Aurora Borealis is a sophisticated blackened death metal trio from the US, which has been operating since 1994 and is already working on their 8th full-length album. I've asked Ron Vento (vocals/guitars), the founding member of the horde, to transfer us all the latest news and happenings around his band, studio and personal life. Scroll down for all the details and support this killer formation!!!
Hi Ron! The follower to your well-received "Apokalupsis" album is already in progress. All I know, it is planned for release in 2021. Could you please mention us a few details in advance, like possible or temporary working title for it, number of songs to be featured there and its musical direction?
- Yes currently as of Dec 2020 I am drum editing. Time aligning actually, so it's still in the early stages. I have a ton of work to do still. Next I will do some drum triggering then get the material to the bass player and start guitars. I only have a few lyrics written so far, but the entire album concept is already done. Then I will do vocals and build some intros/interludes. Then mix and master. It's going to be a long process for sure. As far as musical direction we are still the same band we have always been, fast aggressive and heavy. This album may be a little more technical than the others. The title may end up being "Prophesy is the mold in which history is poured". There will be 10 or 11 tracks. 9 actual songs.
The recordings of the drum parts have successfully been finished by Mark Green, who is with the band since 2011, while the bass parts for the new album will be recorded/provided by the extraordinary Michael Poggione. How did you recruit him for the new record? What's up with Jason Ian-Vaughn Eckert?
- Yes Mark is back again, he is the longest running drummer I have ever had. He is superb on drums and reliable and easy to get along with. He knows how I like to work and his attention to detail is amazing. As far as Jay goes. I have known him forever. He has played on most of the records. It's either been myself or him. Without getting into the details of things. I had some other stuff scheduled and unrelated to Aurora with Jay that he didn't make good on, because of covid virus and since covid isn't going anywhere anytime soon I made the decision to move forward. I still talk with him periodically, but regardless I decided to get a different player. I made a post and Mike was one of the guys that got in touch. We had a few messages back and forth and he finally decided he wanted to do it and we wanted him to do it. He is an amazing player and I cannot wait to get his tracks in the mix. It will be a new element to the band.
"Apokalupsis" was released by Casus Belli Musica, a label from Russia. How do they treat the band? Are you going to stick with them for your next release or gonna search for another label?
- I have been working so hard in my studio with my projects as well as many other peoples projects I haven't actually sat down and thought about it. They are a smaller label, which is cool for us, because they definitely printed some cool versions of the album. Splatter vinyl, regular vinyl, and digipaks. I am pretty pleased with what they did. It would be cool if they had better distribution, but overall it was excellent. I will probably talk to them and see if they are interested again. Or I may shop the new album first. I haven't really decided.
Since the beginnings your lyrics are dealing with the topics of sci-fi, mythology and esotericism. Would you please talk in brief about the lyrical content of "Apokalupsis" and where will you go lyrics-wise for the next release?
- The lyrical concept in "Apokalupsis" is a concept album in which we venture through the beginning of all creation until the inevitable apocalyptic war. Its primary focus brings to light alien existence and their purpose among humans. The album describes what they are, where they came from and how they manipulated mankind. It also elaborates on those victimized by abduction and why it occurs. "Apokalupsis" commences with God casting rebellious angels out of heaven. Unlike traditional stories, God sends them through space to stars created to keep them captive. One star for every fallen angel, countless stars for countless demons. At the heart of every star, there is a demon trying to break free and find its way to God's greatest creation, mankind. In consequence, those that escape create massive solar flares and star quakes. By manipulating space time through wormholes, their search for human life begins. Some never escape and after billions of years collapse with the stars, forever forsaken in eternal solitude. Those who reach earth begin their deceit. Throughout history they have taken on many forms with the intent of building a foundation of deception; beginning with Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden. In modern time they disguise themselves as aliens, guiding the lives of great rulers (from pharaohs, to kings and presidents) with the intent of destruction. In time they reveal what they are and inspire Armageddon. "Apokalupsis", once withdrawn, now visible to all, see. As far as the new album I don't want to get too deep in it, but it will deal with Nimrod the hunter and his declaration of war against his creator. It will deal with the true reason of the construction of the Tower of Babel. Then moving on to Nimrod's death and his resurrection as the antichrist being brought back to life by groups such as the freemasons and ending with his second declaration of war on God. There will be space elements and sci-fi mixed throughout the songs as well.
It is almost 20 years by now that Aurora Borealis albums are produced at your own Nightsky Studios. I assume it should be pretty comfy and relaxed to work and record them there, correct me if I am wrong?
- You are correct at this point I have no plans to record anywhere else. I can work at my own pace without worrying about the clock or deadlines. My studio is a commercial facility, so it's not in a house or some bed room. It is a legit studio that has been featured in all the major recording magazines. So I have everything I need any time I need it.
I am sure you could speak for hours regarding the gears found in your studio. So let's focus on the Aurora Borealis guitar sound in particular here. How do you create it? I mean, starting with your choice of guitars and strings, through the amps and cabinets, to the mics and DAW. By the way, in what tune you play lately?
- For my guitar tones they vary from album to album, but I always use real tube heads and real cabs. I do not like simulators, to me they sound different. On the newest album I will use a combination of my ENGL and one of my Bogners. I have quite a few very nice guitar heads. I typically will record a left and right side with both amps for a total of four main rhythm tracks then I go back and do all my harmonies and leads, etc. I typically don't spend too long trying to craft the perfect tone. Over the years I have learned it's more about the playing. Of course a good sound is important, but all my heads are amazing. You turn them on and they just sound good. So it doesn't take too long to get a sound I like. You can spend way too long messing with sounds and being indecisive and get nothing done. The average person isn't spending time studying your guitar tone. I focus on good songs. As far as my guitar I have used the same guitar on every album I have ever recorded. It is a custom shop one of a kind Jackson Dinky reverse. I had it built for me so it's perfect. I have no need to use anything else. Don't get me wrong I have tons of guitars, many many super nice expensive guitars. That I use in other projects and recording, but for Aurora I use my custom shop. I use 10 gauge strings typically D'Addario or Ernie Ball. Whichever I have at the time. I tune to D standard. Any lower I find I lose clarity and note articulation. My cab is typically a Mesa slant cab. I use one simple SM57. I know what I like and it's simple and to the point. Over the last 30 years I have tried every possible mic and mic combination possible and I always come back to simple. People over complicate things too much. I have also used Pro Tools since before it was even called Pro Tools. It's the only DAW I can see myself ever using. I have what's called an HDX Rig.
Speaking of Nightsky Studios. Which bands/artists are going to visit you in the near future? Which are those recordings that make you the most proud of? Does a lot of extreme metal bands use your services?
- Well my studio is a commercial studio, so we are open to the general public every day. We do all styles. Extreme metal is few and far between. We mostly do normal music, but we also do audio books or commercials or whatever requires audio. I try to make every recording I do be the best recording. My most proud recordings are my own obviously, haha.
Away from the studio duties, what things do you like to do the most? Family entertainment, sports, reading or simply to relax?
- I try to spend time with my son when I can. I work a lot, so I am always in the studio. When I am not recording other people I am generally writing Aurora stuff. Or even writing other genres of music. Other than that I go to the gym a lot. I also do mixed martial arts. Anything to stay in shape. I rarely do things like watch TV or things like that. I don't have a lot of free time, so when I do I try to make it productive.
Between 1994-2006 three super influential death metal drummers took part in your releases, namely Tony Laureano, Derek Roddy and Tim Yeung. How did you manage to hook up with them? How was it to work with these extraordinary drummers? Do you keep in contact with any of them nowadays?
- Yes every single one of those drummers made me a better player. They are all amazing in their own way. They all pushed me to be better. I am privileged to have worked with them all. They all took part willingly and were not paid, they just enjoyed the music and I am thankful for that. I first discovered Tony when I was in Florida rehearing with the drummer from Brutality, Jim. Myself and Jim were rehearsing for the "Mansions of Eternity" mini CD and I heard another drummer rehearsing in the Cannibal Corpse rehearsal space. I asked Jim who that was and he told me it was Tony. He sounded amazing to me. Myself and Jim just couldn't seem to click. So later I called Lee from Monstrosity and asked him if he knew Tony and low and behold he was actually hanging out with him. So I asked him if he may be interested in doing something and we got together and everything clicked. He learned the entire CD in a week. We went into Morrisound with Scott Burns and recorded the mini CD. Tony wasn't a big name drummer like he is now, but he quickly was snatched by some prominent bands and was busy touring so I needed a new drummer for the first full length. I knew Derek through a guy in Atlanta named Joe Bates. We used to play in the same band called Gothic Outcasts. So we decided to do the "Praise the Archaic Lights Embrace" album. Derek is the most technically proficient drummer I have ever worked with. He is incredible. We then recorded the "Praise" CD and the "Northern Lights" CD. After that he was also taken by some much bigger bands. So I was in need again. By that time a lot of good drummers knew who I was and my band, so I was able to recruit Tim Yeung for the next album "Time Unveiled". We only did the one CD together and he was taken by a bigger band. I never really wanted to tour, so all these drummers wanted to play with touring bigger bands which is definitely understandable. After that CD I called up Tony again and took a chance to see if he was available and we decided to make the "Relinquish" CD. He really played some original and amazing things on that CD. After that he was so busy with bands like Dimmu Borgir, there was no way we could do another CD. I then put out a post online looking for a new drummer. And of all the people none really were good enough to be honest. At the last second from the recommendation of Derek Roddy. Mark Green sent me a video and I knew he was the guy. He has then been the drummer ever since. He is now on his fourth record and the longest running drummer in our history. I have no plans to change. We work perfectly together.
Well, I guess that's all, Ron. Last world shaping thoughts are yours?
- Let me just thank you for doing this interview. I greatly appreciate it. I encourage all your readers to get in touch. Look for the new album late 2021.