ISIS Frontman Says REVOLVER GOLDEN GODS AWARDS Was 'A Ridiculous Event'

9:02 AM / Posted by metallic sucker and moslem militan /

Kurt Orzeck of the IndiePit blog recently conducted an interview with guitarist/vocalist Aaron Turner of ISIS, the innovative Los Angeles-by-way-of-Boston-based band. An excerpt from the chat follows below.

IndiePit: I noticed that you put out the vinyl releases before the CD. Are you tempted to just do away altogether with CDs at this point?

Aaron Turner: "I dunno. I think that CDs are still a viable format for some people. And I still find that I use CDs when I'm in my car or whatever. I know that hooking up your iPhone up to your car stereo is not a difficult thing to do these days, but I've always been a fan of the tangible artifact of records. And with the advent of MP3s, I feel like I'm drawn even more strongly to that. So, with that in mind, I'd still rather have CDs than MP3s of something. And CDs, in some ways, are more convenient in certain contexts than vinyl is. So in that sense, I think they still serve a purpose. However, if it comes down to a point where CDs aren't really a viable thing to make anymore and vinyl is driving them down, that's fine by me. I've always preferred vinyl, so the fact that it's doing well right know at a time when CD sales are diminishing I think is a positive thing, from my personal perspective. As far as whether the vinyl boom will last, I can't really say, though, talking about the relatively short history of recorded music, vinyl is the only format which seems to have any longevity to it. Since vinyl was invented, 8-tracks have come and gone, cassettes have come and gone, and now it looks like CDs are on their way out too. And vinyl has just held strong. There have been times where its popularity has waned, but it's never gone away completely. And it's always been big on an underground level too, whether it's the hardcore-metal context or in the realm of hip-hop or with dance DJs or whatever. It's always had a place of prominence in those more underground circles."

IndiePit: What about debuting in the top 100? Was that not such a big surprise because music is selling so poorly, or were you nonetheless blown away by that?

Aaron Turner: "It was surprising, I have to say. I don't think any of us would have expected or predicted that. So it definitely was a big surprise. But just we try to take all of that stuff in stride. Consumers are probably even more fickle these days then they were 10 or 12 years ago when we started. There's just a massive amount of stuff available. So we just try to keep our heads down and focus on the task at hand and enjoy good things — such as that — when they happen, but really … the emphasis for us has always been on the music and not all the extraneous stuff that surrounds it."

IndiePit: In terms of being in the limelight, I was at the Golden Gods Awards in April, where you were named "Best Underground Metal Band." When you were onstage, were you just like, "Whatever," or were you nervous?

Aaron Turner: "I dunno, we didn't talk about it all that much except all of us felt like it was sort of a ridiculous event. I mean it's great that we're exposed, perhaps, to more people because of something like that, but at the same time, it's like, the award itself felt kind of meaningless. A lot of the other awards there I was kind of dubious about too. Like, for instance, the 'Hottest Chick in Metal' award. Like, that has no fucking relevance and, to me, is actually kind of insulting. It has nothing to do with the music really — it doesn't even seem to have anything to do with metal. And I feel like it was kind of demeaning to the woman as well. Obviously she was a willing participant, but I'm just using that as an example of the preposterousness of the event. I dunno, maybe I'm burning a bridge with Revolver here by saying something like that. [Laughs] Like I said, it's great for this kind of music to have some kind of outlet, and it's cool that Revolver wants to expose people to different stuff, but I feel like Isis has nothing in common with the other participants who were there. Like KILLSWITCH ENGAGE or whatever else. That's not a comment on the quality of their music, it's just there are no real parallels between us and them except that maybe, you know, a handful of us were all listening to METALLICA when we were teenagers or something."

IndiePit: What about touring with TOOL? Would you do that again if you had the opportunity?

Aaron Turner: "Probably. There was a few bands of that stature that actually, to us, make sense as touring partners. And there were other tours in the past that we were offered that were bands of maybe a similar size — or slightly smaller or bigger or whatever — but they just didn't make sense. We felt like their audiences wouldn't get it, or where we had no personal affinity for their music. And those things are really important to us. Context says a lot about your band, and if we were to tour with a band whose music we didn't like and if we felt like our fanbase wouldn't get what we were doing, I think it would somehow cheapen or dilute the strength of what we're doing. So I think doing that with a band like TOOL is great. Obviously, they have an unorthodox approach to everything they do. They have an audience that is more receptive to unconventional, heavy-oriented music, and they're people who were cool on a personal level and there was mutual respect for the music that was made on both sides. We couldn't have asked for a better scenario as far as opening for an arena-rock band."

Read the entire interview at the IndiePit blog.

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