Music Interview: Arya (Italy)

Today, as part of my Music Interview Marathon, I speak to Luca Pasini, guitarist and vocalist of Italian trio Arya (Italy), who tells us about how they mix up genres and how their latest album reflect the dark times they faced as a band.

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Band Name: Arya (Italy)
Members: Simone Succi (guitar, vocals), Luca Pasini (guitar, vocals) & Alessandro Crociati (drums)
Genre: Progressive Metal, Alternative Rock
Founded: February 2015
Originated From: Rimini, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Discography: In Distant Oceans (album, 2015), Dreamwars (album, 2017), Endesires (album, 2018), Zero (EP, 2019) & For Ever (album, 2020)

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How would you describe your music?

We’re a band that loves contaminating genres and experimenting with unorthodox approaches, in order to create music that can express emotions and inspire the listener.

One could say we’re a progressive metal band, but we’d be probably different from what you could expect if you think about the stereotypes of that genre. During the years we’ve taken inspiration from other styles of metal, but also indie, alternative rock and jazz.

So far, most reviewers have said that we sound unique and unlike any other band, but that’s not always a good thing, as it makes fans of most genres feel equally lost and out of place, especially now that we live in the age of playlisting and strict genre divisions and criteria to match in order to get exposure.

What is your musical creative process like?

The way we’ve mainly worked so far on new songs begins with an idea, short or more articulated, that we bring to the table as a demo recording, usually a single guitar part.

Then we try to expand that to make it a full song, and all the band members create their parts around it, on their own or jamming together in the rehearsal room.

For the new album, we’ve worked a lot together in a room, recording ourselves, swapping, overlapping or cutting parts and trying whichever idea came to our minds.

How did the band form?

The band started out from a few songs I had recorded just after finishing a music production course in a studio, in 2014. As I felt the other members of my old band would have never accepted my growing metal influences and finding myself in a really bad moment in my life, I decided to try and find people to create a new, more professional and heavier-sounding band.

I met Simone at a masterclass at the music school we both used to attend, but we shared many mutual friends, some of which also became part of the band in different moments, like our drummer Alessandro Crociati, who had already played with both of us in different moments.

How did you come up with your band name?

When we first formed and were looking for a name, we struggled to find a simple and effective one that hadn’t been taken by others and wouldn’t be associated with a specific genre of music.

I was studying for an Indian philosophy university exam at the time, and I came across the word Arya, which is an adjective that means “noble”, or “aristocratic” in Sanskrit. As it seemed like there were no bands with the same name, the other members at the time accepted it.

Only later on I found out that there used to be a band somewhere in Russia with the same name; however, way more famous is the character of Game Of Thrones with the same name: not being confused with her on search engines is the main reason why we quickly added “Italy” on most of our social media profiles.

Who influenced you within the music industry?

Even if, when we started out, the initial idea was to be a modern metal/djent band. It became clear from our first attempts at song writing that our music was meant not to focus on a single style.

During the years we have incorporated elements from sludge, black and post metal, as well as alternative and indie rock, shoegaze and jazz. We’ve been inspired by so many different bands: maybe the ones that remained constant references for us are Karnivool, Tesseract and Bent Knee.

Have you performed live much and what was your favourite gig to play at?

Since the beginning of the band, we’ve played shows in many regions of Italy, as well as Switzerland, Austria and the San Marino Republic.

Near Santarcangelo, a small town a few minutes away from where I live, there’s a commune founded by a group of artists, the Mutoid Waste Company, formed in London in the 1980s, who later chose to settle there. It’s a crazy place, full of sculptures made out of rusty car parts, many old trucks and some great people.

In 2017 we had a chance to perform at a huge birthday party held there, together with some great hardcore bands. There were people with flame throwers, a fire-breathing frontman dressed as the pope and a huge crowd of punk fans from many parts of Italy and the UK. For me it was a really mind-blowing event, and I became way more interested in hardcore music after that. There’s a vlog I’ve filmed during that party.

What is the best thing about being in a band?

Probably it’s the song writing process, that’s where your creativity really can express itself and that’s the main reason why I still do this despite all the difficulties.

What’s the biggest problem you’ve had to overcome so far as a musician(s)?

Right after releasing Endesires, the band collapsed in a really bad way, due to some personal circumstances most of us couldn’t in the end be considered responsible of.

Nonetheless me and Simone were left devastated, and I can’t say we have still fully recovered from that trauma as people and as a band.

Anyway, in the following months we composed and recorded another album, which deals with what we were feeling and how our lives were affected.

What plans have you got coming up this year?

We’ve released a new album called For Ever, and it’s the darkest and heaviest music we’ve done so far. It deals with the personal aftermath of the band falling apart after the release of our previous album Endesires.

Speaking of live concerts, I don’t know if we’ll be able to do any in 2020. We have coronavirus going on and, despite the situation in Italy being way better than in other countries as of now, it’s still not a good moment to make medium-term plans, as they could be destroyed any time. We also have a line-up problem to solve before we can hit the stage once again.

What is your ultimate dream as a band?

I’d really like to move people that listen to our music in some way, make them feel an emotion, inspire them to create something of their own or to make their life and the world better.

I’ve always considered music as some kind of catharsis, a way to tell the world who I am and ask for forgiveness and understanding in a desperate attempt to feel at peace with it and everyone.

You can find out more about Arya (Italy) by following them on Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, BandCamp and YouTube.

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If you’re in a band or a musician and would like to appear on this blog, please contact me and I’ll forward you an interview template.

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