It’s too bad that they can’t be more active as a touring act right now because the year 2021 marks ten years since Los Angeles rockers ÆGES first formed. In that time, they have accomplished a lot, releasing four studio albums, including their 2020 effort DRØMMEN. It was unfortunate timing, because the album came out a mere few weeks before the global lockdown began, which meant that all of the band’s touring plans had to be scrapped.
Soon thereafter, they realized that there was a good chance that DRØMMEN was not going to receive the attention it deserved, so they focused on writing new music and working on other musical projects. ÆGES just revealed that first piece of new music a couple of weeks ago, with the release of their new single “Colors,” a song that sees them embracing more of a progressive sound. It’s an evolution in their sound, one that’s full of heavy riffs, a momentous chorus, and lots of attitude for good measure.
Although nothing is cooking at the moment, ÆGES has some fun things in the works right now, with more details to come over the next few months. In the meantime, we caught up with Kemble Walters and Tony Baumeister for an update on what’s going on with the band these days.
What’s the latest with ÆGES, and how is life with the band in ’21 so far?
Kemble Walters: “Well, the latest is that we’re stokes for our single ‘Colors’ (that just dropped). Without touring, we’ve been pretty dark on the socials and been working on tunes behind the scenes. We hadn’t all seen each other face to face in over a year until recently and man was that awesome. We got loud, filmed some stuff and the bug is back (not COVID…) for us to hit the road.
Tony, what’s your vibe?”
Tony Baumeister: “It’s nice to have a new song about to be released. The last year was so tough for everybody. Yeah, it was great to see the guys last week. It’s been over a year, which is insane. I was convinced that we wouldn’t be able to play any shows until 2022, but hopefully, I was wrong about that. Fingers crossed…”
You guys dropped an album at an interesting time for the music industry, what are your thoughts on that?
Walters: “At the time, everything was as they were. We dropped an album, we were heading out on a few tours with more comin’ down the pipeline and then bam, the world shut down. It definitely caught us all by surprise and off guard. We figured we’d give it a month or two and we’ll be back out to support DRØMMEN but as we well know, the lockdowns stuck for a looooong time. We hoped that word of mouth would’ve helped push the release along but I think the world was so distracted with everything happening in the news that music as a whole took a huge hit. We love this record and hope to give it the attention it deserves.”
Baumeister: “It was unfortunate timing, but what can you do? This was also the first time we released anything without a label, so it definitely felt like the album wasn’t as visible as our previous releases. Again, the timing was bad, but it was unavoidable. Hopefully the push we get for “Colors” will draw some new attention to DRØMMEN as well.”
Many music fans feel artists should have waited on releasing new music until after the pandemic (Deftones, Bring Me The Horizon etc), but what is your viewpoint on the pros/cons of staying busy when touring is basically shut down?
Walters: “That’s a tricky situation because I feel like the attention is going to be so short and small compared to that of a release/tour etc… pre-pandemic but relevancy is key and without content, fans start to fall off.”
Baumeister: “Definitely tricky. The general public seems to have such a short attention span anyway these days. Without the ability to tour and get out there, the fear would be to “waste” new music by releasing it at a time when no one will even notice. Millions of people have been vaccinated now, so it seems like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s been over a year since DRØMMEN was released, so having a new song come out is a great way to let people know that we’re still around, and still pushing forward.”
Do you have any plans to bring more attention to DRØMMEN this year?
Walters: “We’d love to bring more attention to that album, we love it! Since touring seems slim for 2021 we will be working on live streams and more digital content to support the album.”
Congrats on “Colors,” the song shreds and clearly you know your way around the guitar. How did this song come together?
Baumeister: “Colors was actually an old demo that Kemble had written way before the pandemic, that we had never even played as a band. Kemble and I had been going through old song ideas (there’s a ton of them), looking for tracks that we may want to give some attention to. The original demo was a different arrangement, but most of the parts were all in there. Once we decided to give it a shot, we reworked it, and recognized that it was absolutely a standout track. Dylan’s (Howard) contributions to the drums improved it even further.”
ÆGES as a band and with your catalogue tends to blend multiple “heavy” genres together. What are some of your influences and how did you end up here?
Walters: “We love a lot of music so the influences we pull from, knowingly or not is very vast. When the band started in 2011 we picked a few bands to model ourselves after just to help us kick things off. Those bands were Quicksand, Handsome, and Hum. Once we got our feet wet and grew into our skin a bit more we reclaimed the true identity of the band which is ever-changing and evolving. We still pull influence from Quicksand but have added a lot more intricacies to the songs ala Mastodon and artists like that. But for real though, we sound nothing like those bands and we’re ok with that (smiles).”
Baumeister: “My influences on the heavy side were a lot of the underground stuff from the ‘90s like Unsane, Neurosis, Melvins, Sleep, etc. I had played in heavy bands similar to those before, but I’d never been in a band with a lot of melodic vocals, and that was a big motivator for me in regards to collaborating with Kemble. I really wanted to expand and do something new. And of course, the fact that heavy riffs are a big part of the ÆGES sound, that’s something that is very important to me as well. ‘Colors’ is a great example of a song that has massive riffs mixed with Kemble’s vocal hooks.”
Music fans are much more appreciative of “tones” and the true talent of artists these days. Are you guys into those fine details with pedals, equipment and the art of it all? Or is it more a byproduct of just doing the musician thing for a while?
Walters: “I’m a tone freak. I can’t seem to get settled on one sound, one guitar, one tuning etc… I change it up from tour to tour, show to show, even song to song… that’s probably why my gear is always jacked up. As an artist and player, you need to find your voice and showcase it to the world. I think we’ve got a recognizable voice now that when people hear a part or a tone they’re like ‘oh that’s Aeges’ and I think that’s rad.”
Baumeister: “Tone is definitely important, but unlike Kemble, I don’t change my tone much. I seemed to find the tone I was looking for a few years back with my Orange amp and a couple preamp/distortion pedals. I pretty much leave it alone now.”
What’s coming up next for ÆGES in 2021?
Walters: “Given the world is still in an iffy state, more thinking outside of the box to get the word out there that we’re still here and louder than ever. Then touring, lots of it I hope. Thanks for stopping by guys, check out ‘Colors’ now!”