ThisIsNotAScene‘s Catherine was enamored by the debut album from Aoria, “The Constant“, so much so that she sat down with Erik Nilsson to talk about how the band came together, the ‘quiet period’, influences on the Aoria sound and much, much more…
How did you meet Robin Bergh and begin to make music together?
I met Robin when we were looking for a new drummer for Aoria. I believe this was somewhere around 2006. Our previous drummer had just moved abroad, so we needed someone to replace her. We put out an ad and tried out a couple of drummers during a few rehearsals and Robin was one of the candidates. The rest is history, and I’m sure this album wouldn’t have seen the light of day if we’d made a different choice.
In ‘The Constant’s liner notes, Aoria is credited as just being you and Robin. How did you get Niklas Sandin of Katatonia on board, and is his role limited to just playing bass?
Robin knew Niklas from their time in Amaran and I actually think Robin was the one introducing Niklas to the guys in Katatonia. I don’t think the both of them got the chance to play together for long since Amaran disbanded a short while after Niklas had joined. But I know that Robin enjoyed playing together with Niklas, so pretty much right from the start we had Niklas in mind for the album. He did a magnificent job, and I know the songs wouldn’t have sounded the same without him, so whenever we’ll begin working on a second album I’ll be sure to involve him as early as possible.
Prior to this debut, the Aoria project had been dormant – how and when did you decide to resurrect Aoria?
When Aoria first disbanded, me and Robin talked about completing the album whenever we felt that the time was right. We went on focusing on our other projects, and it wasn’t until a couple of years later that we simply felt that the timing was perfect. I guess we both needed those years away from the band to be able to go through with this for the right reasons.
Were you aware that the band had a following? If so, what did you do to keep the fans interested during the ‘quiet period’?
To be honest, we didn’t realise this at all during those years, and I can’t say we did much either to keep up an interest. For me, the band was on a break for an indefinite period. It was right before we decided to get back together and work on the album that we actually noticed the attention for our older demos. I don’t really know how the demos were spread, but it felt incredible to see the positive feedback. Seeing this most certainly played its part in finally taking the decision to complete the album.
Did you achieve everything you wanted to with “The Constant” musically?
I can admit that often when I look back at things I’ve created, I easily focus on what could have been done better. It does take quite some time before I can look back and see things from a different perspective. With that said, “The Constant” is different than other albums I’ve been involved in so far. I’m not sure why, it might be that the entire process went so smooth, allowing us to focus entirely on how to make the songs justice, but I’m very satisfied with how “The Constant” ended up. So yeah, this time I did achieve everything I wanted.
Do you intend to follow up the album or just play it by ear?
When the time is right, there’s a chance that we’ll follow up the album.
Why did you decide to produce the album yourself?
I know of no other way to do it really. I enjoy having control of everything in the creative process. The difficult part for me is always to know when I’m on the right track or when to stop searching for the perfect arrangements. For this, I need some kind of catalyst, which was an important part that Robin had in the production of the album.
How has your experience in your respective bands shaped this album (in terms of e.g. songwriting/recording process)?
Our combined experience of playing, writing and recording music in our other bands and projects has definitely shaped the end result. It’s probably one of the reasons the production went so smooth. With everyone’s experience and full dedication it was possible for us to focus almost entirely on the songs and the overall sound instead of technicalities.
As each member has his own band outside of Aoria, what do you get out of playing together?
We all love music, and I can only speak for myself, but every band and project has a special purpose and fills some kind of creative gap. Aoria for me is a vent for strong emotions.
Do you have any touring plans for Aoria?
Since we are all quite busy with our other bands at the moment, there are no touring plans. But we’d love to get out and play more. So contact our booking manager, and we’ll do our best to be there.
This style of music seems to have evolved rather naturally from a heavier, doomier style – why do you think that is, and why is it popular with fans of the aforementioned heavier subgenre?
That’s hard to say. But for a band that’s been active for more than twenty years this evolution doesn’t surprise me at all. I’d rather look at the bands that have been active for the same amount of time, still sounding the same, and ask why?
Thank you for talking to ThisIsNotAScene, Erik!
And many thanks to you and everyone supporting us!