The term heavy metal evokes visions of head-banging and screaming, but “The Alaya Conscious” flips the script on what and who metal music relates to.
“We’re a ‘heavier’ sound with way more main stream hooks than you’d see out of a metal band,” says the lead singer and guitar player Evan Dunn. “We have choruses and verses in our songs. One of the biggest things that sets us apart, however, is that we don’t have any screaming. It’s all clean vocals. Gritty at times, but clean.”
The band consists of David Robison on the drums, Mike Rinkenberger playing bass, and singer and guitar player Evan Dunn. Their beginnings ironically started in rivalry and mishap – with Rinkenberger and Robison in one band and Dunn in another.
“The first practice we had scheduled was actually a ‘try out’ for me,” explains Dunn. “However it was scheduled for the day before the 4th of July, and I got hammered the night before and completely blew them off. I definitely started off on the wrong foot. They tried out a different guitar player, but when I was asked to come back, it was love at first jam,” and as of August 2007 they had officially become a band.
Rinkenberger named the band at a time when he was, as he describes, “a dumb ass and thought I was Buddhist.” All joking aside, the name “The Alaya Conscious” comes from the Buddhist term ‘The Alaya Consciousness’ which is described as “all thoughts past and present”, a nod to their vast influences apparent in their music.
During the day, Dunn works creating compositions for TV and producing music. He and Robinson are also music instructors, while Rinkenberger manages a music store. “We’re constantly around different styles where we teach and work,” says Dunn – a contribution to their ability to take elements of all types of musical styles and find inspiration for their own sound. “I’ve definitely grown over my years of being around music related work to find something in everything and appreciate it,” he says.
If you ask the band members what their most exciting moment together is, they all agree – it is what is to come. “We’ve had a ton of great moments together as a band but our greatest moment is right on the horizon,” says Rinkenberger, alluding to their upcoming album “Thrones” and their impending contracts with Basick Records.
“They are a great label from the UK with lots of international talented touring heavy bands on their roster,” explains Robison of their UK label Basick Records.
“Alaya”, as they will be called on their next album for the sake of simplicity, know that becoming a success and being worthy of a record deal means countless hours in the studio and in rehearsal – on top of their day jobs. “It’s a job now that we are expected to take it seriously and not let the label, our lawyer, and anyone else involved down. We put in at least 20-30 hours a week now. We just recently moved into a band house where we do everything. Our basement is completely sound proof so we can play any time,” says Dunn. And that’s exactly what they do, fitting in rehearsals and cutting the record in whatever spare moment they have. “We make it work, and we don’t sleep,” he adds.
“We are basically in the middle of a tornado right now. I can just reach up and grab anything, and it will be something that has to be done, and soon. It’s a caliber of exposure that needs to be taken seriously,” says Dunn.
Right on the verge of being Chicago’s next big metal band, “Alaya” is wrapping up their album “Thrones” – spending their time mixing the record, getting together their album artwork, and prepping to start touring. Dunn says, “Bands play together for years hoping to get a chance at ‘making it’. We’re realizing now that it has nothing to do with the ‘chance’, but with how hard you work after you get it.”