Interview with Alexandra Zerner

Tell us about your latest release: the main concept; what fans should expect; what were/are your goals with it:

“Opus 1880” is a double CD, progressive rock concept album based on a novel, written together with the album and it’s part of the whole album package.
It consists of 22 tracks, both instrumentals and songs, divided into two parts, 11 tracks each. There are several singers and guest musicians in the album to help the story unfold in an interesting and colourful way, complementing the wide range of instruments and musical approaches in the album.
The goal is to create an innovative product, by intertwining the music and the book in such way that they both combined to create a complete art/progressive rock sci-fi steampunk journey for the fans of such kinds of arts.

Did you have a specific sound in mind when you formed the band, or did that grow and evolve as you played together?

Being a solo artist makes it easier to achieve a specific sound so I had no problems in defining it. I have visions and concepts of how my music should sound like and I record, mix and master my works accordingly.

How does your writing process normally work out?

Since my first album “9 Stories” (2014) I knew that I wouldn’t make albums that aren’t conceptual ones, so it always starts with a story or a general concept. Thereafter, the writing process follows the basic structural wireframe. It’s like writing a symphony or opera in some aspects – one has to write numerous main themes to associate with given characters, objects, and situations; to have the tracklist written right from the start, and compose all the tracks simultaneously in order to achieve a smooth flow of the music tissue. I often joke that it’s like a giant musical sudoku.

What are your ambitions and how far do you want to push your band?

My ambitions are to continue doing my own music. to make it better and better, and to reach more and more people, interested in such genres. This, of course, goes hand in hand with me developing myself as a musician and composer, so I will push myself to achieve a better “me” every single day. I am racing only with myself.

What are your influences/musical references and the impact those same influences had in your sound?

I always believed that one, in order to become a good musician and composer, should listen to a very wide variety of music to enrich their palette, just like a person needs to read many different books in order to develop a pleasant and creative manner of expressing themselves verbally. Of course, I’ve got my personal favourites that influenced me the most. Guitarists like Jason Becker, Marty Friedman, Yngwie Malmsteen, Tony MacAlpine, John Petrucci, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Vinnie Moore, Jeff Loomis, and bands like Dream Theater, Yes, Rush, Marillion, and Fates Warning are the names that pop up the most, but besides that I listen to a lot of genres including renaissance and baroque music, jazz (especially manouche), different kinds of folk, pop, indie, ambient, wide spectrum of metal ranging from Iron Maiden to Meshuggah and beyond. As long as a musical product is well done and delivers a meaningful message, it’s appealing to me.

What’s next for you?

Doing a series of playthrough videos for “Opus 1880”, gathering a band for live performances, arranging gigs, and at certain point starting with the next album.

Photo: Sofia Zasheva