written by Marko Jakob
Pix666: Hello Stian. Thanks for your time. How are you doing these days, are you alive and well?
Stian: Hey there, and thanks for having me! Alive and kicking for sure, hope you’re all doing fine as well.
Pix666: Thanks, I’m fine, too. Stian, please introduce your band/project Alesti to the readers in a few short sentences.
Stian: Yeah so this ALESTI is project is, I guess, fairly unique in the world of metal. It’s just a solo project by me, where I write, record and produce music, and feature different world class singers I really love listening to for each track. I have them perform the entire vocals of the track, and then I release it! It’s a true DIY, homemade-in-the-basement type of music project that you don’t see a whole lot of in the metal genre. The best part of a project like this is that there are no limitation to who sings the song. It could be the neighbour, or if you’re someone like me who aims big, it could be Telle Smith of The Word Alive (who did the vocals on the newest track ‘Disconnected’)
Pix666: How did you get the idea to start a project of this kind and not be part of a band? Have you been a guitarist in other bands before?
Stian: I started writing music at a young age, and always had a love for it. First at piano, and later on at guitar. I started a few bands myself in my teens, most notably ‘Silver End’, but unfortunately I never really started enjoying the live part of it for some reason, and decided it wasn’t really for me. I guess I’m an introvert by nature, and never really enjoyed the spotlight of a stage, or being at the center of attention. I just wanted to write music people could hear and like! I did give the whole band thing a good go though! But eventually I figured my part in the music world had to be something else.
Pix666: How do you manage to win and inspire these great singers for your extraordinary project?
Stian: I started out quite small, with just some incredible voices I found on Youtube doing cover songs. There is a lot of crazy talent out there waiting to be tapped! Eventually I decided the best thing for myself and this ALESTI project would be to feature as big of a name I could get (in addition to being an incredible vocalist ofcourse). So I did! Growing the numbers little by little, year by year, at the present day I’m starting to feel at home featuring some of the superstars in the genre. ALESTI is still a fairly new project, with a long way to go to reach its final form, so hopefully you’ll see more names you’ll recognize in the future as well!
Pix666: Now you have just released the new single ‘Disconnected’ – again a totally catchy song. Where do you get your inspiration and ideas for songwriting in general and what is ‘Disconnected’ about in particular?
Stian: Thank you so much! Honestly I’m not 100% sure where I find inspiration even to this day. It could be another song I discover from another band that just fuels me, it could be a word that resonates well with me, or even a drumbeat! ‘Disconnected’ is about losing yourself, losing your place in the world, losing sight of what’s imporant to you and losing the connection to those around you. My lyrics are mostly quite ambiguous, but this one is probably about the times we’ve been through (and currently find ourself in) with the corona pandemic.
Disconnected was one of those songs I started humming in my head before even touching my guitar. I recorded my humming on my phone (which I’m sure would be an interesting listen now) and just went for it. The whole instrumental came about in just a couple of days, and I really felt there was something about it and decided this would be an upcoming ALESTI track! I’ve wanted to feature Telle for a while, and I just felt his voice and stature in the genre would be a great fit for this track in particular. So I wrote the vocals with his voice in mind, and approached him about doing it.
What I didn’t know at the time, was that he, back in April on his “music monday” twitch stream, was introduced to ALESTI by one of his viewers, so he was already familiar with the project. He is actually personal friends with some of the guys I’ve featured before (Rory Rodriguez of Dayseeker and James DeBerg of Thousand Below). When I approached him about doing the track, already knowing me, he agreed to join in, and we even decided to drop the track on both of our platforms!
Pix666: Do you always finish the songs completely on your own or do the respective singers have a say in the creation of the songs?
Stian: Most of the time I finish the song completely yes, and I present a singer with a full produced instrumental track including vocal melody and lyrics. But I’ve always embraced the vocalists I feature coming up with their own twists to the melodies and/or changing parts of the lyrics if they decide it’s better for the track! Most of them are also songwriters themselves, so bringing some of their musical flair into the track is always great.
Pix666: Your music is spreading very, very well – you have over 5 million Spotify streams. Do you like to look at statics like that and know where your fans and listeners live?
Stian: Yeah, 2021 was a great year for the project with more than 5 million streams on Spotify, and it was a double up from 2020, which is incredible to see! So far the project has produced more than 20 millon streams across platforms, which is just mind blowing to me. Looking at statistics is something really addictive too, and I know most of my listeners are from USA & Germany 😉
Pix666: By the way, is it at all feasible to realise live performances with a project like this, and if so, are there already plans?
Stian: As the project has grown, and seeing I’ve reached so many people who seem to be interested in listening to my music, it’s definitely something I’ve been given a bit of thought! While I don’t think that I will personally be invested into playing the music live, I’d be interested in looking into other ways of getting my music played on stages around the world. Nothing to announce yet, but it’s something I’m seriously considering looking into for the future, if there is enough interest of course.
Pix666: You released a fantastic cover of Linkin Park‘s ‘ Somewhere I Belong’ at the beginning of the year. Why did you choose this song and are there any other cover songs that you have released or possibly plan to release?
Stian: ‚Somewhere I Belong‘ was one of the first tracks I disocvered from Linkin Park, and one of the first tracks that truly peaked my interest for guitar driven music in the first place! It’s a track that has always held a special place for me in my musical journey, and with LP’s 20 year anniversary for their ‚Meteora‘ album last year, I decided to make my tribute to them! I had already worked with Robin (who sings the track) on my debut track ‘Burn’, and was familiar with his immense qualities as a vocalist. He was the only person I would trust with doing Chester’s vocals justice, so I’m glad he agreed to join in, or I would not have done it. I have done one more cover in Julie Bergan’s ‘STFU’, which was more of a fun cover of a fellow Norwegian pop artist. It’s a really cool song though, in my opnion.
Pix666: What dreams, wishes and plans do you have for ALESTI in the future?
Stian: Ooh that’s a big one! I guess for me there is a two part goal. My initial wish is to work with some of the best singers and biggest names in the genre. People I’ve been a fan of for years, and singers I love who are absolutely killing it. At the end of this journey I hope to be able to be able to make a living off of being a musician. Once I (hopefully) achieve that goal, I’d love to work with smaller artists, who have immense talent, but aren’t really reaching the audience they deserve. I’d basically want to feature incredible singers/bands and help promoting them and hopefully give them the boost and momentum to go on to do great things.
Pix666: By the way, Christmas is coming soon. Do you like Christmas and how do you celebrate it?
Stian: Christmas is a great time for spending time with family and loved ones. In a really busy world where we so often don’t find the time to spend time with our closest ones, it’s a perfect time to set everything else aside and enjoy some time with them. It’s a time filled with tradition, christmas music and excellent food. I love Christmas!
Pix666: As a musician, you surely spend most of your time creating music – but what else do you do in your free time when you want to distract yourself – are there any interesting hobbies you pursue? 😊
Stian: I would have loved spending every single moment working with and creating music. Unfortunately I still need to work to pay my bills, so for 8 hours a day i work as an engineer in construction! So until I can live off of music, I guess my most interesting hobby would be music haha! I also love football, and watch the premier league passionately!
Pix666: Do you have any other news about ALESTI or some interesting personal things about you that you would like to share with the fans?
Stian: For the time being – check out my new track ‘Disconnected’ featuring the incredible Tyler Smith of The Word Alive to hear what this project is all about! If you like a modern style of rock or metal, this might a track you’ll enjoy. And be sure to stick around to see who does the vocals next time around 🙂
Pix666: Thank you very much for the interesting answers – Good luck for the future and stay healthy!
photo and cover art © ALESTI