Last night saw death-metal band Aeon commence the UK leg of their Aeon’s Black tour, and I was due to meet them. Waiting outside The Garage in Islington, I nervously flick through my notes and try to absorb every detail I can about the band, their history and their reputation. Unusually for any band of any genre, I could not find a single bad thing said about them; they are by all accounts technically at the top of their game and song-writing pioneers. Finally I am met by their PR man and led upstairs to where the gig will be starting in an hour’s time. I’m led past Ageless Oblivion who are in the middle of their soundcheck, and shown into a small room sitting underneath a sign that says ‘Toilet’. This where I find the band: five giant Scandinavians squeezed into a tiny room surrounded by equipment for themselves and their four support acts. In the room also is another interviewer who is a more discernible metal-head than myself; we’re told that we will need to split the band in two so we can question the factions of the band simultaneously. Tommy and Zeb – arguably the face of the band – head downstairs with Daniel the metal-head; Marcus and Emil are left with me. Metal-head gets the face and the brains of the band, I get the heart and the lifeblood…
BF: So you’re new album Aeon’s Black was released last November. It’s received rave reviews in the media, but what has been, in your own experience, the reactions of the fans?
Daniel: Exactly the same, they have loved it. It’s been an amazing reaction.
Marcus: Yeah it’s pretty much reflected what the press has said. Lots of people saying it’s 10/10.
BF: Now your producer, Ronnie Bjornstrom, described the album as ‘groovier’ and said because of that it will ‘appeal to a wider audience.’ Is that something you agree with?
Daniel: Did he mean the production or the musicianship?
BF: Err… Well I just read it as meaning the album as a whole.
Daniel: Well this album will probably reach more people – the previous albums were fast-paced all the way through with no let up. This one has different tempos, it has some slower songs. I say slower songs, I mean slower for us, they’re still heavy!
BF: And do you see it as a good thing that it reaches out to more people? Would you prefer to keep your hardcore death metal fan, who really know and understand the genre, or is it OK to start to gain fans who are maybe and don’t know much about death metal, or even metal?
Daniel: I think really it’s a natural progression. There comes a point in a band’s life where they need to take the next step, and for us getting more people interested in our music is the next step. It’s always kind of been an ambition of ours to make this type of album.
BF: Do you see yourselves as a studio band then or as a live band?
Daniel: Live! I hate the studio.
Marcus: The studio’s fun, but live is what it’s about.
Daniel: No the studio is necessary, not fun!
BF: Emil, you’ve just joined the band.
Emil: That’s right, tonight is my first gig.
BF: How have you been finding the band?
Emil: Yeah great.
BF: Feeling ready for tonight?
Emil: Yeah… I’m… Yeah!
BF: Good, so how do you guys find adapting to new band members?
Daniel: We haven’t had that many really. Our original drummer left after a couple of years, then came back and has decided to have another break.
BF: Am I right in thinking that most of you have side projects as well?
Marcus: I’m the only one who has side projects at the moment.
Daniel: Tommy and Zeb used to have a couple of side projects, but they haven’t been active for a couple of years now.
BF: So, Marcus, is Aeon your main project?
Marcus: No actually my main project is my band, Souldrainer
BF: Woah, that must be a distraction.
Marcus: Yeah it is, it’s a major distraction.
BF: Don’t you find that to be a problem?
Marcus: No, not really, the other band doesn’t tour so much so there’s been no clashes.
BF: As a band you have been noted and praised for your technical abilities, but you have on occasion changed your line-up and worked on different projects. Normally a band’s technical skills comes from them being together for years, gelling together and being completely focused on that one band. Where would you say your skills as a band come from?
Marcus: Lot’s of rehearsal, good musicianship and the fact we know each other really well.
Daniel: When we are recruiting a new band member, they have to be up to our level already. We don’t have time to teach someone.
BF: So are you lucky enough to know lot’s of technically skilled musicians?
Daniel: No we are very picky.Especially with drummers, great drummers don’t grow on trees. For example we found Emil on You Tube.
Marcus: Well we heard about him first, then looked him up on You Tube. No one in the history of the world has typed in ‘the greatest drummer in the world’ into a search engine and found them.
BF: Fair point! So finally, before I depart, considering you have a new addition, what has been your favourite album?
Daniel: I have to say this one.
Marcus: Well this is the first one I’ve played on, but yeah this one.