Sublevel 203 - 7, Nov. 2002
Sublevel 203 - Since many of our visitors may be unfamiliar with you and your work, would you like to give us a description of A Covenant of Thorns - musical stylings, influences, etc?
Scott-David Allen - A Covenant of Thorns is a solo project that began in 1993. The music lies somewhere between Synth-Pop and Darkwave. Musically, I draw my influences from every song I have ever heard and liked, but specifically, "Hallowed & Hollow" was inspired mainly by Gary Numan and Depeche Mode, as well as a number of New Wave and Synth-Pop artists. So far, the second album seems to draw on a wider range of influences, rather than a select few.
Sublevel 203 - A Covenant of Thorns is an unusual name that is hard to forget. What brought about the creation of the name, and what does it mean to you?
SDA - Often, I tend to write based on an emotion or feeling. Similarly, the name "A Covenant of Thorns" was a combination of words that evoked a certain imagery and emotion. The name is somewhat conflicted and represents everyday struggles between opposites.
Sublevel 203 - You state that you have over a decade of experience in music, especially around electronics. What age did you begin, and what inspired you to move into this direction?
SDA - It's hard to pinpoint a specific time that I began. Growing up, my father was a DJ, so I spent a fair amount of time in and around radio stations. When I was about seven, my mother purchased an old stand-up piano and I used to compose songs on that. I think it was not too long after that that I discovered synths. From that point on, there was no turning back. As years passed, I picked up guitar and bass and just about anything musical I could get my hands on.
Sublevel 203 - From what I understand, you have begun work on another album. What kind of sound do you think the audience can expect on this release, something similar to "Hallowed and Hollow", or do you think your sound has evolved somewhat?
SDA - I think there may be a little of both. It definitely retains some of the sound of "Hallowed & Hollow", but at the same time expands on that. I think at times it may be a little lighter lyrically and musically. Having said that, though, I seem to be drawn towards writing darker music, so it still leans that way a bit.
Sublevel 203 - You've reportedly been working on the second disc for nearly two years now. Do you have any idea when you might release it?
SDA - Unfortunately, it is probably closer to three years now. This has been an incredibly difficult album to finish. I remember saying that about "Hallowed & Hollow", but that was more along the lines of just having the confidence to release it. In the case of the second album, I have spent more time trying to get back to the point where I can record than doing any actual recording. I had two thefts of equipment in different states and have finally replaced it all. Add to that a move across country and you can start to see what has taken so long. I am back to recording now and am very excited about getting the album finished. Hopefully there won't be any more setbacks.
Sublevel 203 - Some have branded you as a Depeche Mode clone in the past, and not in a flattering light. However, some also see this as a potentially positive thing as many miss the new wave sounds that have not been revisited in quite some time. While it seems apparent that you have drawn on older new wave influences, what do you feel sets you apart as unique from these bands?
SDA - As with anything else, there will be people that like it and those who don't. I think it is only natural that someone's influences will show through at times and although it is not my goal to sound like anyone, if I have to be compared to someone, I take the comparison to Depeche Mode as a compliment. I just try to write what I feel and if people enjoy it, that is a great reward. People have actually been incredibly kind and supportive. As far as what sets me apart, I try not to concern myself too much with that. I think as I continue along, the music will change and grow and hopefully be able to stand on its own.
Sublevel 203 - Is there anything else you would like to add?
SDA - I would just like to thank you for the opportunity to talk with you and to thank everyone for their continued support and kindness.
Sublevel 203 - I suppose this shall conclude our interview for now. Thank you for taking the time to visit the curious folk at Sublevel 203.
Original Sin - 14, July 2001
Since years I'm a huge fan of synthpopmusic and even if it's so that most of the times this music is performed by artists who just wanna be depeche Mode, it's also the type of music in where you can find all the emotions persons feel when they're happy or sad. Hearing "Hallowed & Hollow" was one of the most beautiful experiences I had in ages cos this masterpiece is a sort of reflection of the melancholy a person is going through, a reflection that's been created by 80's-Inspired music (that goes from Gary Numan to Depeche Mode...and in this case it's meant as flattering thing) and at at the end of the album you're just left with one feeling : "God, that was great and beautiful... that record really cleaned my disturbed soul... ;". Time to have a chat with the creator behind A Covenant Of Thorns...
Original Sin - HELLO PLEASE TEL US WHO A COVENANT OF THORNS ARE...
Scott-David Allen - A Covenant Of Thorns is just me (Scott-David Allen).
OS - I REALLY AM A BIT IN LOVE WITH THE BAND'S NAME... WHERE DID IT COME FROM?
SDA - I just liked the imagery of the name. It symbolizes the double-edged nature of any relationship, whether it is based on love, religion, friendship, etc.
OS - YOUR MUSIC IS CERTAINLY SYNTHPOP-ORIENTATED... ARE YOU KIND OF FLATTERED OR BORED WHEN PEOPLE CALL YOU A SYNTHPOP ARTIST?
SDA - I am very happy being called synth-pop. I like a wide variety of music, but some of my favorite artists are considered to be synth-pop.
OS - IS IT SO THAT THIS SYNTHMUSIC HAS BEEN AN INSPIRATION SINCE THE BEGINNING OF YOUR CAREER OR HAS IT MORE KIND OF CHANGED THROUGHOUT THE YEARS?
SDA - From an early age I have been influenced by all kinds of music, but synthesizers have always played an important role in what I do.
OS - IN MY REVIEW I COMPARED YOU WITH DEPECHE MODE, CLAN OF XYMOX, GARY NUMAN AND A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS. AGREE OR DISAGREE?
SDA - I think I have a long way to go, before I could be included into this group of artists, but they have certainly all influenced me in some way. I am honored to be mentioned with these artists.
OS - SO A COVENANT OF THORNS IS FORMED BY YOURSELF ALONE... DOES THAT MEAN YOU'RE DOING EVERYTHING ON YOUR OWN?
SDA - As far as creating and recording the music, yes I am solely responsible, but that is just a part of it. I have been fortunate enough to meet many people that have helped me. Steve Carlson mastered the album. He has an incredible ear for audio and was able to transform my recordings into exactly what I was looking for. As well as Steve I have also had a great deal of help from people who have heard the album and told others about it. I am very appreciative of everyone's help.
OS - HOW DO I HAVE TO IMAGINE A DAY OF SCOTT-DAVID ALLEN? COMING HOME AND RUNNING TO THE ROOM AND CREATING MUSIC?
SDA - I don't really have a set routine for writing or recording. I have a recording studio at home, so I can write at my leisure. I usually stumble across something while I am creating new sounds or have an idea and run in to record before it slips away.
OS - WHAT'S YOUR REACTION TO THE RESPONSE YOU GOT SO FAR FROM YOUR MUSIC? SATISFYING OR COULD IT BE MUCH BETTER?
SDA - I am very surprised by the response I have gotten. When I recoreded Hallowed & Hollow I thought maybe my mother and father would buy an album but that would be it. I am very thankful for the way it has been received by everyone.
OS - AS SAID I'M A BIG FANATIC FROM SYNTHPOP MUSIC BUT I REALLY THINK THAT TOO MUCH BANDS ARE GETTING TRAPED BY BEING TOO MUCH OF A DEPECHE MODE-COPY... ARE THAT YOUR FEELINGS AS WELL?
SDA - I think that Depeche Mode is really one of the best synth bands of all time. It makes sense that upcoming synth bands will be compared with them because they are pioneers in the area and very highly respected. I think having influences is important in shaping your own sound and Depeche Mode has influenced countless artists including myself.
OS - EVEN WHEN YOUR MUSIC ISN'T THAT DEPRESSIVE, I THINK IT HAS A RATHER DARK ROMANTIC SIDE TO IT... CAN YOU SEE SENSE IN THAT?
SDA - I can definitely see that my music has a dark side to it. I just tend to write what I feel and "Hallowed & Hollow" was the result of a very dark time in my life. I think the second album already has a much lighter feel to it because I am a lot happier than I was but the final product depends ultimately on what I am feeling at the time.
OS - SO FAR YOU'RE A TOTALLY INDEPENDENT ARTIST... JUST SUPPOSE YOU COULD GET A DEAL WITH A MAJOR LABEL, WOULD YOU TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY?
SDA - I can't really say. I'm sure it would greatly depend on the offer. I can say, though, that I am very happy having the freedom that I do. I am somewhat of a control freak when it comes to my music so I like not having to answer to anyone. When the final cut comes out I know it is what I want and not someone else's vision.
OS - EVEN IF I'M NOT A MUSICIAN MYSELF I ALWAYS FOUND THAT WITH A SYNTH YOU REALLY CAN CREATE ALL THE EMOTIONS AND ATMOSPHERES THERE ARE... SAME OPINION AS I HAVE?
SDA - I play a number of instruments, but the synthesizer is definitely my favourite. I think I spend just as much time creating sounds as I do actually writing. I think that sound is a great way to convey emotion and the synthesizer is a great tool for creating the right emotion.
OS - YOU'RE ONE OF THE MANY ARTISTS WHO EMBRACED THE INTERNET. DO YOU THINK THE INTERNET HAS BEEN A GREAT HELPING TOOL TO SPREAD YOUR MUSIC OR IS IT JUST AN EXAGERRATED AREA?
SDA - In my own opinion, the internet is one of the best things to ever happen to music. It gives people who otherwise would never have the chance the option to put their music out there for the entire world to hear. If it weren't for the internet I would probably still be sitting in my studio recording music that few would ever hear.
OS - WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE RECORD OF ALL TIME AND PLEASE STATE WHY...
SDA - I don't think I can answer this one. My favorite record of all time changes a lot based on my mood. At the moment I find myself listening to "Coming Up" by Suede quite a bit. I think he has a really interesting voice and the feel of the album suits my mood very nicely right now.
OS - WITH WHO WOULDN'T YOU MIND TO BE ALONE WITH IN AN ELEVATOR FOR 8 HOURS AND WHAT WOULD YOU DO THEN?
SDA - This is another difficult one. On the music side of things, I wouldn't mind talking with Martin Gore about song writing. I think he is an amazing songwriter and could probably tell me a thing or two that would make my songwriting better.
OS - WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM A COVENANT OF THORNS IN THE FUTURE?
SDA - I have been working on the second album. Right now that is my main focus.
OS - DO YOU WANT TO SAY SOMETHING SPECIAL TO OUR READERS?
SDA - Yes. I want to say thank you to everyone for all of their kind words and for supporting my work. Not a day goes by that I do not realize how fortunate I am to have the support that I do. If you would like more info on A Covenant Of Thorns, you can visit the official site.
Underworld Radio - 12, Oct. 2000
Ankou Technica - How long have you been playing?
Scott-David Allen - I have been doing music in one form or another for about seventeen years. I have been doing more synth based music for about twelve years.
AT - How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard it?
SDA - I think it is a mixture of several styles including Synth-Pop and Darkwave. It draws form such influences as Depeche Mode and Gary Numan, while at the same time creating an atmosphere of it's own.
AT - Is there a story behind the name "A Covenant of Thorns"?
SDA - Like a lot of my lyrics, the name is a collection of imagery and imotion. I tend to write based on how I feel at the time rather than trying to tell a story. "A covenant of Thorns" symbolizes the double-edged nature of relationships, weather they be intimate, religious or casual.
AT - What new projects (CD, touring, writing) are you currently involved with?
SDA - At the moment I am working on the second album. I have done basic demos for about two album's worth of music. Next I will be narrowing it down to the songs I want to put on the album, and then will begin recording in the not too distant future.
AT - Anything else you'd like to say to the people out there?
SDA - Thanks very much for giving me the opportunity to talk and thank you to everyone that has taken interest in the music.