How’s everything on your end? Hopefully all is well.
Things are great! We just put out our new record and so far people seem to like it, and we are currently building on our sound with the addition of new guitarist Jon Liedtke.
First of all, Ara formed back in 2012, and by December you recorded your debut full-length ‘Devourer of Worlds’. How long had you guys been working on it, and what was the writing process like?
I think the whole thing took maybe a little over a year to put together. We started working on it right after we released “The Blessed Sleep” and I think we were in the studio a year and a couple of months after that. As for writing the record, I (Jerry-guitars) wrote the songs and presented them to the band where we fleshed out the arrangements after I made tabs and videos of myself playing the songs at home. After getting our feet wet with the EP we are now able to quickly piece everything together, and the guys help build everything at pretty alarming speeds given the material.
Would you say the sound on the full-length is all that different compared to the material found on your 2012 EP ‘The Blessed Sleep’?
The bizarre riffs that make up the style are still very present, but I wanted to obviously take things to another extreme on the full length. [The] Songs are much weirder than the EP, and we play both much faster and much slower on the newer material. I’m trying to keep the basic themes of the songs to a minimum that mutate throughout the course of each song so that every composition has its unique identity. As with the EP, you won’t hear any filler riffs on “Devourer of Worlds.”
Why did Ara go the route of not including the songs on the EP off instead of including them, or even a few on ‘Devourer of Worlds’?
We’re constantly looking to move forward and I think each release should be a statement of where you are at as a band at the time. We’re a much more cohesive unit now and I feel the EP is an excellent standalone release. I for one feel cheated when I get a new release from a band that falls back on older material to flesh itself out. Plus every record we make will have a consistent theme, and we don’t intend to obscure that by ever moving backwards.
Both the EP and ‘Devourer of Worlds’ were released yourselves. Have you been shopping either around to see if you can get a distributor, or has the band found a good deal of success sticking with the independent releasing? Either way, are there any labels in particular you wouldn’t mind working with in the future?
We would definitely love to be supported by a label, but we are currently succeeding at being self-sufficient. We are incredibly lucky to have an amazing studio engineer (Shane Hochstetler) to make our material sound fantastic and Jim Becker (bass) has provided excellent artwork for each release that he also puts together by hand. It’s nice to know we don’t have a closet full of pressed records that will collect dust in the digital age so make albums as we need them. However we are more than open to label support to gain more exposure.
What are some of the inspirations behind the music and lyrical themes of ‘Devourer of Worlds’? Are there any real world events that also may have played a role in the composition stage?
It’s hard not to look at the world and not see it self-destructing on multiple levels. The end of existence is of course something that has been covered by countless bands, but perhaps we look at the source of the problem a bit more and want to focus on our disgust for humanity what will bring about our undoing. Although the title track and overall theme of the record involves the end of all creation from an outside omnipotent entity, the fleeting efforts of a failed humanity are also looked at as a futile defense against the inevitable.
All four of you have been involved in other bands in the past, though some more than others. Do you find having been or currently being part of another band has helped or hurt Ara at all?
Erik Stenglein (drums) and I definitely influence each other’s writing in both our bands Ara and Northless where he sings and plays guitar, and I think inspired writing is always a good thing to utilize to hone your own individual skills. The ways Erik manipulates keys and deliberately enforces stark contrast show up in my writing in Ara and more progressive arrangements that I am prone to are getting utilized in Northless. It’s fun to watch it happen even if it’s by accident.
How have the live shows been going for you guys? Have you played with any major names you’re honored to share a stage with, or just had some really memorable experiences so far you wouldn’t mind sharing?
Every show we’ve played thankfully has been well populated and received so far. We’ve been lucky to play with a great black metal band from New York called Anicon twice, who on the second time brought another phenomenal black metal band called Yellow Eyes with them. We were also thrilled to play with Hex Machine who was touring with Dave Witte at the time, and meeting him was an incredible experience. We thankfully also have a phenomenal local scene in Milwaukee where we are guaranteed to share the stage with an incredible local band regardless of whatever show we play.
Is there a chance Ara will head out on an extensive tour at some point, if you haven’t already? Or do you think that the time to do so isn’t quite right yet?
We definitely want to get on the road to support the record but we want to make sure that our time is budgeted correctly as Northless is planning to head to the west coast this coming year. We are proud of the new record and want as many people to hear it as possible so we hope to get out at some point once our scheduling between both bands takes shape.
So, what’s next for Ara and its members? Any band or personal goals you guys are hoping to meet or accomplish this year?
I’m anxious to write new material with Jon Liedtke but I also know we have a great release on our hands that we should focus on getting heard. It should be a busy year for us in between writing and shows and we hope that every fan of bizarre death metal is able to hear what we bring to the table.
Is there anything else I didn’t get a chance to touch on?