Seattle, Washington in the US is a lovely birthplace for many, many different musicians and bands. That said, it's also a wonderful place to be into industrial music and the like. Aedifice is one of those hot and new upcoming acts based out of Seattle. Though some troubles have put them down in the past, they have regrouped and realigned themselves to be a more powerful force to be reckoned with. With their debut album soon to release exclusively at Mechanismus in Seattle, I was able to have a chat with the frontman of the group Ryan Olson based on history and the debut album Catalyst. Read on and discover more about the masked and top-hatted man.
Alright, this should be fun! I like dissecting and getting to know new bands that are on the rise. By the time we're done here I hope we know each other as well as a couple who just fucked for the first time. Anyway, let's get a simple introduction. Who are you, what do you do, and whose in the band?
RO: Hahaha... Flattery gets you everywhere. My name is Ryan Olson, AKA "Adelrik Aedifice," the "CEO" (Vocalist/Lyricist/Frontman) of Aedifice. As for the rest of the band there are Nathan Bennett COO (Composer/Keys), Bruce Beerman CFO (Guitars/Arrangements), and Michael Coultas COO (Mixing/Production). Although that may seem pretty heavy handed, there's a lot going on both presently and in the future that'll make it a lot more interesting.
We'll start off the interview with some history. Though industrial you may be, I'm sure the instrument you first picked up wasn't a PC or synths (correct me if I'm wrong). So, what was the first instrument you picked up and why did you start playing it?
RO: A Recorder *shudders.* But, seriously, I didn't consider getting into music at any level beyond being a fan until I was in my mid twenties. I was told I was tone deaf enough that I believed it. It'd be nice to be able to kick the shit out of my younger self for being a pussy, but I digress.
As far as why I started singing? Alcohol. Jager specifically. I got horribly drunk one night at a karoke bar and started singing 'Ballroom Blitz' by The Sweet. Afterwards, an equally inebriated friend asked me to sing in his band. Although we disbanded, the bug to scream and sweat all over people stayed with me. Fast forward 2 years and here we are!
Influences are always important. Which bands influenced you, be they industrial or not. Why and how did they impact your career?
RO: Skinny Puppy for sure... Definitely A Nivek Ogre fanboy. Probably the only person I'd ever meet and be star struck... well him and Roger Waters. If it wasn't for my friend Will dragging me out to his truck to listen to Mythmaker when it first came out, who knows if I'd even be doing this interview? I honestly can't thank him enough for that; no matter where this goes, or how long it lasts.
Anyways, besides them I'd say Ministry, Oingo Boingo, Nine Inch Nails, Aesthetic Perfection, KMFDM, The Matthew Good Band, Pink Floyd, and Marilyn Manson, Local H, Mindless Self Indulgence, and Psyclon Nine.
If I'm correct and if the photos of the band I see are correct, there is yourself and three others involved in the band. Where and when did you meet all the members of the band? And when did you decide to form the band?
RO: Actually, funny enough, I met Nate after almost giving up on music entirely. I couldn't find anyone in my area looking to do anything other than Nickelback type shit and I just decided I'd throw a hail mary and check out Craigslist. No joke, the first ad I saw said, "Looking for Industrial Vocalist in the Tacoma, WA area."
We met at a local dive bar, where we decided to give it a shot. When we first got together to see what I could do, I sucked horribly. I didn't have the foggiest idea of how to sing Industrial, as my prior band had been some kind of bastard child of noise music and pop.
Since it was my dream to get into the genre, I stuck with it and for some odd reason he kept coaching me. It's something we look back at and laugh at now, but it's really a bizarre set of coincidences.
As far as Bruce and Michael? The coincidences continue. After a show where we were critiqued pretty harshly for only being a duo, we took a step back and realized that our live show really did leave something to be desired. Given my musical influences, I was really interested in pursuing a guitarist. Through Drew Mars, a local supporter of the scene and frontman of X-Versus, we were able to get in contact with Bruce. We owe a lot to Drew. Without him, I doubt we would have ever all met each other.
Anyways, it still makes me shake my head in disbelief when I think about meeting Bruce. He was the first guitarist we reached out to and all three of us just clicked like long lost brothers. It was insane.
When we first started jamming, he knew right where to insert chords without skipping a beat. The guy is a genius in my opinion. Since he didn't come in until after a lot of the music was composed, he didn't get the opportunity to flex his muscles as much as I'd like, but that's the plan for the follow-up.
Regarding Michael, well, he's already got his own thing going in Seattle as is. His act RIOTLEGION is a household name of those in the local scene, and he's just an all around gifted musician. What's weird though is that not only did Nate, Michael, and I all click the same way that we did with Bruce, but all four of us did as well. It's uncanny chemistry and I really can't wait to see where it takes us.
Here's a stereotypical question; where did the name Aedifice come from? And who chose the name?
RO: Although I write the lyrics and song titles, full credit for the band name goes to Nate. He was about to fall asleep one night and rushed to his phone to call me. I can't remember his exact words, but he woke me up at Midnight with the idea. We both agreed to sit on it for a week and if nothing better came up, we were Aedifice. We didn't really get around to talking about the band name again, so here we are!
I still think it's incredibly fitting, given that it means: "A building or structure." We had to start this collaboration from the ground up and it's been a lot of hard work.
What was the very first track you put up? You've told me in messages that reception has been good, but was it always good from the get go? Did you get any hateful mail?
RO: I'm pretty sure the first track we put up was Stray Sheep. Originally, the vocals for the song were more in the vein of Psyclon Nine, but through the mastering process of Catalyst, it was decided that a cleaner take I had recorded as an alternate idea was a better plan. Initially, I had written the lyrics as an angry rant about society and the corruption of the world we live in. I had no idea how they'd fit to music, but Nate wrote the music for the song in under 15 minutes and we just recorded then and there. No pre-tense or anything. There's been a lot of moments like that for us. I really can't believe my luck in that sense.
That being said, I'm really not one to believe in my own hype or anything like that, but people have been overwhelmingly positive so far. Most negative feedback we've received has been personal preference luckily, but I'm always looking to get better and I know the rest of the band feels the same.
That being said, we did receive some negative feedback on a song that we ended up cutting from the album as a result. As far as anything worse than that, I'd say the story about out live show was probably the worst it ever got.
The person who reviewed our show so negatively was a hero of Nate's, so he almost gave up music and performing live all together. It was a horribly rough period for our group, but something that's made us way stronger than we ever were before.
How do all of you work together? Do you butt heads a lot or does the music flow well from one mind to the next?
RO: I touched on this in one of my earlier rants, but we're one of the most in synch groups of people I've known. It's almost like finding three brothers that you never knew you had. I can say something abstract I want done musically to a song, Nate, Michael, or Bruce will chime in with something along the lines of what I was thinking (or often times better), and the process flows accordingly.
I don't think we've ever had a "fight" as a band. Some minor stress issues with deadlines and the like, but that's about it.
Your debut album “Catalyst” is set to release exclusively at Mechanismus in Seattle where you'll be opening for no longer human as well as Daniel Graves. How did you get this slot to open for such already reputable acts?
RO: Really, everything we are today is thanks to Ali Mojallal, the promoter running Mechanismus in Seattle. If he hadn't taken a chance on us, Nate and I would have likely separated a long time ago. That being said, this will be our 3rd show with Mechanismus and the anniversary of our first performance in Seattle... well within three days anyways. Our first show with Mechanismus was June of 2015, when Ali let us open for Larva (Spain) and Tragic Black.
Ali is in this for the music. He wants the scene to grow and knows it has the potential to. He doesn't do it for the money, he just wants good music to get noticed. We were nobody this time last year and he didn't know us from the next guy. We seemed serious enough though, so he gave us a shot. That's his mantra. Everyone deserves a shot if they're willing to put in the work.
We promoted and brought a few heads in the door via people we knew and put on the best possible show we knew how to. After that, he was willing to offer us a massive opportunity via opening for Haujobb... After our jaws could be scraped off the floor, we enthusiastically agreed.
Essentially, I think the reason we got offered the show was due to our relationship with Mechanismus, and because of how enthusiastic I was about releasing our album exclusively at a Mechanismus show... That and because Ali knew how much of a diehard Aesthetic Perfection fan I am. I'm a huge fan of Cathartic moments and sincerely feel like June 18th will be just that on many levels.
And what is “Catalyst” all about? I see tracks such as 'Greatest Show on Earth' as well as 'Carnival of Heaven' and think of your self-proclaimed theatrical acts. Is this album meant to show what Aedifice is all about in a nutshell?
RO: The major reason for calling the album "Catalyst," is due to a variety of story/mythos angles we're currently exploring. The album serves as a very loose concept album of sorts... although the pieces of that puzzle are still being worked out. If we can pull off the current pieces in motion, it'll be interesting to say the least. I wish I could go into further detail at the moment, but there's a lot of gaps to fill in before it's ready to discuss in the open.
Stylistically, what were you trying to do with the music? At times, I get a very dancey, groovy rock vibe while at other times I feel a more aggressive punch.
RO: Well, that's mostly Nate's department, so I should probably let him answer that one. Nate?
NB: With Ædifice, I was trying to break out of my usual creative rut. I had been making weak attempts at EBM and noise and failing horribly. Typically, I have a prolific output, even if most of it never gets heard.
In the aforementioned Craigslist ad, I listed a handful of artists that if the respondent knew them without Googling, then we should talk and meet up.
As such, the first few pieces written for the project were written to what I think would have made a strong impression. I had to branch out and do more.
I applied techniques that I knew, but rarely used to create a bigger, dirtier, and more unusual sound. Four on the floor kick drums were not going to cut it; it had to be more interesting than that. So, the drum programming was a bigger focus. I found myself layering and juxtaposing them in a way that I hadn’t quite done before. The result was this bigger, deeper sound that you could still bob your head to. Even unusual sounds can be cut and arranged to compliment the beat.
My background is primarily electronic music of many varieties. Growing up in Atlanta, I was exposed to a lot of hip hop and always loved the way they produced their drums. The drums on the chorus for ‘Dawn’ are a drum n bass standard. The drums on ‘Illuminated’ are more of a slow EBM standard. ‘Stray Sheep’ is more of a throwback to the old school sounds I recall from my youth. ‘Greatest Show’ is more (to my ears) goth with a little of that 80s flavor from Michael’s synth improvisations and Bruce’s spot-on guitars. Sometimes I want it to be clean, other times I want it to be crunchy like a mouthful of gravel.
Glitch, noise, grit, dirt, deep bass, atmospheric pads, crisp as fuck leads, and interesting drum arrangements — these are elements likely to be found here.
How do the lyrics reflect the thoughts and concepts on “Catalyst”?
RO: The lyrics were originally a culmination of my anger, frustration, depression, and anxiety. It's a peak inside my head and personal experiences. I don't like to go much deeper on a song by song basis, because I like people to attach their own meaning. I've found when I explain what I mean, it loses something.
That being said, I realized the lyrics go beyond that: they also tell a story. The concepts I've written for this album adhere a ton of loose ideas I've had floating around in my head for quite some time. It'd be a bucket list event if we can pull it off.
When you finally heard the final masters of “Catalyst”, what were your thoughts on the album? Did you think you did exactly what you wanted to with it, or did you see room for improvement?
RO: I think Kyle Porter did an amazing job of Mastering the album. He's a really gifted individual and I continue to be surrounded by musicians of a caliber I can't really believe.
With that in mind, I always think we can do better. That's part of the problem you run into. When is a song done? We could have edited the album ad infinitum and never released a thing... but at the end of the day, what would we have accomplished?
I'm really happy with the way "Catalyst" has turned out. It's the best album we could have done with the material we had.
Obviously you have Mechanismus in your live show gallery, but what's next? Any future gigs? Are you planning a tour?
RO: As the band manager, I'm going to be promoting the hell out the album alongside some friends in Seattle. Miles Jones from Necropolis has been instrumental in helping me with getting in touch with the right people, so here's hoping there'll be some big announcements soon.
Although that may be a very vague answer, I can say that we're doing a few local shows over the summer to promote the album. There's talk about a possible tour towards the end of the year, but we're open and pursuing every possible venture available to us.
Lastly, I wish you the best and leave the space below for you to mention anything I may not have mentioned. Cheers!
RO: I just want to say thank you to Brutal Resonance and yourself for giving us the interview. It's been quite the ride thus far. Here's hoping it continues.
...on tour you live excessively, faster than real life, you suck it all in and ride the bomb, so to speak, and after the touring is done, you spit it all back out in the studio, however, it has undergone a process of digestion in the meantime, and that is the motivational momentum for me.
KMFDM, Apr 25 2011
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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