Arya is a band trying among many difficulties to push the boundaries of music and express their own emotions and personalities. Based in Rimini, Italy, they started in 2015, making themselves known for their intense music, which shows many influences and elements of many genres including metal, grunge, jazz, shoegaze, ambient and indie pop, and for their relentless recording activity. Since the beginning, the band has played many shows and festivals in different parts of Italy and the San Marino Republic, Austria and Switzerland, sharing the stage with bands and artists of any genre, and learning something from all of them. Their music has been often enthusiastically reviewed and has been featured in some compilations and rankings. The personal stories and issues of Arya members have always been granted a place inside their music that tells about despair, frustration, the impossibility of relating to others, self-destructive instincts and antidepressants. Their music has always tried to be sincere and spontaneous in every aspect, the production included. After releasing three albums, In Distant Oceans (2015), Dreamwars (2017), Endesires (2018) and the Zero EP (2019), the band is ready to release their fourth work ‘For Ever’ in 2020, after a long and painful composing and recording process. The band has always followed a strong DIY attitude: the band members have entirely handled everything from production to mixing, artwork, promotion and booking.
FOREVER BY ARYA
Describing our sound in a simple formula would be quite difficult: our songs usually feature big shifts in dynamics and complicated structures; we like them to be unpredictable but also cohesive and coherent. We’re a band that loves contaminating genres and experimenting with unorthodox approaches to create sincere and powerful music. We like odd time signatures (if used with good taste). You could say we are a progressive metal band, but we’re far from the stereotypes that genre is known for. We’ve incorporated elements from sludge, black and post-metal, and alternative and indie rock, shoegaze, and jazz during the years.
We’ve just released our fourth album, called ‘For Ever’. It’s by far the most experimental, dark and heavy release we’ve ever put out. It was composed almost entirely by myself and Simone, the other guitarist in the band, alone in our rehearsal room: the band’s previous line-up had recently ended in a terrible way that left us both devastated and disappointed the world and by each other. We tried to leave our issues aside and work on some new music because we realised that we still wanted to do it despite everything that had happened. We had no idea on who would have played and sung on that record and, as time went by, we ended up doing most of the work ourselves, including writing lyrics, recording the bass and drum parts, and some of the vocals. The same writing and recording sessions came out our 2019 EP Zero, which features songs with a different style and mood. The first and last songs on the album were mainly composed by the band before the catastrophe (including the lyrics for the previous track which, in the wake of those events, gained a new meaning), while the others were created afterwards.
The album became personal and autobiographical, being deeply inspired by the aftermath of what happened. The lyrics, which I ended up gradually writing myself, are about my thoughts and feelings about what was happening in my life and mind. I got into Joni Mitchell while composing this album, and I was inspired by her open, honest and essential songs. I like when you manage to put in words what’s happening inside your mind without any judgement, interference or self-censorship, no matter how delusional it is.
I took the artwork picture myself: I suddenly got this idea in summer 2019, when the album was still far from being completed, and I immediately tried to accomplish it with what I had at home at the moment. I taped a large piece of paper to the front window of a car, pierced it, and used a self-timer to operate the camera, running from it inside the car to put my fingers inside the hole I had created. The folded paper gives it some kind of tri-dimensional feel, and the hole in the middle reminds me of Lucio Fontana’s works. I like simple artworks that convey a simple idea related to the music, just like we did with our previous album ‘Endesires’. These hands that may be breaking out from some kind of dark prison, but could also be retracting inside it, really match with the overall themes of the songs, and with my mental situation at the time without being too thought-out or didascalic. It came just like most musical ideas of the album: suddenly and without any prior planning.
It’s also not an artwork that implies a particular style of music. You just have to look at it once to understand the idea. Unlike many others, you end up remembering only from the combination of colours, without focusing on what they’re representing.
I only fully realised it after being released, but our new album is full of references to movies, especially old silent ones. I found the title words ‘For Ever’ in a 1923 film called ‘Coeur Fidèle’, by Jean Epstein: you can read them many times written on walls and other objects. ‘Thymian’, the title of a track, is the main character of the 1929 Murnau film ‘Diary Of A Lost Girl’, while the ‘Golem’, another track title, is the protagonist of a horror film from 1920. During the album, you can also hear Marlon Brando and Isabelle Adjani’s voices from ‘Possession’ by Zulawski, one of my favourite movies ever, and Riccardo Ardolino an actor friend of mine, from a short a film we’ve worked on together. The main reason for this abundance of film-related content is probably because, while recording the album, I enrolled in a really important film school in Rome, and I’ve since started to work in the industry. Nevertheless, our music has always been full of references to literature, cinema and especially theatre: some of our lyrics, written by different people, were inspired by playwrights like Eugène Ionesco, Sarah Kane, Eduardo De Filippo or even the Indian Bhagavadgita.
We live in a world where I don’t think we have a unique mainstream aesthetics going on anymore. The way the internet works is making everyone live inside a personal bubble, feeding him or she with whatever it knows would be appreciated, not only with music and art but also with ideas, creating many issues lately. The instrument that could give us access to everything instantly is dividing people even more. One could say that nowadays, trap music is the standard no one can leave aside if you want to be relevant. I know it exists, but it’s not saying anything to me musically, and even more thematically, so I don’t think about it at all when I have to choose what I’d like my music to be. We’re lucky to be the first generation that can have access to most of the music ever recorded in a matter of seconds: one could never give the same attention to everything, we have to make choices and focus on few things that give us the most feelings and inspirations, but we’re free to look for them in whatever genre, age or place we want. What’s important to me is the importance of keeping your ears open to any surprise that could come from anyone at any time. That’s why I often still listen to the radio: I’d like to be shocked by something I didn’t choose myself, that’s outside my comfort zone. The awesome thing is that, when I find something interesting, I can listen to it again on the internet whenever I want and learn the most from it.