EMQ’s with ARYA
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Rimini, Italy based Experimental/Progressive Metal/Rock band ARYA. Huge thanks to guitarist/backing vocalist Luca Pasini for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
My name is Luca Pasini, I play guitar and do backing vocals for the prog/noise/post/gaze/whatever band Arya. Arya was born from an EP that I had composed recorded on my own, that later became our debut album “In Distant Oceans”. The history of the band has been really troubled, with many line-up changes and really tragic turns of events, but despite that (but probably even thanks to that) we’ve managed to release four albums and an EP since 2015, touching many different genres of music. We’ve played shows in many regions of Italy, as well as Switzerland, Austria and the San Marino Republic.
How did you come up with your band name?
When we formed for the first time as a full band and were looking for a name, I was studying for an Asian Philosophies exam at the university. I came across the Sanskrit word Arya, which is adjective that means “noble”, “aristocratic”, but is also a short and good sounding word that doesn’t imply any specific genre for our music, and didn’t seem to be already taken by someone else.
However, because of many businesses in any field being named Arya, as well as a character from Game Of Thrones, we quickly added “Italy” to most of our social media pages to make us easier to find.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
We’re from Rimini, a city on the East coast of Italy that’s quite famous internationally as a seaside resort. There is a handful of good bands in our area, most of which we know personally, like Solaris, Built-In Obsolescence, Outer, Invasion Inc.
Nonetheless it’s not really an ideal place to grow a fan-base for a band like us, as there aren’t many people interested in live music in general, even less care about heavy music, and even less about the less codified and more experimental kind of music that we make. We often try to set up concerts and to promote them, but there’s just not a big audience interested in watching rock and metal bands playing live. Most of the fans of the genre are also older than we are, so it’s difficult for us to reach them by, for example, hanging out together.
The only times we’ve been to other countries we felt like we were in heaven: there were people paying money to see bands they didn’t know, venues providing rooms for bands to sleep after the concert, everyone was much more professional and really cared about our music even if we had never met before.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
We’ve just released a music video for a song called ‘Flares’. It’s the first single of our fourth album, “For Ever”, that will be released on October 20th. We plan to release most of its tracks as singles with videos beforehand, so I suggest you keeping an eye on our Youtube channel, if you like our music, so you don’t miss them.
Arya – Flares [Official Video]
Who have been your greatest influences?
Musically speaking, there have been really a lot, from mathcore to jazz, and each of the present and past members of the band could add more of them: that’s why each of our albums sounds different from the others.
But if we consider me trying to manage the band and to make artistic decisions, I’ve really learnt a lot from Periphery: they were among the first bands that recorded and managed themselves, and they’ve always worked hard to find new ways to get to fans without the need for a record label. In this regard, the Italian scene still feels bound to the past: even now, if you present yourself as a self-publishing band who records its own music, you look suspicious, an amateur, you’re not taken seriously.
What first got you into music?
My mother forced me to take piano lessons from her when I was five, I think. But I got really into music much later, when I gradually allowed myself to listen to rock music: first it was Queen’s greatest hits, then came Stairway To Heaven and The Beatles, then I got into classic prog rock and, by then, at 16, while many people at my age were listening to house or pop punk, I was already dreaming about having a band and creating my own experimental music.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Maybe the American band Bent Knee, they’re incredibly talented musicians, they’ve made me approach music composition in a new and better way and they seem to have a lot of fun while creating new music and experimenting.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Since I know about it, I’ve always dreamed about playing at the UK Tech Metal Festival: I’ve always drawn much inspiration from bands I found out on their bill, and the people that attend seem really nice. Euroblast in Germany and Arctangent in the UK would be close second.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Once one of us received a vinyl with a penis drawn on it, but the guy who gave it wasn’t really a fan, and it was the beginning of a really terrible turn of events for all of us (the whole new album is about what happened later).
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Well, thank you so much for being interested in us and our music. Ours has been a long ride with many difficult and painful moments and a few accomplishments. Arya will probably always be a losing game, our music has never been for everyone, but it has been everything for us: if you’re still interested in us it’s not because you expect us to get big in the near future. The story that the discography of Arya is telling mirrors the story of our own lives and maybe, if you’ve followed us for a long time, you can find a bit of yours there as well.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Kurt Cobain, obviously! But wait, would he be really happy and grateful to be alive again? Maybe he’s alright wherever he is now…
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
I love finding out new ways of saying something with my instruments, and the rare feeling you have when you think you’ve created some really good music, and you’ve managed to express your current feelings through it. I also like being surprised by music made by someone else, to see it awake an emotion inside me, and being inspired by it.
I don’t like the frustrating process of begging people to listen to your music, for example by writing hundreds of e-mails to promoters, blogs, playlist curators and so on, most of which won’t be answered or will be followed by a reject for whatever reason. Being part of an independent band, it’s something we have to do to survive and I try to do it in the best way I can, but most of the time it’s not really amusing at all.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
I don’t really like how streaming platforms work. Of course they pay you almost nothing unless you’re already a pop-star, but my main issue with them is that their focus on playlists ends up killing the personality and uniqueness of each artist: a playlist gathers similar tracks that share a mood, a tempo, a style, and if you want to be chosen to be part of a popular playlist, so that more people can learn about you, you’re requested to make music that can be easily categorized into the criteria of a specific genre, that reminds people of something they’ve already heard. Music that isn’t easily categorizable is doomed not to become popular. Meanwhile, the result of your hard work, a track that may have been conceived with a specific role inside an album, becomes just another generic element inside a set of similar items, your own personality as an artist hasn’t any relevance anymore.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
I’d say “Unholy” by Martin Grech, a singer-songwriter from Aylesbury that almost no one knows about, but who’s a true artist. He provided guest vocals on a track with Tesseract recently. It’s a very dark, depressing, even dramatic album, but I think it captures really well my personality, and has been really important for me during a terrible part of my life. More people should know about him.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
They may not be fashionable nowadays, but I like CD’s because I can listen to an album many times while I’m driving, paying much attention to it. I also like downloads, they’re useful if I’m listening to music from my laptop or phone and there’s no internet connection, like when I’m on a train.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
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 1980’s, 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, you can find it here:
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
I am a musician, but like many of us I have to also do something else to earn some money. As of now, after getting a master’s degree in Philosophy, I’m studying at the National Film School in Rome to work as a sound engineer or editor in the film industry. It’s a beautiful environment full of talented and dedicated people, and studying there has been really good for Arya, as I’ve learnt to produce better music and better music videos as well.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Keeping it music-related I can think of David Maxim Micic (Serbian musician), Ben Levin (guitarist of the American band Bent Knee and youtuber), Adam Neely (American musician and youtuber), Arnor Dan (vocalist of the Icelandic band Agent Fresco) and Devin Townsend (Canadian musician). I would be by far the worst and least successful musician among them, but I’m Italian, so at least I could cook something tasty.
What’s next for the band?
Until October, we’ll be working hard promoting our upcoming album “For Ever”. What will happen next will depend on how the album will be received: we still have a few unreleased full songs with a totally different and more “pop” vibe than those on the album, as well as dozens of demos to develop. I don’t know if, when and how we’ll be able to perform live again, it’s always been really hard for us to find a stable and reliable line-up willing to commit to such an uncategorizable and unpopular project.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
We have our Facebook page:
And our Youtube channel:
If someone was interested in downloading our music or buying some merch, the best place is Bandcamp:
Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?
I had no idea about what they are, so I checked on Wikipedia, that describes them as “biscuit-sized cakes”. It also says that, despite being usually eaten in place of biscuits, they are considered as cakes by the UK and Ireland taxation system, thus being exempted from VAT. I think I’ve just learnt something new about how absurdly things in the UK work!
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Thank you for reading all this, I hope you found it interesting! Our new album “For Ever” will come out on October 30, if you like our music be sure to pre-save it here, it really helps us: https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/aryaitaly/for-ever
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