horseback riding. Generally speaking, we want to add something new and fresh to powermetal. LASTERA has been my brainchild since my teens, and it has finally hatched from its cocoon.
Indeed, as you just released your first album "From the Ashes". How do you feel about it, and how was the reception so far?
We are really proud and happy about the final result. It has been in the making for well over 5 years - for various reasons - and it feels really great to finally share it with the world. It's kinda surreal, really.
The reception has been fantastic. Not only in terms of the positive feedback, but the overall engagement from people. In the last 24 hours, people from the US to Japan have bought our album from Bandcamp, and that's just amazing! We're really happy :-)
That's awesome! Let's start with a little time trip: When and how did you guys get together?
We've been a band since 2015, but under the name "DownFalI". Of course, the line-up has changed a bit, but the creative core is still intact. I wrote a handful of songs and needed musicians to fill out the blanks. Fortunately I knew a bunch of people and had some friends who knew a guy, who knew a guy, and so forth. It was a fairly easy process, so we formed the band and made an album.
In 2020 we decided to completely start over, with a new name, and change things up a bit. So, we officially disbanded as "DownFalI" a few months ago, and emerged anew as LASTERA.
How did you come up with your name, and is there a deeper meaning behind "Lastera" for you?
The hardest part of this whole "starting a new band"-thing was definitely finding the right name. We were throwing stuff around for months, and LASTERA was the first thing we could all agree upon.
And to be honest, there is no deeper meaning. All it is, is "last" and "era" put together.
What can you tell us about the origins of the mystical cover artwork, and how does it reflect the album thematically?
The idea behind the album, and subsequently the cover art, was rebirth essentially, and to build something from the ruins of what once was.
Making this album was quite the struggle, having to deal with a lot of crap - both, inside and outside the band. Ultimately it ended with DownFaII being dropped, making way for LASTERA. So all in all, the album talks about us coming back together and processing what we had to deal with as a group.
Could you dive a bit into the album's topics with us, please?
The title track is a tribute to ourselves. It's kind of us padding each other on the backs and say "we did it, boys!".
"Feet Made of Clay" is a stab at the ever ongoing conspiratorial ramblings, that seems to be very popular these days. Even though we're not a political band or have any real social commentary, it seems as relevant as ever.
"Larger Than Life" is a song I wrote for my mother, who passed in 2015. My final goodbye, I guess you could say.
"A Man in a Suit" is about taking the easy way to success and cut all the corners. In a more direct and theatrical way, it's about signing a deal with the devil. Maximum accomplishment, but paid in full.
Those are just a few examples.
Your music is best described as powermetal with symphonic elements. Where do you see your main influences?
I've always been a huge fan of the over-the-top, theatrical powermetal bands in Europe. Stuff like Dragonforce, Sabaton, Power Quest and even bands like Dimmu Borgir or Nightwish. Everything that is epic and bombastic is my jam. I guess my musical taste hasn't really changed since I was 17.
Could you briefly describe your writing and recording process, please?
It usually starts with a orchestral or piano oriented theme. Something that frames and sets the tone of the song. And from there it's just forming the skeleton and building up the layers. When everything is in place, we add the vocals and write the lyrics. So, it's always the music first and the lyrics second.
Let's talk about LASTERA live: Did you have a chance to play your songs on stage already, and if so, what was your most memorable show so far?
Yes, we've played two shows already, and I think the most memorable part was just being on stage again. We haven't played together live since 2018, so getting up there again was truly amazing, as well as performing with new material. That has been long overdue!
How would you describe the Danish rock/metal scene, and is there anything special about it? Did you notice changes over the past years?
The Danish metal scene is pretty much dominated by death and prog metal bands, as the bigger names in Denmark tend to fall into these categories. I think there has been a kind of a resurgence in more melodic music the past couple of years, which is awesome. We are happy to follow that trend.
What can you tell us about your future plans?
The main goal right now is getting out and play some shows. We're all itching for it at this point. But the whole covid situation makes that kind of difficult, so we'll have to see what happens.
But, on a more positive side, we're already planning our next release. We expect to start pre-production in spring and hopefully have something ready late summer this year - If everything goes well :-)
Sounds highly promising! Do you have any further thoughts you'd like to share here?
Thank you for your time. And thanks to everyone who has showed interest in our music. We're very happy to be at it again, and the positive feedback so far has been fantastic. So thank you all!
This is just the beginning.
You're most welcome :-) All the best for you and your musical plans \m/