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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Skyless Aeons Interview

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?
Skyless Aeons formed in 2014 in London, Ontario when I (Nathan Ferreira) and guitarist Nicholas Luck were 18 years old. I met him at a Cryptopsy show when a mutual friend introduced us, and immediately we clicked - as a metalhead, when you meet someone else who listens to shit like Adversarial and Antediluvian, it's like discovering your long-lost brother. I wanted to be in a metal band so bad, and this guy not only knew his shit, but was also incredible at guitar, AND he knew a drummer that he was practicing with - and that guy liked extreme metal too! I tagged along to their practice one time, screamed my face off not knowing what I was doing, and they liked it enough to keep me around. Shortly after we found our bassist and we haven't had a single lineup change since, which has allowed us to learn to feed off each other's strengths and create a cohesive, tight, and very unique sound that draws from every type of extreme metal you can imagine.

2. In October you have your first full length coming out, musically how does it differ from your previous ep?
"Drain the Sun" is much more of a complete piece with a beginning, middle and an end. Our last EP was more of a "get every good idea we have on recording" type of release, with songwriting that's more wandering and all over the place. It's good for what it is, but with the new album, we decided to focus more on the death, doom, and atmospheric elements. The songwriting process was much more laborious, with many sections being scrapped, re-written, or just taken out entirely if we felt they did not serve the songs well enough.

You can also expect a much more professional and polished album - Era of Famine was recorded live off the floor, in one or two takes, over the course of a single day. With our new album, we wanted to make sure everything was fine-tuned to perfection, so we recorded in multiple sessions layer by layer to a click, with the whole recording process taking months as opposed to hours.

3. This is also your first release in 4 years, can you tell us a little bit more about what has been going on during that time span?
As I was saying above, it took a while to make sure everything was right! We focused on quality over speed, so although we had already had a couple of songs mapped out for Drain the Sun when Era of Famine was released, we didn't actually complete writing until about the end of 2018 and didn't hit the studio until summer of 2019. Simultaneously, we were also trying to play live as much as possible in order to build our reputation, so whenever we had a show coming up we'd be focusing more on rehearsing our set overwriting new material. That, and we all have day jobs, most of us play in other bands as well, and (very) occasionally, one of us manages to get laid...ya know, life and stuff.

Oh yeah and I think there was like a global pandemic or something? That definitely set back the release process a few months.

4. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band has explored with the music?
On metal-archives, our lyrical themes are listed as "space", "death", and "corruption". That's a good three-word summation.

Our new album actually has a bit of a concept going on with the lyrical themes, if you'll allow me to get a little pretentious. As a group, we're frustrated with how humans over-consume, over-indulge, blindly conform to baseless beliefs to justify it, and fail to recognize that this is exactly what causes us suffering, guilt, and our eventual demise. Each song on this album explains a different way that this happens. "Age of Regression" and "A Consciousness Decays" are about our obedience to ideology being our downfall, "Go Forth and Multiply" laments our relentless urge to breed, and "Dimensional Entrapment" explains how our limits as humans make our downward spiral inevitable. "Drain the Sun" is a metaphor - everyone has their own Sun. For some of us, it is pleasure, for others love, for some it is money, for others it could be power, but whatever it is, we will drain it until we die.

5. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Skyless Aeons'?
I like to think it refers to the period of time before the earth existed - when there was nothing more but raw matter and void, and the idea of a "sky" could not even be fathomed. Our sound is both an audio representation of that time period, and also a warning of where we're headed if we don't change course and fail to see the error of our ways.

The actual origin of it is much less glamorous - we stole it from an obscure New York death metal band, Haagenti, who has a song titled "Skyless Aeon". Nick thought that it sounded cool, we didn't hate it as much as we did the other names that were going around, we added an "s" to "Aeon" to make it more our own thing, and there you have it.

6. Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new album cover?
The cover was done by the talented Sam Nelson/Stigma Art, who has also done pieces for some of our favorite tech bands - First Fragment, Vale of Pnath, Virvum, and a bunch of others - so we were followers of his work already. While we were fleshing out the concept for our album, we came across this piece that visually described what I had in my head so perfectly - there's a beacon of light at the top, and the entire environment seems to be drawn towards it to the point where it starts to block out the light. The relentless pursuit of light creates an eternity of darkness. The album cover actually influenced the songs very greatly, since most of the album wasn't written until we bought the rights to the piece.

7. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Tough to name a personal favorite. Lots of local shows with good turnouts and killer bands. One of the more memorable ones was our most recent show with Killitorous back in January, which was hosted by a drag queen who interacted with the crowd throughout the night, got people into the sets and got freaky on stage with us while we played. That was definitely different.

Our live performance is tight, focused, and delivered with conviction, but as you might have gathered from the drag show I mentioned above, we don't mind letting loose and having a bit of fun with it - where else do you get to just go berserk without judgement?

8. Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
We looked (and are still looking really, if you run a label hmu) for a while, but despite a couple of promising responses, no one showed enough interest to get something going. We're kind of in a difficult spot, because labels usually have a very distinct vision and style that they go for, and we kind of mix a little bit of everything in. We don't really fit on a straight-up black metal label, we're not quite doom, we're not quite death metal...but we're also all of those things? Either way, we'd love to be on a label if possible, but these days it seems you have to establish yourself more independently first before labels will show interest. Hopefully, with this new album, we do just that!

9.On a worldwide level, how has the reaction been to your music by fans of underground metal?
Hard to say what the general consensus is, but it at least seems like most people like it! The overall reaction to our first EP was that it had some very promising ideas but was a little raw and amateurish, which is fair - with our new album, we're looking to tighten all of that up, and so far, the reaction to the new song has been really good. It seems like everyone has a different idea of what it sounds like - I've heard Gorguts, Deeds of Flesh, Rotting Christ, Anaal Nathrakh, Cradle of Filth, and all sorts of the stuff mentioned as comparisons by others...which is funny because I don't think any of those were direct influences. That's kind of the cool thing about music, everyone hears something a little bit different.

10.What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that some of the band members are a part of?
We like to keep busy and have a lot of other projects - there's no such thing as too much metal!

 Earlier this year our guitarist Nick joined Aepoch, who are a fantastic progressive death metal band that just put out an EP, and he's working on new material with them as we speak. He also plays slam death metal in Existential Dissipation, and they're putting out a split with a huge band from Norway soon.

I've always been more of a black metal guy myself, and in order to scratch that itch I play in two other bands: one is Cryopathy, a DSBM band that takes heavy influence from stuff like Lifelover, Intig, Woods of Desolation and Apati, and we are actually just getting ready to enter the studio to record our first full-length this fall. I also play in Hell is Other People, a post-black metal band. Covid put a bit of a strain on our practice regimen because half the band is in Windsor and the other half is in London, but we've got new songs written that we're fleshing out as well.

Our bassist Stefan has been jamming with a prog-rock band for the past year or so-called Free the Kid - they were about to play live in April before all live music imploded before our very eyes, and they've got some stuff coming out soon. Don't know much else myself, but I heard a raw demo track one time and it was pretty neat, had some Protest the Hero/Scale the Summit kinda vibes.

Martin doesn't play in any other bands because we keep him chained up in the basement. As long as we feed him enough Cheese Nips and don't make the shackles on his ankles too tight, he doesn't complain about it too much.

11.Where do you see the band heading musically during the future?

Once live shows become a thing again, we'd like to get out on the road and play outside of our hometown to spread our sound as far as it'll go. We also have some songs written for a follow-up release already, and we've already agreed that we want to continue going down a heavier and more atmospheric path. It took a bit, but we've found our sound with this new release, so the sky's the limit.

12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays/
We all have different tastes in metal (though it would be fair to say we're all primarily metal fans). I tend to go more for black and death metal, Nick likes more modern brutal and tech death, our drummer is a huge Opeth fan and likes a lot of melodic death/doom like Dark Tranquillity and Swallow the Sun, and our bassist likes a lot of black, folk, doom and prog.

We're fans and consumers of metal as much as we are creators, and we're constantly buying new albums and sharing/trading them with each other during our practices. Some bands that released super cool albums recently: Aronious, Defeated Sanity, Wormhole, The Spirit, Ulcerate, Like Rats, The Great Old Ones, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, Augury...that being said, like most fans of music, our playlists could consist of anything from Iron Maiden to Psyopus to John Coltrane to My Bloody Valentine. Influences can come anywhere and from anything.

13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thanks for taking an interest in our ruminations on humanity's collective failures. Drain the Sun drops October 2nd. Check it out, buy a CD or a shirt, or at the very least write angry messages to us about how we suck. Your acknowledgment of our existence draws us away from the void, if only for a fleeting second. Support underground extreme metal!!!

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