Subterranea Talks of This Band and That Band Among an Array of Music Projects!

Coming from the underground is SUBTERRANEA whose time thus far, has had them release an album and EP as well. But the band as a whole is a one person project, done by a women at that, rather well. Aside from this she has also had a variety of other content released so far too. There is much more to be talked of from the chatter below.

1. Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.

Subterranea is a one-woman band. I do occasionally perform with other musicians and improvisers on stage, but when it comes to writing, composing, producing and mixing/mastering the projects - it’s essentially all me.

My name is Alia, I am a trained operatic singer, a multi-instrumentalist (keys, cello, drums, jaw harp)  and audio engineer. I started being involved in music since i was 6, so really, it’s almost a second language to me. My father was into electronic music, so this probably shaped me in some way, since the first thing I am hearing in any song regardless of genre, is a bassline.  I got into rock and metal much later in life but ever since, it was a fantastic journey of me discovering a huge part of what almost every teenage boy was into in high school (Megadeth, Metallica, other mainstream metal bands) and venturing forth into stranger and nicher sub-genres and bands like progressive metal, doom metal, black metal, black atmospheric. All this I somehow missed out on in high school due to general social anxiety and a-sociality, but now I get to be greedy about what I like and absorb and process what I find interesting all at the same time if I like.

I started writing music at around 12, but it was mostly classically-inspired piano music. I got into audio engineering and digital music composition in 2013 and have been involved in multiple projects before I released first Subterranea album in 2017. Ever since, it has been a journey - me evolving as a producer, composer, performer, and musician.

2. What’s the origin of the band’s name?

Subterranea is closely tied to chthonic imagery. In Ancient Greek pantheon, almost every divine deity had it’s “dark side” that was incredibly terrifying to the worshippers, yet equally necessary and having its place in the grand scope of life. If a deity puts on its “chthonic” mask it means someone somewhere crossed the line, allowing this to happen.

I guess, for me - Subterranea is a justified and necessary manifestation of aggression, darkness and raw emotion that is both horrific in it’s rawness and dignified in it’s unapologetic honesty. That’s the primary explanation behind the name.

There’s also a secondary, complementary reason for a name. There’s a UK-based progressive rock band called IQ, they have a song called Subterranea. I was mystified not as much by the song name as by lyrics: 

Can I hold on, can I believe in
All the things you are?
There's no sane in, chaos reigns in Subterranea

and then again, later in the song:

Can I hold on? I cannot count them
All the things you are
Were I stronger I'd hold out longer in Subterranea

I think the lyrics just spoke back to Subterranea being a chthonic entity that is chaotic and constantly expanding in every direction simultaneously. But also, the IQ’s song largely speaks to my creativity the way i see it - if my creativity could grow legs and could become an animal, it would be a monstrous octopus. I always have seventeen things on the go, with 15 more on the backburner. Plus, Subterranea, as a project, keeps challenging me creatively, as if testing my endurance - how much stronger, more knowledgeable and inspired should I become to hold longer in the mental space of this project? I don’t know. Subterranea is an apologetic raw and emotional journey that demands creative honesty.

3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

My band is based in Toronto, Canada. Music scene is dying here, at least in my opinion. With gentrification and condo projects, a lot of small venues that made playing shows possible, are disappearing. There is also a shortage of artistic support, programs or grants for art development. I prefer not to play in my home city. But I get it, it’s not much easier anywhere in the world.

4. How would you describe your style?

A bastard child of symphonic, avant-garde, neoclassical and progressive doom (Storm Corrosion, Opeth). Some call what I make dungeon synth because of the evident epic metal and black metal influences. If I can be 100% honest though, my music can probably best characterized as dark, dissonant, symphonic and heavy. But individual songs range between progressive metal to symphonic metal to folk metal.

5. What have you released so far and what can someone expect from your works?

My actual history of releases is about 5-6 albums if we count all projects I have been involved in. For Subterranea, it’s one album (Kingdoms Fall) and one EP (Myrkri) with occasional sprinkled individual compositions, and one dark ambient album. I would say Kingdoms Fall was very folk/dungeon synth, Myrkri was bordering on progressive folk metal.  My next release - St. Agony will be much much heavier, because some of the influences that laid the foundation sound for it are Meshuggah, Mastodon, Katatonia, Dan Swano, and Bathory. The release itself doesn’t faithfully sound like any of the influences, but I was heavily perusing on the emotional frequencies of the artists’ mentioned above.

6. Do you have any new music in the works?

Yes, St, Agony. It is a very emotional release for me, I guess it’s an attempt to exorcize myself of some unprocessed traumatic incidents in my life. So it is heavy, it is dark, and I am really pushing the limits of my ability to express emotion in that one. 

7. How about playing shows and touring, have anything planned out?

I have a possible tour in South America + Mexico planned possibly for summer, but things are still up in the air. It’s a joint tour with Attrition (UK). Other than that, I am playing a Vancouver-based festival (Covenant) in Toronto on April 10, and possibly Metalocalyptick in Vancouver in the summer. I am planning to get into more European festivals for summer/fall as well.

8. What plans do you have for the future as a band?

I will give you the most unsatisfying answer ever - I don’t know. I want to enjoy the journey of making music that is true to what I feel, and this is all I am trying to focus on at the moment. Everyone dreams of a rock'n'roll lifestyle, but without extremely hard work and lucky circumstances, it’s not a feasible projection for any band’ future. I want to make my career as a producer about becoming better, more honest, more skilled and more adaptive to change. I want to speak music as a language first, and whatever comes out of it - would be interesting to see and analyze.

9. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

10. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?

Darkness and sadness is a healing aid, not your enemy.

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