Recently, DutchMetalManiac’s Tim van Velthuysen interviewed Arya’s guitarist Luca Pasini.
Hey, how are you?
I’m fine, thank you! I’m finally in my small room in Rome after a long day of work, while autumn thunderstorms are raging out of my window.
Can you tell us something about the history of Arya?
Arya started out from a bunch of songs I had recorded just after finishing a music production course in a studio, in 2014. The quality of the recordings was quite terrible anyway but, as I felt the other members of my old band would have never accepted my growing metal influences, and finding myself in a really bad moment in my life, I decided to try and find people to create a new band.
I met Simone at a lecture in the music school we both used to attend, I sent him the songs and asked him if he wanted to make music with me, while Ale was the drummer of our very first band when we were just teenagers, and joined the band later. Our local music scene (Rimini, East coast of Italy) is quite small, so we pretty much all know each other, which becomes a problem when you need a new band member.
The history of the band has been really troubled, with many line-up changes and really tragic turns of events, but despite that (but probably even thanks to that) we’ve managed to release four albums and an EP since 2015, touching many different genres of music. We’ve played shows in many regions of Italy, as well as Switzerland, Austria and the San Marino Republic.
For people not knowing Arya (yet), how would you describe your music yourself?
I think describing our sound in a simple formula would be quite difficult: our songs usually feature big shifts in dynamics and complex structures, and we like them to be unpredictable but also cohesive and coherent. We’re a band that loves contaminating genres and experimenting with unorthodox approaches, in order to create music that’s emotionally powerful. 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. During the years we’ve incorporated elements from sludge, black and post metal, as well as alternative and indie rock, shoegaze and jazz.
When someone doesn’t know Arya yet and you can choose one of your songs to present yourself, which song would that be?
I would probably mention Apple Body, from our 2018 album Endesires. Not because it’s the longest we’ve ever recorded so far, but because I think it’s well crafted, ideas come back in different variations, sometimes heavy and sometimes soft. It’s probably a good representation of what Arya can do overall but, most importantly, everyone is playing with passion on the recording, vocals are really intense for me, and it reminds me of a happier time in the history of our band I really miss now. That’s why I never listen back to that recording!
What makes Arya unique?
We know our music will never meet everyone’s taste. During the history of the bands we struggled with countless issues, from losing band members (sometimes in really painful circumstances), to me often having to commute from Rome to Rimini to have rehearsals together. We’ve released albums with a quite bad audio quality, because we’ve got better as producers and mixers mainly by recording our own albums. We’ve always taken care of everything related to the band by ourselves, from recordings to promotion to booking and music videos. Some people think we’re crazy to insist on such a project that is meant never to become popular, especially in a country like Italy. But here we are anyway, and with a new album!
Any future plans you can already tell us something about?
We’ll be releasing a new album on October 20. It’s called For Ever, and it’s the darkest and heaviest music we’ve composed so far. It deals with the personal aftermath of the band falling apart after the release of our previous album Endesires. We’re gradually releasing most of the songs on our Youtube channel and at our Bandcamp. However, if you’re a Spotify user, you can pre-save the album here in order to be notified when it’s out.
After the album release, as it’s quite difficult to find opportunities to play shows in the 2020 world, we’ll probably work on some new songs without any hurry.
Any upcoming gigs for Arya? Maybe coming to The Netherlands?
In August 2016 we actually organized a concert for a band from Rotterdam called Ann My Dice. They were on the way to a festival somewhere in Croatia, and had asked for help on a Facebook group. I remember deciding to try and help them: we booked a venue, opened for them and provided a place for them to sleep. A few years later I feel a little shameful about that event because the venue we found (one of the few smaller ones in our hometown) wasn’t that great, and our live performance was quite atrocious, while they were really tight and professional. You still can see a vlog of that night here. Nonetheless in the following years we ended up setting up concerts in the Rimini area for more foreign bands from countries like Germany, Austria and Finland: our part of Italy in general is probably not an ideal place for a band to tour, but we’ve tried to help any time we could.
If we were one day in the position of booking a longer tour (a week or more), I think The Netherlands would be a natural choice for our northernmost destination: from what I’ve heard the underground music scene is really lively, it wouldn’t probably be hard to book a gig and pay us back the travel expenses. At one point, following our experience with Ann My Dice, we even started considering the idea to fly there, play a couple of shows and then fly back to Italy. We would have to face some gear limitations, but we would do it if we had a good opportunity.
However you probably know how bad things are going in 2020. Italy, after the initial shock, as of now is probably handling the pandemic in a quite better way than many other European countries. It is possible to play concerts to an audience here now, albeit with some restrictions. But I don’t think it’s a good moment to make big plans for the future, as the situation could still quickly get worse again. We also still have a line-up vacancy to fill before we can book concerts again.
How do you think your life would be without music?
I can’t decide if I think it would have been much simpler, happier and better, or if it would have already ended a long time ago!
What advice would you give to young and starting bands?
Don’t care too much about the specific kind of music you want to play. I think the most important factor for someone starting a band is to find the right people. People with whom you know you work well with, you trust and respect each other, you feel you’re constantly inspiring each other and learning to become better. This will probably be really hard, and once people like these go, it’s so hard to replace them! But if you work with the right people, and learn to appreciate what each one of you can bring, music will come by itself. It will probably be something way different from what you expected, but you’ll like it anyway. Someone will always be more prolific or creative than someone else, but if you know how to make the others satisfied, no one should feel oppressed by that. If you notice someone else tends to reject your contributions from the start or the other way around, there is a big problem.
Thanks for your answers! Is there anything you want to say to DutchMetalManiac’s readers?
I’m Tim van Velthuysen and I started DutchMetalManiac back in 2014. I’m 29 years old and I live in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Of course, I like metal, but I can also appreciate other musical styles.
In addition to DutchMetalManiac I also have a personal website on which I’ll post various things that won’t fit on DutchMetalManiac, but might be interesting for you as well. It’s in Dutch though.