Christopher Aidan has a pretty interesting story to this point. I had a chance to do a quick interview with him and talk about a variety of things including his ties to T-Ride and Geoff Tyson, his new album and a few other things. Also, we recently posted a review for his self titled debut album that we think was pretty cool. If you are curious on the sound of the record, there are also some cool samples to listen to on his website. Without further ado, lets get on with the good stuff!
Heavy Metal Resource: Hey Christopher! Thanks for hooking up for this quick interview. Start off by talking a bit about yourself. Your connections to Geoff Tyson, etc.
Christopher Aidan: When I heard T-Ride I was totally blown away and wouldn't shut up about them until somebody handed me Geoff's number. I just basically called him up and asked if he did guitar lessons. If I remember correctly, he said "no". So in an effort to get me off the phone, he told me to send him a sample of my playing. So I stayed up for like a week and made some recordings, which helped convince him to instruct me. I was very fortunate; Geoff is an unbelievably awesome player and has this really deep but twisted musical philosophy, quite an impression to make on a young kid with a guitar. When he opened his studio in Berkeley, my lessons morphed into an internship and from there I started engineering. We continue to work together on various projects, on this album Geoff performed some guitars & vocals, and did the final mixes.
H.M.R. : Yeah, we definitely like Geoff's work here at the Resource. I really heard a variety of things and sounds going on in the album. I think I have a pretty good idea of where some of your influences lie, but fill us in.
C. Aidan: I started playing guitar because of Angus, AC/DC made a huge impact on me, ferocious sound, killer songs. I'm also a big fan of Queen and Van Halen, different styles but both very elaborate and grandiose, excellent ways to blow up a car stereo. Some of my other influences are Annie Lennox, Massive Attack, and Prince. I don’t pay much attention to what’s going on with the current music scene, but I heard a new single from Imogen Heap that is phenomenal.
H.M.R. : That is definitely a wide range of influences. I didn't really expect some of them, but with the variety of things going on in your own music, I'm not surprised. Speaking of the music, if I was to point out some of my favorite tracks, I would pick ‘Snapdragon’, ‘Little Pretty Beat Up’, and ‘Freak Pornstar’. What are your own personal favorites from the album?
C. Aidan: Everybody has a different list of favorites, which I'm really happy about. One of the unfortunate consequences of the modern music industry is the prominence of singles over albums. Some people suggested I leave off certain songs and use them later, but I think this group of material works well together, so why water it down? There is nothing worse than an album with one song and a bunch of filler, I suppose the self-indulgent half-baked concept album might be a close runner up. It seems to me there is a lack of albums catering to people who want to listen from start to finish without hammering the ">>" button. As for my personal favorites, ‘Fix’ satisfies my love of good riff based hard rock and metal, plus it’s a great tune to put on in the car or beat people up to. Musically I’m most proud of 'Warpaint'. It's something I haven’t really heard done before, like an industrial chant over gunfire, plus it was a great excuse to play some didgeridoo. 'Snapdragon' was the first one written for this album. It’s not obvious but most of the crazy sounds on that track are guitars played through old bizarre amps and effects, plus a few closely guarded secrets.
H.M.R. : We identified favorite tunes, now lets look at the approach you take to songwriting. Tell us a little bit of how this album came together.
C. Aidan: Songwriting is a very personal thing for me, not something I typically share with others. Besides it's a lot like how they make hot dogs, you'd rather not see how many lips and assholes are involved. However, This album was created in an unique way, it was recorded at Bomb Factory Studios in LA. They have gear so old people have forgot all about it, to digital toys that aren't even supposed to exist yet. Plus it’s a huge facility, a real recording studio in the classic sense. So I got to work completely space age, chillin' like David Bowie in the 70’s at Abbey Road, while most music today is just done on laptops in living rooms. The process was especially unusual for this type of dark heavy material, but the decadent luxury was a natural fit.
H.M.R. : That is something that people may be losing sight of these days is the classic recording studio. You really don't need a big budget anymore to do things, but you gotta love the results from a recording studio. Let's turn to touring. Do you have a touring band to go out on the road. I did see some tour dates on your website, so I'm sure you do.
C. Aidan: Yes I have a live band, we'll be playing some West Coast shows later this summer, then try and get out in the fall. You can also catch me on the Duran Duran tour in July playing keyboards for Stimulator.
H.M.R. : Ok that's cool. Sounds like it will be an eventful Summer. As far as getting the album, I'm not really sure if it has distribution at this point. Can you give us insight into whether you are going to shop labels?
C. Aidan: For the moment I'm going to distribute the album digitally on my own, it will be available this summer. I’m not hip to the ins & outs of major label politics, I’ve heard all the horror stories but it’s likely those are 90% bullshit. However, the whole process seems clouded in mystery and ritualistic sycophancy. I’m not a superstitious person, I just make music. The idea I can create something and deliver it directly to fans is compelling. I created this music with no commercial interest; I just followed my own direction, letting the voices in my head run wild. Maybe I haven't met the right label guru yet, but the idea that it gets out to the world with very little interference is very seductive.
H.M.R. : You'll have to keep us posted on when the fans can get the music whether it is digital download or disc format. There should be some interest for sure, especially with the involvement of 2/3 of T-Ride as guests. Speaking of guests, we know about Geoff Tyson and Susan Hyatt and the connections there, but how did you hook up with Dan Arlie?
C. Aidan: I actually co-wrote 'Mixed Signals' on the Stimulator album with Susan. She is a total blast to work with, she knows exactly what she wants and spends no time messing around. I think we wrote and recorded that song in like 2 hours, then went out for an incredible lunch on the beach in Malibu. On my album she sang background vocals on 'Warpaint'. I met Dan at a Snake River Conspiracy show, I told him he was a musical genius, bought him a beer, and gave him a CD of my stuff. A few weeks later he called me up and said "I listened to your CD, I'll let you buy me another beer." We became friends and started hanging out. When I needed some specific stuff for ‘Fix’ and ‘Freak Pornstar’ and asked him if he would sprinkle his magic on there. That amazing beat box/scat bridge vocal on 'Freak Pornstar' is Arlie on the first take. Dan is ultra picky about who he works with so I’m very honored to have him on the album. I also worked with Mike Oristian, an incredible singer and musician, who wrote 'Box of Sunshine' with me and played clavinet on 'Freak Pornstar'. Geoff and I are producing his band’s debut album, very original material, kind of like the Police meets Led Zeppelin.
H.M.R. : You'll have to send them our way when the time is right. Back on the T-Ride subject, how about you coax them into giving us some more material?
C. Aidan: That would be great wouldn't it?
H.M.R. : Yeah, I would think so. I hear there may be some music, but we may never see it. Just out of curiosity, I know how diverse the album is. What kind of fans come to the shows?
C. Aidan: The goth crowd is definitely represented, but there is definitely a big variety. It’s great because it opens up a lot of different places to play. The modern music scene is fragmented into all these little factions, but there is really no difference between the way any of it’s being made. This is primarily a guitar record. It doesn’t matter if you are into industrial or goth or even brit pop, everyone loves guitar. Even if they don’t, you’re still louder, so its win-win.
H.M.R. : One last curiosity. I was wondering if there was meaning behind the name of the band.
C. Aidan: Well, I never kiss on the first date, but without giving too much away, if you look up infidel it means “unbeliever”.
H.M.R. : Ok, still a bit mysterious, but maybe thought provoking as well. In closing, would you like to add anything I may not have asked you about?
C. Aidan: One thing, the entire rhythm track for ‘Warpaint’ is machine guns I sampled from the US Army’s 170th MP Company at Fort Lewis, Washington. I’m really proud of that, it’s perhaps the coolest thing ever to have on my debut album.
H.M.R. : Ok cool. I'll have to listen to that again. It will definitely have a bit more meaning. Well, I do appreciate the time you have taken. It's been fun and we'll have to do it again. Keep us posted on happenings related to Infidel Inc. Thanks again!
C. Aidan: Thank you, it's been my pleasure.