Arya is an Italian band founded in 2015. Influenced by many modern Progressive Metal bands, Arya go one step further and incorporate many different textures into their sound. New album ‘For Ever’ has just been released and we spoke to guitarist Luca Pasini about the background of the band, the new album, as well as dealing with lockdown in Italy.
What are the origins of the band, how long have you been playing together?
We’re playing together since the beginning of 2015. The band started out from a few songs I had recorded just after finishing a music production course in a studio the previous year. The quality of the recordings was quite terrible, anyway but, as I felt the other members of my old band would have never accepted my growing metal influences, and finding myself in a really bad moment in my life, I decided to try and find people to create a new band.
I met Simone at a masterclass at the music school we both used to attend, but we shared many mutual friends, some of which also became part of the band in different moments, like our drummer Alessandro Crociati, who had already played with both of us in different moments. Our local music scene (Rimini, East coast of Italy) is quite small, so we pretty much all know each other.
Since then the history of the band has been really troubled, with many line-up changes and really tragic turns of events, but despite that (but probably even thanks to that) we’ve managed to release four albums and an EP since 2015, touching many different genres of music. We’ve played shows in many regions of Italy, as well as Switzerland, Austria, and the San Marino Republic.
How did you feel performing your first gig? And how was it?!
Our first gig was at a band contest/festival that used to be held each year in the garden of a church in the suburbs of our hometown of Rimini, Italy. We probably still weren’t too confident with our songs, but we had already practiced for a while because I remember we already performed a song, Eyes In Eyes, that me and Simone had written together and that would have ended up in our second album Dreamwars two years later.
I remember using a laptop for some effects, a habit that didn’t last for long, and having a problem with my guitar wireless during the first song, but overall the jury must have enjoyed our set, as we won some of the prizes, something that never happened again. We were surely much different musically from any other band playing that evening. On our Youtube channel, there’s a vlog we recorded that night: I remember watching those that bands such as Periphery or Rob Chapman’s Dorje used to make at the time and wanting to imitate them.
What should people expect when they check the band out? How would you describe yourself?
We’re a band that loves contaminating genres and experimenting with unorthodox approaches, in order to create music that’s powerful and unpredictable and not to repeat ourselves. One could say we’re a progressive metal band, but we’re probably different from what you would expect if you think about the stereotypes of that genre. During the years we’ve taken inspiration from other styles of metal, but also indie and alternative rock, and jazz.
So far, most reviewers have said that we sound unique and unlike any other band, but that’s not always a good thing, as it makes fans of most genres feel equally lost and out of place, especially now that we live in the age of playlisting and strict genre divisions and criteria to match in order to get exposure.
The new music scene is bursting at the seams with fresh talent, in what ways do you feel that a band has to stand out from the others trying to build a name?
I don’t think I know anymore: I used to think it was a matter of how you’re able to build an identity and a backstory for your music, as well, obviously, as to how well-composed, relevant, innovative, or ear-catching your music actually is.
Nowadays, however, we live in a world where anyone is given access virtually to any kind of music ever recorded by mankind in a matter of seconds. What does “making new and innovative music” means in such a context? I don’t think it’s making artists more creative: when you just had the opportunity to listen to the small amount of music you could find on the radio, on records you could find, or at live concerts, you had to be open-minded and ready to be surprised by music that you found totally by chance and that went beyond your expectations. Now, instead, streaming services only tend to offer you music they already know you like, “chance” has no role anymore in your music inspiration.
This is leading more and more artists into revivalism, catchy-ness at any cost or mere imitation of what other bands they like are doing. In such a sectorialized music universe, it has become impossible to make music theoretically for everyone, you just do it for people that are already fans of your genre. The backstory of the artist and the amount of money invested in promoting him or her has become way more important than the music itself: an artist is considered as a brand like any other with all the consequences of that.
What are you working on at the minute that people can check out?
Our new album was released on October 20. It’s called For Ever, and it’s the darkest and heaviest music we’ve done so far. It deals with the personal aftermath of the band falling apart after the release of our previous album Endesires. We’re gradually releasing most of the songs on our Youtube channel and on Bandcamp. However, if you’re a Spotify user, you can check out the album here.
We already have some ideas for songs we could work on next: some are for sure not as heavy and complex as the ones on For Ever. But considering all the releases we’ve managed to put out during these years, and due to all the complications the ongoing pandemic is bringing to our lives, we don’t want to and couldn’t rush the future songwriting process.
What band out there at the minute do you feel that you would be best suited to open for?
To open for a band such as Karnivool, Tesseract, Periphery, Leprous, Agent Fresco or Bent Knee would be an absolute dream. Our music has been heavily inspired by many of them, as well as much heavier bands.
Who do you feel is the next band to break out?
We’re close friends with a band from our city called Invasion Incorporated. We’ve been playing concerts with them for a long time, I’ve also been a live bassist for them, but last week I saw them perform again after a few years and they’ve become really amazing, both as performers and songwriters. You should really be reading of and listening to them, not us!
What are your first musical memories? And what was the light bulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?
My mother started giving me piano lessons when I was four or five. However I haven’t studied music seriously since then: I took classical guitar lessons for a few months, then switched back to piano. I went to music school when I was 16 and that’s when I started taking music more seriously: some people I knew already had bands, and we used to watch them perform, it used to be much more popular back then, but it has been a gradual process overall. At 18, after playing bass as well for a while, I bought my first electric guitar, and now it’s the instrument I play the most.
What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?
I’ve seen Invasion Incorporated, the band I’ve mentioned earlier, just two days ago: for now, live music is still permitted here in Italy, even if there are some restrictions and a constant sense of potential danger.
The album that you have in your album collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?
Greatest Hits I by Queen is really the album that got me into rock music as a teenager, I’ve listened to some songs thousands of times, they’ve been a huge inspiration for me.
What are your plans for the remainder of 2020?
To survive would be quite an ambitious goal on its own! The year is coming to an end, and as the pandemic is still slowly getting worse again, even if here in Italy you could still do it, I don’t think we’ll be able to play any more shows this year. We’ll probably rehearse when we can and write some new music without any pressure. The fact that I now have to be in Rome (a five hours train trip from our hometown) for most of the week, together with the travel restrictions due to the pandemic, will make meeting each other more difficult in the upcoming months.
How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?
Right now I’m in charge of managing our social media: I’m posting on Facebook quite often because, as we’re releasing an album, we have many interviews and reviews being uploaded about us. I often use Instagram as well, even if I don’t really like it that much. If you want to follow the band, here are our profiles: