“Memento Mori is part of a three-part concept of light and birth, life and experience, and death and transformation.”
On the eve of the release of its second album, Memento Mori, Gemini Syndrome has returned to the heavy metal scene. Having recently played St .Louis’s Firebird with label mates 9Electric, the band is on the edge of what could be superstardom. With their unique sound, the band has already formed a solid fan base. Now, with a new Lepta new tour and two new guitarists, the wait is over: Gemini Syndrome is back for the attack.
I recently spoke with lead vocalist Aaron Nordstrom about touring, his new band mates, and more. On stage, Nordstrom is a commanding presence, yet on the phone he is smart and soft spoken. His vocals are an important part of the band’s overall sound. Communicating with him is a distinct pleasure.
Lux was such a great album. How does Memento Mori differ from the first album?
Our second record, Memento Mori, is a step forward as a band. It’s part of a three-part concept of light and birth, life and experience, and death and transformation. Musically, I feel that we pushed ourselves on all levels to reach for more intricate and interesting pieces, but still maintained the sound associated with Gemini Syndrome. Lyrically, I feel it’s a bit darker and maybe more to-the-point, but again, still has all the elements that made Lux such a beautiful endeavor.
I hear the band has changed labels from Warner Bros. to Another Century. Can you tell me why the change, and if it has been a good choice?
When the option came to leave Warner, I think it was mutual on both our end and the label. Coming to Another Century has put us in a place that is much more hands-on than we experienced previously. There doesn’t seem to be as much red tape, so to say, and for the most part it feels more like family at Another Century. Not to say there aren’t people at Warner that were hands-on with us, because there were. But as a whole unit, I feel more at home now; I think the whole band does.
As far as guitarists are concerned, you have a quite a few. How well are the new guys [Daniel Sahagún and Charles Lee Salvaggio] fitting in?
Daniel and Charles are fantastic. Great guys, great players, great singers. They have fit in very easily and effortlessly with the band and crew, and have brought an awesome perspective to the music and performance. As a unit, I think this is the strongest this band has ever been.
Who are you listening to right now? Who inspires you?
As of late, I am really into the Contortionist, particularly the album language. Also the newest Gojira is on my playlist a lot, as well as the new Hellyeah. We recorded Memento Mori side by side with Hellyeah when they were working with Kevin Churko and we were with Kane. It was really great to get to know them and see their album progress as ours did. Truly a unique experience.
With the new album, you will be doing quite a bit of touring, I imagine. What do you do on the road to keep yourself going?
As hard as it can be at times, I love touring. The resonance we get from our fans and the energy they give us is pretty much the only motivation needed. It’s incredible to go to basically anywhere in the country and there are people at the shows singing along, knowing all the words, and telling us stories about how our music has impacted them in a positive way. It can get tiring, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else, and I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to be doing this with.
You are touring right now with label mates 9Electric.If you could tour with the group of your choice, who would it be?
This is a “family tour,” so to say, with Gemini, Stitched up Heart, and 9 Electric. We have all been friends for many years so that’s really a cool element to a tour. We have been very blessed to tour with some amazing bands and musicians. As far as bands we have not toured with (yet), I would love to go out with Korn, Deftones, Tool, Karnivool, Twelve Foot Ninja, or Opeth. The list goes on and on. Also, any of the bands we’ve already toured with, like Five Finger or Sevendust. There’s a lot of great musicians out there, and it’s always an honor to share the road and stage with anyone who wants to share it with us.
These days, anyone can make and release an album. What made the decision for Gemini Syndrome to go to a major label instead of taking a more DIY approach?
You can do it either way. There are plenty of artists who have made it on their own. I like having a team in place working for a common goal, working together. I think it’s easy to get trapped in one mindset or way of doing things, and having a label with a few different opinions can be refreshing. The music industry is pretty complicated. There are a lot of details and angles that need to be covered, and bless anyone that can do it on their own. I like having people around us who specialize in those particular fields, whether it be marketing or publicity or whatever. It’s nice to be a part of a team, in my opinion. | Marc Farr