Interview with Gaerea
Interview conducted by Mjölnir
Date online: September 5, 2020
Gaerea have been making waves in the underground with their dark and individual sound since their self-titled EP in 2016, and with two critically acclaimed full-lengths and a successful tour they've made themselves one of the biggest acts in the underground. I had the opportunity to talk with the anonymous leader of the group to discuss the band's history and intent, along with the current success of their latest album and their plans for the future.
Tell us a little about the history of the band and what inspired you to form it.
Gaerea emerged in mid 2016 from my inner anxiety and necessity of exposing my music. Since its early stage, this project deserved a proper name and definition of what we really felt when playing together and what the songs actually meant for its core. And because we couldn't actually find the proper words to describe such feelings, we have decided to create a name which could only mean what this band is about. A name which could be echoed throughout the time of our being and everyone could relate to one single concept: Gaerea. All members are from Portugal even though we all live a bit far from each other, which sometimes is a good thing. We can distance ourselves from the band when it's important to do so.
I understand the word "Gaerea" is a term the band created to describe the feeling they have when they touch upon the band's central themes. Would you say this word is flexible and evolves over time, or is it a constant for the band?
It keeps evolving as we go, as we keep discovering what this band has to offer us every day. Still, the focal point and what keeps us moving and evolving as artists within this band has remained the same since day one.
The musicianship across all your output is deeply impressive. Do any of the band members have formal musical training, or is everybody self-taught?
Most of us are self-taught even though our drummer is a professional and true musician who lives from his music, lessons and collaborations with other artists. It's good to have both sides of the coin in the creation process, honestly. And thank you for your words! All music is created by me, a non-professional musician and someone who barely took any lessons when picking up the instrument.
How's the band been holding up recently with the rather trying times we find ourselves in?
Well, a lot of shows got cancelled but honestly that's it. We didn't let this pandemic ruin a lot more than that because we have 100% control on everything regarding this project and we were very fortunate to have our album still being released this year. For that, I eternally thank Season of Mist for keeping us on the release schedule. There are a lot of bands which were not so lucky. Even if the virus came to cancel or postpone some plans, it was still good to test our strengths and if we could ever live and continue to put endless effort into this project. I like to think we were up for the task. We did so much while locked at our homes. It was a good time to sit back, rethink our strategies and watch the world slowly burn from our windows.
You've stated in the past that all the members in the band have other projects they attend to. Do these projects impact Gaerea in any way, or vice versa?
No one has the type of side projects that would mess with any of the Gaerea needs or schedule. We all live for this band and we are ready to put our whole lives on hold for this band. Still, yeah, there are some projects here and there which can fulfill some of our other needs. Nothing too serious.
In past interviews, you've discussed how mediums outside of music, such as cinema and paint, influence the band as much as music. What particular elements from these mediums do you incorporate into you overall sound and aesthetic?
We got very inspired by the overall look of the dusty and thick ambience of The Enemy by Denis Villeneuve. It definitely made an impact on the color scheme of the whole artwork of the album, if you pay attention to it. We wanted this endless Summer vibe, an endless landscape where everything is set to burn for all eternity, a sunset that could live on its own to help portray the agony of the characters who pass by it. This is, of course, one example of how these artists and their craft inspired ours in a direct or indirect way.
You've called Gaerea an urban project in the past. Would you say that has influenced your approach to writing material for the band?
Totally. We will always be a creation from people and for the people. A band which drives its inspirations from the people around us, the mind-bending building structures surrounding our daily lives and the lack of emotion and truthful thoughts within these horrid yet inspiring landscapes. The whole Vortex Society concept we keep on developing is a living proof of how the individualism inside the big cities can rip your soul apart. Life is loneliness. We are born alone, we live by ourselves and we die all alone.
The band has made quite an impression in the global scene over the past few years. Were you expecting to have this level of success, and how has it impacted how the band approaches its craft?
I am not such a cunt to tell you we deserve all the positive impact we have been receiving, but I can be honest enough to acknowledge the daily work I put into this band and how hard I have worked to get here. We were never given any shortcuts, any open slots to tours, any open doors to big labels. We always had to prove everybody who didn't believe us wrong in the most drastic and painful way. And honestly, I'm mostly proud of that. This is our life and this is what keeps us alive and running.
How have you been received in your home country of Portugal lately?
Very well I'd say. Of course, we feel the envy and futility from some other artists flowing at our feet here and there, but we are mostly driven by the people who enjoy our art, our words, our music, and this concept as much as we do. Portugal has always been the hardest country to impress. Portuguese fans are hard to conquer, but once you get into their hearts, you'll experience one of the most incredible crowds the world has to offer.
Your most recent album Limbo has made quite a splash in the underground as of late. What would you say makes it stand out as much as it has?
All the undeniable emotion we all put into making this record what people really think it is. Limbo is not about oppression or hate towards concepts we don't understand. Limbo is about liberation, artistic expression, freedom, agony, despair and salvation. It's not an easy record to digest but it certainly is the strongest and most intense music I have ever written on my own.
I understand that your first two releases were explorations of what you call "the void concept." How does Limbo relate to that, if at all?
I knew exactly what would be the next Vortex chapter right before writing any new riff or word. It's completely obsolete or useless to even consider picking up the instrument and writing hollow riffs with no emotional context in my head. In the end I just felt like "orchestrating" a soundtrack, a score for this dramatic and cathartic film, these visions who kept tormenting me while crafting this new piece. I tend to just go with the aggressive and impulsive inspiration flowing in my mind and what you hear, it's what you get: a brief moment, a glimpse, a reflection of what was truly felt in that specific moment of my life. To me, this album is the natural evolution of my writing method, my process and my mental journey. This is where I was supposed to be mentally since the very first day I started crafting this project, and as Gaerea is still a brand new discovery every day, so is my mind and how it functions towards the evolution of this band. If in the Unsettling Whispers album we were discovering the Vortex Society as Voyeurs or reporters, we now find ourselves trapped in this nightmarish society. We are part of them and all their former problems are now part of our daily lives. We see things in another perspective. And their dreams become our life goals.
What was the writing process for Limbo like in comparison to previous works? Did touring have an impact on that process?
Locked down from everyone and everything. I just reach out to my special "all alone" place in my mind and let it flow until all writings are done and ready to show the other people in the band. Then we will spend several weeks perfecting everything about the material. It's not easy for me to just write a song for this band out of thin air. We don't write music when all together and we definitely do not write while on the road. Being out there, meeting interesting people and getting to know new cultures will surely be more satisfying and productive for you once the next album composition time comes. Being on the road, for us, it's a special time we are always grateful for and we do not waste any minute of it being stuck in the van or at a backstage with our own instrument. It's not fair for the experience you're in. As I said, exploring everything around you will surely become more valuable once you're ready to write new music. Everything will serve as a connection for something. At least that's how Limbo was written, from all our experiences as a touring band.
The band is planning to hold their Wandering Through Limbo Tour starting this October. What do you plan to do differently from your last tour, and what are your plans once it meets its end?
We are not overthinking our plan. For now, we just want to be able to get back to the touring mode and perform as much as we can for the next 2 to 3 years. What will follow is uncertain, but we do have a new album out, a new live show ready to be presented, and I believe a lot more fans willing to go see us perform.
What would you say makes the band different now from what it was when it first started out?
Today we live for this band even though we don't live from it. All aspects of my life are connected entirely with this band and what it represents. That didn't happen back then. It grew stronger in me and the rest of the guys.
Any parting thoughts you'd like to leave our readers with?
I want to thank you for such an interesting interview. One of the best we've had. As for everyone out there, stay safe. We are coming for you very, very soon!
|Other information about Gaerea on this site|
|Review: Unsettling Whispers|
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