music morsels The Band Mates Network October 2007


Llexi Leon

ARTIST NAME: Llexi Leon of Eternal Descent
MUSICAL GENRE: Metal/Goth/Cinematic
BIRTHPLACE: Darby, United Kingdom
CDS SOLD: 1000
FAN BASE: 20,000

MM: Were you a musician/songwriter first, or did the anime idea get you into music?

LL: I have been a fan of sequential artwork / comic books ever since I was a little kid. As I became more interested in composing and arranging, I wanted to find new sources of inspiration and incorporate new ideas into my music, trying to convey imagery and storytelling through composition and production seemed the next step for me. Later, as I started writing more and more lyrics based around the story concept, the scripts developed from there.

MM:What is your music background?

LL: I left school at 16 to work on my music. I started working in sheet music stores and guitar stores, then started teaching guitar and doing recording work here and there. A few years ago. I resumed my education and studied Contemporary Music. I was really lucky to have studied with dozens of fantastic tutors in a variety of different styles. My various mentors over the years have inspired me to stay clear of any defined style, and try to take what I will from all the sounds and ideas I enjoy. The past 3 years, I've slowly phased out everything else and now I'm working on Eternal Descent full time.

MM: What inspired you to go into anime, and was that inspiration directly responsible for the story line of "Losing Faith"?

LL: As I grew up, I always loved the bold characters and sensational storylines I found in the anime genre. They really have no limits when it comes to plotlines and character development, and I think that inspired me in the sense that it gave me a sense of confidence in the freedom to create characters freely, and just go with my ideas, however wild and ridiculous they seemed at first! The anime side of things just seemed the best way to portray the characters at first. Right now, I'm starting to see the visuals as more of a blend of subtle anime influences with highly realistic American comic art, as I wouldn't want the characters to become lost in the ether of all the big name anime out there. This way, I hope the hybrid art will forge a more unique style for the visuals. I feel that listening to music is a great experience. People these days don't take much time out to just listen to an album and enjoy it, so I figure that by telling a story through music, and giving that story some vivid characters and tangible visuals, that can inspire the listener to really see the whole thing unfold as they listen. Sure, the comic book isn't the same as watching a feature film, but it leaves alot to the imagination that way!

MM: Why did you decide to release the soundtrack music for the project first?

LL: The first album is very varied, and covers plenty of ground, everything from eerie ambient sequences, to full on metal anthems. It gives the audience an idea of what Eternal Descent is all about, whilst introducing the characters and setting the scene. I needed that 'introduction' to get in touch with artists and really communicate what I was trying to achieve. I wouldn't want to be working with artists who aren't into the music, and it's important when I'm scripting the comics, that it ties in with the lyrics, and then the artists can hear the music and read the script, gives them a real feel for what's going on! So I guess the music came first because I could hear the whole thing unfolding in my mind, and I had the tools and skills to get to work and create that side of the project myself. Having got it out of the way, I was able to show it around and get the rest of the team involved!

MM: What are some of the ideas that you have to market the CD release?

LL: Really, I focus mostly on internet marketing at the moment. Myspace and the forums have given us some good feedback and a great response. Once the comic book is ready for publishing in the new year, that will open new avenues, and I'm also working on some animated music videos for TV.

MM: How did you meet the anime artists that you brought in for the project, and what do you feel they brought to the table for you?

LL: Well essentially I just got in touch with a few great artists who's work I really respect and admire, and hoped for the best that someone would get into the whole vibe and want to work on it! In the end, it was Alp who really liked the concept, and was willing to get to work right away. His involvement has been a great help, and really streamlined the process of finding artists to ink & color the pages. It's a pleasure to work with such talented artists, especially on an independent project, where we can take the artwork and content in any direction we like.

MM: Do you feel that even though you work in different mediums, yours and the anime artists' ideals meshed together right away?

LL: It depends on the artists really, but Alp Altiner, who is working on the Pencils for the comics, once we got stuck in, we pretty much clicked on the visual style right away, and it really was very easy to communicate the concepts. We were just on the same wavelength really, so I think all his work is really going to compliment the audio side of things, as well as being a fantastic stand alone comic.

MM: Once the anime/comic book is ready, are there additional avenues you will add to your marketing plan?

LL: There will be animated videos, and eventually, perhaps videos featuring live performance alongside animated visuals. I'm focusing primarily on webcontent at the moment, and hope to improve our forums and add more interactive content to I'm also looking into creating some very cool collectibles of the characters. I don't really consider it a marketing plan, more just bringing all the concepts I have to life, and then getting people interested in that content.

MM: Are there any plans for multi-media live shows or is this more of a recording project?

LL: We definitely want to put on some great shows using a combination of audio and visual media, but we need to create lots of content first! It's certainly in the pipeline, but since the tracks are heavily orchestrated, and the visual content needs to meet my demanding standards, it's going to take a while to get that up and running!

MM: What has been the reaction so far to the music and the art that has been released?

LL: I think its been pretty great. Thanks to the internet, I've had 1000s of people tell me they love the stuff. It's pretty cool that so many people seem to enjoy it for so many different reasons. I think part of the big appeal of Eternal Descent is how it covers so much ground stylistically, but it's not too abstract or progressive. Whatever you're into, you'll hear parts which reference genres or sounds you know and enjoy, but hopefully be exposed to a load of new sounds and ideas, too! 

MM: Even though you are in England, would you consider the U.S. to be the most important market for your project, and how do you plan to crack that market?

LL: I think the UK market is a bit too small for an indie act like this to really thrive, especially since the UK music scene is highly commercial, there is little room for concept albums! We have UK fans for sure, but no more than we have US, Japanese, Italian, Polish, and so on. Sure, the US market is huge, and we distribute from the US for that reason, but I'm not trying to 'crack' the US market specifically. Really, I see the biggest market as being on the internet these days. People from all over the world have bought copies of 'Losing Faith' , and we've never even played a live show, or advertised in any printed media. There are huge communities online discussing music, guitars, movies, comics, and anime. Its this global network of like-minded individuals that have helped get things moving. Eventually, I hope our own forums will have a thriving community, and that will become a hub for all sorts of entertainment, from animated shorts and web comics, to streaming audio and interactive content.

MM: Do you feel that Eternal Descent will be a success? What level of success would you like to see with the project and what do you feel it will take to get there?

LL: I'm certainly not looking to achieve chart-topping success with this project, but I'm pretty sure from the response so far, that given time, Eternal Descent will gain a sort of 'cult status' and have an active global fanbase. I have much more content in the works, which will really boost interest next year from our existing fans, and give new fans more to get stuck into when they discover us. It'll probably take a good few years to really reach its full potential, there's still plenty that needs to be done. I'm fine with that though! Great that the initial uptake has been very positive, and it's inspired me to keep on pushing as an independent, and control the direction and content of the project without compromise. It might be a slow road, but it's very satisfying!

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