A month ago DutchMetalManiac’s Martijn Bakker reviewed Aurium’s new album, titled The Second Sun, here. Now, he also interviewed Aurium’s guitarist Julius Velker.
Thank you very much for taking time to give us a broader view on your band and the new album.
Hi! Julius here! Thank you and all of your readers for taking interest in it!
First of all it might be good to mention that you just launched your new website. Can you tell some more about it?
Yes! It was (of course) Sinisha’s idea. One day in our studio he said: “You know what? We need a website.” That same day the site was up. He did it himself, and that’s one of many aspects of his ridiculous dedication to music. He was right about it, because even with Facebook and other social media, band’s website is still the best and the most legitimate source of information and you get to share it with creativity, colors and form that you want. Also (which is very important to me) band’s dedicated website is good soil for creating a healthy community and connection between the band and people who like our music.
I must say I love the blogs written on it. Especially Julius Velkers piece got me: he picks up the theme on originality with the female fronted symphonic metal and uses it to look at your music. You are obviously aware of the broad spectrum of bands, and are not afraid to open that chapter. How do you see this?
Thank you for your kind words! I see it (obviously) the way I wrote it. The toxic part of metal community bothers me a lot, because we all got into it not just because of diversity of sounds, but also the diversity of people who are metal fans, excluded for being different than the most, finding sanctuary in metal like I did when I was a kid. With that said I will try to keep spirit of metal in that way, to be the shelter for those who need it, and the foundation for that shelter is acceptance and support for young bands who are giving themselves to the music and trying their best. The spectrum is huge, maybe limitless, and as a professional musician you need to be true to your art, but on the other hand you need to make a living out of it so you must compromise with the demand on the market and in the same time fight battle with the music industry. It’s a huge topic, maybe for another blog post 🙂 Your readers are welcome to comment on my blog post and I will be happy to read and reply 🙂
For me, being basically raised within the gothic/symphonic metal in the past 25 years, I also started listening with a critical air. Yet, I was pleasantly surprised. What is your view on symphonic metal?
Ah, the music of “our time” :). My relationship with symphonic metal is, well.. quite dynamic.
When I was a kid I was more into extreme genres of music like crustpunk, grindcore, death metal etc. And driven by that kind of energy, symphonic metal was not interesting to me. But there was one bond between us and that’s fantasy and escapism. I always liked lyrical concepts, the visuals and the whole fairy tale vibe. As I grew musically, I started to understand the melody as a form of art and then symphonic metal got me and took me. Especially Dimmu Borgir and early Nightwish. And it wrapped it all up for me when I was summoned to play in Aurium, because it is the missing piece in the music spectrum that I was searching for.
What would you say is the biggest change in style or musical view, between your first album Still Life and your latest The Second Sun?
Still Life was shy. Good album, but very shy. It was just a fractal of the bands capability and a small budget didn’t help that either. But all that changes when we play it live. When we breath new life in the songs on stage, they sound monumental. The story of The Second Sun is different, our main composer, our maestro Sinisha really took his brute form. Most of the songs are through-composed (which means that they have A-B-C structures with little or no repetition at all) and that gives it the whole theatrical vibe. It’s like a metal movie score for the movie the listeners creates in their mind while they listen. I think it really has that escapistic note that I mentioned earlier.
Did the coming of a new singer influence this?
Dragica is a long-time friend of the band and she was already our guest on the song Leaden Skies, but the album was finished when she joined the band, so we made an agreement that she would sing some songs and in some we kept Milica’s vocals. When I think about it, it’s actually one of the best things about this album, instead of one great singer, you get two, that’s pretty cool right? And to finally answer your question: Yes! Dragica really lifted those songs to another level and with that, the whole album experience.
After Still Life you released a digital MCD, The Silent Moon. It contains an orchestral take on five songs, without vocals, from The Second Sun. Why did you choose to do this?
As I mentioned, the songs made for The Second Sun have interesting and complex structures, so the orchestral parts for themselves sounded like whole other songs and we wanted to share that experience with the audience. And it was stillness before the storm, The Moon before The Sun.
It took several years before The Silent Moon came out, but it seems like the songs already existed at the time The Silent Moon was released. What made it take so long?
Spiral of personal and technical issues, most of them are quite common among the independent musicians. Few lineup changes along the way made the path of The Second Sun very thorny. It was one long and hard battle, but we won in the end!
Serbia is, to me, not the most logic country to produce symphonic metal. Are you fairly lonely as a metal scene there, or is there a lot of music in Serbia that just does not reach us in the rest of Europe?
I am very curious about your statement! 🙂 Serbia (and all of the Balkans) have very rich, mythical and vivid folklore and fantasy-like landscapes, mixed with poverty and really bad political situation, it’s quite inspiring for symphonic and every other kind of metal.
In Serbia last half of the 90’s and first half of the 2000’s was the most fruitful period for metal and all other alternative cultures. In the 90’s with the civil war and sanctions the alternative scene was like a counterweight to the mass hypnosis and media lobotomy, and mutant genre called turbo-folk (literally government project to dumb-down the kids). So the scene was strong because the people needed it. Situation was different in the early 2000’s because of the internet, so musicians started experimenting more, and with political changes alternative cultures actually got media space and festivals started happening and it seemed like the worst was behind us. And we were wrong. With another change of government in 2012 we were cast back to the dark ages, but this time under the mask of even more fake democracy.
So metal sank in the depths of the underground, deeper than ever. There are a lot of bands, good bands, in the depths of darkness, and quite a few near the surface. And every band came there with their own hard work. Concerning symphonic metal, at the moment, I think we are the only active band, but we had few really cool symphonic bands in the past. Abonos (they had huge impact on me), Demist (Dragica’s previous band), Demether, Mithrill, to name a few.
Dragica wrote a blog on music during the lock-down. What are your plans for the coming, say, half a year? Will you skip touring and start writing new music?
Yes, the power of Dragica’s quill cannot be undermined 🙂 For the next half a year definitely writing new stuff (we already started and I am quite satisfied) and of course practising regulary, for the shows that will happen when pandemic is over. We could do some shows in the past few months, but we choose not to, for our and other people’s safety. Safety first, this pandemic must be taken seriously.
What music has inspired you to actually write music in this style?
I could only answer this in terms of the upcoming album, because all music on first albums was written by Sinisha. I know a lot of inspiration for him was actually in techno and trance music, so that’s interesting. Also a lot of movie scores, and when you combine that with growing up on classic symphonic and gothic metal, you get Aurium. And you combine that with all of other band members influences you will get one quite unique and out-of-the-box album. We will try to keep the genre alive, giving it new form of life with every album.
And, if you could make a line-up for a festival after Covid-19, what bands should definitely be on stage?!
That’s a very interesting question! I have no idea! For me personally, think would be a killer festival day lineup: Rotting Christ, Aurium, Dimmu Borgir, Nightwish and in the late hours -Kauan. I just hyped myself over my imagination hahahha.
And the traditional final question: Is there anything you would like to share to our readers?
Well in this fell times I can only wish them good health and to stay strong. I hope that I will share a beer with all of you guys when this chaos ends and we start touring again.
Thank you very much for you time, we will continue to enjoy the new album!
Thank you! Questions were really creative and on-point, the pleasure is mine!