The Crowneater Limited Edition CD
The Crowneater out now! CD purchase includes a digital download for the album.
If you are in Montreal and/or wish to arrange a pickup of an order instead of it being shipped, send me a message and I can refund your shipping amount.
For more information on the making of The Crowneater, scroll down to the bottom of the page.
The Crowneater Digital Purchase
Alder & Ash
The Crowneater: Love and Violence
I'd like to speak honestly and candidly about the ideas that helped inspire The Crowneater, my third album. Writing this album was like therapy. What I mean by that isn't some saccharine, Instagram-friendly idea of what therapy is, but what real therapy is. Real therapy is an honest and stark look at who we are - a deliberate and painful effort to discover what we feel, why we do things, and how we can grow from our experiences. This isn't an easy process, and it's not a fun one. But it's necessary.
During the process of writing this album, I was in a 6-month long depression. I don't equate depression with artistry, nor do I wish to glorify where it fits in the artistic process. In fact, depression is a disease of motivation, so it is an inertia that prevents me from working on projects that are meaningful to me, including music. This was true of The Crowneater as well. In my worst moments I felt nothing and did nothing. In my best moments it was a tooth and nail fight to write notes on paper.
My usual habits and methods of coping with depression were not working. So instead of looking inward for solution, I decided to look outward at the world the birthed me. There were a few core anxieties that related to my place in the world, and after many years I still have not made peace with those facts. I took a look at my own emotional trauma and the ways I've been affected by it.
I've spent a lot of time thinking about what it means to be a man. I think there is a great sickness among men, and it's something I've felt deep inside me since I was young. I feel a lot of self-hatred at being a man, partly because I'm able to see the ways in which men are privileged, and yet I've felt so alienated from that same society. It's a difficult and conflicting feeling, trying to navigate leaving space for other people to talk about their experiences, and still feeling indescribable pain inside of me.
It's definitely true that men are rewarded with a disproportionate amount of material wealth and power, but there is a tradeoff that is rarely discussed, and that comes at the expense of our emotional development. Society does not teach men how to be whole people. We are not given the skills to process or communicate our emotions, we are actively discouraged or punished for being sensitive and empathetic people. Most men, including myself, are so desperate for love and validation, and this becomes one of the driving forces behind our lives. We are taught that the only way we deserve to be loved as human beings is through our productivity. If we are not productive, we do not deserve love. This is something I've struggled with my whole life - this self-hatred for being a man, this dissonance between being so privileged and yet so disabled.
I have always struggled with finding support in my life. Men who embrace sensitivity, femininity and empathy are not celebrated or encouraged. This can make men who do not succeed by capitalist definitions extremely lost, frustrated, and angry. I was and still am lost, frustrated, and angry. I'm thankful to have found people who have given me space to grow and explore who I want to be, but I also recognize this is an extremely privileged position to be in.
Most men don't have that opportunities. Most men grow up to be unaware of their emotions, we are groomed and enabled by society to disconnect from their emotional selves, we are discouraged from building intimate friendships with men, we are taught to be aggressive men. We do not celebrate our diversity as men, we do not celebrate our bodies in ways that feminism has taught women to celebrate theirs. Our softness and compassion are degraded or destroyed. One thing I understand now is that men are not angry or evil at our core. We are scared. But since we lack the skills to communicate this fear, it translates into the only emotion we are given permission to share - anger.
Knowing the systemic causes of male anger doesn't excuse it. But there is a way to hold men accountable for their actions while also being empathetic to their struggle under the patriarchy. Men are often dismissed as being too ignorant or too privileged to see past their own lives, but I think it misses the nuance of the conversation. Our society itself alienates everyone. We are alienated from eachother, from our labour, from our emotions, and from our human integrity. This is true of everyone who lives under capitalism. We are not all affected in the same ways or to the same degrees, but we are all affected.
There is no systemic change through individualism, but I've found new ways to collectivize with the people around me. One of the most basic ways to do this is to connect with others over our experience under capitalism. Women have a much different experience to men, but with similar themes. Whereas with men, anger is the only acceptable emotion, with women it is very taboo to express anger. Minorities are further alienated from society in the ways they are represented, and the degrees to which their voices are heard. Most of us have serious complaints about our labour being exploited, about the rental economy, about the manipulative qualities of digital media. Connecting over this experience, and helping eachother understand that our lives consist of more than just our individual choices, can be so valuable and rewarding in working to understand our experience under capitalism.
My struggles are far from over, and I will continue to write music about emotions that are rarely represented in popular art. The difference now is that these difficult emotions have names. And that may be the only power I have over them for now, but it's a very good start.
A final note on the The Crowneater. Anti-classical industrial chamber-doom is not an easy thing to market. If you're here and still reading, then you are the reason I write my music. It is very difficult to get paid from music, and if you believe that artists deserve to get paid from their music, then it would mean a lot if you support the album by buying it. If you aren't able to do so but want to support, spreading the word to your friends is also wonderful. Thank you.
- Adrian // Alder & Ash
I'd like to acknowledge the sources I proudly stole these ideas from. Most notably, The Will to Change by bell hooks, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Under the Skin by Michel Faber, The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells, Amazon and Voting With Your Dollar from Peter Coffin, Incels by Contrapoints. Thank you to my beautiful friends who continue to inspire and support my growth as an artist and human being. Juliette, Rose, Emad, Aljumaine, Joanna, Jonathan, Mike, Friederike.