Clinton Cunanan, singer/songwriter and frontman of the Charlottte, NC rock band, Another Lost Year, is pleased with his group’s upcoming album, Alien Architect, due June 10, 2016 via Mirage M’hal Records. In fact, Cunanan told PureGrainAudio that although he is satisfied with their older compositions, he feels this latest helping of music is a career-defining moment for the band. In this exclusive interview Clinton speaks about the upcoming album, talks a bit on the past, songwriting and more.
You have a new album, Alien Architect, due later this year via Mirage M’hal Records. Give the readers a little insight on the title of the new record.
Cunanan: Honestly man, the last year and a half, we have been branding this Another Lost Year nation, which the acronym is ALYN, which is pronounced Alien. I am into the Illuminati and stuff like that, and I went to school to be an architect as well, so there is a lot of cool ties. It comes from a lot of intriguing curiosity.
You guys recently released the latest single, “Wolves,” a good, rocking song. If the first single has any inkling on how the entire album is going to turn out, we should all be pleased!
Cunanan: Honestly, I could not be happier with how the album turned out. We did it the way we wanted to do it, we had a lot of freedom. I felt we did great on the other albums, and I am pleased how we have grown. But I feel this recording really represents what Another Lost Year is and represents. This album is truly career-defining for us.
You mentioned career-defining; Better Days was a tremendous album as well. And I would like to step back in time a bit on one of the album’s songs, “War on the Inside”. It seems as if everybody fights some kind of addiction, whether it be alcohol, drugs, etc. Were you inspired by overcoming an addiction yourself, or knowing a family member or friend who overcame some kind of addiction? Speak on the intentions behind that song.
Cunanan: Honestly man, this month will be six years since my Mother passed away. It was about a year after my Mom had died, I was in the shower and this thought came to my mind. Every day you are in some kind of battle, there are little decision you can make that can totally change the outcome of your day, your week, or the rest of your life. The director had a great direction for the video. I have had my inner demons before as well, I have went to rehab for a few things. It definitely told a story.
It seemed as if there was a spiritual side to that song.
Cunanan: No doubt, that is the thing about music. I am a big fan of the band, Cold. I remember seeing them several years ago and Scooter was talking about one of their songs, this guy came up and told him one of their songs was about him, Scooter told him the song was about a rapist. Everybody takes something different way from a song and I think that is the key to a song. You tell a story that is so vague, people get different things out of it. The one thing I like about Aaron Lewis, when the Break the Cycle album came out, I was like “holy crap have you been following me around my whole life?”, I felt like those songs were written about me. There are a lot of bands who tell great stories and I feel that is what makes a great song a great song. If you don’t feel something when you listen to “Kansas,” or don’t feel anything when you listen to Journey, you might need to check your pulse.
Music can be a form of rehabilitation. Well, unless you’re listening to country music.
Cunanan: I am a big fan of country music, I like today’s Country music, but more of the ’90s stuff. I love when I hear a good song and it grabs a hold of you and it takes me back to the best ten minutes of my life. Some of the greatest songwriters of our time are people that have carried their memories with them, that makes a good songwriter. Whether it be country or rock, telling a good story is what it is about. I am not in competition with anybody, I just want to write good music, I want one of my songs to be somebody’s go-to song.
Check out the song “Wolves”
Speaking of songwriting, when writing new material for an album, is it a team effort, or you alone? Walk us through the steps on how a song materializes.
Cunanan: On the latest album it was more collective writing than anything with me writing 100% of the lyrics. George and I worked a lot together on guitar riffs. We literally would build these songs together. We took a different approach to writing on this one, usually I would have an acoustic guitar, write them out then take them to the studio and work on it there. Here we kind of built them in the studio. Making this album was probably one of the best experiences of my life, this is one time in my life I got to bare my soul. I was not trying to write whiling trying to put the chords together along with the melodies together at the same time. I got to build it and let it turn into what it was going to turn into, then went in and started painting over what was a beautiful canvas.
Fans usually only see one side of the spectrum. They rarely see the hard work and dedication that comes with being in a band. Give them a little inside look on it all.
Cunanan: It is not easy, you lose a lot of stuff, yourself included if you are not careful. I have seen this lifestyle take a life, and the public has seen it. It can take its toll on you. You can go from playing a sold out show one night to front of five people the next. You go from a high to a low. You are sometimes working fifteen hour days working other people’s schedules not making any money. You have to chase your dream, you have to love it.