Alesana's Shawn Milke says the Past is the Past, the Present is Now and the Future is Neverending!


In a year's time Alesana will have been a band for 10 long years, throughout their musical careers they have toured, written and recorded material that their loyal fan base has come to love and support them for. Now they are in the process of writing material for what would be their fifth album and  conclusion  to their current trilogy, of "The Emptiness" and "A Place Where The Sun Is Silent". With that said, the band is about to head out on a brief tour run, to get the fans hyped for this upcoming release, which will be a self-release since the band is no longer a part of the Epitaph Records family. Guitarist and vocalist Shawn Milke was the one to discuss the band's past, present, and future activity!


1. Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Alesana, and how long the band has been together.

Shawn: My name is Shawn Milke, I play guitar and sing in Alesana, and the band was born on Halloween of 2004.

2. How did you guys come up with your band name?

Shawn: Alesana is a variation of a street we used to live on in Baltimore, MD called “AliceAnna” street.

3. What bands have influenced your band and its sound?

Shawn: The Beatles, Thrice, Mew, Black Dahlia Murder, Between The Buried and Me, Mae, Ben Folds, and many, many more.

4. What lyrical theme do you guys use in your music? What message do you want to send?

Shawn: We have always based our lyrics off of literature that we are fond of and written our stories through their influence.  We are not here to send messages, we are not politicians.  We just like to write and play music that we enjoy.

5. How does it feel to be working on your fifth album to date?

Shawn: It is pretty surreal but definitely a rewarding feeling.  The experience of making a record is incredibly rewarding and I feel very lucky to still have the opportunity to do so.

6. Where are you in the recording process of the new album?

Shawn: We are in the latter part of the writing stage.  Pre-production will begin when we return home from the “You Better Watch Your Mouth, Sunshine” tour.

7. Out of all of your releases you have yet to self-titled it will this release be the one or did you guys go with another option? Why do you think bands prefer to self-title their albums anyway?
Shawn: I am personally not a huge fan of self titled, and especially for Alesana.  Our records are stories and the titles will reflect the story line.  I have a couple of ideas for the new one so far.

8. Can you tell me if it will be a concept release or not?
Shawn: The new release will be the conclusion of our trilogy that began with “The Emptiness” and continued with “A Place Where The Sun Is Silent”.

9. Who is producing the album? How has the producer aided the recording process?
Shawn: The record will be engineered by Neil Engle and I will be producing.  It is exciting to move into this area of the process and I look forward to the challenge.

10. How would you say the new album compares to your previous records?

Shawn: I generally do not like to compare records because each one takes the shape of life at the time and where we would like to move creatively.  I will say that some of the structuring is looser allowing us to do some really fun movements.

11. Are there any surprises on the album?
Shawn: We always try to have at least a couple of surprises. :)

12. Are there any collaborations on the album?

Shawn: My sister, Melissa, who sings for Tempting Paris will be making a few guest appearances.  There may be a couple others as well.

13. It looks like you guys tend to release your albums every 2 years from one another, and you plan to do that again with this upcoming release, have you noticed this and do you know why you choose to do this?
Shawn: I honestly think that may just be a coincidence.  I guess there is a bit of a life cycle to the writing process and release schedules.  I think it just happens organically.

14. Where are you recording the album?

Shawn: We are making the record in Raleigh, North Carolina.

15. How would you describe the overall sound of the new album?

Shawn: It is rock and roll music being played by Alesana.  As always, we have maintained some elements while adding some new ones.  In the end, I know we will be happy and proud of our record and hope that other folks enjoy it as well.

16. Did the band have any definitive goals they were shooting for before the recording process began for this album?
Shawn: The goal is simply to progress as songwriters and as a band and to make sure the process is fun and productive.

17. Are you using any new instrumentation you've never used in the recording process before?
Shawn: We are messing around with a different tuning and are hoping to once again include some organ, quartet arrangements, and horns.

18. Do you guys feel the pressure whatsoever about this release and it following-up to your previous one?
Shawn: None whatsoever.  Making music is supposed to be fun and people are going to draw their own conclusions and form their own opinions regardless of how we feel about the process and the final product.  Our number one goal is always to enjoy ourselves and love the record.

19. How is the vibe in the studio?

Shawn: Very relaxed and hard working.

20. When can we expect the new album to be released?

Shawn: Our goal is to release sometime this fall.

21. In just 1 year's time you will have been a band for 10 solid years, what do you guys plan to do to celebrate and what runs through your mind?
Shawn: We have some fun ideas as far as how to celebrate.  I just pinch myself as a reminder that this has all been real.  I am a lucky guy to write and play music for amazing fans.

22. Would you ever consider releasing a double album or an all acoustic album?

Shawn: Both of those things are strong possibilities in the future.

23. When can we expect to see a live album or live DVD or in a form of a combo release?

Shawn: This is definitely something we want to do and hope to make it happen at some point.

24.You are going on a brief tour this summer and do plan to play a new song, will this song be the "first" single off this new album or is this song just a trial run?
Shawn: The song is a trial run and I won’t know if it will be the single until the record is done.  It is important to note that we will only be playing the song at sound check for our amazing VIP fans.  If anyone wants to be a part of the experience, you can check out alesana.soundrink.com.

25. Do you ever get sick of playing the old songs, from your previous releases in your live sets after all these years?
Shawn: No, not really.  That being said, playing new material is always a cool experience because it presents a new challenge and it feels more fresh.

26. What have you done to prepare yourselves for this tour?
Shawn: Practice, practice, practice.

27. How easy is it to keep the motivation going on a daily basis for Alesana?

Shawn: I love this band, its positivity, and the fun I get to have writing stories and turning them into well constructed records.  In this age of the “single” it is fun for us to keep focusing on records as a full experience.  I hope we continue to get to make records for years and years.

28. What else do you have planned for this year?

Shawn: In addition to the east coast tour and the new record we also will be doing some international touring, shooting a music video, and hopefully hitting the west coast.

29. Any final words of wisdom?

Shawn: Spend less time hating things and more time loving something.  You may be surprised how much better it makes you feel about everything.

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