Interviews : Aria
With Joe Bentham
Lets start with some boring questions. How and when did Aria form?
we have been together under the name "aria" since april of 2001. however, this band was previously named "an orchids chance in december" which had started up in december of 2000 and consisted of 4/5 of the same members as aria now has. but due to the style changes that came with the new name, we consider AOCID to be a totally different band.
Your bio says that you and the three other members [Zach, Kevin, and Jake] played in An Orchid's Chance in December. What type of a band was that?
with that band we were trying to do the whole melodic hardcore/emocore deal...and it didn't work out too well - i blame it on living in NC. there's something about this state that if you're in a band from here then you're gonna be metal, and there's no getting around it.
While some bands have a difficult time trying to find a formidable replacement for a singer, you guys were fortunate enough to snatch Paul Genet [ex-Azazel]. How did he come into the picture as a vocalist?
man, we were so stoked on getting him. paul saw us as AOCID when we played this fest back in Feb. 2001 in summerville, sc. i guess he liked what he saw, and when he got word that we were looking for a new vocalist he contacted us shortly after that, asking to try out to fill the position. we said hell with the tryout's and just named him our new singer right away. however, he had made it clear to us that we were just going to be a side project for him, second to azazel. but azazel would later on break up about a month down the road, and he decided to have aria as his main focus now.
Was he the main reason for the name change?
it was the departure of our old vocalist from the band that led to the name change. he was the one who came up with the name "an orchids chance in december," and when he had left the band we decided to come up with a new name for us, out of respect for him.
When I think of the name Aria, I imagine something that is quite somber and dramatic, yet your music is heavy and intense. What made you choose such a name?
well, it was really the first thing that we had all agreed on. we had been searching for a new name for weeks, and had come up with nothing. when i came across "aria," everyone was all for it, and we liked it cause it was short and sweet (compared to AOCID), and one of it's definitions - an elaborate melody; fit pretty well too.
Have you heard of the Russian power metal band by the same name?
after your review we had, haha. i think it sucks though...after we had chosen this name and established ourselves pretty well under it, we had come across other bands named aria. there is some mexican metal band under that name as well, along with that porn star we often get confused with all the time, oh well what can you do...too late to change it now.
The band has released a three-song demo, The Anatomy of a Broken Man, in 2001. Did the demo get the band signed to Tribunal Records?
i'd say it definitely had a big part in it. but when you look at these factors - 1. we're from nc, 2. our old singer's band was signed to tribunal, 3. we're friends with matt and saw him on a regular basis at shows - it was destined to happen eventually.
How does Aria's older material compare to the newer stuff?
i cringe at the thought of our older material. with the excpetion of "my genesis, my judas," all those old songs were garbage. the newer stuff is heavier, more melodic, has better breakdowns; and overall, just flows a lot more and was written in a more mature manner.
For "As if Forever Really Exists", why did the band decide to release a seven-song MCD, rather than adding a few more songs for a full-length?
we thought it we be best to start out with a smaller official release before putting together a full length record. i think it would be better to establish ourselves more before putting the time into something like that. also, after recording this EP, i think i'd rather wait for a long wile before even starting to think about going in the studio to record a full length, haha.
What separates Aria from a lot of the bands is the interesting array of styles the band mixes into its songs. There is thrash metal riffing, breakdowns, occasional black metal riff or two, and an interesting exchange from death metal growls to hardcore screams, just to name a few. What were your original aspirations when the band formed? Have they changed since?
i don't even know what we wanted to sound like at first...i think we were going into this band with the intentions of writing material that had more melodic hardcore guitar style riffs, and then throwing blast beats behind it. i think a lot of the stuff we write is very influenced by the stuff we listen to - our drummer is probably the bigger metal head in the band, as you can definitely tell with his style in playing; jake and i (we play guitar), and our most favorite band in the world is shai hulud - thus our melodic influence; and zach (our bassist), he's all into that victor wooten stuff as you could probably tell. and then there's paul...he likes elvis...but elvis doesn't scream, so i'm pretty much striking out with that one, haha. but anyways, jake and i are now having a lot of fun experimenting with all kinds of guitar effects - there was a small hint of some on the record, but be sure to expect a lot more on our next release.
From listening to the record, it would appear that your songs are difficult to play live, or even to record, because there is so much going on at the same time. Is it difficult to pull the material off live?
not really; and we do like to go pretty crazy. but i think it's gotten to the point to where we've played these songs so many times that we could probably do it with our hands tied behind our backs, and blind folded, haha.
Speaking of playing live, what has been the craziest thing that happened to you on tour?
nothing really all that crazy happened on tour. the guys in the end of all are a pretty crazy bunch, as well as super-cool kids, and always kept us entertained, but yea...nothing really much to say on this question..
Any specific shows that stand in mind?
i think our best shows to date were: our show in atlanta (while on tour); our cd release show; and buddyfest, which was just recently in huntsville, al. it's just nice to see kids in these other areas really getting into our music and having fun. those two out of town shows (atlanta, huntville) were definitely our best and most fun to date.
Kevin's [drummer] speed on As if Forever Really Exists is pretty impressive, almost inhuman. Did he record the majority of his drumming from the first take or did it take some time to get all the parts right?
i wish we could've knocked them out on the first take, but there's almost no way that would happen; but it actually didn't take too long. it probably took about a full day's worth to knock out all his drum tracks. all that kid does though is play drums 24/7 at his work (guitar center), so he's usually always pretty tight.
Recently, more and more of the American bands are jumping on the Swedish death metal bandwagon. Why do you think draws so many US bands to "copy" that style of music?
hmmm...that's a good question. i guess it would be because there wasn't that many bands around here that played that sort of stuff - which was weird because a ton of kids are all about it. then after day of suffering and prayer for cleansing started experimenting with that type of sound, it became the new big thing here, and still is; at least as far as north carolina goes. i'd say that those two band probably had a big effect on the rest of the country as well.
"As if Forever Really Exists" has some really interesting lyrics, especially "This Night Has Opened My Eyes..." and "My Genesis, My Judas". Is there a predominant stand the bands takes on the lyrics, or is the majority of the concepts are more of hypothetical nature, rather than real life issues?
what our lyrics are written about has to do with issues and emotions that paul has delt with during the course of his life. to him they are very personal and mean a lot to him. "my genesis..." had to do with paul's family life as a kid growing up; and "this night..." reflects his views on the pro-life/pro-choice debates. although those two songs are based on real life issues, the lyrical content throughout the record are pretty well balanced between real-life and hypothetical nature.
What's the concept behind the misspelling of the last song on the disk, "Trageodie"?
the name "trageodie," was the name of a piece of art by the well-known artist gustav klint, that paul really feels a connection with.
Ok man, for the final part of the intie, I will ask you to pick one answer out of the two and add whatever comments you want to back up your decision. Here we go:
In Flames or At the Gates? definitely in flames, without a doubt. they are one of my favorite metal bands of all time. everything about them is incredible, i could go on about them forever...
Earth Crisis or Minor Threat? ummmm...no comment.
Tribunal Records or Roadrunner Records ($$$)? now what kind of question is that? i can't be dissing on tribunal now, matt is the man, and tribunal is really staring to establish itself as a big name in the scene...however, if we were given the chance to sign with roadrunner we'd do it in a heartbeat, haha.
Cradle of Filth or Dimmu Borgir? oh man, i can hear my bandmates giving me shit for this one, so let it be known that this is my opinion alone, cause i'm positive the others would disagree with me...but i'd have to say cradle of filth. although their newer albums are shit, "cruelty and the beast" will always be in my top 3 favorite records of all time, that album is simply amazing. the rest of my band thinks that album is very good as well...but i'm sure they'd take "Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia" over it anyday.
Angela Gossow (Arch Enemy) or Kim Goss (Sinergy)? i am only familiar with the girl from arch enemy, so that doesn't really help out too much.
Thanks man. This is it for me. Last comments are yours.
word, well i'd just like to thank you mike for taking your time to help new bands like us in getting more exposure within the scene, as well as all the cool people we met on the road and all the kids that have come to our shows, and bought merch and supported us in any way.