The five musicians of L.A.-based band Gemini Syndrome create such an electric reaction among themselves, it might be construed as too many primal forces colliding. However, it just happens to work out beautifully in their music.
As their live set kicks off, the first thing you notice is guitarist Rich Juzwick's and Mike Salerno's brilliant string work. That's followed up by the thumping rhythms of Italian bassist Alessandro "A.P." Paveri. And the finishing touch is when animated dramatic beats come in, compliments of drummer Brian Steele Medina and the resonating, melodic vocals of singer Aaron Nordstrom (formerly of OTEP) that can power through any crowd, whether it's 50 people or 15,000, like when they perform at KUPD's Ufest this Saturday in Mesa.
The alternative metal band's started off on the Sunset Strip with acts like Murderdolls and Nonpoint, worked their way up to Wayne Static's solo tour, and released an EP in early 2011, which was produced by Mikey Doling (Soufly, Snot). Their debut full-length album, Lux, dropped last year and has sort of a unique inspiration behind its name.
Up On the Sun recently interviewed Nordstrom in honor of Gemini Syndrome's appearance at Ufest this weekend and spoke with the singer about the concept behind their new album, his fascination with ingenious records, and how he'd sum up the band in three words.
Tell me a bit about the concept behind Lux.
Basically the title is Lux, which is a single lumen measurement of illumination. So I guess in our minds it was our first light to the world. It's definitely a story, all tied together. You have polar opposites, just like how the band name is derived, with duality and whatnot.
Songs like "Basement," and tracks like that are pretty negative, are coupled with some more positive vibes I guess? With songs like "Take This" and "Pleasure and Pain," even though that is one of the heaviest songs on the record it's pretty positive. It's trying to capture the gamut of humane motion and perspective.
What tracks do you feel will really speak to people off the album? I really like "Stardust" and "Syndrome." Are there certain tracks that have more special meaning to you than others?
Every track means something, which is kind of how I write. But you bring up "Stardust" and "Syndrome;" "Stardust" is like about my experiences in my late teens and early 20s. A thank you note I guess to the people who helped shape me even though I went through some really dark times and did some bad stuff. [Laughs]
It ultimately guided me to where I'm at now. Same with "Syndrome," too. Just reflecting back on the darker periods of your life. And hopefully because of those stories it helps somebody. You go through darkness and troubled times and hopefully come out on the other side because of it. I guess you can't dismiss that stuff and the troubles you go through; you have to embrace them and say that you are better for it.
How have you felt about the album during the last half-year of reflection and the reception of it? Do you have any feelings about doing things differently or the reception?
Absolutely. I go back and forth. Maybe that's what makes me an artist you know? Certain times I've been able to heal because of it, and then I have moments of pessimism or doubt or whatever... I guess there's never a solution. It nevers ends. You know what I mean? It's always a struggle; a fight; I hate to quote him but I have to quote Maynard [James Keenan]. There's an interview he did years ago, and he's like, "if I can't heal from my music, if I can't do something positive for me, then what good and I doing anybody else?" And that always resonated with me. I don't know man, like, it's a day to day thing. It's like people who go to AA. One day at a time. Some days are easier, some are harder. But at least I have the outlet to put these energies somewhere.
Are you guys just focusing on touring currently, or are you writing new material this year?
Currently, at this moment, we are at rehearsal, and they are working on a new tune. We leave in two days for tour and our first show is Vegas on Thursday. We're always writing and there's always ideas going on. I've been asked a few times in the last few months about whens the new record coming out? And I'm like, we just released one! Patience dude! But we're always trying to capture those ideas we have at the moment. But for sure we have summer festivals that we're doing, so we are certainly in tour mode. We try to run on all cylinders if we can.
Well, I'm sure that can be frustrating to have people ask you what's next when you feel like you just put out something you've been working really hard on. What I'm interested in is the writing process since it differs for every band.
Yeah you know; everybody in the band comes to the table with ideas. We just played SXSW earlier in March and had rehearsed there. The guys went in and I was taking a nap and then they said they had something to show me. They wrote it on the spot. Inspiration comes unexpectedly. We don't have necessarily a step-by-step pattern of how we write music. It always changes. They wrote a tune and I was really inspired by it. It came out of nowhere. Then there's another time where we just go, oh, it's time to write a song. It's our intention. And that changes your motivation or something like that.
So are you the one who writes the lyrics, as you said you all have a hand in the process?
Well when it comes to lyric and vocals it's definitely my contribution. Sometimes I can contribute guitar licks or something, but I think we're pretty good at not stepping on each others' toes. You know, Alessandro has the bass parts, and so forth. And then we put ideas out and have constructive criticism but everyone gets to do their job unadulterated.
If you could be a fly on the wall for the recording of any album in history, what would it be?
Oh ho ho! Laughter. Man... That's a tough one... if I could pick a few... I would say uh... I would've loved to have been there for Diamond Eyes [Deftones]. Lateralus [Tool] would be great. Night of the New Day by Katatonia. Watershed by Opeth. I would've loved to see that process. Some ingenius record. Sometimes I wonder... I know what it's like for us when we go into the studio, but I wonder what it's like for other bands.
Now describe Gemini Syndrome in three words.
In three words. Hmmm... Honest. Powerful. And unwavering.
Gemini Syndrome is scheduled to perform on Saturday, April 12, at KUPD's UFest 2014.
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