I frequently get asked why SonicAbuse exists. Over the years that the website has been building itself up, the inevitable question when I meet someone not actually connected to music is “does it make any money?” My answer is always the same – no, it doesn’t. That’s not to say it’s not without its rewards, for someone like me who spends far too much of his salary on music, the various gigs and CDs are worth infinitely more than money and, as someone who hates the way that every site seems to have huge flashing advertising all over it, I can’t imagine monetising the site.
The problem is that explaining the reason why SonicAbuse exists is impossible if I’m talking to someone who isn’t into music. How can I explain the feeling, the elation, of finding a new band that speaks in a language that you understand? How to intimate the shivers that run up the spine when, say, David Gilmour plays the solo to ‘comfortably numb’ or the adrenalin that surges through the body when Slayer unleash that riff to ‘raining blood’? It’s nigh on impossible, but it is the search for that music that led to the creation of SonicAbuse. Maybe I am, forever, locked in that state of adolescence when it’s possible to be unfeasibly excited over the prospect of a new release by a favourite band, but then maybe that’s a better state to be in than the world-weary apathy with which some face the world. Whatever the reason, SonicAbuse exists because of bands like A light within (you see, I do get to the point eventually!) From the first time I heard the band I sensed that they were an act whose work stirred the very feelings described above. Their music is at times melancholic, at times filled with hope. It soars and dips; it’s heavy and impassioned and yet capable of drifting dreamily through the most pastoral of landscapes. It’s progressive and it’s post rock, but most importantly, it communicates something to the listener. It fires the imagination, it stokes the fires of creativity and it is an unrestrained pleasure to listen to.
With the release of the stunning ‘body matter’ EP we were lucky enough to conduct a short interview with the band, which we present here. If the wheels of fortune are turning favourably, A Light Within will soon be gracing the covers of magazines everywhere, but for now read on and discover a band whose ambition and ability mark them out as something truly special.
Could you tell us a little about how A Light Within came to form?
We appreciate you taking the time and interest in us and our music, we truly appreciate the support.
We started out as so many other bands before us did, from the demise of our previous bands. My (Jeff’s) previous band had played with Josh’s (guitar) and Nick’s (drums) previous band, as well as Kyle’s (vocals) previous band. When I was looking to start a new project, I knew I wanted to do something with Josh and Kyle. Luckily for me Nick and Josh were working on some new ideas together and Nick was up for starting something too. Brett, our original bassist, and I played together in a previous band. We played some shows and recorded our 1st EP, “Preface” together. Unfortunately, Brett decided to leave. With his leaving, I was happy to have a long-time friend, Andy Schiller, reach out and take over bass duties.
Both the first EP and the latest single are denoted by page numbers rather than straight forward track titles – it seems your linking your music to literature in some form – could you explain the meaning behind this for us?
It’s a great concept Kyle came up with. The concept continues from the Preface EP and will extend into the Epilogue EP as one giant story. So basically the concept is:
Imagine an elderly person (can be male or female, that distinguishable trait has been left out of the lyrics) is sitting in a retirement home writing about life in their journal. Whether it be remembering their childhood up to current day (glaso), sitting at the bedside of their dying loved one (to have to hold), awaiting the potential awakening from their companion whom is stuck in a coma (no charge), guilt and regret (World through the window), etc.
A brief wrap up: this journal was left behind, found by A Light Within, and transcribed into music. Music is about life, love, loss and eventually death.
Before A Light Within there was Auternus for you, Jeff, and one thing that very clearly links both projects is the attention to the way that the music is presented in terms of art and design. How important is it for you to get this right and to what extent are you and the band involved in the actual design aspect?
To me the art/design is just as important as the music. I’ve purchased music solely based on the cover design, sometimes it wasn’t worth it, but more often than not, I’ve been truly happy with the music that was inside.
It took some time between ‘preface’ and the new single – what have A Light Within been up to and when can we expect a full-length album?
The hardest part was losing our original bassist, finding a new one and getting him situated into things. After that it was more about jamming ideas and for us to once again find our voice. Our next recording will be another EP and at that time we hope to package all 3 EPs together in some sort of cool limited edition package. That will be the closing chapter on this concept and then we’ll see what lies ahead for us.
How do A Light Within record – do you go into a studio or do you take advantage of modern technology and record your work yourself?
We record ourselves, which may be another reason things take longer. Both Kyle, singer, and I have ProTool rigs set up in our home studios. We have a decent amount of mics varying in quality, but can get good tracks with them. Then its mix, mix, remix and then remix some more. Kyle works his butt off during this phase and without his dedication and caring, who knows where these tracks would be.
Your music contains myriad musical references whilst offering your own unique interpretation- what bands would you say are most important to you as influences? Our influences as a band are all over the map, but we do have common grounds that we all can take inspiration from. It’s good for us to have different tastes, I think it’s these different tastes that help expand our ideas and make them more of our own. I mean if we all listened to the same thing, we’d most likely sound like our influences and where we are, I think you can hear some of the influences, but it’s our voice that comes across.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to become noticed in music as there are so many great bands vying for attention – how have you tried to engage with the fans and develop a new audience and how challenging is it for you?
It is pretty challenging for us as our music isn’t going to make you jump up and go crazy or make you want to shake your booty. So we try and hook up with different bands so we can expose our music to their fans and see the reaction, for the most part the responses have been positive from both the bands and the audience.
A Light Within are, I believe, based in Kansas – would you say there are any similar artists to you in the area and do you work together or are you something of a regional anomaly?
Missouri actually. Kansas City straddles both Missouri and Kansas, but we are on the Missouri side, well except Andy, but he’s so close, doesn’t really matter. There are some bands in the area the sound like us, but not too many, which is nice, because that allows us more opportunity to get in front of people who are not exposed to the style of music we play. Of course that could work against us, but so far things have been good.
What is the next move for A light within?
We are releasing our new EP “Body Matter”, playing a handful of shows, including this year’s Middle of the Map Festival. This is a festival that started in KC and has been growing so much each year, it’s an honour to be a part of this.
Music is obviously very important to you and your bandmates but do you ever find it challenging balancing the stresses of day to day life with the many commitments that come with being in a band?
2 of the guys have kids and we all have full time jobs, which sometimes knocks us out and can make practice challenging. And trying to set schedules for shows has always been a tricky thing. I’ve had to turn down more shows than I can count and some of them were really tough shows to not play, but that’s how it goes. But the release of playing, writing and recording makes up for any of that. It’s nice to turn off your mind about the daily things that life throws at you and just lose yourself in the music.
Any final words for your UK fans.
Thanks for your support, something as simple as a facebook like or a bandcamp stream means the world and we truly appreciate it. There are so many great bands out there, give them some support so they can do what they and share with your friends.