If you have never heard of the Norwegian metalcore outfit, Aerial, before, then let this be your first taste of a promising young band. They formed in 2015, and dropped their debut EP, titled Foresight, in the summer of 2016. The EP is dreamy, atmospheric progressive metalcore that carries a positive message they hope will appeal to their fans. We had the pleasure of speaking to their vocalist, Markus Johnson, about the EP, future plans, and what it’s like trying to break into international music scenes.
Each region has its own personality and challenges for any emerging band. As many people probably know, Norway is famous for its black metal. When asked about additional differences between Norway, UK and the US, Johnson gave us a quick rundown. The biggest difference is a lack of a metalcore scene in Norway – especially in the small town of Fevik, where they hail from. It’s because of the lack of a music scene that they opted to relocate to the UK for a period of time while they built up their fanbase. Johnson elaborates on their temporary relocation before heading back to Norway, “We are from a small town called Fevik, located in the south coast of Norway where the metal scene is non-existent. If you’re very lucky playing in Kristiansand (an hour away from us) you might get 30-80 people at a show, but that’s all you get. There really isn’t anyone who sets up gigs in the area any longer either, so there’s not really any option for us to play in out area as we did when we where younger. Because of this, all our marketing goes beyond our borders, to Europe and the US because the scene for our music lays here.”
It can be difficult for new, unsigned bands to break out in foreign markets. That is something the band is striving for though, in addition to shopping for record labels. Cultivating a band can be time-consuming and expensive, especially when you are trying to extend your reach to other continents. “We’ve tried really hard to shop for labels, but being a Norwegian band without any contacts makes everything so much harder. We’ve worked hard to get where we are today, so we’re hoping there will be some label-interest for our upcoming releases. Now that we’ve built a good fanbase all over Europe and America, with hundreds of thousands of plays, we’re hoping that this can help us get label so we can release a full-length album.”
Foresight is a great EP, and the band put in a lot of work to make it a solid debut release. Johnson explains the extensive process they went through to record and release the EP. “Foresight was a slow and steady process. We started out writing heaps of riffs, harmonics and breakdowns. We would dive really deep into the dynamics of the songs in our genre, and get to a general idea of how to kind of intertwine everything together.
After some really thorough work we then decided to contact Keaton from Invent, Animate. He joined our team as a producer. Keaton and Mathias [Aerial’s drummer] worked really close together writing drums and guitar riffs, while Markus gave a lot of constructive feedback to further scalp our sound. After we finished up with the lyrics and the instrumentals to our songs were done, we decided to get in touch with Jesse from Erra to get the vocals to even greater heights. We finished it off by having Brian Hood from 456 Recordings do the mix/ mastering.”
Aerial has stated that they want to write deep, meaningful music that will resonate with their fans. We asked them why they felt that was an important aspect of their identity, and what do they hope to accomplish with those kinds of songs. Specifically, we asked about the meaning behind the title track. “We really want to make the world a better place in some way, shape or form.” Johnson continues, “The number one key to unlock your true potential is to free your mind and be true to yourself. “Foreign Coast” is about dealing with self-acceptance, and the beauty of all the realizations that’s being revealed as life unfolds. As the title suggests it’s purpose is to unlock the unknown dimensions/perspectives of life, and it’s definitely a powerful and inspiring song for us personally. “Foreign Coast” is a reminder of hope when life’s wearing thin, and an appreciation when it’s going great.”
There are moments when Aerial sounds similar to other bands in their genre, like Northlane and ERRA. They shed light on some of their favorite bands, which have likely had some influence over their own sound. The band mentions Architects, Northlane, Parkway Drive, Born Of Osiris and a few others. They don’t limit themselves to just alternative music though, and expressed an interest in a variety of genres.
The band is currently writing new music, and they hope to have it released in the near future. This is a group that music fans will want to keep an eye on.