Aethereus is releasing their first full length “Absentia” on August 10th through The Artisan Era. I chatted with the guys about music, and shit. Ya know….stuff.
TMR: What was it like working with Luis Martinez?
Ben: I met Luis after The Zenith Passage played in Seattle. He heard some demos of the songs for Ego and seemed to dig them. After TZP’s tour finished, we got in contact and began working from there. Lacking a drummer of our own at the time, Luis’ incredible talent was a fantastic contributor on our first release. When we heard the recorded tracks, we were absolutely blown away!
Kyle: Working with Luis on the first EP (Ego Futurus) was pretty great. Even though he’s two states away, we were able to send him demos and click tracks so he could work out his parts and get into the studio with relative ease. The dude is a phenomenal drummer and super easy to work with.
TMR: How is your upcoming album “Absentia” different in comparison to your debut EP? Anything different this time around?
Kyle: There are a few notable differences, the most obvious being the lineup. Except for Ben and I, this is Matt, Vance, and Scott’s debut with the band. They each bring their own style to the table, which I’m super stoked about. In terms of the actual songs, they’re a bit more varied. There are more peaks and valleys, with a heavier emphasis on melody and structure than with Ego.
TMR: How was your band name conceived?
Kyle: We were trying to figure out a name that captured the essence of our sound and the subject of our songs, all of which have a kind of spacey philosophical bend to them. Aethereus means something that is ethereal or other worldly, so it seemed to fit.
TMR: Upcoming show plans?
Kyle: We have a few shows in the pipeline right now. We’ll be playing with The Kennedy Veil in Tacoma, WA on 7/11 and the following night we’re playing with them and our labelmates Inanimate Existence in Seattle. After that we have our CD release show on 8/10 in Tacoma with Theories, Blood and Thunder, and Xoth. We will also be making our way out to the East Coast to play the second day of Fresh 2 Deaf Fest with Artificial Brain and a bunch of other sick bands.
TMR: What’s it like being on the most potent record label in the business right now? You guys are one of many newer talents signed to TAE that proves how great the label’s ears are…..they have lots of great original tech and prog bands that don’t mimic anything!
Kyle: I greatly appreciate the compliment man. It still feels a bit surreal when I think about it. The amount of talent on this label is staggering, so to be counted amongst any of these bands is an incredible feeling. To top it all off, Malcolm and Mike are just awesome dudes who bend over backwards to take care of their bands. So, short answer, pretty stoked.
Ben: I couldn’t be more excited to be working with TAE! The phenomenal musicianship comprising their roster is both awe inspiring, and humbling. I’m very grateful to now be a part of their team.
Vance: I am still in shock and blown away for getting to be part of an amazing label and roster of other great musicians. Overall I am very grateful and stoked to be part of TAE team and look forward to what’s to come.
TMR: What’s the concept behind the album artwork and lyrics? Or is it not a concept album? Anything you guys would like to expand on?
Kyle: In the simplest sense, this is a concept album about losing a loved one that was inspired by the passing of our late bass player and friend Shaun Hansen (who played on “Ego Futurus” and our previous band Seker’s album “Transcendence”). Without going too deep into it, the album loosely follows the Kübler-Ross stages of grief, those being denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, with each song representing a point in the grieving cycle. It’s a much more personal album than Ego.
TMR: What was your moment in wanting to be an artist? Was it a specific song, album, artist or certain instrument that propelled you to your musical talent? What’s everyone’s story that convinced them music was your life?
Kyle: My dad had this crappy Plymouth Acclaim with a cassette player in it. We’d go on drives and just jam out to things like Van Halen, Judas Priest, Pink Floyd, and Jimi Hendrix. Then one day he popped in a copy of Yngwie Malmsteen’s “Marching Out” and my 10-year-old head exploded. That was about the time I decided I wanted to play guitar.
Ben: I was in 7th grade when I discovered System of a Down and peaked my interest in heavier, rock.. A year later I ended up buying Master of Puppets in the electronics section of a grocery store. From there, I became addicted to the guitar I’d gotten for Christmas, learning every Metallica, Pantera, and Slayer riff I could.
Vance: Metal has always been in my life growing up thanks to my older cousin. When I was in 8th grade some friends wanted to start a band and we all picked an instrument and I went with guitar. We never did fully put one together, but I stuck with playing daily. In 2008 I moved to Seattle and started my first band where I played guitar and did vocals. Then I joined a few other bands, up until I became a full-time vocalist.
TMR: How does Aethereus write? Spontaneous or planned? Through bits and pieces at practice?
Kyle: Often, it’s spontaneous. I don’t think I’ve ever sat down and been like “I’m going to write a song today.” Usually it comes out of me just jamming on something on my own that ends up snowballing into me demoing something which leads to me tabbing it out, sending it to the rest of the band to get their input/suggestions, and then, if it’s not already in a workable form by then, saving whatever I have written for a later time. That’s pretty much how most of the material “Absentia“ was written. With the new stuff we’re working on, it’s been a lot more collaborative. Ben, Scott, and I have been sending a lot of riffs and partial songs back and forth that have got us all excited.
TMR: What’s your favorite moment as a musician?
Kyle: That’s a tough question. We played a show back in 2017 with Archspire and Arkaik. This guy and his son came out to the show. His son wanted to take a picture with us which was pretty damn cool. I think another awesome moment was when Ben and I got the master back for “Absentia.” Hearing the result of all of us busting our asses for over a year just felt incredible.
Vance: My favorite moment was back in 2012, when my first band I started from when moved to Seattle got to open up for Summer Slaughter. Such an epic night with so many good memories. Another awesome moment was getting to perform one song with Cattle Decapitation on 70,000 Tons of Metal.
Ben: Getting to perform with the CWU symphony in my brief tenure as a violin major was pretty sick.
TMR: What is everyone’s top 5 favorite albums of any genre of all time? And also everyone’s top 5 favorite extreme metal albums of all time?
Kyle: Top 5 All Time Favorite albums of any genre (no particular order): 1. Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here, 2. Cynic – Traced in Air, 3. Obscura – Omnivium, 4. Mastodon – Remission, 5. Isis – Wavering Radiant
Top 5 All Time Favorite extreme metal albums: 1. Obscura – Omnivium, 2. Meshuggah – Nothing, 3. Spawn of Possession – Noctambulent, 4. Dissection – Storm of the Light’s Bane, 5. Morbid Angel – Gateways to Annihilation
Vance: Top 5 All Time Favorite albums of any genre: 1. Death – Symbolic, 2. Between the Buried and Me – Colors, 3. Al Di Meola – Elegant Gypsy, 4. Dream Theater – Train of Thought, 5. Agalloch – Ashes Against the Grain
Top 5 All Time Favorite extreme metal albums: 1. Spawn of Possession – Noctambulent, 2. Cattle Decapitation – Monolith of Inhumanity, 3. Necrophagist – Epitaph, 4. Behemoth – Demigod, 5. Cannibal Corpse – The Wretched Spawn
Ben: Top 5 Any Genre: 1. Nile – Annihilation of the Wicked 2. Opeth – Still Life, 3. Led Zeppelin – IV 4. Cynic – Traced In Air 5. Testament – The Legacy
Top 5 Extreme Metal: 1. Nile – Annihilation of the Wicked 2. Necrophagist – Epitaph 3. Spawn of Possession – Incurso 4. Decrepit Birth – Diminishing Between Worlds 5. Obscura – Omnivium
Scott: I’d literally be up all night trying to figure this out so I’m just going to give the first album which comes to mind: Gojira – From Mars to Sirius.
TMR: What are you guys listening to these days?
Kyle: Lately, I’ve been listening to the new Rivers of Nihil a lot. Also, been spinning the new Slugdge and Pelican’s “What We All Come to Need” pretty regularly.
Ben: The new Inferi and Rivers of Nihil are constantly on repeat. Really stoked about the new Obscura and Soreption too!
Vance: At least once a week now I listen to the new Inferi and Rivers of Nihil, so much fire from both albums. Along with that rotation I always put on The Contortionist, Slugdge, Artificial Brain, Virvum, in to the mix.
Scott: For the last few months or so I’ve been jamming a ton of Raiju, an amazing progressive metal band from San Francisco. Keep an eye out for them. Other than that, it’s been a lot of the new A Perfect Circle and Enslaved albums along with a healthy dose of 90s / early 2000s power metal bands.
TMR: What do the Aethereus guys do for fun?
Kyle: Outside of music related stuff, I play a lot of video games (been playing the new God of War quite a bit), go to the gym, and watch an inordinate number of Japanese monster movies.
Ben: Star Wars Battlefront is my jam.
Vance: I play a lot of video games (my favorite is the Mortal Kombat series). I cast many spells in Magic the Gathering. Attendant as many concerts as possible.
Scott: Hang out with my wife and kids, lift heavy things and play/write/see/record music. And when I have time I do enjoy watching weird, disturbing and/or foreign films.
TMR: Favorite TV show/show on Netflix or Hulu at the moment?
Kyle: Really been digging this season of Westworld. Outside of that, I’ve pretty much just been watching old MST3K episodes on Netflix.
Ben: Anxiously awaiting the final season of Game of Thrones…But until then, pretty much reruns of Trailer Park Boys, It’s Always Sunny, Workaholics, etc.
Vance: I watch a lot of cooking shows with my girlfriend and so far, my favorite is Cutthroat Kitchen. I also have been watching all of Star Trek chronologically. Then the old standbys are South Park, American Dad and The IT Crowd
Scott: Netflix? Last show I watched and enjoyed thoroughly was Wild Wild Country. Good documentary series.
TMR: Favorite things to do on tour or after shows?
Kyle: Have a drink, watch the other bands play, and think about how poorly I played.
Vance: Try to find a party or a good place to hang. Also find the nearest diner/Taco Bell.
Ben: I definitely enjoy a post-show drink and perhaps a toke.
Scott: My favorite thing to do on tour besides playing shows and eating food is waking up early in the morning, putting in my headphones and walking around/exploring whatever town or city I ended up in. I’ve found a lot of cool little spots doing this.
TMR: What endeavors do you guys have outside of Aethereus music related or not? Post any links right here please.
Vance / Scott: Check out the Devils of Loudun if you dig that symphonic death metal stuff: https://thedevilsofloudun.bandcamp.com/ – https://www.facebook.com/TheDevilsOfLoudun/
TMR: Thanks for taking the time to answer some random questions! Congratulations on the signing and killer new song! You definitely have a new fan!
Aethereus – Absentia
1. Cascades of Light
3. Mortal Abrogation
4. Fluorescent Halls of Decay (Ft. Brody Uttley of Rivers of Nihil)
6. That Which is Left Behind
7. The Black Circle
8. With You, I Walk
9. The Pale Beast
Vance Bratcher – Vocals (The Devils of Loudon/Six Days of Darkness)
Kyle Chapman – Guitar/Vocals
Ben Gassman – Guitar
Scott Hermanns – Bass (The Devils of Loudon/ex-Blood and Thunder)
Matthew Behner – Drums (ex-Fully Consumed/ex-Year of Desolation)
Categories: Experimental, Interview, Prog Death Metal, Symphonic Death Metal, Technical Death Metal
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