Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ara Interview

1. Can you tell us a little bit about the band for those that have never heard of you before?
Sure! We are a death metal band from Milwaukee that plays a fairly technical style, but we try to make sure each song has its own identity. A lot of records these days don't feature songs that have individual character, but we try to cover as many dimensions as we can through varying tempos, melodies and attitudes.

2. How would you describe your musical sound?
At first I wanted it to be as ugly as possible in a Portal/Ulcerate kind of way, but then a lot of melody started seeping in. I love those bands and I am enjoying the revival of the Incantation type of sound where death metal is trying to be scary again, but I didn't want to be an obvious throwback to a previous era or cop the sound of any act right now. As challenging as the music is, I want it to be memorable so there is an effort to keep the structures relatively simple while the riffs are complex. Also you'll hear a lot of more melodic lines clashing with harsh, ugly textures. So, we try to be fairly multidimensional within the death metal umbrella.

3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
There is a lot of imagery that deals with death and depravity and such but not so much in vivid detail for shock value. Adam chooses to write from the perspectives of people who have lost their minds and to me, the breakdown of rational thought is more frightening than details about gore. From what I can decipher, there is a lot of topics on megalomania and disdain for human life. Also, he may or may not be influenced by a certain popular trading card game which will remain unnamed at the moment.

4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?
When we started the band we immediately felt the sound had an all-consuming vibe to it mainly due to the ridiculous speed and complexity of our drummer Erik. It was hard not to think of Origin when we heard what he brought to the table, and the imagery of things being obliterated in a vacuum kind of made sense with how we sounded, so the guys started researching stars and constellations. So I believe Jim (bass) was the one who found the name of the constellation Ara and we liked the contrast of the simple, brief name with the complex music. And according to what I just now read online, in ancient Greek mythology, Ara was identified as the altar where the gods first made offerings and formed an alliance before defeating the Titans. There are various interpretations of Ara throughout the centuries, and Jim, who does our graphic design as well, drew from those to come up with a pretty sick web presence and shirt design. There are still themes of space utilized in stuff we are working on now, and since we want to accompany our fairly dense sound with vast, oppressive imagery, that is most likely going to continue.

5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
All of our shows so far have been in our hometown in Milwaukee, and we have played quite a bit at the newly renovated Quarters, which now is largely a metal venue. We always have a blast there but have also really enjoyed playing at DIY art collectives like The Borg Ward as well as higher profile places like Cactus Club. Since we are fairly new and the record just came out, people are still feeling the music out which is understandable given the complexity, so we aren't having people grab the mic to accompany Adam live or totally rage in the pit just yet, although we are hoping for it very soon! But every show so far has been really good and for a new band, we couldn't be happier with the crowds we are playing to and the reception. As far as stage performance, Adam usually dominates the stage with his presence which is good and allows us to keep the music as close to how it sounds on the record as possible. Our last show actually was filmed by a friend and you can check it out here:

6. Do you have any touring plans for the future?
We want to tour really badly and definitely want to get out there this year. Erik and I also play in Northless who currently has a lot on its plate so the amount of time we have this year is a bit slim although we are trying to make it out for a few dates in hopefully June. Our schedules open up a bit next year so we hope to spend much more time on the road then. 

7. Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label and if so what kind of label do you feel that would be a perfect fit for the music?
As much as we love DIY and currently have what we feel to be a great record that we did ourselves, we definitely are looking for label support. I have two labels in mind that would be in my opinion amazing homes for the band. Deepsend records really seems to have their finger on the pulse of the greater bands in the current death metal movement, and Profound Lore has a diverse roster where every artist on there totally floors me.

8. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your musical by fans of technical death metal?
We haven't quite had worldwide feedback, but since I feel our music is influenced far more by bands overseas, I hope people outside our country like what we are doing. The emphasis we have on melody is less a focus currently in stateside death metal bands, so I feel as the band gets more noticed, people outside of the United States will hopefully appreciate it.

9. What is going on with the other musical projects these days?
Northless is very busy getting songs together for a double LP we are recording in May. Everything is coming together really well and fairly quickly which I am a huge fan of, and when you hear how inspired the material is you may be surprised at the time frame everything was composed in. We also have a handful of shows coming up here and on the road. Concentric has been inactive since the departure of our drummer, which is unfortunate since we have an entire 3rd record written and essentially ready to record. I know we could do pretty much whatever we want with our sound in Ara since we already have a diverse style, but I'll always want to keep Concentric alive in some way, at least through recordings.

10. What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
A lot of songs are already written for a full length, and even more melody is being utilized. We may have to focus more on keeping the ugly in there. Some of the newer stuff is ridiculously fast, and some structures are very progressive while others are a bit stripped down but still have more than enough going on. That live show I linked you to above ends with a new song that I think accurately represents the mode of writing we are currently in.

11. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
We are all across the board although we all love good, interesting death metal. Most of my influences are as mentioned overseas, and we all like pretty diverse stuff. Jim has a wide palette of influences, and depending on when you get in his car you may hear metal or a jazz 3 piece. I think if it's well thought out and interesting, regardless of the genre we all will appreciate it. Like for me, I've been listening to the new My Bloody Valentine a lot as well as the new Suffocation. I think all of us are loving that most recent Pallbearer record. 

12. Outside of music what are some of your interests?
Eating, acting like idiots, sharing mutual disdain for humanity, horror movies, buffets, smorgasbords, all you can eat restaurants, appetizers, desserts, seconds.

13. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
Thanks for your time and stay tuned, you will be hearing a lot from us in the future!

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