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Aeon Sable - Interview

Interview with: Nino Sable
Conducted by: T.V.

Gothic rock is one of those genres that suffers a lot because of repetitiveness and unoriginality, mostly because of the fact that the best was already done in the past, at least many musicians and fans think like that. On the other hand German duo Aeon Sable with their two studio efforts are pushing the borders of this genre into new dimensions, especially with a brand new sophomore album Saturn Return. While listening to this masterpiece it seems like that a new era for gothic rock is coming. Not burdened with genre cliches, N1n0 and Din-Tah Aeon created an outstanding emotional and atmospheric journey into your most subtle subconscious, yet giving a lot of new ground to the sole genre to be explored. Anyway, Saturn Return is one of the best albums released in 2012 and we had to do an interview with a person who's beside his accomplice Din-Tah Aeon responsible for all this.

T.R.: Your second album is already out. What are the words that describe it the best?
N1n0: Desire, drug abuse, darkness... It’s difficult to describe the complex piece of art, on which we’ve been working for more than two years, using only words. Basically we are still doing the same as on Per Aspera Ad Astra - but more sophisticated, using better tools and spending more time on the production.
T.R.: I find the production on Saturn Return much more cleaner, elaborate and deep than before. Who was responsible for it and can you give me some details about it?
N1n0: Since we try to do as much as we can ourselves, we recorded and mixed the album on ourselves. We gathered some audio equipment at Din's place which we use for all our projects. Music production is a very complex thing and it needs years after years of trial and error to produce an decent sounding album. In the time between Per Aspera Ad Astra and Saturn Return we gathered a lot of experience in this issue to include it in the new album. Every album is an upgrowth in compositing and audio production.
T.R.: How do you compare Saturn Return with your debut Per Aspera Ad Astra?
N1n0: During Per Aspera Ad Astra we were still experimenting - some of you may noticed that we had two Melanculia cover songs (first and last) and one Deied cover ("Morning Sun") on the debut album. While Aeon Sable’s corner stone was led by Per Aspera Ad Astra, Saturn Return is a more monolithic album.
T.R.: Two new members joined Aeon Sable... Is this line up formed only for live sets or is the permanent one?
N1n0: Basically we hired musicians for our live sets, but who knows - maybe someday one of them will convince us. (We had mentioned a female bass player already in the past but due to some private facts she is not going to join us anymore.)
T.R.: For now there is announced only digital and vinyl version of this album. Are you going to release it also on CD?
N1n0: Essentially we plan not to release a CD version of Saturn Return. We decided to release a limited vinyl edition of only 333 pieces and a downloadable edition on i-tunes, amazon... Everyone buying the vinyl edition of the album will get a free download of the album as well.
T.R.: Is there any special reason that it won’t be released on CD?
N1n0: Yes and no - The reason why we aren’t releasing the album as a CD is very simple. A CD is nothing special anymore and a lot of people need the sound as mp3 to get it on the i-pod or similar. A vinyl is something for lovers and that’s the point. We have a product for those who wants it fast (mp3) and another for those who have the time to enjoy a vinyl. Who needs a CD?
T.R.: Like your first album it's gona be published by AF-music, so you must be satisfied with their work...
N1n0: Oh yes. AF-music does a fabulous job. Some bad tongues are whispering that AF-music is the best german underground label and so it is definitely the right place for a band like us.                                                                                                                                                   T.R.: On promo infos about your new album there is written that it's kind of homage to 80's goth sounds, but the fact is that Aeon Sable offer much more from musical aspect, any comment?
N1n0: You know, people love to have things organised, that’s why we opted to tell the people that we make goth rock with a 80’s touch. That’s what describes it best, since we grew up in the 80’s, that’s the sound that inspired us for many years and so - yeah - we agree with the statement. But that’s something unexpected. We never wanted to “sound like” bands from the eighties.
T.R.: The city of Hong Kong is often mentioned at side of this release... What can you tell me about this?
N1n0: We love Hong Kong. We went there to make the music video ("Dancefloor Satellite") and we instantly fell in love with that city. The pulse of the city is great. The city never sleeps and the people there are very kind.
T.R.: Interesting artwork on both your releases and also singles, who is responsible for visual side of your albums?
N1n0: The artwork is always the last thing we do - after having all tracks together I try to get the spirit of the music and build a layout that expresses exactly the music included.
T.R.: It's obvious that you worked a lot on the atmosphere for this album. I've noticed some elements that could be classified as shoegaze or even so called metal gaze/black gaze (on "Praying Mantis" for example)...
N1n0: You're right. Atmosphere is a big issue on the last album too and will be on the following albums. Every album from every band we listen to for 10 or 15 years and which won't getboring serves a special mood or atmosphere, which sticks to the listener for hours, and this is the core which hopefully makes this particular album timeless. Since we are inspired alongside goth rock to various musical styles, we use these styles as a tool to create this certain “sticky” mood.
T.R.: Everything regarding Aeon Sable has kind of mystical note, from bands name to all album titles and even songs. Please tell me, is there any deeper meaning in bands name Aeon Sable and how did you came up with it?
N1n0: It's hard to blend philosophical issues and deeper meanings into just one or two words. So we just wanted to come up with a bandname that describes best the vibe of our music. Aeon Sable can be interpreted in many ways, but most commonly it is translated as “Dark Era”. This is what we want to create: a bleak and dark musical landscape for the listener to explore.
T.R.: Per Aspera Ad Astra and Saturn Return are also interesting titles. What about those?
N1n0: The Album title describes our proposition in a nutshell for the times of the writing process. While on the first album we were assessing about aims and achievements, on the second we did about personal alterations and it's impact on art. The rest should be interpreted by the listener, because we always leave room for every individual to raise his or her own questions and answers.
T.R.: And what about the lyrics, who's responsible for them and from where comes the inspiration?
N1n0: Mostly the lyrics arise in the process of writing the music. Every song has its own thematic vibe which we transfer into lyrics. Often it is just a glimpse of a thought in the beginning and grows with the addition of letters, words and sentences. There are no special inspirations. The idea comes from the depths of our subconsciousness.
T.R.: Vocal approach on Saturn Return is quite different from the one on your debut album...
N1n0: This goes hand in hand with the stylistic difference between both albums. On Per Aspera Ad Astra we were experimenting with the music and developing our vibe, while on Saturn Return we were sophisticating it. Same with the vocals. There are no heavy alterations, but it is technically and artistically closer to the sun.
T.R.: One of the best goth rock songs ever, at least for me is yours "Exodus" from Per Aspera Ad Astra. I would be really happy if you could reveal some of the background regarding this one.
N1n0: On this one we wanted to compose a story of a post apocalyptic world, where a survivor is driving under the influence of a hallucinogen drug through a devastated highway. This one was mainly inspired by the book "The Stand" by Stephen King, where a superflu kills 99% of the worlds population, adding some biblical components like the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. Musically we stick to a pure 90's gothrock sound, with a clear chorus-guitar driven melody line, some synthie-choirs and dark timbred vocals. Musically there are no surprises, no experiments and no "driving the gothrock style one step ahead"... just the pure dark sound we all know and love.
T.R.: I know that you are also involved in a project Melanculia. What's going on with this project and what can you tell me about it?
N1n0: Oh - Melanculia... well, Melanculia is pure indie. Right now we are finishing a new record which is to be released around Spring 2013. We unfortunately haven’t decided an album title yet, but - what we can say right now is that the album is going to have around 40 minutes of indie alternative at it’s best. We don’t know exactly when, how and where it is going to be released.
T.R.: In which musical activities were you involved before forming Aeon Sable and Melanculia?
N1n0: Well, we played in a couple of bands in our wild teenage years, mostly in the death and black metal genre. Just some young folks playing and drinking in small and musty rehearsal rooms. Maybe releasing some badly recorded demo tapes. Nothing special or noteworthy.
T.R.: Who was your main influence on your musical path?
N1n0: Like stated before, we started mainly with black and death metal in our teenage years, until gothic took over. Beside these two big genres we like ambient, post-rock and darktuned electronica. In short: we like all kinds of music, which tends to give this certain dark vibe or create something new and interesting. Even when we hear the influences of all musical styles in our project, the main influences for Aeon Sable are those mentioned before. For Melanculia it is grunge music and for Deied (our electronic side project) it is industrial and ebm. Our roots lay somewhere between London After Midnight (Aeon Sable), Nirvana (Melanculia) and Skinny Puppy (Deied).
T.R.: Aeon Sable did two video clips so far. How much do you enjoy this process of making a video and when can we expect something new on this field?
N1n0: It is an essential need to make a music video with every album we release. Even if a song is great, you cannot reach as many people with this great song as with an awesome music video. We love making music videos - and to be true, there is so much more to come - but right now it is all stored in our heads...
T.R.: When can we expect a proper tour across Europe or even overseas for Aeon Sable?
N1n0: We are hard working on it. Since we started as a "studio-only-duo" there is much work to do: searching for live musicians, preparing the drum machine, searching for rehearsal rooms and equipment, and of course practicing. Our goal is to start with some small gigs in the beginning of 2013 around our home area and some festivals in other countries in mid 2013. A proper tour can't be announced yet, first we want to check out how this whole live thing works out.
T.R.: I haven't got any informations if you ever played live before, or am I wrong?
N1n0: You are right that we never played live before. Since, as you know, we started as a studio only duo and it was not part of the original plan. But during the last months, as the interest in Aeon Sable did grow and we get many live-requests, we started thinking about it.
T.R.: Can you point at any group that you'll like to go on tour with?
N1n0: Any band with cool guy to hang out with.
T.R.: Beside making music, what are the things that you do in life?
N1n0: Besides that we are working in regular jobs to earn money for making music. I’m an employee of a record label while Din is working as a forklift driver in a factory.
T.R.: If I compare your music with tons of other gothic rock releases it seems like it's goth done by non-gothsters. It's obvious that you are not burdened with cliches...
N1n0: Yes - Indeed. But gothic has so many expressions. When you listen to some style of music you get bored with the same cliches over and over again and start to take it to another level. Every band that starts sounds like a copycat of their favourite bands, but as time goes by it goes in a whole new direction.
T.R.: Who takes care of Aeon Sables management, booking, promotion and things like that?
N1n0: Fortunately, right now we found someone taking care of the management. But until a few weeks ago we managed everything on our own.
T.R.: Where can fans of yours buy any merchandise, like t-shirts, etc...?
N1n0: There will be some merch on our bandcamp. Soon.
T.R.: What's the main goal that you would like to achieve with Aeon Sable?
N1n0: To get as many people as possible to know our music and to earn enough money with it to pay our rents.
T.R.: I know it's too soon to ask, but anyway. When can we expect new music from you?
N1n0: We need round about two-three years to finish an album. We’ll let you know.
T.R.: Some stupid questions now... The Sisters Of Mercy, Fields Of The Nephilim or The Cure?
N1n0: The Sisters Of Mercy - First And Last And Always.
T.R.: Wine, beer or something else?
N1n0: Something else.
T.R.: Smoke? Yes/No?
N1n0: A lot of smoke.
T.R.: Favourite food?
N1n0: Italian food is alright. (Any non-vegetarian food).
T.R.: Thank you very much for answering those questions and are there any last words from you?
N1n0: This has been our biggest interview - thank you for your interest. Dark greetz from Germany!

Website, Facebook, Bandcamp

Aeon Sable articles: Saturn Return review, Videos

Photos: JRM (outdoor pictures), Strahd Tang (studio pictures)

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