AETHEREUS is a band that are tech death metal. Yeah, I know how that sounds but bear with me. This is not too technical to follow. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
A band name says more than thousand words, or does it? How important is a band name to get people interested in your music?
Kyle: I’d say album art is probably more important for getting people interested in your band. However, a good band name definitely helps people remember and share your stuff., especially if it’s evocative and not too difficult to pronounce. I think, ideally, you want a band name to leave some sort of an impression, be it intrigue, disgust, or whatever desired reaction you’re seeking.
When you finish a recording and then sit back and relax, what kind of feelings do you get? Are you glad it is finished? Does the anxiety grow, not knowing if everybody will like it?
Kyle: Definitely a feeling of relief when the session goes well. During the actual recording process, there’s definitely some stress, but not so much because you’re concerned whether people will like the song, but because you’re wanting to make sure that your performance is the absolute best it can be at that time. So if a certain section is giving you a hard time, it can be frustrating. However, when recording is done, we can have a beer and relax a bit.
What is it like to be in a studio recording your music? What kind of feelings and thoughts race through your heads?
Kyle: Well, thanks to the miracle of technology, I was able to track/engineer all of mine and Ben’s guitars and Vance’s vocals at home and Scott was able to track the bass at his home studio. So that part was super convenient and allowed us to take our time and be nit-pickier with certain aspects of the album. The drums were the only thing we needed to go into a separate studio for. Matt and I went down to Sprout City Studios in Eugene, Oregon to track the drums. We did it over the span of two days if I remember correctly, so really the only thought I had was that we needed to make sure we got the takes we needed in that time. Thankfully Matt is an incredible drummer and Stephen Parker is an incredible engineer, so it was super easy.
Today I get a feeling that the promotion of a band lands a lot on the bands themselves so how does one promote oneself the best possible way in order to reach as many as possible?
Kyle: Oh man, that is definitely true. That’s a tough question to answer succinctly because there’s a lot that goes into successfully promoting your band, especially in the advent of social media. Playing shows is important, but you really have to be on it with your online promotion. You need to make sure you maintain a baseline amount of activity on your primary social media accounts, even if it’s just like a single post a day so long as it’s relevant engaging content. We have a full-on system established between the five of us for responding to direct messages to the band, coordinating material being released with TAE, and setting up promotional campaigns for upcoming shows. It’s a lot of work, but it’s necessary. In-studio updates, regularly and actively promoting upcoming shows/events, playthrough/lyric videos, etc.; all of those are great marketing collateral that get people interested in your band. If you have a guest solo or some other artist contributing to your work, make sure that everyone knows it. If you’re working on new material, make sure everyone knows it.
Today we have all these different sub-genres in metal. How important is that you can be tagged in one of these? Why isn’t metal enough as a tag?
Kyle: To the non-metal fan, metal is a perfectly sufficient genre tag. If they’re not interested in the genre at large, they’re definitely not going to care about the idiosyncratic differences between brutal death metal and slam. To the discerning metal fan, however, sub-genres serve a purpose to a point. Metal as an umbrella term is so broad and all-encompassing that it wouldn’t be accurate to just lump everything under the one moniker (not many similarities between Dream Theater and Dying Fetus). So sub-genres make sense to a degree, though I think some people get a little carried away with them. I think 10 years ago I saw someone call The Faceless “hydraulic cybergrind.” Still not sure what that is.
What importance is there in being part of local/national/international scene? Does playing in a band make you feel like you are a part of something bigger? I know it does to me knowing that in some slight way I was a part of the Swedish death metal scene in the 90s.
Kyle: It definitely does make you feel like you’re part of something bigger which is awesome. Getting to play with and see so many bands that are, for all intents and purposes, doing what you do and love it with the same level of passion is an incredible feeling. On top of that, you become pretty good friends with a lot of the people in the scene. It’s not always perfect, but overall, the scene that we’re a part of is excellent.
Ever since I first got into metal the art work has been a main motivator in buying a record. What part does art work for album covers play in the world of the band?
Kyle: For us, we want the artwork to be a good visual representation of the mood/themes of the album without being too obvious. I think it’s really cool when a piece of album artwork can result in different interpretations from person to person.
How important is having a label to back you up today when you can just release your music on any sort of platform online? With the ability to upload your music as soon as you’ve written it the freedom to create has become greater but are there any negative consequences to music being too readily available to fans now that every Tom, John and Harry can upload their stuff?
Kyle: It really depends on the situation, man. We really lucked out with Artisan Era because they do so much to help their artists, especially when it comes to promotion. Yeah, you absolutely can go full DIY and upload your music on your own, but then you’re going to have to manage the promotional campaigns on your own, create all the advertising assets yourself, and handle all the distribution/costs for selling/shipping your album. With a label, you have a team and a resource base that helps makes all of the less glamorous aspects of being in a band a lot more seamless and manageable. On top of that, having the support of a label and being associated with a given set of artists does a lot to increase the visibility and interest in your band.
What is a gig with you like? What kind of shows do you prefer to play?
Kyle: Sweaty? Haha, we’ve played a pretty wide variety of shows and the one’s I’ve most enjoyed have been the smaller clubs. The vibe is usually way more relaxed which just makes for a fun show.
What lies in the future?
Kyle: We’ve got 2 shows coming up in the next week to promote the release of “Absentia” (out August 10th on The Artisan Era Records), we’ll be playing the Seattle date of the Obscura Diluvium World Tour with our labelmates Inferi, and then in December we’ll be heading over to Philadelphia to play day 2 of Fresh 2 Deaf-Fest with Artificial Brain, Ophidius, and a bunch of other sick bands. We’re also working on getting some tour-type stuff in order for 2019. Ben, Scott, and I have already started work on drafting ideas for the next album.