By: Song River
Is it life imitating art or the other way around? Our world has always had its times that were tempestuous, seemingly surreal, and yet music has always been there to help the artist express themselves through the trials, through the journey’s path, and into the next platitude beyond. Maybe, this what Gemini Syndrome has finally come to understand. With the release of their second album, created to be a trilogy, this Los Angeles based alt-nu metal band certainly have walked through some of modern times horrors, and taken them to their music perhaps as a cathartic way of dealing. Expression can be the medicine needed at times.
Gemini Syndrome’s first album, Lux, was released in 2013 and its base focused on the birth, the coming of age, and development of each life force. Their latest album, Momento Mori, progress us along to the next stage of life; the living part of this journey. Not an easy undertaking to bare one’s inner workings so much, but vocalist Aaron Nordstrom evidently feels that he and the band needed to carry this forth as the third album will be forthcoming in the near future with the keywords bringing the full circle round… “intention” and “brought to light.”
Song River: This latest album, Memento Mori. Really came into being at a very heavy point in societies timeline. Before we go on and talk about its back story did you intend on this album being as dark as it is prior to the incidents that occurred during songwriting?
Aaron Nordstrom: Yes, the intention was there before we started writing the whole thing. It was the strange course of events that happened worldwide during the process that was so surreal and powerful. Truly life imitating art (or the other way around) but there was really no way we could have seen that coming. We knew the title and concept but it all unfolded in a natural way.
Song River: How did you go about deciding that you wanted to create a ‘trilogy’ of sorts? The first album was, Lux. Talk about its development and structure.
Aaron Nordstrom: When we decided upon the title “Lux” meaning light, we saw it as our first musical creation as this band. Our first exposure to the world and hence the birth of the band. The subject matter deals a lot with coming of age, family matters, identity development etc. The concept of three’s is found through mythology, philosophy, music, science and so on. Birth, life, and death or transformation resonated with us as a pretty obvious platform to work from.
Song River: Now with this latest work, Memento Mori, number two in the trilogy, really delves into life/journey. Hinting back to the first question and what is taking place in our society, do you find moments of positive?
Aaron Nordstrom: Absolutely. Learning more about who you are and what you’re about, and the place you want to fill in this world is one of the greatest parts of being alive. It’s your story to write and experience. That being said, life isn’t simple or easy and sometimes some dark things, tragic things can happen and we face those situations and challenges with what we’ve learned about ourselves and about the character we have developed. Iron becomes tempered through fire and life isn’t much different.
Song River: Is there a particular track off of Momento Mori that you find touches too close at times to emotions you feel on this journey?
Aaron Nordstrom: Not really. They all have particular memories and associations for me personally and I think for everyone in their own way. That’s the beauty of creating art. Each piece is its own story and its own moment in the journey.
Song River: There was an incident during the writing of one of your tracks off this new album called, “Zealot.” Can you share what was happening and how it really developed this track in particular?
Aaron Nordstrom: It wasn’t during the writing of the song but the recording of the vocals. We had written the song after watching an author speak about a book called “Zealot” and the state of affairs in the world. It was an intense experience. While I was tracking we took a break and turned on the news to see the Paris attacks unfolding live. It was unreal because the events are exactly what the song is talking about. I was very emotional about it and eventually, we went back in and finished the track with those feelings fresh in everyone’s head and heart. It was a powerful moment.
Song River: Going back to last year, as you were working on writing this album, the attacks occurred in Paris. How did those attacks play into your opening track, “Anonymous?”
Aaron Nordstrom: Anonymous was influenced by a lot of events. Not one in particular. There’s the obvious relation to the internet group and maybe a more subtle relation to the film “V for Vendetta”. The song is an anthem for free thinking and questioning what is fed to us by media and other outlets. Think for yourself. Stand together. Be bigger than just yourself by being together, not separate. That’s the message here and throughout the album. We are stronger as people when we are unified instead of divided. It’s a pretty simple concept I think.
Song River: From this latest album, what is it you want your fans to walk away with?
Aaron Nordstrom: A sense of community. An acute appreciation for life and its experiences. It’s short here in these bodies. Whether or not you believe in an afterlife or a God or don’t, the reality is that this I the only thing we have “proof” of and in that light why would we spend it sewing misery or cruelty? Being happy feels good. It’s not easy. Sometimes life is hard but even with adversity and pain and suffering it’s still what we have. I remember someone saying this once though I don’t remember where. “Life is a piece of shit, but it’s my piece of shit.”
Song River: The last part of this trilogy told will come “death/rebirth” as your next album. Is there hope coming?
Aaron Nordstrom: There’s always hope coming. When it comes to the afterlife there’s really one of two scenarios. One, you die and there’s something else after and no one will know until they get there. Or two, you die and there’s nothing so you won’t be there to notice it. The calm quiet of oblivion. I’ll find out one of these days which one it is.
Song River: In your genre, it seems the creating of a story that can bridge itself through more than one album, do you think you will find yourself as Gemini Syndrome continuing to morph and change?
Aaron Nordstrom: Absolutely. That’s one of the only real guarantees in life is that everything can and will change. We want to evolve as musicians and storytellers and performers. We want to grow personally and as a band. If we’re not doing that then we’re probably wasting time.
Song River: With death and rebirth, first of all, is there a title for the third album and do you feel that we can all step into the light and somehow get along?
Aaron Nordstrom: There’s no title quite yet but a lot of ideas floating around. And yes, with some time, energy, and intention we will all be brought to light.
CATCH AARON AND GEMINI SYNDROME LIVE AT ANY OF THE DATES BELOW:
Winter Conversion w/ Starset
† Headline dates
Jan 23 // Denver, CO // Marquis
Jan 25 // Boise, ID // Knitting Factory
Jan 26 // Sookane, WA // Knitting Factory
† Jan 27 // Jerome, ID // Diamondz Event Center
Jan 28 // Reno, NV // Jub Jub’s
Jan 29 // Fresno, CA // Fulton 55
Jan 31 // Hollywood, CA // The Roxy Theatre
† Feb 01 // San Diego, CA // Brick By Brick
Feb 02 // Scottsdale, AZ // Pub Rock
Feb 03 // Tuscon, AZ // Club XS
Feb 06 // Dallas, TX // Trees
Feb 08 // Corpus Christi, TX // Brewsters
Feb 09 // Houston, TX // Scout Bar
Feb 10 // Baton Rouge, LA // The Varsity Theatre
Feb 11 // Madison, AL // 11th Frame
Feb 12 // Johnson City, TN // Capones
Feb 14 // Baltimore, MD // Soundstage
Feb 15 // Lancaster, PA // Chameleon Club
Feb 17 // Pittsburgh, PA // Rex Theatre
† Feb 19 // St Louis, MO // Firebird
† Feb 21 // Colorado Springs, CO // Black Sheep
†† More Headline Dates TBA