It is our pleasure to introduce underground musicians from all over the world, so after our ‘Emerging’ article on Vore Aurora, we asked them for an interview with us and they kindly accepted. But what can make a webzine focus on a new underground band that has only released three singles so far? It is all in the music they make and its quality. An electro duo from California that puts cold wave into a warmer path than usual, making music with great respect for the genre and knowing how arrangements should proceed to build complete songs. Therefore, they granted us a very interesting interview that made us get to the core of Vore Aurora’s universe. Enjoy…
How did it all start with the band? Could you please share the story so far?
A’ Lizzabeth Barrett (AB): I had just come out of another project, and met Jonah who asked me if I’d be interested in providing vocals for some tracks he had been working on. He sent me a few, but Carmine was the one that grabbed my attention. Then it just grew from there and we decided to start a band.
Jonah Philips (JP): I’ve always been a bit of a recluse with the music I make, and had no real intention of ever putting any of it out there. That changed when I met A’Lizzabeth. We bonded over our love for music of the darker persuasion, and she had done vocals in the past. As much as I love instrumental music, the idea of adding vocals made me much more comfortable with actually releasing finished tracks. We did a casual recording session, and had a lot of fun in the process. Once she had dedicated the time and energy to record, I realized I was on the hook to actually put something out there, instead of hoarding the music into forever hard drive purgatory.
It all sounds like you are emerging from cold wave. How would you describe your music?
AB: I completely credit Jonah with the tone and style of Vore Aurora. Cold Wave, Dark Wave and Minimal Wave are his genres of choice. I really liked the idea of trying something out of my comfort zone. I was originally inspired by The Soft Moon, and Linea Aspera, but my main influences vocally are definitely starting to show in our newer songs.
JP: Truth be told, I’m a sucker for any musical genre with the word wave in it… The start of it was around 2006 when I got obsessed with the Minimal Wave label. The gems that Veronica Vasicka unearthed kick-started my love of synthesizers, reinforced the idea that less is often more, and that cold can be comforting. That was the gateway into bands like Light Asylum, Frank Just Frank, TR/ST and The Soft Moon, all of which now have a permanent home on my record player.
So far as describing our music, it’s been an evolution. ‘Carmine’, our first track, is very different than our third track, ‘Envenom’. In just a matter of a few songs, we went from layers upon layers of distressed guitars to a track that is just drums, a bass synth, and two lead synths. As we settle into our sound I think it will be easier to describe, but for now I usually sum it up as Dark Wave, namely because dark and wave sound sexy together.
What reaches my ears is electro music based on cold wave structure, but on the other hand I find EBM elements along with urban or desert-influenced guitar work in it, that all embrace A’Lizzabeth’s warm voice. All of these give a very warm and groovy effect to the music, which is quite different from the European cold wave style. How do you manage to compose and arrange your music like that? (It can’t be all on the Californian sun!)
JP: My first musical love was electro, so that is definitely an influence. In the early 2000’s I couldn’t get enough Solvent, or Mount Sims. The sound of raw synths gives me the chills. When I’m starting a track, I’ll always start with sound design. I’ll spend a few hours tweaking knobs on the Moog, or editing wave tables in Serum. At that point I’m not thinking melody or anything, just how the sound of the synth makes me feel. Once I have a sound I’m happy with, I’ll start experimenting with an effect chain. Once that clicks, I’ll move onto melody, drums and finally song structure. A’lizzabeth’s vocals put a human texture on top, and that helps to make the tracks feel more alive and less like ‘computer music’. There is an ever elusive sweet spot between moody and warm that I really like to tap into.
There was a guitarist in the band whom you no longer collaborate with. Does that mark a turn in your style to take you down a more “electro” path?
AB: Guitar worked very well for ‘Carmine’, but we have been moving towards a more minimal and synthetic sound on each song since.
JP: Our guitarist also had a knack for song structure and production, so he helped guide us onto the more electronic trajectory we are on now. He’s since moved on to other projects, but has a definite stake in our sound.
Vore Aurora is a very tricky or even mystical name. How did you come up with it and what does it really mean for the band?
AB: The list of names we came up with was strange, to say the least. Innapproriate and cynical minds at work. Vore Aurora looked cool, but was impossible to pronounce. I love the idea that anyone can attach any meaning they like to it, but nobody can seem to say it effortlessly. Vore is a very specific fantasy/fetish, and the related videos that pop up in our feed tend to be people being consumed by fantastical creatures. Also Aurora is the name of Sleeping Beauty which I have a tattoo of to commemorate a disorder I have called syncope.
JP: I don’t think I realized how tricky of a name it was to pronounce when we decided on it. Whenever I have to say the name of the band, I feel like I have peanut butter stuck to the roof of my mouth. It’s an unintentional tongue twister. So far as vore, I have an appreciation of fetishes of all kinds. While I’m not a very fetishy person myself, I love that our minds can desire things that are so far off the beaten path.
You write very strong and touching lyrics. Your song titles are also rich with meaning (‘Null Plus Void’) or maybe cryptic (‘Envenom’). We’d like you to share a few thoughts or facts with us and tell us what inspires you in your writing.
AB: I mainly take inspiration from three different places. First is a personal story or feeling. If I just went with that, my lyrics would read like a diary entry… It’s happened, and it’s not great. Second is exploring a wide range of views about how the world ends. And third is media, including books I’m reading about paranormal psychology/remote viewing, Warcraft games, love letters from my boyfriend, scientific studies of heart conditions, and whatever else I’m immersed in.
It is obvious that you have been very tentative with all your releases so far: Talented musicians, very good sound, a very nice video of ‘Envenom’ and carefully designed covers to your three singles. You work a lot for the promotion of your music, too— performing live and spreading your art on the web. All that makes me think that a more extended piece of work is on the way. What are your plans?
AB: I spend a great deal of time pushing our stuff on strangers and friends. The original idea was an EP but I think we might be looking at a full length album in the next year. Once we finish recording, working on our live sound is next. In the meantime we have two remixes on the way from some awesome friends of ours.
What is it that you are keener on: studio work or live performances?
AB: I love the idea of performing, but lately I’ve found joy in just hearing that people in clubs across the world are dancing to our music. A tour could change my mind, but right now being in the studio is pretty great.
JP: I’m happiest in my boxer shorts, alone with my computer and a synthesizer. I don’t think much makes me happier than turning off all the lights in my studio, watching all the flashing LED’s from the hardware, and basking in the soft white glow of the computer screen. Playing live is something I’d be into doing once we have our sound dialled, but at this point we have more work to do in preparation for that.
Can you please share your current playlists with us? What music are you looking for and listening to?
AB: I’ve been listening to a lot of Ari Mason‘s new album, and Mr. Kitty‘s remix of IamX’s North Star — pretty much anything on Negative Gain Productions. Also lately I’ve been into Kite, Samaris, and Strvngers, an awesome Canadian band we’ve become close with.
JP: On the goth/dark wave side, I’m a big fan of Lebanon Hanover, Qual, She Past Away, Keluar, All Your Sisters And Void Vision. When I need my brutal fix, I listen to Deafheaven or Windhand, both great metal bands.