Tell us about how the band got together…
Aeon of Horus was started in mid-2006 by our drummer, Ben Hocking. The driving force behind the band’s formation was a desiretochallenge ourselves as musicians, both creatively and technically. We had each played in a number of bands prior to Aeon of Horus but were generally frustrated by the lack of focus and professionalism in these projects. Essentially, we all sought an environment in which there was a commitment to open-mindedness, creativity and technical ability.
By 2007, we had consolidated our line-up and entered the studio to record our self-titled EP. This was released later that year, accompanied by a long string of regional Australian shows. Less than a year later we recorded and released our debut album, “The Embodiment of Darkness and Light”. We continued to play shows throughout late-2008 and the first half of 2009.
The band experienced a series of line-up changes in late-2009 and early-2010, after which we arrived at our current members. The New Aeon was born, this time, with an uncompromising unity in vision.
What/who are your inspirations?
We are inspired by many influences ranging from musical through to philosophical. The sound of Horus is very much born from a cross-fertilisation of musical styles; a listener would find elements of black metal, progressive, neo-classical and electronic. Some of our major influences include Cynic, Ihsahn, Emperor, Behemoth, Porcupine Tree, Sigur Ros and Ulver. At a conceptual level we draw heavily on existentialist philosophy and the idea that our perception of reality may inaccurate or even unjustified. “The Holographic Universe” (Michael Talbot) provided an early inspiration to explore this realm of thinking.
Is it difficult being from Australia and therefore so far away from the European and American markets?
It certainly is from a geographic point of view. These days, the internet gives bands unprecedented access to foreign markets, but there are limits to what can be achieved with a medium such as MySpace or Facebook. A large part of our trajectory in Australia has been driven by the direct interface we have with people at our shows. The live environment allows us to present Aeon of Horus in its entirety, right from the stage performance, through to the lighting and atmospherics, the merchandising and, importantly, the opportunity to network with other bands and the fans. There is no doubt people connect with a live performance in a way that other mediums never will.
Playing overseas is definitely a goal for us, however it is something that we need to work towards, and not just financially. We wouldn’t expect to fly into Europe or America tomorrow, play a series of shows and instantly achieve the same degree exposure that we havereached in Australia. People need time to adjust to any new concept, and given the progressive nature of the band, listeners have to go away with the album. This is where the internet and online distribution can be used to good advantage.
Before you recorded “The Embodiment Of Darkness And Light”, did you have any specific ideas about what it was you wanted to achieve?
We did. Aeon of Horus has always had a strong philosophical underpinning and the album provided us with an opportunity to thresh out our ideas. While the EP was somewhat embryonic in nature, the album saw a more focused approach towards experimentation. One of the greatest challenges on the album was to draw together the different influences that each member brought to the band; this was no mean feat considering the diversity of ideas that were brought to the writing table. It was important for the album to come across as a unified concept, both sonically and conceptually.
“The Embodiment…” also saw us start to experiment with the technology that was available at the time. The digital technology available today allows bands to supplement and even replace traditional methods of performance and recording. We have an open-minded approach towards technology and the album provided us with an opportunity to experiment with it.
Did it all come together as you had initially planned/hoped?
Yes and no. Any recording process is going to take on a life of its own and “The Embodiment…” was no exception. With enough hindsight, bands will tend to look back on their recordings and notice the flaws and missed opportunities. In all honesty, we didn’t fully realise some of the more ambitious goals we set for ourselves.
These points aside, the album did successfully bring together the diversity of sounds to achieve a cohesive whole. We were all happy with our performances in the studio which was important given the complexity of the music. While we might not have achieved the grandiose scale we were after, the process we went through was valuable.
Where did you record it and who did you use to help record it?
We recorded locally in Dark Corpse Studios. The Studio is owned and operated by Scott Carter. While Scott was ultimately responsible for the recording and mixing process, the whole band was willing to get involved. We are all competent at operating ProTools and we kept throwing production ideas at Scott throughout the project. We used Jochem Jacobs at Split Second Sound for mastering after hearing his work on Textures’ albums.
Who wrote the music? Was it one person or a democratic band process?
It was a democratic process – we all brought ideas to the table.
Talk us through how the songs would come together from the embryonic idea to the finished article…
Quite often the songs would grow from a single idea such as a riff or a drum beat. Sometimes this would belong at the start of a song, sometimes at the end. While our writing is influenced by other bands, we didn’t find ourselves looking towards a particularly band or album for inspiration; we tend to write quite intuitively. There are definite patterns in our writing and these would surface throughout different songs. Our willingness to experiment meant that a song could go off in an unpredictable direction. This has always been part of our sound.
What about the lyrics? Who wrote them and what subjects to you discuss on the album?
I write all of the Lyrics in Aeon of Horus. Essentially they deal with the smallness of the human worldview and posit that reality is far grander than anything we experience in normal day-to-day life. Ultimately, we may never be able to comprehend reality beyond a certain level of human intuition.
I love the mid section to opener “3C321” and many other of the melodic interludes – was it important for you to have these more accessible sections within the brutality? Does the title of the record refer to this juxtaposition within your sound?
It is important in the sense that our songs require an ebb and flow of energy – this is what takes the listener on a journey. We don’t necessarily set out to be relentless or brutal or accessible; the music we write has always been the music we want to hear. Writing for us is quite an intuitive process. There is a concern that this intuition would be lost if we started writing music for a particular audience. “The Embodiment of Darkness and Light” refers to the concept of the album rather than a juxtaposition of the different elements in our sound.
You are all very proficient musically – but was it hard to write and play the music on the album? After all, it seems extremely fast and complex…
It was challenging. The music requires precision and the recording process tends to put your performance under the microscope. Being a progressive band, there has always been the need to push creative and technical boundaries. This is a requirement we will never escape.
Was it a challenge to make such complex music also accessible?
The music was always written for ourselves, what we wanted to hear. As such, the merging of the two contrasting styles actually came quite naturally to us. There is beauty in both simplicity and complexity and we just try and harness those concepts.
In my review of the album, I suggested it had come along a decade too late to be classed as a genre classic – what are your thoughts on this statement?
It is a humbling statement – one which we wholly appreciate. However, it is a difficult and conflicting one for us. Creating what we did might not have been possible without those bands who have not only influenced us as musicians, but forged a path before us.
What is it that makes Aeon Of Horus different from everyone else and therefore worthy of our attention/money?
Aeon of Horus is a journey; the band is ultimately concerned with the unknown and a desire to experience what is hidden. This is a unifying thread that runs through everything we do. The kinds of philosophies we explore are concerned with what is hidden, what is dark and obscure. Anyone can take this journey with us.What made you choose Harvest Moon Records? Good decision?Harvest Moon approached us last year. Their proposal was sensible as it provided us with a distribution agreement for what is essentially a finished album. This is where we were up to in the process anyway. Being a UK-based label means we gain access to markets within the UK and the rest of Europe. Obviously this was an attractive idea. Harvest Moon have been very professional to deal with to date.How come it has taken so long to see the light of day in the UK?In short, a lack of representation. The internet is a big place and it’s just not feasible to expect a page like MySpace and Facebook to make bands successful without more targeted marketing strategies.
From the press release and research I’ve done, you seem to have suffered a bit with line-up changes – what were the reasons for the changes? Has this hindered the band in any way?
The music we play places heavy demands on us. There is a constant pressure to evolve, both creatively and technically. This is not for everyone. The line-up changes were disruptive in the short term but the pay off has been the unity of vision we now share.
Currently we are at the end of our Resurgence tour. This has seen us play in numerous cities along the east coast of Australian, as well as our home capital, Canberra. We have some more shows planned in Australia later in 2011, but after that it’s a return to writing. It’s certainly our ambition to play overseas and our planning has moved past the wishful thinking stage. Given the variables involved, we will just have to wait and see where the futureleads.
What is next for Aeon of Horus?