~ Asbury Park Vibes' Band of the Week ~

ARYA

December 16, 2020

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HOMETOWN

Rimini, Italy

YEAR FORMED

2015

BAND MEMBERS

Simone Succi – guitar, vocals

Luca Pasini – guitar, backing vocals

Alessandro Crociati – drums

BASICS

YOUR MUSICAL PAST AND PRESENT IN ONE RUN-ON SENTENCE.

Arya: a band that never cared about what genre of music they were making, whose self-produced and self-recorded music has always been an expression of the personal frustrations of its members


SORRY, BUT WE HAVE TO ASK … WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND YOUR BAND NAME?

When we first formed and were looking for a name, we struggled quite a bit to find a simple and effective one that hadn’t been taken by others, and that wouldn’t be associated with a specific genre. Back then, I was studying for an Indian philosophy exam at the university, and I came across the word Arya, which is an adjective that means “noble”, or “aristocratic” in Sanskrit. As was short and effective, and it seemed like there were no bands using it, the other members at the time accepted it. Only later I found out that there used to be a band somewhere in Russia with the same name; however, way more famous is the character with the same name from Game Of Thrones: not being confused with her on search engines is the main reason why we quickly added “Italy” on most of our social media profiles.


HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR SOUND TO SOMEONE WHO HASN’T YET HEARD YOUR MUSIC?

I think describing our sound in a simple formula would be quite difficult: our songs usually feature big shifts in dynamics and complex structures, and we like them to be unpredictable but also cohesive and coherent. We like using distortion, but also clean guitars, singing and screaming, we often use odd time signatures and extended chords. We could be maybe categorized as a progressive metal band, but we’re not what one would usually expect thinking about that genre. Our music has always originated from the contamination of many different influences: each one of us has always brought his own taste and references to the songwriting process. In the beginning we started as a wannabe “djent” band influenced by bands such as Tesseract and Periphery, but almost immediately we started incorporating elements from sludge, black metal, hardcore but also jazz, shoegaze and indie rock. We even released an almost acoustic EP in 2019, and who knows where we’ll be heading next.

IF BANDS WERE REQUIRED TO HAVE A SLOGAN … WHAT WOULD YOUR BAND SLOGAN BE?

Uhm, maybe “Conscious failure at its best”


MUSIC

HOW DOES THE BAND FLESH OUT A SONG FROM START (IDEA IN YOUR HEAD) TO FINISH (RECORDING)?

The way we’ve mainly worked so far on new songs begins with an idea, short or more articulated, that me or Simone bring to the table as a demo recording, usually as a single guitar part. Then we try to expand that to make it a full song, and all the band members create their parts over it, on their own or together in the rehearsal room, where everything is tested and revised. We sometimes even change some details or create whole songs during the recording process in the studio, which we handle completely by ourselves from pre-production to mastering, in our own place we’ve been building and upgrading for years. For the new album, which has been composed entirely just by me and Simone, we worked a lot together in a room, recording ourselves, swapping, overlapping or cutting parts and trying things: I think the end result is really experimental, but it’s also not what you would consider catchy and suitable for everyone.


WHAT DO YOU FEEL IS THE BEST SONG YOU EVER RELEASED, AND WHY?

After a few years I still feel quite proud of Everlasting (End), the closing track of our 2018 album Endesires. It’s a really interesting one, as it doesn’t follow the usual song form: after a short introduction, just like a classical music piece, a main theme is exposed, that is then developed and alternated with other secondary themes, ending in a final intense climax. Despite this unconventional structure, I think it’s a really emotionally powerful song, and that it doesn’t sound pretentious or unappealing. Everyone in the band performed at his/her best, and the lyrics inspired by the English playwright Sarah Kane are just perfect. It’s also really fun to play it live, it was perfect both as an opening and closing song for a setlist. It was composed during a special moment in my life, and I really wish I could come up again with more ideas as creative as those in the future.


PICK ONE WORD THAT BEST DESCRIBES WHAT YOUR REHEARSALS ARE LIKE. [YOU CAN ELABORATE IF YOU’D LIKE!]

Impossible at the moment, it’s a real shame, there’s a pandemic going on and many restrictions that make travelling between cities very difficult.


ANY MUSIC VIDEOS PLANNED OR IN PRODUCTION?

I really wanted to shoot one for Thymian, the third song on our new album For Ever. I’ve written some kind of script it months ago, but I don’t know when or if we’ll be able to make it: besides the ongoing pandemic, it’s difficult to find actors among our friends in our hometown, especially if the theme is really depressing as it is for this video.


LET’S GEEK OUT FOR A SECOND … TELL US WHAT YOUR ABSOLUTE FAVORITE PIECE OF MUSICAL EQUIPMENT IS RIGHT NOW.

I really like a pedal preamplifier called D-Lead, from a Russian brand called AMT Electronics. It’s a really clever product, it’s really small and has a valve on the top, I use it for all my distorted tones. I’m really looking forward to using it in my future recordings.



INFLUENCES

GUITAR SOLO THAT ALWAYS GIVES YOU GOOSEBUMPS?

Am I too much of a traditionalist if I choose the second solo in Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd? Guthrie Govan’s solo on Drive Home by Steven Wilson is also so good.


MOST BAD-ASS BASSIST?

Jon Stockman from Karnivool, his sound and style influenced a whole generation of metal bassists!


DRUMMER WITH KILLER CHOPS?

I randomly found a drummer called Richard Spaven, he plays some kind of neo-soul or electronic jazz and he has a really interesting and unconventional style. Despite him playing a genre so different from mine, I immediately became really fascinated with him. He ended up inspiring some parts on our newest album For Ever.


ROLLING STONES OR THE BEATLES?

The Beatles: it would be impossible to estimate how much all the music we do and listen today, of almost any genre, owes to them. They found themselves in the unique position of being able to explore a whole new world of technical and artistic possibilities that no one could have imagined before, while retaining creative control over their art that nonetheless was being exported almost all over the world, contributing to its unification. They first showed the world what could have been done with those new technical means, besides being among the best songwriters ever.

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PERFORMING

DO YOU HAVE ANY PRE-SHOW RITUALS?

Not really: if I have the chance I try to randomly warm up a little bit, as some venues are quite cold, our music can be quite challenging technically, and I don’t feel good enough for it!


FUNNIEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED WHILE YOU WERE ON STAGE.

I fell on my back while moving too much on a quite big stage, and didn’t stop playing. It also got caught on video. I didn’t hurt at all.


WHAT DO YOU HOPE YOUR FANS GET FROM YOUR MUSIC? IS THERE ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE THEM TO KNOW?

We’ve always tried to put ourselves fully and sincerely into our music. We’re not acting, creating or impersonating some kind of musical character, maybe falling into a specific trend, both with our music and the way we present ourselves as people. That’s why our music has changed during the years and will change again. But this means we’re not an easy band to listen to and appreciate, and I’m aware of it, so I’m really grateful to anyone who chooses to use some precious time to enjoy something we made often thinking just about ourselves. This makes me think that I’d like to try to write more for others as well in the future: our most recent album has been for sure the most solipsistic and self-centered we’ve ever done.

GOALS

MOST DON’T ALLOW THEMSELVES TO BELIEVE THAT WHAT THEY REALLY WANT... CAN ACTUALLY HAPPEN. CLOSE YOUR EYES AND VISUALIZE WHAT YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR ULTIMATE SUCCESS. WHAT DO YOU SEE?

Being able to make enough money to live an ordinary life entirely thanks to the music without compromises we make would be a great achievement, but also an almost impossible one in this day and age. It would implicate that many people enjoyed our music, that we sold records and toured a lot. We’ve never expected to make much money out of the band, besides the one we need to pay back our expenses and upgrade our studio: if we wanted to become rich we surely wouldn’t make music, and if we wanted to become rich with music we would play something completely different.


WHAT ARE YOU DETERMINED TO SEE HAPPEN FOR YOUR BAND IN THE NEXT YEAR?

Being alive and able to perform live again would already be an achievement: the Coronavirus is really making our life more complicated than ever. Besides being impossible to book and perform concerts, lately it’s making meeting again in person very difficult again, considering I have to be in Rome while the rest of the band is 400 km away in Rimini and there’s a curfew and the constant risk of new travel restrictions being implemented.


UPCOMING SHOWS, EVENTS, FESTIVALS YOU’RE PLAYING?

We may have a couple of booked events next year, but who knows what will have happened by then: this pandemic is making it impossible to think about our future as people even more than as a band.

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PERSONAL

WHAT CONCERT DID YOU ATTEND THAT YOU’LL NEVER, EVER FORGET?

I really enjoyed seeing Deafheaven in Bologna in summer 2018. The venue wasn’t too big, there were no fancy stuff like backing tracks or a synchronized light show, just pure energy. They were really having fun and expressing emotions, and so was the audience. I’d really like to give back to someone what they gave to me with their music.


WHEN YOU’RE NOT PLAYING MUSIC, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE TO DO?

Besides studying and working I try to do some of the boring “business” stuff related to Arya, I watch some movies (I’m working in the movie industry, so I have to learn how to get better at it), read whenever I can, I listen to music and I try to spend time with friends, if I can and if I’m not feeling too bad.


IF WE WERE TO LOOK AT YOUR “GO-TO” PLAYLIST RIGHT NOW, WHO ARE SOME OF THE ARTISTS WE’D SEE?

Deftones, Regina Spektor, Kate Bush, Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares, Yob, The Who, WOWS, Ry X, Nero Di Marte, Bent Knee, Agent Fresco


VINYL RECORDS, CASSETTES, CD’s, OR DOWNLOADS?

I like to have CDs of bands I like because I can listen to them while I’m driving, being able to experience an album from start to finish without many distractions besides the traffic. Overall I mostly use my computer to listen to music, because I can think of a piece, look for it and listen to it in a matter of seconds: we’re the first generation to be able to instantly have access to most of the music ever recorded, and I think it’s a huge opportunity we have. I like to have downloaded music ready for each moment where I don’t have an internet connection available, for example on many train journeys. Sadly, the digital world is also doing much harm, in my opinion, to originality in music: above all due to how streaming services are presenting it to people: they feed everyone with music they know each person will like, so it’s getting more and more difficult to be surprised by unexpected music; moreover few huge record labels are almost monopolizing the audience, gathering almost all the few money left in the business, and every artist is basically forced to adapt to each genre’s ongoing trends in order to reach someone through them.


AN ALBUM YOU NEVER GET TIRED OF LISTENING TO.

Unholy by Martin Grech, an English singer-songwriter from Aylesbury. Sadly, very few people know his music, and that emotionally powerful and experimental album, released by a major label when music sales were being destroyed by digital music, went out almost unnoticed. I happened to find a CD online for just a couple of Euros, and I usually keep it in my car.


WHAT SONG ARE YOU CURRENTLY OBSESSED WITH?

I’m really into Hana-bi, from Joe Isaishi’s soundtrack of the movie with the same name, directed by Takeshi Kitano. It’s such a beautiful movie featuring really beautiful music.


WHAT SONG HELPED YOU WHEN YOU WERE HEARTBROKEN?

It depends on which of the many times it happened to me I have to refer to: in various moments of my life I remember binge-listening to Hope There’s Someone by Antony and the Johnsons, Perfection by Tesseract or Should Have Known Better by Sufjan Stevens.

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Asbury Park Vibes is a media publication dedicated to shining a light on the live music scene, as well as promoting the artists we love! We strive to provide show reviews, photographs, and artist stories that bring fans and musicians closer together.

Our coverage focuses keenly on the artists and venues in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York; however, you'll also catch us featuring musicians and shows all across the U.S!!! There's nothing better than the ENERGY and VIBES we all feel from live music! We're sure we'll see you at a show somewhere very soon!

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