Glory be! We had the opportunity to catch up with Aerith vocalist Aaron Green for an in-depth and next level nerdy interview about the band and the individuals involved. For those who are unaware, the line-up consists of none other than Aborted drummer Ken Bedene, Aaron Green, and Frank Bedene. They prove to be a wickedly talented trio, weaving together some truly masterful Melodic Death Metal music with some Symphonic and Tech-Death moments to spice things up. They also bring an amazing guest solo with every single track. This includes the likes of Benjamin Ellis (Scar Symmetry, ex-Bloodshot Dawn), Mike “Lonestar” Carrigan (Darkest Hour), John Abernathy (Wastewalker, ex-Conducting From The Grave), and more! All these factors lead to a beautiful and cathartic listening experience… made of metal! … and Final Fantasy references!
We recently reviewed their debut, self-titled EP – you can give that a read by CLICKING HERE. We also had the opportunity to stream some of their tracks via YouTube which you can enjoy below for a taste. Digital orders are currently available to those who head over to Bandcamp. Hop to it if you’re interested in hearing some highly professional and intriguing Melodic Death Metal! You can also follow along with the band and their progress by giving them a “like” over on Facebook.
Now, without further adieu, here’s a 3,000+ word nerdy deep dive into the world of Aerith – arguably the future of Melodic Death Metal music!
Lets get the important question out of the way first… What are your Dungeons & Dragons stats?
Aaron: Well first off I would like to say thank you for your time and for The interview. I’m sorry Ken and Frank couldn’t be here. Ken is at the 70,00 tons of metal cruise melting faces with Aborted and Frank is busy today. So to answer your question right now Ken, Frank and myself are playing a 2nd edition campaign that has been going on for 2 years now. Along with Ken’s mom and a few close friends ours we grew up with. My character Silver Elf Ranger Named: Corraden Darr, Level 7 with a of Strength 16, Dexterity 15, Wisdom 14, Intelligence -14, Constitution – 11 and a Char15…….oh and Frank is our DM (Dungeon Master)
I think there’s a really cool connection between the entire line-up for Aerith. Can you tell the people how you all came to make music together?
Aaron: Well I met Ken in 2000 when my mom and I moved to Chico. Ken was one of the first people I had met at school, he was into the same things I was, being wrestling and video games. Then, one day, he told me his dad Frank was in a band (that he would a few years later become the drummer for) and I thought that was so cool. I asked him to bring me his dad’s band’s album because I wanted to hear it. He asked me if I liked metal, but I did not know what metal was. I told him I grew up listening to music like Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, AC/DC, Fleetwood Mac, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Creedence Clearwater, motown and stuff like that from my mom so I had no idea what metal was at 10 years old. The next day, Ken brought his dad’s album. They were called Fallon and he also brought Pantera’s Vulgar Display of Power and Iron Maiden’s Number of the Beast. That was my introduction to metal and from there I was in love with it. We became best buds. We ended up spending a lot of time at his house hanging out. I will never forget the first time I went over to Ken’s house when he introduced me to his mom Jen and dad Frank. They were both on computers next to one another playing the MMO EverQuest. I was like, “DUDE WHAT!?!? Your parents are gamers!?!?! Sick!” and his parents were awesome to hang with! We would all hang out watching movies, playing video games, playing D&D, go to concerts and they would throw awesome UFC and boxing Pay-per-view barbecues and became like a second family to me. We had a lot of good times back then and still do! Years past and Ken had been in his dads band Fallon like I said and in another band him and his dad started called Blood of Cain which also incorporated Ken’s cousin and Frank’s nephew Jake. They were amazing. Bunch family members and close friends making metal music and destroying it! Growing up in Chico as a metal kid, if you knew Blood of Cain was playing, you knew everyone would be there and you were for sure going. If anybody’s interested you can listen to Blood of Cain on Spotify. So, I grew up going to their shows, and being their roadie and spent a lot of time with them on the road and learning a lot about that side of music. My love for metal grew and I developed a passion for it while learning a lot about music and metal from Frank and Ken and Blood of Cain. I always wanted to do something musically with Ken and Frank but they had a lot of projects already and later Ken became the drummer for Abysmal Dawn, Abigail Williams, and now Aborted. So, he has always been busy and immersed with bands, touring, and so on. There just wasn’t anytime for us to make something happen musically together. In early 2016, we were hanging out while Ken and the Aborted guys were taking some time off and we talked about starting a recording project and the process of Aerith began. Later, when we were ready to track bass, I asked Frank if he wanted to do it and he said he would love to. We were recording the EP at their house and it made sense. I wanted him to be apart of it because he is a very good friend and would be a great opportunity for them to do something again together musically. His style of playing and tone was exactly what we wanted for the project so it became a friend and family project and it was awesome!
You just launched your new, self-titled EP recently. How do you feel about the response so far and what was your favorite part of making the record?
Aaron: The response has been amazing thus far! Everyone has been so supportive, reaching out and sending positive compliments our way about the music in the EP as a whole. And we couldn’t be happier with the reception. It has been very humbling. I think my favorite part of recording the album was when we were recording vocals. It would just be me and Ken And his two wiener dogs Zeus and Hades at his house in the studio room he made with his kit and all the recording equipment and just having a blast recording. Messing around, bouncing off ideas, having fun, making the vocals sound hilarious sometimes, playing video games or watching WWE after recording. Making vegan food, definitely my favorite part. The fact that we had the fortunate situation to not have studio time and feel rushed and have it just be us writing it and recording definitely helped give us a sense of freedom that we could take our time to make a musical effort the way we want. Also, writing lyrics was definitely another process. That was my favorite and always is in the writing process.
The EP features an incredible amount of incredible solos. Guitarists from bands like Scar Symmetry, Darkest Hour, Nightrage, and more all contributed. How did you pull together so many great cameos?
Aaron: Well, a few of the guests were friends of ours and people we knew. But others we reached out to and just explained the project and hoped that they would respond back and be interested and have the time. We are very grateful for the time and effort they put into their guest spots. They brought a whole new element, feel, and atmosphere to the tracks and the EP itself and we couldn’t be more thankful. We made some new friends in the process and for that we are grateful. Also, we want that to be a Reoccurring thing with the project in always having guests from other bands be involved as features because we had a blast having others be a part of it. So, you can hopefully expect more in future material.
If you could collaborate with any artists moving forward, who would you choose?
Aaron: That’s a really good question! There are so many great artists that Ken, Frank and myself draw inspiration and influence from within metal and outside of metal. It is so hard to pick one speaking for myself. For me, when it comes to metal, I would say Devin Townsend. He isn’t just an inspirational and amazing musician, but also an inspirational and amazing human. You can see the evolution of his writing style and as a musician from when he was in Strapping Young Lad to today with what he is doing in The Devin Townsend Project and the other projects he does. It is quite amazing. From the music to the lyrics, to the way he writes and the way he chooses his gear and recording methods carefully to capture his vision for each individual track and album is truly fascinating to me. And a big learning curve. I actually had the pleasure of meeting Devin and I have to say out of all the musical inspirations that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, that encounter was some of the most impactful 20 minutes I’ve ever had with another human being on all levels. Truly amazing. Outside of metal, I would have to say the great Tom Petty we all know recently and unfortunately passed away. Another great musician and human being I would have loved to have had the pleasure to work with. Such a down-to-earth person. He did a lot for music, not just musically but also for artists. He will be and is greatly missed.
Damn! A collaboration between you guys and Devin would be mind bending. The band’s name is Aerith. Can you tell the people what that means to you and how that name came to be your own?
Aaron: Sure! So, the idea for the name came up while we were in the middle of recording vocals. The ideas I had thrown out to Ken just didn’t seem to stick and feel right to us. We had maybe two different ones we were considering but in the end they also didn’t feel like they represented us and the music in a way that connected. So, one day I’m at home playing Final Fantasy 15 free roaming the map driving around in the Regalia, which is the vehicle in the game you travel around in. One particular song played on Regalia’s radio and that song was “Aerith’s Theme”. I immediately started thinking of that character in Final Fantasy 7, weight her character had in the story arc of Final Fantasy 7, and what she represented. She was full of hope in a dystopian world that was dying and broken. She was pure, full of love at heart, innocent, and full of life. She found the beauty in everything even when things were at their worst. Then I remembered when she was killed by Sephiroth and how much of an impact that had not just on the story and the characters in the story, but to me as the player. I’m sure I am not the only one it impacted in such a emotional way. Then it hit me “THAT’S IT!!! THAT IS THE NAME!!” I texted Ken and told him my idea and he said, “Dude, yeah, that would be sick.” It fit the music well. It represented us and a part of who we are, and something we love. Also, it represented the embodiment of that character, what she represented in the story of that game, and what she stood for which I felt fit very well with the lyrical themes of the majority of the tracks on the EP. It just fit perfectly in all ways.
Is there a narrative or a concept behind the Aerith EP? What was the process writing the lyric’s for the EP? And do you have a favorite track lyrically?
Aaron: Yes, there is! I may need to go into some detail to explain here so bare with me. So Beyond Terminus, Fractured Soul, A Cosmic Calling and The Uprising are connected in a concept story and were written all on the same night. I was at home alone and had the tracks on repeat for a hour thinking of ideas and then I remember what Ken told me about his idea and influence behind The Wanderer instrumental. Ken wrote with influence of he idea of music that was played in Final Fantasy 7 and other Final Fantasy games when you were free roaming and wandering on the map to different areas and different quests in the game. He also got influence from the PlayStation 1 when you would turn it on and that synth atmospheric build up when the Sony logo is coming and then it would settle down and the PlayStation Logo would show with that subtle melodic kind of eerie chime in the background. That also became influence to the synth in The Wanderer. Those were the things that influenced Ken writing the instrumental. So, with that in mind, I had a visual listening to the instrumental of a man wandering a dystopian wasteland of a dying, beautiful world and the man who is The Wanderer Is he Survivor. And when Beyond Terminus comes, it’s like boom! Something happens to The Wanderer, and it’s something epic! And Beyond Terminus is about The Wanderer being approached by a cosmic entity, inviting him to a place far beyond the limits of space and time, to fulfill some cosmic destiny and purpose, away from the social complexities of his world that is in turmoil, where every day is just another means to survive and try and get through in hopes it’s not the last. Fractured Soul was something I wrote about The Wanderer that was dark. Something about his pain. He’s been through something. He feels like giving up. He’s experienced some type of loss in life and in the world. He is a “Fractured Soul”. Also, I thought of The Wanderer as possibly a soldier or a warrior of some kind. A Cosmic Calling was the concept of The Wanderer after he stepped through the portal that you see on the cover art which is the visual concept of the lyrical theme of Beyond Terminus. And I began to wonder about this broken man, this possible Warrior who is wandering the waste lands of his world – What realization would he have come to after he had crossed the portal, and spoken with the entity? What would have changed in him? Would his soul no longer be fractured? Would he no longer feel some sense of Torment? Would things be better? And would he find out why he was chosen? And I answered some of those things I felt in A Cosmic Calling. The uprising was a concept of The Wanderer I had that I wanted to think of what he would have been fighting for, where he came from, what kind of Social complexities and Harsh circumstances did he live in in his world? And the Uprising was, I felt, a way for me to show that. It’s about The Wanderer who was part of a movement called The Uprising, fighting against the powers-that-be. I started thinking of like the concept of maybe corporations had taken over. Some kind of evil control has destroyed the world. Maybe It’s one person in particular. And The Wanderer was in the center of that movement, possibly the leader. And I thought of him speaking to people to rise up and fight and take back their world and their humanity that is subduing them. The Temptress doesn’t really have a connection. That was the first song I had written lyrically and once I had written the other with their concept I didn’t want to change it because it fit so well with the track – how the vocals were mapped out that it didn’t matter. It also made me realize that since it didn’t fit with the other 4 tracks lyrically, it didn’t matter because if you didn’t know they were written in a convective story, each track still holds its own and a individual message and concept. So Temptress stayed. I do plan to possibly continue the story in some way and end it. Just depends on what comes out! As for my favorite track lyrically, to be honest, I love them all and their meanings lyrically. Because, again, they are apart of a concept story with different meanings and can also taken and separated from the story as each their own individually= and I love them all for that.
What’s your favorite videogame soundtrack?
Oh man. There are a few. I can’t just name one. Definitely Final Fantasy 7 and 8 by Nobuo Uematsu, Mass Effect 1 and 2 by Jack Wall, Deus Ex Huamn Revolution and Deus Ex Mankind Divided, Metal Gear Solid 1 and 3, The Last of Us by Gustavo Santaolalla, Legends of Dragoon and Doom by Mike Gordon. Those are my top list favorites for game soundtracks.
On a similar note, what’s your favorite movie soundtrack?
Aaron: Oh jeez! Again sooo many good ones. I love being a movie buff, but as of late hands down it’s been Blade Runner 2049 composed by Hans Zimmer. Such a amazing movie with a brilliant syfy score. I can’t stop listening to it. Hans Zimmer is one of my favorite cinematic composers of all time. He has such a crazy talent for composing the music with a scene and the situation with the characters that brings out the emotion on a whole different level that sucks you in deep. Also, the way he can compose his music to moments of environmental cinematography when it’s just drawn out shots in the environment or adding it to the scene. He can just take it to a whole new level and what he did in Blade Runner 2049 is amazing. He brought a dark ambient synth to that cyberpunk world and that story and created a perfect syfy atmosphere. It was amazing and as good as the first Blade Runner soundtrack. He is a amazing composer and has done some of my favorite movies soundtracks.
If you could live in any sci-fi or fantasy universe, which would you choose?
Aaron: Hmmmmm for SyFy I Would say Star Wars, because who wouldn’t want to live among Jedis or be the one wielding a lightsaber and live among the force and that huge universe! For Fantasy, I would have to say Final Fantasy 7 or 8 because those words are so enriched with awesome areas, characters, creatures, and Magic that it would be amazing!
Do you have any plans for live performances?
Aaron: Unfortunately, no not at this time and, to be honest, we have no idea if we ever will. We would love to – don’t get me wrong. But Ken’s main priorities and obligations lay with Aborted first and foremost. I would never want Aerith to be something that would get in the way of those obligations and priorities. We knew going into this project and starting it that it was a possibility that this would just be a recording project. With Ken rigorous touring schedule throughout the year, it just seems unlikely to plan for shows. This project started and began as a means for two friends to make music together. That and we wanted to create a style of metal that was nostalgic to us and very influential and impactful on us growing up with some twists and creative approaches. Also, having guests from other awesome amazing talented bands being a part of it. Writing and recording is one thing, but playing shows and planning those out is another. We have talked about it and anything is possible! We have said that if the circumstances were right, and we can find two guitar players who would be willing to learn the songs and perform them live, and if it was the right timing we would. We just can’t say if that will happen anytime soon or if ever. Again, you never know. Anything is possible.
Where do you see Aerith going from here?
It’s very early to tell, but I can definitely say I do for sure see more material and another EP or possibly album in the project’s future. Also, more awesome guests, art work, and concepts.
Any last words for the people out there?
Thank you to everyone who pre-ordered and purchased the EP! It means the world to us. All your support has been amazing and Frank , Ken and myself are deeply thankful. And thank you to The Circle Pit for this interview and all their support of Aerith as well. Oh and remember, the journey Beyond Terminus is not over and will continue!