Canaya Speak To SonicAbuse

On Saturday 10th May a festival will be launched that celebrates those wonderful bands that exist on the fringes of the rock and metal scene. Curated by legendary band Cult of Luna and featuring a bespoke line up of like-minded talent, the three-venue, multi-media festival Beyond The Redshift promises to be a day of unholy delight as the likes of Jesu, Amenra, Amplifier and more descend upon London.

One band that you have to make sure you see is the Leeds-based Canaya. The band, to date, have released just two EPs, but even a cursory glance at their bandcamp  page will show you that the band emphasize quality over quantity and their latest effort (the scathing, caustic ‘Sealed within the walls’) is a twenty minute plus exercise in shredding the nerve endings with crushing guitar and intense vocals that has justly earned the band high praise from a number of quarters (check out this excellent review from Ringmaster if you remain unconvinced). In anticipation of the band’s set at Beyond the Redshift, we took the opportunity to interview the band and find out more about their formation, inspiration and current goals. Make sure you check out the embedded player at the foot of this post, because Canaya are one band you will kick yourself for missing.

Canaya play Beyond the Redshift on Sat 10th May @ 12:15

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First of all could you briefly introduce the band to our readers?

We are Canaya, a four piece hailing form Leeds, Uk. If you’re looking for brutal riffs, groove and an extremely bleak sound? Then I’m sure we can you offer a thing or two.

You released your first EP way back in 2010, why the long break between releases? 

Since the release of ‘Alignment of dying planets’ we have managed a very steady stream of gigging through out the UK. We have been working toward raising our profile and writing some material we deemed fresh and worthy enough to put out as a second release in the form of ‘Sealed within the walls’. It was a serious proposition to show our fans just how much we have developed and that we mean business as a band. Canaya is just getting started, what you can hear now is only the calm before the storm; we’re aiming for another release this November.

Where was ‘sealed within the walls’ recorded and how long did it take to put the EP together?

The recording process is completely in house, we tracked it all live ourselves and our good friend Mark Burrows (Lifescreen) mixed it. Recording was an easy process as the songs had been gigged relentlessly before hand. You turn up, track your parts and go. It’s a very honest offering and I am so proud of how well it presents each one of us as individual players but also the collective as a band. The response has been superb so far and we are so pleased that people are digging it!

Who actually writes the music in the band – is it an even split or do various members present songs as finished articles to the rest of the band?

It’s definitely an even split. All the songs are crafted at our rehearsal space together, throwing only our best ideas into the mix, tweaking them until something we all get excited about comes out. There is a huge focus on quality control and song writing. It is an attempt to make this band sound timeless and offer music that listeners can come back to and always find something that suits their mood.

Obviously in the modern world it is possible for bands to access a huge amount of recording technology that was simply unimaginable even fifteen years ago – but your EP still sounds gloriously analogue. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the vast array of recording equipment available to bands today and what is Canaya’s philosophy regarding recording? 

I love that you think it sounds that way! Canaya is all about keeping it simple, from our gear to our song writing, our outlook is to remove anything unnecessary from the equation that would detract from the great moments. All the bands we grew up listening to were all about being able to play brilliantly live, and their albums always managed to capture that real human element. We approach it in exactly the same way. The likes of Pantera, Black Sabbath or Iron Maiden never seemed to need digital trickery when they were at their peak so we took a page from their book. It really captures what Canaya is about.

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We’re huge fans of physical releases at SonicAbuse and we always admire bands who put in the effort to create cool artwork for their releases – who did the art for the new EP and how important is it for you as a band to get the visual side of things right?

Canaya needs a look that draws people in and from across a room and it has to be memorable. Steve Myles is responsible for ‘Sealed within the walls’ cover and I think the artwork speaks for itself. The vibrant colour and depth of his imagery translates beautifully onto a print and it really reflects what we try to offer to the listener; a big statement with subtle details that you only notice once you investigate and familiarize yourself with it further. We have so many people comment on how different and striking our merchandise designs are, I think we understand it is not just about the music, it’s the whole package that people pay attention to.

Platforms such as Bandcamp seem to have made it much easier for artists to offer their music in a number of different formats directly to their audience – given that you all have history in other bands, do you find it easier to get your music out to your potential fan-base now and have you found any disadvantages to this DIY method of distribution?

We have always, on some level, been DIY. For along time that was all we knew with regards to forming a band and doing the rounds. It is a real level playing field out there nowadays, cheap and easy to get your music out there however you really need to stand out to start making any waves. To an extent, Canaya still is mostly DIY apart from we will invest in the areas we think will get our music out there most effectively and to the widest reach. A lot of our progress has come from having an extremely loyal fan base who have stuck with us since we started up and helped spread the word, we have nothing but huge thanks to those people!

You’re playing the first ever Beyond the redshift festival this month – what are your thoughts about the festival and its ethos to draw together music and visual material as an engaging multimedia experience? Will you be changing or adding any elements to your performance for the occasion?

This is such an exciting gig for us, the hosts have really taken care organizing a line up of bands that really compliment each other, and the overall setup of the day couldn’t work out better for everyone involved. Great venues, great people, job done! I’m a huge music media fan, whether it be a music video, music for film, or something more experimental, the two go seamlessly together so the offerings will no doubt be great!  We are so lucky to be opening up and the set we have chosen revolves around giving the crowd a lot of variety and a good insight as to what we’ve come to do.

Are there any bands on the bill that you are particularly looking forward to seeing?

All of them! It’ll be awesome seeing God Seed, Jesu & Cult of Luna do what they’re known for, and bands like Amplifier, Amenra & Bossk are old favourites of mine. The band I’m most looking forward to seeing is the Old Wind, I’ve heard so many good things yet I had never heard of them before I saw the line up. Yet another thing to come from this festival is bringing some new bands into people’s line of sight!

What are the advantages and disadvantages for you of being on a bill like Beyond the Redshift?

There are no disadvantages in this scenario. We couldn’t be showcasing our music to a better, more eclectic crowd, or be surrounded by a better group of bands. Many of these artists have been influencing the scenes we listen to for years, I feel honoured to have been asked to play and Canaya will reap the reward of getting our music heard by a fresh batch of ears. Let’s hope they enjoy it!

It seems, sometimes, that the UK press tends to overlook British bands, even great ones, in favour of international acts – have you found it challenging to spread the word of Canaya and where do you find the most support for your endeavours?

Music fans are still the same as they always have been. They look for new music that will entertain them; once they’re interested they could be hooked for life. Industry folk are similar, you find a good one who is into what you do and they will support your band and help find new opportunities to raise your profile. I think a lot of bands miss out because they are unaware of the avenues available to further your their career. You might say some are overlooked but I also think there are many who just know where the power really lies in networking, gigging in the right places with the right bands, working with the right people etc.

A big thank you from Canaya goes out to Si Glacken at I like Press, he has been amazing at hitting the areas and people that we couldn’t reach on our own. He’s a cool dude.

Aside from BTR what other live dates do you have planned?

We are currently writing and prepping for the next recording, but we will be planning a few shows between now and November. Keep your eyes peeled.

Any final words?

Thanks for your time and to anyone who we will catch at the weekend, please come and say hello, we appreciate you checking us out and hope you enjoy the festival!

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