AEONS: "We just play whatever sub-genre we like but keep the unique AEONS sound, so expect future releases to be even more diverse"
When I started my series "Prog around the World" a while ago, I didn't know yet exactly where this journey would take us, and the Isle of Man might be the most surprising stop for me so far, but definitely worth it. Progmetal act AEONS released their mind-blowing album “Consequences” in September (you can read my review for it here) and made me curious to learn more about their music, artwork and background among others.
It's my great pleasure to share our chat with you, welcome to dive in:
Hey, thanks for making time to join my musical journey. How are you today?
Excellent! And excited to answer your questions. We hope you are all safe and happy as well…
Could you please introduce yourself and AEONS to our readers?
Sure. We are a progmetal band from the Isle of Man. What? Where is that? It’s an island in the Irish Sea between the UK and Ireland. We have a rich Celtic history, the longest continuous parliament in the world, and the TT Races; the oldest, fastest and most bad-ass bike event on the planet. Plus, its astonishingly beautiful. You should all come. All of you.
As for the boys it’s me (Si), Skip, Jo, Justin and Scott. We play many things and three of us don’t mind you hearing us sing.
Haha, we don't mind either. How did you guys get together?
The Isle of Man is a large island but only has around 120K people, so every musician knows every other. We’ve all been in bands since forever and have all released albums before AEONS in different bands (Specifically Chiaroscura and The Water is Rising). Circumstance and expedience brought us together to form this band, which we all agree is the best we’ve ever had. As with all Manx bands, we started out over a pint and a shared love of metal. The IOM music scene is staggeringly diverse, and we’re proud to be a part of that creative community.
How did you come up with your name, and is there a deeper meaning behind “Aeons” for you?
AEONS came from the first song we ever wrote – "Strange Aeons" – which is on our debut "A Tragic End" (available from all good music retailers (shameless plug)). While the song is somber and moody, the word "aeons" alone has an expansive feel which we like to think represents the music’s depth and diversity. And an aeon is about a million years, so not that shy of some of track lengths.
You just released your second album, “Consequences”. How do you feel about it, and how was the reception so far?
Every band says “This is our best work yet”, but we truly, earnestly mean it. From our catalogue of previous bands and the last album, this is seven songs we are completely proud of, have worked hard to produce, and represents the tightest performances and song-writing in our history. It has been received enormously well overall, for which we are very, very grateful.
I think we confused some reviewers with the diversity of the tracks stylistically, which is a key thing we want to continue with – we don’t see that as a weakness it’s a strength. We just play whatever sub-genre we like but keep the unique AEONS sound, so expect future releases to be even more diverse.
Sounds highly promising for me :-) On the cover artwork and booklet, a beautiful butterfly appears in four variations that change color and expression. What can you tell us about its origins, and how does it reflect the album thematically?
"Consequences" is – unsurprisingly – about the consequences of your action (or inaction). So the butterfly is a quick shorthand icon for the Butterfly Effect. While that’s not an entirely accurate metaphor, it suits the purpose of intent in a single image when interlaced with the album title. And it looks pretty. Which is always good.
That amazing design was done by our good friend Ellen ( @heavymetellartistries on Insta ) who absolutely made it pop off the page. Go give her a follow. Thanks Ellen!
Could you dive a bit into the topics of “Consequences” with us, please?
As you pointed out in your review, each track has a poster associated with it : That’s by design as the subject matter revolves around choices. The choice to lamely follow your misinformed social bubble or seek a path of fact and science (Rubicon), to the bitter after-effects of a terrible relationship (Lighthouse), to the world-ending Aceldama brought on by a mythological vengeance (Hades and Persephone), to the processes of self-inspection brought on from an impending death (Thoughts of a Dying Astronaut).
These are bleak topics, but I hope in the lyrics and the music the listener can find answers, not just portraits, and realize that change can be good, and for the better, not just a pit of despair seething with the terrible unknown. Each song character has their own epiphany, their own self-realization that offers a promise of something wonderful should they embrace the change and alter the Consequences.
The only outlier to this is Evelyn. That’s a true story not an allegory, and perfectly surmises the abstract of the album. It’s too long to discuss here (despite being one of my favorite things to talk about), but google "Evelyn Nesbit" and set yourself up for one of the most tragic tales from the Gilded Age.
Music-wise, you offer a modern, mind-blowing album. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Everywhere. That sounds like a throw-away answer, but it’s true. When writing we try and understand what the story is telling us, then fit the music to the tone. Is the character angry, confused, chaotic? What musical framework can we capture that in both, aurally and lyrically? That means you need a large catalogue of references to draw from, and that occurs in everything you hear, not just metal but in all genres.
Between us, we listen to just about everything there is and so can call upon different musical stylings to best tell the story. Personally, I love movie sound tracks. Film composers must set the scene with no words, under dialogue, and with nothing too complex as to distract the eyes from the scene. So their canvas has a limited palette. I learn a lot from them.
Oh, and country music. We are a three-part harmony vocal band, and if you want great three-part harmonies, you look to country. But then, we add the AEONS twisted melodies (patent pending) and it comes together. Writing vocal harmonies is the hardest part – to accommodate all our ranges. So listening to people who have made careers out of just that is the best learning experience you can have. There’s no AEONS line-dancing just yet though. And none of us own a truck. Skip does look good in short-shorts though. So he says.
Haha, a new level of genre bending. Might be a niche? Compared to your debut “A Tragic End”, which is a great listen as well, you further developed your sound with “Consequences” in an amazing way. Could you briefly describe your writing and recording process please, and did it change over the years?
It’s actually almost exactly the same! I run my own studio which I really just use for local artists and some contract work. So my home is dominated by the studio itself. We do it all there. Writing, demos, final recordings, everything. The guys all have similar setups now too, so we can work on pieces separately but it all gets put together here. That hasn’t changed.
For every track on "Consequences" there are 20 idea sketches that didn’t make it. Thankfully we write super-fast. There are already three tracks for the next album in the picture and four or five from the last batch we might release separately. One is a 20-minute epic that just didn’t fit the "Consequences" theme. So hopefully we will release that next year. Maybe.
We record, engineer, produce and mix everything ourselves, but for "Consequences" we brought on a Mastering guy from Germany, Seeb Levermann, and he kicked the quality up several notches. We have a great relationship with him now and will farm most of the next album to him to mix and master, which leaves us more time to concentrate on the writing.
Let’s talk about AEONS live: What was your most memorable show so far?
COVID kinda fucked up everything, as I am sure every other band feels too. 2020 was going to be our year to tour "A Tragic End". Didn’t happen. 2021 comes by and … well there it goes. While the IOM wasn’t affected that much by COVID - as we shut our borders - our album launch for "Consequences" was messed up with the Delta. Grrrrr!
So the best show we played was probably the release of "A Tragic End" locally. You can see that in the Vampire YouTube video. But to be honest every gig has been better than the last. To have people show up in your t-shirts and sing the songs back to you (so many people know all the words!) - it’s just amazing. We want to bring that to the UK and beyond in 2022. Here’s hoping.
Same here - You'd be more than welcome! How would you describe your local music scene, and is there something special about it?
I’ve been in many music scenes over the years, but the IOM scene is by far the best. Per Capita we have the highest number of musicians anywhere in the world, I think. Everyone is supportive, watches each other’s gigs and the crowds are suitably oiled up at all times. And not afraid to have a mosh around the venue. What more do you want?
What can you tell us about your future plans?
Promote "Consequences", make more YT videos, maybe find a home in a label, write more and make as many people happy with our music as we can. We are taking the industry side a lot more seriously this time. With "A Tragic End", we had no clue what we were doing really, which is a product of the island’s isolation from the UK mainland. But this time we are on the right path. If we don’t succeed, at least we tried. But we have faith in the band and the product and that can only lead to good things if we work at it.
Do you have any further thoughts you’d like to share here?
Just that we hope everyone enjoys what we do, takes a moment to have a little self-reflection, and finds happiness in their choices. Metal is about community and the music is about identity. We hope everyone in this global community is safe and well and remembers that everyone is important. Especially those who listen to "Consequences". They’ll get like a cake or something. Maybe a kitten.
Thank you so much for these amazing insights into your work \m/
Our sincere pleasure!