With so many cool bands out there to check out I offer you some minor guidance by introducing you to AETHER REALM. Answers from Jake. Anders Ekdahl ©2020

Let’s start with your latest recording. When you look back at it now what kind of feelings do you have for it?
-If we’re talking about the process of making it, I think the main thing I feel is a sort of resignation to the fact that there’s always gonna be this chaotic crunch time at the end with me. Our work rate increases at like an exponential level as we get closer to the deadline until we’re all firing on all cylinders and all super stressed and convinced we’re not gonna be able to make it happen…and then all of a sudden it’s done. And while I definitely remember the stress and the obstacles clearly, the memories are overwhelmingly fond. The album itself? I think it’s sick. I think we’ve managed to write songs that hold their own against many of the metal songs I grew up listening to, and I’m proud that we’ve gotten to this point. 18 year old Jake would have lost his shit listening to TMHC. He might also say Guardian isn’t metal enough, now that I think of it, haha.

I am fascinated by band names. What was it that made you settle on the one you have and what does it mean to you?
-I was a 17 year old kid in Calculus, falling asleep in class cause I’d stay up too late playing video games or reading or playing around in Guitar Pro 5. I was already in a sort of…dream theater/dream evil/opeth wanna be band with Heinrich and George called Sakrament, but I felt pulled toward folk metal. Was doodling on my notebook trying to come up with something cool, and I started trying stuff that had the Æ symbol because I thought it looked sick and mystical. Settled on Æther at first, and to be honest I don’t know what the hell I was thinking adding “Realm” at the end, cause I’m pretty sure if you translate it from homeric greek it comes out to mean “Realm of the Sky Realm”. Lately we’ve dropped the Æ symbol most of the time, (primarily because it’s easier to type aether realm and we’re all lazy). Whatever it was that spurred us into this band name, now it just represents a decade of good (and sometimes bad! usually good though) memories and striving to become the sickest band ever with my best friends.

What does it mean to you that there are people out there that actually appreciate and look forward to what you are doing?
-That’s a hard question to answer – it’s awesome, clearly, but that doesn’t really encompass everything I feel about it. I definitely would have thrown in the towel ages ago if not for the support we get from fans of what we do. It’s given me some purpose to hang onto even when the world feels fucked up. Shoutout to the TMHC!

How important is image to the band? What impression do you want the fans to get of the band?
-Oh on a personal level, we all definitely want to look like Cool Dudes. I went out and bought a leather jacket for the Goodbye video and I can’t stop wearing it. We definitely went out of our way to look the part for the video and promo pictures – like some kind of mysterious rock n roll bad boys, haha. We try to keep that same vibe when we play live, though admittedly we’re a bit looser with it like 3 days into tour. Outside of that, we don’t really keep up the facade. Though image from a standpoint of merch is incredibly important to us – oftentimes merch art is the only way certain songs will see themselves illustrated.

I am a huge fan of LP art work. How important is it to have the right art work for your album?
-Well if we’re talking about what drives the success of an album, I’d say it’s not more important than the music contained within, but if the music contained within the album is good, the album art is gonna help drive the speed with which people catch on. Someone’s more likely to listen to an album with cover art that catches their eye, and if you can ensure that you’re catching the eye of the right people (that is, if you’re accurately conveying the music in the album through teh album cover) you’ll make fans out of them.
From an artistic standpoint, it feels like another piece of the puzzle to be solved. You don’t always know right off what it needs to be, but you definitely know when it’s done.

We live in a superficial world today where you don’t exist if you are not on Youtube and Facebook. Has social media been only beneficial in socializing with the fans or is there a down side to it too?
-I’m definitely exhausted a lot. I feel like I’ve gotta try to stay on top of communications coming at me, but especially right now right after an album it can be difficult to keep up with the volume, and I feel a sense of failure when I let something slip by me. I could do without that, and I’m trying to get better about setting specific time to do band stuff, and separate time to just do me.

When you play in a band does it feel like you are a part of a massive community? That you belong to something that gives meaning to your life?
-Yea for sure, almost all of the traveling I’ve been able to do in my life has been a result of the greater heavy metal community. I’ve experienced a great deal of joy through the discovery of heavy metal around age 8 thanks to my cousins and sister. I’m definitely a lifelong fan, and a good metal song still really makes me want to start a mosh pit in my bedroom or car or living room. And that says nothing about all the relationships – If I could go back in time and do it different I wouldn’t change much.

When you are in the middle of it do you notice what state our beloved music scene is in? Is the scene healthy or does it suffer from some ailment?
-Well the live scene is suffering from coronavirus that’s for sure. I’m pretty sure there’s currently no live music scene anywhere at all. I guess maybe on the internet with all these live from quarantine shows – that’s been cool to watch. Hope we can knock one out before too long. So nah, doesn’t seem super healthy right now.
The music coming out these days is as good as it ever though.

How much of a touring band are you guys? How hard is it to get gigs outside of your borders?
-We go out like once or twice a year right now. At first I would just DIY our tours, but pretty recently we started working with Aaron Gray at Heavy Talent for NA. We can play canada without too much trouble, but we’ve only ever toured europe with the help of Alestorm. We’ve b een working to find some help setting those gigs up over there, but no bites yet.

What will the future bring?
-Far to the North in the lands where the cold winds blow
You’ll find yourself feeling lost and alone
It is there you will meet your end
At the edge of the earth you will die my friend

So make your stand in the fading light
And have no fear you will win this fight
Have faith in yourself, you have come this far
Strike true my child

And then you’ll probably play a rippin’ guitar solo

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