Springing off the release of their debut EP this year, Aerith have been hard at work crafting new music with which to really push the melodeath genre. This is, once again, being done both sonically and in terms of the community itself. The band has a history of bringing on as many collaborators as possible while functioning as a strong core unit of 3 composed of Aborted drummer Ken Bedene, vocalist Aaron Green, and bassist Frank Bedene. Altogether, it makes for an experience no metalhead will want to miss!
All of this being the case, we caught up with Aaron once again and also Frank for the first time. Through the following interview, we pick their minds to see what they’ve been cooking up. They’re also huge nerds so we dug into the inspirations that help make this band tick!
Now, without further adieu, here is the new interview:
We’re back again with the mighty talents of Aerith! Following the release of their debut EP this year, they’ve been hard at work further advancing their take on modern melodeath music. Can you tell us a bit about where you are in the process of cooking up a new release?
Aaron: First off, thank you for having us again! We appreciate the support! Unfortunately, Ken isn’t here again as he’s touring Europe with Aborted at the moment. But the low end of Aerith, the father of Ken, my very good friend, the man I consider father 2.0, and the longtime Dungeon master in our current D&D campaign Mister Frank Bedene is here with us this time around. So, with that said, we can go into some detail about your question. So, we are in the process of writing new material. We have about 5 tracks written out and plan to release one as a single. We have decided we are going to write a full-length this time around and take our time making something truly special for us and the listener to enjoy.
Frank: Yes. Aaron pretty much said it. Thank you so much for the support you have given us through your platform and for making this interview happen. We have demoed out a few tracks and sent some out to different producers to see what a different pair of ears can do with their takes on the music. We want to pick someone that will captivate the music with each individual track. Once we are done with that we are going to move forward and really hit the writing process full force.
You were nice enough to let us peep a test mix for new music. Once again a solid melodeath offering! It shows some evolution from the debut EP in terms of atmosphere and songwriting while keeping a foot on the same path. Are there any methods / ideas in particular you’re using to push the sound on the new recordings?
Aaron: Thank you man. Really glad you liked what you heard! When it comes to methods, Ken and myself come from a background of listening to and being huge fans of the Gothenburg Scene such as In Flames, At The Gates, Dark Tranquility, Nightrage and so forth. So, knowing the style in that sense and having been inspired by it and the sound of Melodic Death Metal as a whole, we know which direction we want to go. When we started Aerith, the main idea was to bring that epic and heavy old school Melodic Death Metal element. But, also, to bring it up to date with our own twists. We always wondered what if In Flames and At The Gates had blast beats? What if they had added synth to songs on the Jester Race, Colony, Whoracle, and Slaughter the Soul? So, in that vein, we strive to bring that old school melody and bring it to the present in our way while staying respectful to the style.
This time around, we are focusing more on the production. Before, we wanted it to have that “live” and raw sound while having that clean production to give a sense of what things would sound like live. We still want that but, this time, we really want to push the mix as far as we can so you can not only hear everything but visualize each track’s identity. We really want it to be a very big sound. We want to make the music come to life. We are also focusing a lot more on the synth and keyboards and their placement for certain sections on tracks in order to make the riffs and choruses come out and grab you. Ken is really pulling out all the stops in his free time on the new material. The man is a riff master in this style. He has such an ear for it. I help lend some direction if he gets stuck on something or isn’t sure on a section then he will take those ideas and make them his own. On this new material we are giving it 120% of everything we got. A few tracks have been demoed and we are already excited for people too hear it!
Your first EP was filled with great guest collaborators from across the melodeath spectrum. Are you planning to bring guests along for the party once again?
Aaron: Yes we are! We have quite a few guests already lined up and have already recorded their guest spots. We are still lining up a few more. It has been such an amazing experience working with these amazing musicians and making friends in the process. This time, we will also have a few vocal guests as well.
Frank: Yeah, we got some awesome guests involved already and I think people are going to be really surprised and blown away by everything they put into their guest spots. It’s something truly amazing to see who has come to really like the music and given time out of their schedule to be a part of the process and hear their take on parts of the tracks. It’s really gonna be exciting to hear what people to think.
Are there any upcoming guest artists you can tell the public about right now or would you rather keep those cards close to your chest?
Aaron: Hmmmm… We really want to tell you but, at this time, we should probably wait until the release of the single or a release date announcement for the album. I will say this – the guests that we have lined up, who’ve graciously lent us their time and talent, are going to BLOW people away. Some guest spots we have received have truly raised the bar this time around and have inspired us to push the music further. Once again, I will also say this time around we are going to have a few vocal guest spots. It’s going to be a party and I cannot wait for people to hear what they have done.
Frank: Yeah, we should keep that info close to the chest and locked up for now but you guys have some great guests to look forward too. I have been hearing some of the spots as they have been coming in. They are sounding great and fitting very well as compliments to the tracks they’re on. It’s going to be really cool to hear what people think!
In our last interview, you brought up wanting to collaborate with the one and only Devin Townsend. In your mind’s eye, how would you go about utilizing his talents on a track?
Aaron: Oh man… Everything!!! His producing, his vocals, guitar work, his music guru mindset. I mean everything the guy is as a musician would be amazing! But, if I had too choose one, I would say vocals for sure. Would love to talk over lyrics and themes with him and the concepts of the story. Devin has a great mind creatively and spiritually and a knowledge of music that would, with our music, turn into something even I don’t know if I could comprehend. That would be a beautifully heavy, melodic, story driven composition of metal music.
Frank: For me it would be the same thing – the talents to utilize from Devin. There are also a lot of other amazing producers and musicians I could name that would be cool to collaborate with like Chuck Schuldiner or Dimebag. My list could go on but it would’ve been so cool to hear their take on the music and what they would do with a guest spot.
The first record was also highly conceptual in terms of storytelling. Are you planning to take this angle once again?
Aaron: Yes! This being one of my main departments in Aerith, as the vocalist and lyricist, I can say this is going to remain and the new material will continue the story from the EP with more concepts based on the world we live in today. There will be themes and realizations I have from my own life and from others – being friends and family and people I have met. As I have been writing, I’ve been learning more about this world and the certainties of what it is, why it’s in the state it’s in, the origins of the state it’s in, and its effects on the inhabitants. The lyrics are coming out very strong and fitting well with the direction and atmosphere of the music. I strive to use things from my life to connect to the story of this fantasy / Sci-fi world I have envisioned and hope people, when they hear it, will create their own connections to the messages and words… Or at least hear the message in its core meaning. The music itself has been creating such inspiration for me in regards to events going on in the world right outside our window and tying them in to the story arc. From my life personally and things I have experienced recently, it’s just coming out with no filter this time around.
The hardest part has been, when I write for a specific track, I sometimes have two or more different lyrics for a section and will have to choose which one fits the best and is strong enough lyrically. This isn’t always the case but, at times, the inspiration just doesn’t shut off. If I hear something in my head while listening to the track, I have to write it down and will just build upon that. When I was a kid growing up, when Ken and Frank’s band Blood of Cain was active, I really enjoyed a lot of Frank’s lyrics and that was something I took to heart because it was someone I looked up to like family. Hearing and reading his words was inspiring so I hope to do the same for people I know, or people I don’t, or just haven’t met yet.
The story will continue the Journey of The Wanderer from the EP and will also give a greater visual of the world he’s in and where he’s at in certain moments that will lead him to an epic conclusion. I really hope people enjoy it. Like I said before, one of the things I love about lyrics is they can be interpreted by the listener / reader in any context when it comes to their life and wherever they are at mentally and spiritually. It can be taken completely differently from the writer’s point of view. My goal is to still bring something that can be taken as both a story and a personal message. That way someone can take it into their mind and apply it, or at least take something from it in a positive way, or have it be something they can connect with.
Frank: Yeah, Aaron said it. I have talked with him a bit about the concept and themes to get an idea of the route for the lyrics. I’ve seen where his mindset is with all that and he has definitely put a lot of thought into this story and he’s really trying to create something special. I think people are going to be intrigued by the ideas and the message as a whole in the story and lyrics. They are deeply layered and I think it’s truly something that’s going to be worth reading along with the music. They are words you can definitely connect to and sing along with when you feel them. There is something there for people to take into their own lives or just for the sake of the story as a whole.
If you could bring on any author to write a novel following the concept of your releases, who would you choose?
Aaron: Damn… That’s a good one! I could name many but all I can say, as an answer to that, is it would have to be someone as nerdy as us. They would have to understand the music first and foremost and the vision within the story the lyrics are telling. But man, that’s a really good question haha. In that aspect, I don’t think I could choose haha.
Frank: It be awesome to see what H.P. Lovecraft would’ve wrote. Even though he has a darker tone of writing, I’m sure we all could come up with something really interesting.
Anyone who’s experienced your music can probably tell you guys are huge nerds. What games and what movies do you think had the biggest impact on Aerith as a musical force?
Aaron: I can say without a doubt Final Fantasy 7 has the biggest impact video game wise. There are others but that one hits home for us. Others that are very story driven would be the Metal Gear Solid series, Deus Ex, recently Detroit: Become Human, Final Fantasy 8 and 15, all the Fallout games, Lost Odyssey, Legend of Dragoon, Mass Effect, Chrono Trigger. I could go on but those are a few more. Also Dungeons and Dragons since we dabble in that as well and have for many, many years together haha.
Movie wise, I would say Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049, John Wick, Rambo (for having themes of the mental torment, stress, and sacrifice on a soldier which will have a lot of connection to The Wanderer in the story arc and message), Gladiator, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy, The Matrix, Taxi Driver, Dredd, V For Vendetta, Logan, and Soldier. There are more but it’s movies like that which have huge impacts here.
If you could make a videogame for your band, what do you think it’d be like?
Aaron: It would be a HUGE open Dystopian / Fantasy / Sci-fi world, once beautiful now rattled in tragedy. It would have themes and visuals of games like all the ones I named before. It would be a VERY big game with hours and hours of game play, detailed character development, and character customization to have the player really feel they are in that world. The player would be the protagonist in a very beautiful story of hope, light vs dark, and politics.
Frank: It would be really cool to create a game out of the music. I feel it would be a very RPG based platform and be a very big, in-depth, detailed game that would have a lot of unique gameplay and character building. I would like to make the game RPG based where we reach certain points – be it age, accomplishing a goal, learning new abilities, making tools, no matter what it is – it’s like a level up – like it is in real life! So, it would be nice to create a game where you don’t level up only in battle but you level up through the choices you make and the outcomes of them, whether they be bad or good. Having been a gamer for a long time, it has always been cool to connect games I like to our everyday lives. In D&D, you play a character you would like to be and either play it by your own standards on life or you can play in a way that isn’t yourself. You’re free to be whoever and do anything you want – how you want. Such is life. It’d be amazing to create a game that embodies that concept. There have definitely been some games that have that in a way, but not with such freedom to mirror actual life. It’d be fun to see something more detailed and open to freedom. In a sense, it would be nice to really focus on “choice” without a limited amount of ways you can take a situation.
Now, to flip that question a bit. If you could help write a soundtrack for the next game or movie in any series, what would you choose?
Aaron: The next Final Fantasy game! With the Melodic Death Metal incorporated in the vein of the latest DOOM game. It would be so fun to do something like that for a game or movie. Or a dream would be to do it with Hans Zimmer at the helm with him composing a lot of the atmosphere combined with our music. That would be a dream come true for me.
Frank: I think it be cool to do something for a Rob Zombie movie or with John Carpenter. I would settle for something along those lines. It’d be so cool. I know we all could create something with Rob being a metalhead himself and John being a musician it could work well I think.
Speaking of entertainment, what games, movies, books, shows, or music have you been hooked into of late? We need some recommendations.
Aaron: I know for myself this year, video game wise, it has been Detroit: Becoming Human, Horizon Zero Dawn, Red Dead Redemption 2, Shadow of The Colossus remastered and soon, in the near future, when they release the Resident Evil 2 remake and Cyberpunk 2077. As for movies this year, it’s been Ready Player One and I recently just watched Arrival and loved it! Also Sicario Day of The Soldado and Infinity War. Book wise, I read Ready Player One and it’s a great read and recently dove back into Sun Tsu’s Art of War and The Green Mile by Stephen King.
For Ken, it has has been Ni no Kuni 2 and Dark Souls 3.
Frank: Well, for me it’s – been for awhile – SMITE! I love playing ancient gods battling, Ark with my wife, the new Call of Cthulhu, and Dark Souls 3 for games. Movie wise, I love a lot of the horror movies that have come out so far this year. There are a lot of good movies that have come out. It’s hard to name one but Ready Player One was awesome! Aaron, Ken, my wife, and myself all saw it together in Texas on our way to Wrestlemania this year and it was so good.
Those are all the questions we have for you guys today. Is there anything else you’d like to say to the people out there?
Aaron & Frank: We love you all! We appreciate all the support and the shout outs since our self-titled EP release and the out cry for more! What we have with the new material is truly going to be special. We also appreciate everyone’s patience and hope to have something for your ears very, very soon. We are excited to release it to the world for all to hear. The album itself is going to take a little time to finish as a whole but there will be one or two things to give you guys your fix before that. Stay tuned! Stay safe, be good too one another, and Aerith will be back in full force soon! We hope you all will enjoy what we have in store for you. LASTLY, thank you to The Circle Pit for your continued support of us and what we create and being a huge advocate for us. See you all very soon! Stay posted with us and what we are doing on our Facebook page. We still have some merch left and physical copies of our EP so get them while you can! Thank you everyone!