Thursday, December 19, 2013

... An interview with Aaron Esterby from EGYPT

My first encounter with EGYPT was in the beginning of 2010 when I got just another package from All That Is Heavy. Inside, along with the stuff I had ordered I found a simple black and white cover CD with a stylized falcon and the back of it said “EGYPT was Aaron Esterby/ Chad Heille/ Ryan Grahn”. It turned out to be a bonus item (oh, how I like presents!), an EP by a band that had split a few years back and I absolutely loved the music that was on it. No wonder I got super excited when I heard last year that EGYPT was going to release new material. “Become the Sun” and “Cyclopean Riffs” (split with WO FAT) followed the good news, both are excellent records and received due attention from the fans of the heavy and the slow. Now the band seems more active than ever and is preparing to record more material but more on that you can learn from Aaron….

It has been (almost) a year since you released your first full length album “Become the Sun”, as far as I know it got very positive response. The same for your split with WO FAT….. What has changed for the band since you resurrected EGYPT?
The response to the new stuff has been extremely positive for the most part. Some people were a bit disappointed that Become the Sun wasn't the S/T EP part 2. We're really proud of Become the Sun and Cyclopean Riffs (WO FAT split). We've grown a lot as a band and cover more ground musically. The main thing that has changed for us since we got back together is there is more dedication. We are always rehearsing and writing. Working on becoming the best we can be. 

Do you approach music and creating music the same way you used to, say 10 years ago?
When we started back in 2003, all the songs we basically just jammed out. Someone would come up with a riff and we would jam on that until something would happen. Kind of let everything breathe until changes occurred on there own. Our approach now is a bit different. There are a lot more formed ideas being brought to the table. Sometimes even complete songs. Everyone is contributing riffs and structure. We still jam some tunes out, but the songwriting and the way that is happens is a bit more mature.

Do you have other musical projects that kept you in shape during the years?
Not really. I go through phases where I absolutely do not want to pick up an instrument or have anything to do with music. The way the first incarnation of EGYPT ended bummed me out and I had little interest in playing. During EGYPT 's hiatus, Chad (drummer) played and recorded in a few projects. He recorded an album where he played all the instruments. The project was called EL SUPREMO and it's worth checking out if you can get your hands on it. Our guitar player, Neal Stein, had a bunch of bands we was involved with. One of which is GORGATRON. An absolutely killer death metal band. Everyone should check them out. They rule. 

What inspires the lyrics in your albums?
Mostly science fiction and lore. I usually will try to tell some kind of story. I have a hard time sitting down and writing lyrics. For the most part, the lyrics kind of come to me when we are jamming on new ideas. A lot of the songs seem to end up being about the Sun dying for some reason. Probably because that would be pretty bad...haha

You are
already planning your next record. Tell me in what direction are you going this time musically?
We are planning on heading into the studio in January 2014. We have a TON of new material. We been playing quite a few of the new songs live and people seem to really dig them. There is not much of a direction change. Some songs are heavy and slow, others are heavy and groovy. It's a pretty mixed bag. I think the tentative idea is to release the new material as 2 shorter length records. To try to keep the running time 40 minutes or under for each record. The idea is in it's infancy so we'll what materializes. We're excited to get in the studio and start working.

“Become The Sun” and the split with WO FAT “Cyclopean Riffs”were released through Totem Cat Records and Doomentia Records. Are you going to release the next one with one of these labels or you have something else in mind?
We're not sure what we are going to do. Both Totem Cat and Doomentia are great labels that are awesome to work with. They both put the music first and really care about putting out a product that looks and sounds killer. We'll see what happens when we are finished with the sessions. We would work with either of them again.

Playing live or
just picking up the fruits of your work in the studio?
First and foremost, we are a live band. That is what we do best and what we enjoy the most. The studio is fun but there is nothing like playing a show. 

Tell me about your local scene. Do you have the chance to play live often?
We play quite a bit locally and regionally. We'd like to get out and play more on a national level. It can be pretty tough to do when you have families and full time jobs but it can be done. We are going to really try to tour the States in 2014. We would also love to get to Europe. We are hoping to do that in 2014 as well. As for our local scene in Fargo, I'd say it's pretty good for the size of the community. We have some great bands here. I'm a big fan of Shit on Top of Shit (SOTOS), and the death metal crushers Gorgatron that I mentioned earlier. The biggest issue we have around here is a lack of good venues for original music. Also, show attendance can be a problem but I think that's a problem everywhere.

In another interview from about a year ago you said that exposure isn’t that important to you. Is it still so? Is the hype good or bad thing?
Well, exposure is never a bad thing. The more people that listen to your music the better. What I meant is, that it isn't important to what we do. It isn't going to change anything we do. We would play in a garage for 3 people. We just like to write and play music. We are humbled that people dig our stuff. We certainly never expected when we recorded the S/T EP in our practice space years ago that it would be heard by anyone. And we would have never thought we'd be writing and recording a third album 10 plus years later. We are very grateful to the fans of our music. 

Thank you for taking the time to do this! Is there anything else you want people to know about
EGYPT that I didn’t asked you?
We have had any amazing year. We've played with some awesome bands, WO FAT, WEEDEATER, ORANGE GOBLIN, and CHURCH OF MISERY to name a few. We would like to thank everyone that came out to shows, bought merch at shows or online, bought us drinks, shook our hands, and had a floor for us to crash on. Thank all of you so much. For real. We hope to see a lot of you in 2014. Cheers.

Interview by Vania Yosifova

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