Interview with: Isis drummer - Aaron Harris

1. Hi There! Can you tell us if the band is working on new material right now?

-We’re starting next month in September. Can’t wait to get rolling again, I think we’re all pretty motivated to start the next record.

2. What do you expect your new album to sound like?

-I’m not sure. I it could go a lot of different ways. I think the playing will be bumped up a few notches as we have been touring our asses off. Hopefully it will be an improvement over Panopticon. We always try to progress with each record.

3. What recent shows did the band do?

-Recently we finished a brief European festival tour. We’ve been on tour for 9 months supporting Ponopticon so we have been playing quit a bit.

4. I'd like to discuss Panopticon a bit; first, what does the meaning of the title?

The Panopticon is a concept by Michael Faucoult that a large number of people could be watched by one central location. Meaning there would be a tower surveying a large number of cells in a prison type setting. You would never know if there was anyone in the tower because you could not see in, but you would always feel you were being watched. Sort of like big brother.

5. Your music has been re-mixed and re-done by several artists, such as Mike Patton and Justin Broadrick, what is it about your music that makes it interesting to be re-mixed?

I think there is a lot of space in our music for manipulation. Most of our songs are over six minutes long so there is plenty to work with. The arrangements are pretty simple as well. And as an Artist it’s really cool to hear your music redone by someone else. Hearing what everyone did for the first time was like opening a gift. They were all a total surprise
6. You did some unusual shows in the past, such as the one the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, why pick these unusual venues, and what makes you fit in such surroundings?

That show was amazing. To be honest we didn’t know what to expect from that but it worked out really well. I think the reason we can pull that sort of thing off is because we are a band that tries to create an experience. We’re open to try new things within reason and step outside the mold. It was the perfect way to preview the new record, among the towering buildings of downtown L.A. I don’t think we would fit in anywhere but in certain situations it can work really well.

7. Some of the influences that I think I recognized in the band, are by such artists as Neurosis and the Melvins, where they an influence, and what bands would you say influence you the most?
Early on I think without a doubt those bands where huge influences. When we first started we where all pretty young in age and also as musicians. Our idea was to hammer the audience with as much noise as we could make. Now I think we’re more interested in the writing and making the songs more effective. It’s hard to say what influences us now because everyone has different tastes. But the Melvins and Neurosis will always be bands we look up to.

8. Since your music is hard to categorize, how would you define what you're doing?

Well our approach to this band is to make the music that we love and do the things that we want to do. We’re lucky to have so many people be receptive to what we’re doing and hopefully it will continue to be that way. We’ll always play the music that we want and push ourselves to be better. I think that’s the best you can do.

9. The band has been compared to Mogwai a lot in the past, why do you think that is, and do you see a resemblance?

I think the bands are similar in a sonic sense, layers of textural guitars, long songs and a lot of dynamics. We are obviously a much heavier band in a typical sense but the two bands dynamics are similar.

10. The album's sound by Matt Bayles fits the band very well; do you plan on working with him again?

I’m not sure. We love Matt and his production and he’s a slave driver in the studio but we’ll have to see where the writing goes. We may decide to try someone new.

11. What do you think led to the creation of bands such as your, musically speaking, which deal in a genre that is quite dissimilar to any previous musical genre?

There’s so much shitty music being made now that I think it’s opened a lot of doors for musicians to try new things and push the boundaries of music. It’s given bands like ours a chance to be heard by people who are looking for something new.

12. A bit about the writing process in the band, how long, and in what fashion, is a sing written?

It all depends. Sometimes a song will start with a riff those guys have or a drumbeat that I have, sometimes we’ll just jam for a while until something comes of it. There has been a bunch of songs that we worked on for weeks and threw out because they didn’t work out. We tend to take our time, sometimes to much, and work out things we’re really happy with.

13. The label you're signed with, Ipecac Recordings, is ran by very unusual people, do you feel that contributes to you when making an album, and things would be different if signed to a major label?

The artistic freedom is there with Ipecac and that is something we all value but a label would never influence our writing. We would never sign with a major unless we could have complete artistic control. Ipecac are a great label for us and run by really amazing people. They’re always behind us and that’s a great feeling.

14. What are your touring plans for the near future?

No plans as of yet. We’ll see how the writing goes and what comes up but I’m sure we’ll be itching to get back out soon.

That's It, thanks for taking the time doing this interview!
Alon Miasnikov

No problem thank you.
Aaron Harris/ drums/ISIS
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