1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?
Well, it might be important to start with the fact that AION is not a band, but rather a solo project. Asknt and Ishk consider themselves not as band members, but as collaborators. The aim was to render as closely and truly the experience that lies at the origin of Verses of Perdition. I had a very clear idea in mind of how the whole thing had to sound like, yet I lack technical abilities in drumming and singing, so I was grateful for the help Asknt and Ishk offered me, which permitted to complete my compositions and to attain those visions.
But to answer your question: AION was created in order to give sonic shape to mental and physical limit experiences. Alteration and annihilation of the Self, madness, perdition, death. Visions from the realms that open beyond the limits of ordinary experiencing and perception.
At the present stage, AION confines itself to Verses of Perdition. The entity was summoned for this album, not the other way around, if you see what I mean.
Verses of Perdition expresses a journey to the spiritual desert – desert that is that eternal space of silence, the realm of your own dying, illimitable and infinite. The place you reach once you fell, once all dimensions burst at the core of your being. A place where you face the horror of existence, where consciousness becomes incandescent, your mind turn to fire, your blood turns to glass. The place where you gaze deep into the abyss of your own death. A moment when you accept your own decay, your inevitable failure, as well as the fact that there is no such thing as salvation. The only enlightenment resides in the acceptance of fall – the luminous pathway between Time and Eternity.
I. void, greyness, infinite halls of absence
II. crossing the edge: disquiet, downfall, madness
III. rage, utter terror, burst
IV. entering the desert; complete loss / death
V. abandon, calm, ecstasy, enlightenment
2.In May you have your first album coming out, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?
The musical sound identifies itself completely with the concept mentioned above. The five tracks represent the five phases of that journey to the desert. Each track renders the atmosphere of one of the successive stages, allowing the vision to manifest sonorously.
3.The lyrics seem to have a concept of sorts, can you tell us a little bit more about the songwriting that is presented on the recording?
Indeed, there again, the lyrics embrace the concept.
Music, lyrics and artwork are three indivisible aspects of one and the same vision.
Concerning the songwriting process: the guitars have been composed first, then the drums in collaboration between Asknt and me, to what I added the bass lines. The lyrics were written, the vocals placed and pre-recorded by myself, but for the final result Ishk lent his voice.
I see the album really as an entity of its own: a vision that guided me, something the composition and writing had to try “to live up to” and to stay entirely true to. The work wasn’t finished because I’d have decided so or because there would have been a deadline - it was finished when it revealed itself to me as completed. Completed, that is certainly not perfect, but simply sufficient/acceptable, in the way that it was the best I was able to do with my personal, limited, skills. I guess this striving for accomplishment according to the demands of the primal vision was the reason why the whole process – from the first idea to the final manifestation – took such a long time.
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Aion'?
The name comes from ancient Greek and is part of a triad of notions associated to the concept of Time : aion, chronos, kairos. Through the centuries, there have been many variations in the meaning attributed to that term, shifting in the different cultures that adopted it, as well as in the writings of different persons taking it up (for example C. G. Jung).
Relating to AION, I have my own personal conception of the word, according to the way it revealed itself to me, in its whole extent - sense, sound, graphic shape. This conception, however, is more or less in continuity with the historical meanings.
In the triad mentioned above, aion means “destiny, age, eternity”, whereas chronos stands for the linear time, a point moving continuously on a line from past to future, and kairos for the “right/opportune moment”. Aion is thus another time than the linear one; it is a time as well as no-time. This contradiction is meaningful and corresponds to the idea behind AION. On one hand, it is about a process: downfall, decay, death - but on the other hand it is about a realm where time, and thus also death, is abolished. It’s about the end and the unending, about death and the impossibility of death. The “desert” I refer to is a place which consists of the substance of your own dying, a dying that became eternal – suspended, utterly unbearable. Agony becomes infinite, and its time becomes space, illimitable. The illumination one experiences there is also twofold: transcending as well as disenchanting. It’s a negative, “uncomfortable”, cold illumination, not a dancing, fiery one.
Beyond these considerations about meaning/interpretation of the term, the name AION signifies also on other levels, that is its sound and graphical shape. These are other and meaningful aspects, contributing to the density of the name. There is a certain visual force in it, and something dark in its sound, something monumental.
5.Has the band done any live shows or has this been strictly a studio project so far?
There were and will be no live shows. For the simple reason that I already mentioned above: it is a personal project rather than a band.
6.The new album is coming out on Goathorned Records, can you tell us a little bit more about the deal you have signed with the label?
Verses of Perdition will indeed be released on Goathorned Records, on1st of May 2015, limited to 300 copies.
7.On a worldwide level, how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black metal?
The album hasn’t been released yet, so for the moment it’s difficult to answer that question.
8.Are any of the band members also involved with any other musical projects these days?
The three of us are involved in Necrosemen, a black/death metal project founded in 2012 by Ishk. It started as a one-man-band and evolved, since the end of 2013, to a five-actors entity. We recently finished to record our second EP that is currently being mixed and mastered at d/s/k/n/t. Composing for further material is going on and we have a couple of gigs planned, for example in July with Negative Plane, Malthusian and Antiversum in Zürich.
Asknt works also on his solo project DSKNT.
9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
For the moment, I can’t tell. It took a long time to finish Verses of Perdition and no new material has been composed so far. As I already pointed out, AION is not a band, but an entity summoned in order to enounce Verses of Perdition. As a consequence, there is no reason whatsoever to compose another album only for the sake of composing another album (the way a band would function). The question of the future is completely open.
I cannot deny that there is already a vague conceptual idea floating in my mind. Let me put it like this: if there will be a second release, its base is already outlined. But to produce an album, that isn’t a reason enough. I believe that, to some extent, one has to let things coming to oneself and not the other way around. They have to impose themselves, until there is certainty that this must be expressed - otherwise one may as well keep silent. As I said: no use to do an album only for the sake of doing an album. There is already far more than enough black metal around these days.
In any case, if there should ever be another release under the banner of AION, musically speaking, there won’t be any radical changes of “style”. The whole thing would evolve in the same climes, in a similar direction – of course with its singularities depending on the concept it’d express. If it would be something completely different, it would simply be under another name.
10.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?
Well, I guess that, in some way or another, everything in black metal (and even in other musical genres) that I was really into, that I listened to intensively in the past, had some kind of influence on my music. All those tunes engraved so deeply in our beings that they became a part of the blood flowing in our veins.
Yet, while composing - especially while composing the guitars -, I consciously avoided to listen to any music, in order not to alter the musical expression of the vision I wanted to render.
What I listen to nowadays? I listen to anything coming my way that captures my ear, regardless of the musical genre. I’m interested in everything that is intense and authentic – be it electronic music, noise, rock, classical music, hip hop, jazz, heavy metal, …., or any kind of experimental stuff.
Yet, of course, I always come back to some black metal “classics”, rooted deepest, having had the strongest impact, having been the highest revelations in the past. That may be old Scandinavian stuff (old Mayhem, Dissection, old Dødheimsgard, …) as well as the “N.E.D.-generation” (Deathspell Omega, Katharsis, Funeral Mist, …), and many others. There’s only very few recent black metal I listen to. Without wanting to fall into some (rather narrow-minded) rhetoric of “only the old is trve”: the things you came first in contact with when starting to listen to black metal remain the strongest. There’s some purity of fire, some degree of transcendence in them that remains unreached.
11.How would you describe your views on Occultism?
Occultism… first of all, what is occultism? People, over time, and especially nowadays in the black metal “scene”, have put absolutely anything in that word. It has been blown up to such an extent that it became hollow. In this sense, the word has got to mean absolutely nothing to me.
Of course, in the past, just as about every young maniac starting to listen to black metal, questioning the existence and what lies beyond, eager to transgress all boarders, I have been quite interested in all those things around occultism, satanism, anticosmic satanism, luciferianism, kabbalah, Crowley, the countless orders, “churches”, etc. etc. I believe that this is a necessary stage for everyone on the quest of his own path; to explore the different perspectives that exist (once the “drape” of religion removed). Nevertheless, I always looked at it with a certain distance - a lot of interest, but a distance. I’ve never been able to identify with any of those teachings to follow, those symbols to adopt, those rituals to perform, those names to enounce, etc. It was much more about opening up new perspectives, getting ideas and impulses, but never something to adhere to. In occult teachings, you find the same problem as in religion: one person may have experienced illumination, enounced the truth he/she sees, and, enchanted by the quiet radiance of that person, all the others try to “learn” from him, try to copy his vision, try to walk in his footsteps. Yet there can be no adoption of truth and enlightenment such as one would adopt a way of behaving, dressing or a certain imagery. The whole thing turns into rigid, hollow codes, it becomes a theatre, something artificial, and at the same time – what is much worse – it necessarily degrades, falsifies, vulgarizes, looses soon every glimpse of truth, the initial purity it may once have been made of.
Considered from this point of view, I think occultism is, just as religion, a step to be left behind.
I do not say that there is no truth in those ideas and symbols, but simply that the use that is generally (and massively) been made of is without any foundation/justification. I’m very skeptical regarding all that importation and consumption of symbols and notions belonging to distant cultures, and I’ve myself become very prudent on that point. A symbol or a spiritual concept that emerged in a certain culture cannot just be extracted from it and used as one pleases. It is rooted in a special context, that one is absolutely incapable to comprehend if one isn’t a part of that culture, if one hasn’t been born and grown up on that soil. Regarding black metal of the last decade, I guess it is needless to point out which culture in particular is affected by that phenomenon.
Of course, there again, there may be exceptions. I don’t think it to be impossible that through some process of collective subconscious or some relatedness in all experiences of enlightenment made by human beings (regardless the culture, the era/century, the spiritual/religious background), symbols and concepts may “wander”, partial identification may be imaginable - but I think in 98% of today's black-metal-use of it is very doubtful, not to say illegitimate.
I believe that, for the one who truly seeks his own path, there comes the moment when he hears the call of his own, personal destiny, where his path opens up before him – the path that will lead him astray from all he ever had imagined/thought/heard, into some illuminated night where he will be annihilated and where he will see beyond all illusions. At that point, all the pre-fabricated notions, borrowed concepts and symbols, as one finds countless in “occultism”, become so devoid of meaning, compared to the truth that has been revealed to oneself, following one’s very own path. From that moment on, any spiritual, religious, occult “teachings” one may encounter are necessarily apprehended in a very distant way – they may at best be interesting to dialogue with, to say: “oh, interesting, I made a similar experience”, “I agree with this, but not with that other point”, or “I’ve experienced that too, but this person expresses it in a such a pure way I wouldn’t have been able to”. I guess that’s about my approach to occultism - and religion - nowadays.
Unfortunately, today's (black metal) “occultism”, having become a trend phenomenon, seems to be mainly about boasting around on Facebook with symbols, quotations, photos, etc. I firmly believe that enlightenment in any way rather makes you become silent.
12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thanks for the interview and for the interest in AION.