Stigmata is one of Sri Lanka’s leading rock bands. Celebrating 20 years of music this year, Stigmata is releasing an all-new album in a completely different way, releasing one single at a time, giving fans the chance to take in Stigmata’s new offering bit by bit and truly appreciate the nuance and intention behind each piece of music.
The Morning Brunch spoke to Suresh de Silva of Stigmata for an inside look at their new single as well as how Stigmata is coming together and adapting in the face of Covid-19.
Sacred Spaces: Solve et Coagula
Sacred Spaces: Solve et Coagula is the second single from the new Stigmata album. It’s Stigmata’s fifth album and is currently in production, with the band recording it and working with Grammy-nominated producer Romesh Dodangoda on the mixing and mastering of the tracks.
Sacred Spaces: Solve et Coagula was preceded by the single Alyssa. Alyssa was a very personal and emotional piece, an ode to pets that are no longer with us, and Stigmata’s take on the perception of loss and losing. Alyssa was released in April 2020 and was incredibly well-received. The music video for Alyssa (a compilation of pictures and videos of long lost pets from fans around the world) was also very well received.
Sacred Spaces: Solve et Coagula is a piece that has a lot of what people have loved about Stigmata from the beginning worked into it as well as some quirky arrangements and new elements that the band has amalgamated to create something fresh and unique while still truly representing what has made Stigmata great. The song has been previewed by trusted fans of Stigmata and has been well received.
The themes of Sacred Spaces: Solve et Coagula is a mix of what we consider sacred space mixed in with elements of alchemy. Solve et Coagula deals with the principles and basics of alchemy, while the song overall looks at how we all build spaces in our lives, whether physical, emotional, or psychological, that we value and hold sacred. Sometimes valuing these spaces can bring us together and sometimes drive us further apart. The song looks at this and deals with the concept of needing to make away with the old in order to create something new. Musically and thematically, it is expected to resonate with audiences differently.
Sacred Spaces: Solve et Coagula will be launched on 25 July on all major streaming platforms including Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music. The official video for Sacred Spaces: Solve et Coagula will be released in the month of August.The artwork for Sacred Spaces: Solve et Coagula was conceptualised by Stigmata guitarist Tennyson Napoleon.
De Silva of Stigmata said that one of the most exciting things about Sacred Spaces: Solve et Coagula is that it is a piece that is very interpretative and can mean different things for different people, even more so because everyone’s idea of a sacred space is so individual.
De Silva commented: “It’s all about creating something that can be interpreted. It’s always interesting, regardless of medium. There are so many layers, and depth and substance. You can revisit it at different times and it can still show you something new.”
Stigmata in lockdown
De Silva explained that Stigmata had done a lot of recording prior to the lockdown, explaining: “A lot for the major parts of the new album was already done. During the lockdown, it was a matter of fine-tuning and finalising certain parts. Alyssa and Sacred Spaces: Solve et Coagula were more or less completed before lockdown. It was more sending it back and forth for mastering and mixing. We were fortunate that way.”
De Silva commented on the impact of the lockdown, sharing that live concerts were no longer an option, and Stigmata had to cancel some overseas tours because of the pandemic. De Silva explained that Stigmata together with some others have been putting their heads together to come up with a workaround, though they aren’t able to discuss potential ideas just yet.
In terms of Stigmata’s marketing, de Silva explained that the band used the lockdown as a way to drive more meaningful engagement with their fans.
The pandemic has also made Stigmata realise their full potential with regard to streaming platforms with Alyssa being the first single Stigmata drove solely through streaming services.
Stigmata’s decision to release their album as singles is also a response of sorts to the pandemic and the need to develop new ways of working. While Stigmata will be releasing as one whole eventually, until this takes place, they will be releasing a new single once every few months to give audiences something to listen to and engage with.
Moving forward as an industry
As musicians, Stigmata thinks that this time, although scary, is very exciting. De Silva shared that like all industries, the entertainment industry will also need to reset, realign, and form new strategies. It is crucial, and how this happens will make or break many people within the industry.
Old models and how record labels do business has changed. There are lots more independent artistes like Stigmata who have embraced streaming platforms and are doing well; this new model is also one that can integrate with concept promoters and media as necessary. There is no more need for someone to represent you entirely as in the past.
De Silva also commented on how the lockdown has opened up new channels for collaboration, with so many people linking and working on songs together, and highlighted the importance of collaboration, especially for artistes.
De Silva concluded saying: “Indie artistes can thrive and flourish if they figure out how to get a strategic look in and figure out the best way to move forward. It’s a time to either evolve or revolutionise, or get left behind.”