Ever devoted to expanding musical and sonic horizons to defy categorical conventions, ∆AIMON speaks with ReGen prior to the band’s second appearance at the Chicago ColdWaves.
An InterView with Brant Showers of ∆AIMON
By Will Sanchez (WillSuperior)
Since emerging on the scene with the Amen EP in 2011, ∆AIMON has risen to the upper echelon of today’s underground music; with a sound that takes the abrasive aesthetics of industrial and hard electronic music, tempered by the haunted atmospheres and lyrics that resonate with dark mystery and emotional intrigue, the duo of Brant and Nancy Showers has helped to usher in an exciting new generation of caustic sonic beauty. While initially being heralded by critics and audiences as the premiere example in the witch house subgenre, ∆AIMON now is poised to transcend the label and reach for greater heights of audio experimentation and rhythmic exploration. Prior to this year’s Chicago ColdWaves VI, Brant and Nancy Showers took the time to speak with ReGen‘s Will Sanchez about the evolution of the band’s songwriting and production.
Your music has been widely known as progressive, innovative, and experimental. What was new and different about your latest release?
: It has always been important for us to explore new sounds with each release but more recently we’ve been working to emphasize the personal and emotional significance in our output as well. Almost immediately after we finished the self-titled ∆AIMON album, we started right away on a follow up. Unfortunately, the last few years have been very difficult ones for many personal reasons and so we shelved the material to be reworked later when we could invest the energy that it deserved. Now that so much time has passed, we’re in a kind of unique place where we can sort of reinvent our style to fit where we are at in our lives now. So the challenge with the new album has been to evaluate what we started with fresh ideas and determine how we want to move forward. The new music certainly maintains our established aesthetic, but I feel we’ve been through a lot over the years and that has had a large impact on the next release. Some significant changes include the addition of a live drummer in our recording sessions as well as making it a priority to share sources of influence, whether musical, written, or artistic. This has worked well to create a cohesive concept going into the writing process so that we all can contribute with our interpretations of different ideas.
How do you stay engaged and keep your love of making music going, and what’s new and fresh about your approach to music production that you’d like to share?
: When we work together, we have a tendency to feed off each other’s energy and excitement, so playing shows and bouncing ideas off each other has always kept us energized in writing our music. Learning to include new software or synths is always a great way for us to break out of our routine and stay engaged in the writing process as well. We recently incorporated Maschine, a Korg Monologue, and an Electribe Sampler into our workflow, which has allowed us to approach production and live performance from a fresh perspective.
In what way has the current political climate influenced your current musical work?
: Where to even begin? We find that it’s more important than ever to empower those around us who are facing prejudice, adversity, and persecution due to the current climate. Although we tend to aim our music inwards rather than specifically addressing political issues, we still have very strong beliefs and try to actively practice solidarity against hate. This has definitely had an impact on what we are working on, though perhaps in a more esoteric sense. Ultimately, we just want to continue to promote inclusiveness and hope our music speaks to those ideals.
How do you manage to stay so prolific in such a short time with so many demands on your schedule while handling your other projects SØLVE and Bestial Mouths? What would you say are the key differences and inspirations of your artistic brainchildren?
: Each project develops in its own space and time without specific restrictions, so we don’t necessarily think in terms of trying to stay prolific. It’s been more important for us to give the projects the time they need to develop organically. In regards to handling various projects, I think it’s more about defining where an idea will work best. There’s obvious similarities between each project, but I feel that they all have their own specific differences as well that allow us to adjust or recalibrate what aspects we’re focusing on. Nancy’s involvement in ∆AIMON and the confluence of our energy has an incredibly significant impact on how we present our style and themes. While SØLVE is very self-centric and ritualistic in nature, ∆AIMON has always lived within a collaborative framework where we both have individual and shared aspects we present equally into the mix. Likewise, Bestial Mouths has had its own unique and well established vocabulary of sounds since long before I started working with them.
What’s next on the horizon with ∆AIMON? Any future collaborations in the works?
: In the immediate future, we’re planning to focus all our attention on the new album. It’s long overdue and we are very excited to finish it up so that we can share it with everyone. We plan to precede the album release with a single for our song ‘DEVOTE//DEVOUR’ as a way of preparing people for the direction from which this new album is coming from. Our new works aren’t necessarily a drastic step away from our previous releases, but our sound has definitely been developing a bit over the years and we are anxious for our fans to hear what we’ve been working on.
I’m sure you’re absolutely excited about performing at ColdWaves VI, and this is your second time around. How did you become involved in an event like that, and what can we expect that will be unique in this performance? Have you made any new modifications to your live performances?
: The first time we performed at ColdWaves was an absolutely incredible experience and we are definitely very excited to have been asked to participate again in this year’s lineup. It’s been several years since the last time we played Chicago, so we have decided to do a set that reflects the influences and mindset that are influencing our current work. This means a few new songs from the upcoming album as well as pieces from our back catalog that fit within the aesthetic we have been delving deeper into. It’s a short set but has a few surprises and we are very much looking forward to performing at the festival again. Our stage setup remains very similar, but the dynamics and atmosphere of our performance has changed a lot.
What is your perspective on the term ‘witch house’ and how does it factor into your creative train of thought? What would you say to that community and the scenes who are associated with and support it?
Showers: Truthfully, we haven’t thought much about witch house in quite a while. There are some artists within the genre that we still enjoy and appreciate, but we don’t search out the music for influence as much. What we liked about the witch house scene when we began the ∆AIMON project was that it defied genre tropes and categorization, so that the name as an umbrella term really only defined bands as fitting within an experimental collection of influences – ranging from hip-hop and R&B to industrial. To that extent, we still continue to blend our influences and avoid trying to fit within any specific genre. Variation and experimentation will always be what keeps any scene alive, so be authentic to yourself and keep it weird.
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Photography courtesy of ∆AIMON