Aeolian unleashes ‘Echoes of the Future’: a metal journey through time – An Exclusive Interview

In the realm of metal, where raw power often reigns, Aeolian emerges as a beacon of purpose and passion. Founded in 2016, this Mallorca-based band has woven a unique tapestry of music that transcends the typical bounds of metal. Their mission extends beyond mere sonic innovation; Aeolian is on a crusade to awaken consciousness about our imperiled environment through their compelling melodies and poignant lyrics. Infusing Scandinavian and melodic death metal with elements of black and folk metal, Aeolian’s sound isn’t just a fusion of genres; it’s a statement. Their journey began with ‘Silent Witness,’ a debut album released to critical acclaim in 2018. This piece of art, mixed and produced by Miquel A. Riutort (Mega) and mastered by Tomi Toivonen, echoed a call for the preservation of nature’s delicate balance. Their sophomore release, ‘The Negationist,’ delved deeper into the repercussions of humanity’s disregard for the environment. With a haunting blend of darkness and hope, this album was a piercing introspection into the damage inflicted on our planet and ourselves. Now, Aeolian is set to unveil the final chapter of their thematic trilogy with ‘Echoes of the Future.’ This forthcoming album, meticulously mixed and mastered by Dan Swanö at Unisound Studios, catapults listeners into a not-so-distant future. Here, Aeolian paints a vivid picture of the trials and moral quandaries facing humanity as it grapples with an increasingly inhospitable planet.In anticipation of their latest release at the end of November, our editorial team had the privilege of interviewing Aeolian. Stay tuned for an exclusive insight into the band’s evolution and their resonating message through their newest musical endeavor. On the occasion of their latest release at the end of November, our editorial team had the privilege of interviewing Aeolian. Stay tuned for an exclusive insight into the band’s evolution and their resonating message through their newest musical endeavor.

Can you tell us about the formation of Aeolian and what inspired you to come together as a band, particularly in the metal genre you play?

Raul: Aeolian started as a personal project of mine. I was playing guitar in a viking metal band called Battlehorn with our singer Dani, but I wanted to write music on my own in a different style. After some time composing and doing some pre-production, I decided to look for the other pieces to set the band.
The current lineup is Dani Pérez as vocalist, Gabi Escalas and Raúl Morán as guitar players, Leoben Conoy as bassist and Pedro Martínez as drummer. Throughout these years the lineup has undergone some changes. The genre we play came naturally to us as. Dani and I grew up listening to the amazing wave of Death and black metal bands that emerged in the nineties. That fresh and heavy feeling is what we try to transmit through our music.

Being from Mallorca, an area not traditionally known for metal music, how has your local culture and environment influenced your music?

Leoben: In some way, living in a relatively secluded place allows us to evolve differently and influences us ambivalently. Negatively, it limits us economically and burdens us with travel, equipment transportation, and touring possibilities. However, positively, it grants us a certain independence when it comes to setting timelines for recording and touring. Fortunately, we have connections with almost all the bands, producers, and concert venues on the island, allowing us to stay in touch with every part of the scene.
Surprisingly, Palma is one of the cities with a strong tradition in extreme metal, hosting festivals and related events for several years. As for the themes of our songs, let’s say that we live in an environment where the word ‘overexploitation of nature’ is part of our daily life. So, we have a lot to talk about every summer when our sea fills up with tourism waste, and our streets overflow with alcohol and excess-based tourism. The human being is a strange creature, and here, we have the opportunity to witness its darker side and reflect it in what we do.

What inspired the theme and title of your latest album, ‘Echoes of the Future’? Does it carry a deeper message regarding environmental concerns or human evolution? How do these themes play into your songwriting and the overall narrative of the album?

Leoben: The album’s title relates to the concept of the album and is part of a trilogy – past, present, and future – that presents an ecological and environmental epic in which humanity has been immersed since its technology and progress began to alter the climate and the environment in which it lives. This third album concludes the journey of the previous ones in a way we couldn’t have dreamed of when we started, but whose pieces have fit together logically and compellingly.
“Silent Witness” spoke to us about nature absorbing and recovering from all the damage, a majestic past that withstood our progress and civilization. “The Negationist” began to depict a present that starts to resemble all those disaster movies that, since childhood, presented us with an apocalyptic future. All those extinctions, massive fires, droughts, climatic phenomena, tsunamis, etc., and how governments and the media deny any connection of humanity to them.
In this third album, we took a turn and invented two future societies – one that has managed to overcome these problems and survive, and another that has not been so fortunate and is doomed to disappear. Both future worlds send us a message to change, giving us hints in the form of dreams, and these “Echoes of the Future” are the inspiration for this new album – a message of hope but also a warning.

How has the reception to ‘Echoes of the Future’ been so far, and has the audience response influenced your perspective on your music?

Leoben: So far, there has been a very positive reception, both for the album and for the video of the title track. The album is rapidly gaining popularity on streaming platforms, and the record label couldn’t be happier with the release. We’ve only received praise so far, but we’re not letting it get to our heads. Despite putting in a lot of work, we always have the next step in mind and don’t dwell too much on what’s already done. Nevertheless, I take this opportunity to thank you for your interest in what we do—it means a lot to us.

What are Aeolian’s plans for the future?

Leoben: At the moment, we are focused on preparing and arranging the songs for live performances, as well as handling all the media promotion and interviews. We’ve also started organizing ourselves for the upcoming year to present the album in a way it deserves and to elevate our status as a band. We’ll be putting effort into arranging concerts outside the country and aiming for the largest possible festivals, and that requires some preparation and planning, you know! We have families, jobs, and even though we are passionate about music, we have to approach each move as if planning a space trip [chuckles].

Your latest album seems to nod to the ’90s death metal era. What specific elements from that time did you intentionally incorporate into your music, and how do they manifest in your new record?

Leoben: We don’t invent anything; we just go with the flow, and the influences come out naturally, to be honest. We appreciate the melody and writing style of the greats, you know, Dissection, Opeth, Dark Funeral, and we always try to incorporate progressive, folk, or classical elements into some songs to keep them interesting and exciting.
In this album, you’ll see that we’ve allowed for somewhat more complex instrumentation, a more refined production, and, above all, more transparent elements. That means, if a song called for an extension, we did it, and if it demanded to be direct with more or fewer vocals, we let it breathe. For us, it’s something natural, although it takes time to understand and follow the instinct, but eventually, you just let yourself go.

Many fans have noted the evolution of your sound. How do you balance staying true to the genre’s roots while exploring new territories and sonic landscapes?

Leoben: To be honest, the evolution for us has been almost imperceptible from our point of view, subjectively, almost song by song. However, you’re somewhat right about that, as if we compare the sophistication of the songs on this latest album with the first, we do find certain differences. I guess we keep raising the bar each time, and in this case, we decided to explore the extremes, focusing on creating big choruses, more intricate riffs when necessary, and pushing our boundaries a bit further.
There are about twenty demos of different songs that we started working on, and we discarded at least half of them. Evidence of this is two tracks that we left as bonus for the CD edition, giving us more material and variety to work with, allowing us to make better selections.

In what ways do you feel your music contributes to the legacy of the ’90s death metal scene, and how do you see yourselves adding to that narrative?

Leoben: As I was saying, we only pay tribute to those bands, and in a way, we try to ensure the genre persists. If we inadvertently make it evolve, we hope our heroes can forgive us. If there’s anything we contribute, it’s the ecological vision, a purpose beyond the music that is to communicate a message. In this case, the imperative need to turn towards environmentalism and urgently protect nature.

Your lyrics often touch on darker themes. How do you approach the storytelling aspect while maintaining the intensity and aggression that characterize the genre?

Leoben: For me, at least, there is nothing more heartbreaking than witnessing a still-smoldering, burnt forest or the sea filled with dead dolphins floating amidst plastics. Seeing the tragedy caused by events like Fukushima or witnessing images of drought and famine in the Horn of Africa, the cruelty of war, or what COVID has made us endure for several months; I believe these are stimuli sufficient to start writing and teach people that we cannot continue at this pace because it is simply unsustainable.
We try to delve into these ideas and contribute some other things that affect us personally. Moreover, living in a natural environment under constant ecological assault, as I mentioned before, gives us a considerable environmental awareness. So yes, we have various fronts from which to draw inspiration.

The album artwork is striking and evocative. Could you share the story or concept behind it and how it ties into the music?

Raúl: The album cover was made by the amazing Ryan T. Hancock, an english artist that is making a very good job. In addition, he paints directly on canvas which is awesome.
The cover character is a woman from the future to which we are headed who sends us a message. We must change our way of life if we want a human future on earth. Otherwise, we may reach a point of no return that will lead us to extinction.

Collaborations can bring a fresh perspective to music. Have you considered working with artists from the ’90s metal scene or those influenced by it? If so, who would be your dream collaboration?

Leoben: Absolutely, collaborations can indeed bring a fresh perspective to music, and it’s something we’ve been open to exploring. The ’90s metal scene has been a significant influence on our sound, so the idea of working with artists from that era or those deeply influenced by it is intriguing. In terms of dream collaborations, there are so many iconic figures we admire. It would be incredible to collaborate with someone like Mikael Åkerfeldt from Opeth, whose musicality and songwriting have had a profound impact on us. His ability to blend progressive elements with the raw intensity of death metal is truly inspiring.
Another dream collaboration from the beginning always was Dan Swanö, not only for his prowess as a producer but also for his musical contributions in bands like Edge of Sanity. The idea of combining our vision with the experience and creativity of such influential figures would undoubtedly result in a unique and powerful musical fusion, so… this one was a dream come true for us. Personally, recording a song with Jon Nödtveidt would have been a dream come true for me, but unfortunately, it’s impossible, so I would settle for collaborating with Thulcandra, who are his living heirs at this moment.

The production quality on this album is exceptional. How important was it for you to capture that raw, authentic sound reminiscent of the ’90s death metal recordings?

Leoben: The involvement of Dan Swanö as our producer was absolutely crucial in shaping the exceptional production quality on this album. Working with someone of his caliber brought a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of the genre. Dan not only contributed to capturing that raw, authentic sound reminiscent of ’90s death metal recordings but also brought his unique touch to elevate the overall sonic experience. His meticulous approach and attention to detail ensured that each element of our music was finely tuned to perfection. Dan’s understanding of the balance between modern clarity and the vintage, gritty feel we aimed for was instrumental. It was an honor to collaborate with him, and his expertise played a significant role in bringing our vision to life. The production, under his guidance, became a true collaboration, resulting in an album that pays homage to the roots of death metal while embracing a contemporary edge and more polished sound.

Your live performances are renowned for their energy. How do you translate the intensity of your music into a live setting, and what can fans expect from your upcoming tour?

Leoben: Our live performances are a crucial aspect of our identity as a band. We see each show as an opportunity to connect with our audience on a deeper level and convey the intense emotions embedded in our music. The energy you witness on stage is a reflection of our passion for the songs and the messages we aim to deliver. To translate the intensity of our music into a live setting, we focus on tight musicality, engaging stage presence if time and venues let us do it,, and creating a visually immersive experience with visuals behind the stage. Fans can expect a dynamic performance that captures the essence of our recorded tracks while adding an extra layer of raw emotion and excitement. As we gear up for our upcoming tour, we’re thrilled to share these powerful moments with our fans and create an unforgettable experience for everyone in attendance.

The lyrical content often delves into complex emotions. How do you navigate the balance between personal expression and connecting with your audience through your lyrics?

Leoben: Emotions are universal, so we start with the premise that everyone can feel empathy for the same emotions if communicated in a universal way, sharing what events generate within us. What loss, pain, or hope can evoke in people with the right images, with the right words. We are certain that what happens to us as individuals is always translatable into words, and that’s why we hope that when we speak of environmental urgency, those who listen see beyond the message and truly imagine those desolate landscapes. We want them to see beyond, they won’t see our beach but theirs, they won’t see the war in Ukraine but the future war they might have in their streets, they won’t see the toxic rain but their children experiencing thirst and hunger. That is our way of connecting, of conveying ideas, through evocative images usually narrated in the first person. For this album, we have varied the way of storytelling a bit because the third person has also introduced other possibilities, but we always start from images and subjective experiences.

Looking back at the making of this album, what were some memorable moments or challenges you faced that significantly impacted its creation, and how did you overcome them?

Raúl: Undeniably the composition of the song Chronicles of the Fall. We began the composition of this song with one only rule: “there are no rules”. Dani told me he wanted to write a twenty minute song! Throughout the process I told him that maybe twenty would be too long, and in the end it is over eleven minutes. We approached this song as a journey in which you go through different landscapes and many things happen.

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