‘an imaginary journey over fragments of memories’ | Interview with Aonian

Promising and dedicated. His song ‘Ascent’ is full of sentiment where ethereal soundscapes mix with organic elements, a solid beat and an exciting kanun line. Read our interview with the artist below!

Describe your sound in three words please!

floating, mournful, hopeful

‘Ascent’ is a single from your forthcoming debut album. What is the concept behind your album?

The album is an imaginary journey over fragments of memories, moments, and soundscapes from the Mediterranean region and beyond. I won’t go into too many specifics as this could spoil everyone’s interpretation of it. There’s definitely an internal dialogue hidden in those tracks and their order.

I began working on it when digging up some traditional music with an ethnomusicological interest, which helped me grasp my own country’s narrative as well current affairs of the area more – something we very much need at this point of history, to keep extreme and inhumane political views at bay. 

You blend traditional soundscapes in your music in a very interesting and creative way. But do you think this is enough to stop traditional music from ‘dying’? Do you have this fear as a musician that all this musical treasury may be lost?

What we nowadays call ‘traditional music’, needs to be communally experienced, performed, and shared, to stay alive. I’m mostly scratching the surface and presenting a musical reference to it – it may serve as an incentive for the audience to discover more of it elsewhere. I’m trying to do this with as much dignity and respect as I can, and that’s why the album features performers who I know are keeping this artform alive. They’re storytellers, musicians, and artists who live and breathe these sounds and instruments and their cultural references.

I’m quite optimistic – a lot of this music has now been extensively documented, and more people are interested in studying it. I still think it’s important to try and apply that knowledge to contemporary techniques and aesthetics though, otherwise we’re just fetishising over what’s old and ancient. It doesn’t have to be on the music charts to continue its path. 

How is your experience of migrating to a different country and belonging reflected on your music, if at all?

Moving out of Greece was what motivated this musical exploration the most. I think I needed to distance myself first to then appreciate some aspects of the culture. The more you distance yourself, the more you can idealise the meaning of home and become inspired by that. London is definitely being reflected in the music as well – it provided me with more confidence and creative freedom, as well as amazing music-friends and experiences.

Which song do you think describes London best?

Haha, impossible to choose one, such a multifaceted city that you need a double LP for that. 

You can’t go wrong with something like the Koyaanisqatsi soundtrack though.

How would you describe the contemporary Greek music scene? 

Ruthlessly creative, increasingly diverse, slightly unnoticed. It’s full of independent artists who are really pushing boundaries and creating interesting scenes in Athens and other cities.  But I think there’s unfortunately a lack of distributors and publishers who’d otherwise channel that music to the international scene. 

Also we’re moving back to Greek spoken lyrics, which I now find more interesting and challenging – it has an impact in a broader domestic audience and can help genres and styles evolve. There’s some great artists like Sophie Lies and Fotis Siotas that I love and believe in.

I’m enjoying the increase in electronic music festivals as well – let’s hope we can experience this in 2022 once again.

Which is your favourite album of the previous year?

It has to be Ambassadeurs’ new album ‘Human Stranger’. It came out right around the time when he started mastering my album, and it was my perfect soundtrack after weeks of obsessively mixing and finishing ‘Ascent’ and the rest of my album. His track ‘O.N.E.’ moves me so much; it’s full of grief, nostalgia, and hope, all at the same time.

Tell us one thing that not many people know about you.

I don’t often listen to electronic music.

Thanks Aonian!

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