London-based rock quintet Dorja have recently released their EP “Persephone”. The guys were kind enough to answer some questions about this new release. Check out the full interview below!
Band picture by @scottchalmersphotography
Hello Dorja, thanks for your time. Would it be possible to introduce your band to our readers, as well as your roles in it?
Hi! It is our pleasure! The band consists of Aiym Almas on vocals, Rosie Botterill on guitar, Alex Scheuerer on guitar, Oliver Lee on bass and Anna Mylee on drums. Aiym is based in LA and the rest of us are based in London.
With a worldwide pandemic going on, how have you handled the management of your band over the past few months?
It hasn’t been easy of course but I think DORJA has been particularly lucky with this whole situation. We somehow managed to tour in 2020 believe it or not! We finished our European tour early March 2020 and started writing songs for this release before the first lockdown was announced. As we were already used to working remotely between LA and London since the start of the band, we were already prepared to get those tracks done despite the distance. So, the hard bit is obviously not knowing when we will ever be able to perform and tour again, which was going to be the main income to make the band survive. We will need to adjust a few things for this year to come.
How would you globally describe the rock scene in London, UK?
I think that it has become maybe smaller than it used to be a few years ago. However, it is also one of the most supportive scenes I know. There is a very strong sense of community and it is so nice to see bands helping and supporting each other. And then of course, the sound of London-based rock bands remains unique, I think. Somehow this place will carry on inspiring musicians in such a unique way. This organised messiness, this raw attitude, and dark riffs…
You’ve just released your EP “Persephone”. How long have you worked on it?
We started writing songs at the end of our latest tour in February and March 2020. Then we continued the writing process remotely during lockdown and managed to record the tracks in September 2020. I guess we were all focusing on this release to help us cope with lockdowns.
Would you mind describing your usual writing process?
Usually, we would send a few riffs ideas to everyone before we meet and then lock us all in a rehearsal studio for a few days and somehow come out with a few tracks. We always write together, in one room, while jamming different ideas. It’s very organic. This time has been a bit different because of the distance, but we somehow still managed to finalise all of the songs in a studio during the summer when things reopened.
You have also revealed a music video for your single “Dust”, taken from this EP. How was the music video shooting experience?
Ha! It was actually very epic! We somehow managed to book a day for the seaside shoot on the only stormy weekend of that period! It was so windy in fact that we almost had to cancel. My eyes were running constantly, make-up on the stormy beach was an absolute mission and I am just glad that nobody flew away! However, we are super happy with the result. We wanted something bright and artsy as this is the brightest track of the EP, and we knew Scott Chalmers who has worked with us before would do an amazing job.
Can we talk about the process of creating the artwork of your EP and the overall idea behind this visual?
This is actually a painting from our very own guitarist, Rosie Botterill! We wanted something artsy and fresh looking for the artwork to have a good contrast with our latest artwork ‘Gemini’, and we are lucky to have a very talented bandmate. The visual is a portrait of ‘Persephone’ who is often represented with a flower or a pomegranate. Persephone was the queen of the Underworld after being abducted by Ades. She could only come out of the underworld once a year which would lead to the rebirth on earth: spring. The artwork is trying to represent both the dark and sad story of Persephone with this grey face and also the role she plays on earth which is bright and colourful.
To finish, what is one lesson you’ve learned that you think is important to pass onto other bands?
Keep creating! I truly think that this EP has been one of the rare things that has been keeping me sane and somehow positive throughout this very tough year. This EP started off as therapy and a way to keep a little bit of “normal” in our lives and quickly became an important achievement in such a sad year. It is important to keep focus on your goals and not give up!
Thanks for your time!