As ever, we’re going to try and cover every single Jäger, New Blood and SOPHIE stage band before Bloodstock kicks off on August 9th. Your chance to check them out and start planning which bands to get there early for!
Trust us when we tell you that this is bound to result in some frustrating clashes because, as ever, there are some great bands on these three stages.
Our thanks to all the bands for taking the time out to answer our questions!
Simple things first – where are you guys from?
Dave: The past.
Tim: I believe the question may in fact refer to our geographical locations, in which case “the past” is only really a fair reference to Barnsley and Retford. I believe a more accurate answer would be varying from the not too distant past to lands before recorded history began. (That would be Mansfield.)
Dave: It depends if you observe ‘from’ in only the three dimensions of space, or if you include the time dimension. Due to the massively complicated nature of 7 separate bodies in space and time having varying past locations but all having linear timelines, the only unifying factor is time, which makes for a much more succinct answer. Unless you’re secretly from the future, Tim…
Tim: I was indeed referring to ‘from’ as both time and location, however I believe your response was a little too vague, ignoring the geographical possibility and only lightly touching on the temporality. For instance, whereas Grantham could by some be seen to be a vibrant, forwards thinking location, chronologically it could be viewed as being partly in the past, but not as much as, say, Barnsley. I stand by my comments about Mansfield entirely.
Mel: We rehearse in Doncaster, play most often in Sheffield, but we live all over – Grantham, Newark, Barnsley…I’ll let you guess where Tim’s from.
Tim: Don’t forget Poland and America!
How long have you been playing together as a band?
Dave: Too long.
Tim: Surely not long enough.
Dave: No, far too long.
Mel: James and I have been members since the band’s inception in 2010. Our most recent additions, Dave and Matt, joined in late 2016. However, it does feel like Dave has been here since time began, so maybe there’s some metaphysical stuff going on, looking at his answer to Question #1…
Where does the name of the band come from?
Dave: Four letters put together to make a word.
Tim: I think I can see at what you’re aiming at here, though I suspect 7 letters would still work better (if only 4 letters, we could be called Anon I suppose, or Nina, Nani, Noia is also particularly good …).
Mel: ‘Aonia’ means ‘where the muses dwell.’
Tim: Aonia is the fabled home of the Muses in Greek mythology – the inspirational goddesses of literature, science, and the arts and considered the source of the knowledge embodied in poetry, lyric songs, and myths. We have two Goddesses (three princesses, one diva and a drummer).
Dave: Seven people on stage making a lot of noise in a variety of ways. The varied noises we make are somewhat different from the varieties of noises other bands make.
Tim: I really must take exception to this point – much the same as an infinite number of monkeys with typewriters will eventually write the complete works of Shakespeare (then immediately regret it), so there must be a chance that a bunch of 7 musicians making noise will sound the same as us (then also, presumably, immediately regret it).
Dave: But the odds of seven other musicians sounding just like us are at Bloodstock around the same time as us is so remote that I’d wager we are sufficiently unique in our varied noise-making ways.
Tim: Remote – yes. Impossible – no. I think the band’s unique sound will be the new keyboard player and drummer still learning their parts after Mel murders us for giving daft interview answers.
Dave: How does it go again?
Tim: Our music is a blend of many influences from Opera to Opeth, Dream Theater to Iron Maiden, Bach to Mary Berry. We all contribute to song writing and this combination has developed into our own style of “progeratic” metal that doesn’t conform to any specific genre but borrows from all of them, with a few individual twists of our own.
Mel: We have lots of nice, catchy melodies that all intertwine and lyrics that tell stories and are powerful. What makes us unique is that we’re big in every way. We have two lead vocalists, two backing vocalists, two guitars and a keyboard, and the bass and drums trying desperately to hold everything together. Having so many different ‘threads to weave with’ for the music means that we have the scope to do a lot of really intricate and unusual interplay with the melodies.
What’s your live show like? Why are people going to watch you instead of another band?
Dave: If they’re stood in the vicinity of us, they’ll be watching us. If they’re stood elsewhere, they might be watching another band, but wondering what they’re missing over here with the cool kids.
Tim: A mention could be made of what the people in the vicinity of the stage would expect – I believe it is to be turned a vivid, luminous green colour and be suffocated.
Dave: I concur.
Mel: We’ve spent a lot of time over the last year really upping our game with our stage show. Like I said before, our music is big, and we wanted the visual aspect to come up to par with the audio aspect. We don’t do things by halves – there’s an outpouring of energy and emotion crammed into our half an hour of music. We’ve got some cool stage gadgets now too, which helps make us visually more interesting to watch. And it’s our greatest wish that people leave Aonia shows feeling uplifted and energised themselves from lots of crowd interaction and singing along. We want people to feel like they’re a part of the band – a huge Aonia family.
Tim: We try to put on the best show we can – there are seven of us having a great time on stage and with some serious music for us to get our teeth into. We don’t hold back and don’t rely on our music alone and, if that isn’t enough to tempt you to watch us, check out our gorgeous singers.
Mel: Tim’s brown-nosing now.
Have you been to Bloodstock before? What did you think?
Dave: Yes. Effing wasps!
Mel: I hate wasps. They’re terrifying little creatures who’ve come straight from Satan. They’re like the chavs of the insect world – they don’t contribute anything to society, just fly around trying to nick your pint and stab you with their ass daggers.
Tim: You see here I do disagree – I having not ever been to Bloodstock before. You say tomato, I say tomato … erm, that doesn’t work very well typed does it?
Dave: Tomatoes may help with the wasps…
Tim: Great, so now we have to take loads of tomatoes (or one really big one) to lob at wasps. Should be fun though.
Mel: I’ve been every year since 2007, RockSoc since…2014 I think? I love it and look forward to it every year. For me, the best part about Bloodstock (other than the chance to chat with the fantastically friendly people who attend every year) is the opportunity to check out bands I’ve never heard of before. I’ve discovered so much great music at Bloodstock that I never would have heard if it weren’t for the festival.
Did you enter M2TM thinking you could win it? Which region did you win, or did you come through other channels?
Dave: Yes, and then we lost. Then we entered again and no, but then we won. Sheffield.
Tim: Every band we played with this year had a chance to win and all the bands in the final deserved the place – we are honoured that we won the Sheffield region.
Mel: Holy crap, Tim gave a sensible answer. There’s a snowball fight going on in Hell right now. Fully agree – the competition in Sheffield was immense; we were blown away to play with so many incredible bands from the area.
Dave: The sort with a bunch of songs, one after the other, with a bit of talking in between.
Mel: Five songs – one from our last release, the Sunchaser EP. One is our current single. The other three are songs from our upcoming release, The Seven.
Tim: Hopefully in the short time we have we can give a good cross section of our music, ranging from powerful fusion metal to symphonic power metal.
Which other bands do you most hope you’re not squished up next to so you can see them play?
Dave: Please can I squish up next to Nightwish? I’d never unsquish from them.
Mel: Alestorm. I’ll be so sad if we clash with Alestorm. And Orden Ogan. And Orphaned Land; they’re just a phenomenal live band. And Luke Appleton – he’s so talented and so nice; I really want to see his acoustic set.
Tim: There are too many to choose from – all of them great bands – I just hope we can steal a few away to listen to us alongside our faithful Aones.
Mel: Is that a thing? Are we calling our fans Aones now?
What are you working on at the moment?
Dave: My garden. It’s a bit of a mess.
Tim: Again, I suspect a little fibbery, Dave. Surely, much as I am now, you must have been working on your responses to these questions!
Dave: You mean I can’t multitask?
Tim: I don’t believe anyone can truly multitask. Well, maybe octopi can.
Mel: The focus at the minute is getting the set for Bloodstock the best it can possibly be, audibly and visually. We’re hitting rehearsals hard – we’ve been given this incredible opportunity and we want to make the organisers proud and glad that they’ve chosen us. We’re also in the middle of doing overdubs and mixing on our debut album – The Seven – which will be released in October this year at AoniaFest – which is the other project we’re working on at the moment! It’s going to be a fantastic all-day event at the Corporation in Sheffield with some amazing local bands, some great self-signed bands from across the nation, and our friends in Alwaid are coming over from France for it. The line-up is really varied so there should be something to suit everyone’s tastes. As soon as Bloodstock is over, we’re hitting AoniaFest promotion hard!
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
Dave: Seen, a red squirrel in a tree just outside camp, quite a rare wild sighting these days. Done, I once said the F-word…
Tim: Squirrels aren’t that wild. I saw Mötörhead and Girlschool! Don’t believe you dropped the F bomb either – you rebel!
Dave: True, but have you seen a wilder animal at a festival?
Mel: I saw the guitarist in Airbourne climb the sound rig at Sonisphere, and about a zillion worried looking security people dashed onstage. I bought a bubble machine and then Jo wound up having to set it off due to power socket logistics and she absolutely soaked some poor guy who was right at the front because she didn’t realise you had to hit the switch again to turn it off. Evil Scarecrow are always wild – an entire field moon-moshing and ballroom dancing at Bloodstock was pretty surreal.
Tim: I once drank a full bottle of whisky before and during a set with one of my other bands. I don’t recommend doing it, but I got the best review of the night!
Jager, Hobgoblin Ale, Red Bull, Kingstone Press Cider, Kaltenberg Beer or Bulleit Bourbon?
Dave: A nice, rich Colombian coffee.
Tim: Which has the most alcohol? I’ll have that one…
Dave: Coffee has the most alcohol, if you make it Irish.
Tim: Okay, it’s always the cider. Unless whisky is on offer. Bourbon just isn’t the same.
Mel: Hobgoblin. Always Hobgoblin.