Interview with Ron (guitars and vocals)
Interview conducted by Barbara Williams (Crowley)
Date online: March 29, 2003
Hails everyone! How are you guys doing?
We are doing very well; just busy doing promotion for the new CD as well as writing material for another one.
Where can fans find you? (Where are you from?)
We are currently located in Clinton, Maryland, USA.
Aurora Borealis has been around since 1994, so you are established musicians. Do you feel that you have gained more inside into the metal scene since the time you started out?
Yes definitely. When we first started out, we were totally unknown and since then we have accomplished a lot. We still have a long way to go, but the road has been fun.
Ron, you have traveled quite a bit to play in bands worth your time. I assume, being a musician is one of the most important things in your life. Am I correct?
Yes definitely. I used to practice guitar for up to eight hours a day and I went to a music school as well. Now I focus more on the recording aspect of music, I still play a lot, but my job at the studio requires my attention for many of the hours a day. As far as the traveling goes, I definitely have been to a lot of places searching for musicians. My first drummer was from Florida and my second was from South Carolina; the new drummer is from New York and my last bass player was from Virginia. I used to also play in a band in Georgia. All up and down the whole east coast, really.
You have had some line-up changes over time. What is your line-up to-date?
Currently its myself and Tim Yeung. We have definitely had a lot of changes, but itís usually in the drum position. My first drummer actually started playing for Angelcorpse, so he got really busy. After that I got Derik Roddy; then he started playing with Malevolent Creation and Hate Eternal, so I had to get Tim. You canít blame them for playing. When you're as good as they are, you are in a high demand. I like to keep all the other spots in the band for myself, so when I record, it is tighter.
It didn't take you long to get signed by a pretty good label after your first self-released album, "Praise the Archaic Lights Embrace." How did you feel about this?
We all actually. That is not entirely true. We have been around since 94 and we were just signed last year to Diehard. We actually turned down a lot of offers over the years from many labels. I released our first MCD "Mansions Of Eternity" way back when, and then I also released [i]Praise the Archaic Lights Embrace. I then released Northern Lights myself on my own label Nightsky Productions before Die Hard picked it up. Even just recently I released Time Unveiled, our newest CD on my own label as well for the US release. Die Hard has no distribution in the US, so I thought it would be a good idea. The US version features a different package than the Euro version.
Are you happy with your label at present?
For the most part I am pleased. I wish they would print some merchandise like shirts and stuff, and I wish they would try and get us on some kind of tour. They do get a US good distribution and they send out a lot of promos, so all the zines get to review it, and thatís a good thing. We are now out of the contract with the release of our newest CD and will be looking for a new label as well.
Why Aurora Borealis? Who came up with the name?
Well, back in the early 90's it seemed like everyone was using the typical gore or satanic names, so I wanted to do something a little different. I am not into all of that. I also thought the name was different enough that people would remember it when they heard it. Some people hate it and some like it. I like it and thatís all that really matters to me.
How would you describe Aurora Borealis to someone who's never heard your music before?
I like to say we are very, very fast, clean semi- technical death black metal with thrash hints. We have stayed pretty much the same since our first CD. You will never hear any keyboards or female- or chant- style vocals-- just raw and intense. When I saw raw, I donít mean in the production either. I try and make our productions as clean as possible also.
How do you get the inspiration for your writing?
I tend to read a lot, especially a lot of historical type books. Just about all of our songs deal with some different aspect of time periods in history. When I am reading and a subject really hits me, I will just write a song about it.
When was the first time you performed in front of an audience?
Probably in 1990 or so with my first band Lestregus Nosferatus. It was I and one of the guys from Hallows Eve and two other guys. We had an audience of about 200, which wasnít bad considering it was our first show. Even then we played black metal.
The music scene really changed between the 70's, 80's and 90's. What would you say has been your strongest influence?
Probably the thrash era, bands like Kreator, Sodom and Coroner. They made me want to seek out faster and heavier bands. I always wanted to look for more extreme styles. But I still listen to those bands and like it to this day.
Which bands are on your list of favorites? If I were to look through your CD collection, what would I find?
Man, I have about 2500 CDs in my collection. You would find that about 85% of it would be death and black metal, but you would also see many other styles as well. I do not limit myself when it comes to music. Itís very hard for me to list favorites, but bands like Kreator, Setherial, Dark Funeral, Neglected Fields, Cynic, Vader. Just really fast or really technical stuff.
What bands would you liken yourselves to? <|p>
Well, for speed bands like Dark Funeral. As far as riffs, we have so many different styles; some are thrash and some are death. I try and take the aspects I like from all the styles I listen to and combine the elements I like the most, so we have a nice blend. Itís really hard to compare us to many other bands.
I had learned about you on mp3.com. Do you think that the Internet has helped you promote yourself?
Of course, the internet can be a very valuable tool for any bands that choose to use it. It can widen your audience to so many people who would have never heard your music otherwise. I couldnít live without the internet now because I am just so used to it and the ease of getting your stuff out there. It also saves so much money on mailing costs.
Have you gotten any gifts from fans? Which would you say would be the coolest or weirdest?
No, we have not received any gifts. I donít think the people that listen to us would be the type of people that send gifts through the mail and if they did, I donít think I would want to get the gifts that they would send.
Outside of playing Metal, what kinds of things do you enjoy doing?
Like I said earlier, I read a lot. I work at my studio so much as well that it really doesnít leave a lot of extra time. Between that and the music, there is really no extra time.
Any good books, movies, drinks, or anything you would like to recommend?
Well, I donít drink so I canít recommend any of those. I drink water. Canít say too much about any good movies either. Most of the books I have been reading lately have been not so good. Right now I am reading a book called Blackwood Farm; its ok. I read a good series of books a little while back called Riverworld. Itís a set of 5 books and those were really good. After that I read a book called Cities in Flight; that was ok. I read a ton of just plain history books as well. But as most metal fans know there is no set of books better than Lord of the Rings. If you like those, go back and read the Silmarillion by Tolkien as well. It starts at the beginning of time and the Lord of the Rings book set takes place in literally three pages in the Silmarillion.
Can you remember your most embarrassing drinking experience?
I havenít drunk in a long time, but when I used to drink it was so drastic that I usually didnít remember anything about it the next day. I donít find comfort in alcohol or drugs. I just canít see paying money to do something that in the long run will end up hurting you. I wish people would just pay me and I could punch them in the liver and hurt them or maybe just shoot them. Itís a lot faster than getting cancer from smoking or just killing your brain on dope. As you can see, Iím really not that fun to hang around. I have left that destructive stage in my life long ago. I focus on more important things now.
That's what makes you fun. I don't drink either and am always delighted to find the only other sober, non-stoned person at a party.
There are a lot bands that form and break up shortly afterwards. What holds your band together?
Well, itís mainly just me, so itís hard to break up with yourself. If something happens to one of the other guys, I just replace them.
How do you feel about the criticism many metal bands, especially black metal bands, get because of their satanic/pagan lyrical content?
If that is what a band is truly into, then I have no problem with it. I just hate when bands out there, probably 90% of them, just do it because everyone else does it.
I mean, I know that all these bands out here claiming Satan this and that are not into it. I know people personally who have bands like that and at the end of the say are nothing about it. I say, "just do what is you and donít be a follower."
Which would you say is the most prominent instrument in your band?
Drums, drums, drums. No doubt, they are the backbone of any band. Without good drums you have nothing. They are the foundation to build from. If you start with shit, thatís what you end up with. I donít care how good the guitarist or bassist is; when you put garbage drums with them, it just isnít right.
Who writes most of your lyrics?
I write all of the lyrics for every album.
Any new material for a new album yet?
The new CD really isnít even out in Europe yet; it wonít be until March 1st. But I do have about three new songs for another album. That wonít be for at least a year or more, though. Probably longer. It takes me a while to write material. I donít just throw it together; I take my time and make sure its right.
Could you tell us about your upcoming ideas for any new releases?
I donít really have ideas for the CD yet. I am just writing the music for now.
What advice would you give to others who are trying to make it in the music business?
Do what you want to do; donít be a follower.
Any last words to fans?
Yes. I would like to thank anyone who reads this interview and I would encourage all your readers to get in touch. We answer all mail. We can be reached at PO BOX 1327 Clinton MD 20735-5327 USA or via the Internet at AURORA4DTH@aol.com. Also, be sure to view the web site at www.auroraborealis.org. Thanx also for the interview. I always appreciate the chance to make new fans in any zines.
Thank you, and thanks for the prompt response. Horns Up!
|Other information about Aurora Borealis on this site|
|Review: Time Unveiled|
Copyright © 1999-2017, Michel Renaud / The Metal Crypt. All Rights Reserved.