RINGS OF SATURN Talk About Ozzfest, Ulta Ulla Album, & Aliens
The first time I saw Rings of Saturn live, they were opening for Carnifex and I was blown away by the intensity. Their proggy, tech-deathcore style translates perfectly on stage and that remained true for their performance at this year's Ozzfest. I sat down with vocalist Ian Bearer, guitarist Miles Dimitri Baker, and drummer Aaron Stechauner back stage at the festival to discuss Ozzfest, their new album, Ulta Ulla, aliens, and more. Check out all questions and answers below.
You guys killed it at 12 this morning. How was it performing that early?
Ian Bearer: It was great. There was actually a pretty significant crowd for how early that it was. We had some technical issues in the beginning so we had to cut two songs, but we jammed out and the crowd was loving it. I had a great time and it was the earliest show I’ve ever played.
Any bands you caught earlier or looking forward to later tonight?
Miles Dimitri Baker: I’m really looking forward to Children of Bodom. I caught a little bit of Baroness’ set, I really wanted to catch them. And then later tonight is Deftones and Ozzy.
Ozzfest has been around for a couple decades now. Did you ever attend the festivals back in the day?
Ian: When I was really young, maybe six or seven, I went with my uncle. I can’t remember any of the bands I saw. It’s really surreal to play something that you’ve known about your entire life.
Miles: I went to Mayhem Fest, but not Ozzfest. It was the same place too and I remember passing out in the grass.
Aaron Stechauner: I never went to Ozzfest, but I’ve always wanted to and been into this stuff. Playing this is like the real thing to do as a metal band.
The new album was released earlier this year. In retrospective, how do you feel the writing process and result differed from previous releases?
Miles: We went into it with the idea of going forward without boundaries. We kept a lot of the classic Rings of Saturn elements as well as adding a lot more elements that I introduced to the band with my different musical background. I think it bridges the gap between extreme metal and less extreme. It’s a win-win. Fans who like the band are introduced to something new and people who didn’t know the band yet may have got into us. It opened up a lot of doors.
When you say you have a different musical background, can you discuss this more?
Miles: Mostly European metal. I studied a lot music for a long time. I’m not into or listen to a lot of bands within this genre. It’s just a whole new approach to write this style of music.
The band stated that the concept of the record follows aliens transcending time and space and discovering an entity. Can you go into more depth about that idea perhaps?
Ian: Our last album, Lugal Ki En, was about aliens going into Heaven and Hell and fighting God and Satan. For this record, they were pushing the boundaries and broke the time threshold and discovered an entity that has been there since forever. Ulta Ulla means 'Time Immemorial' in Sumerian Cuneiform. When ever I start to write, I dive in pretty deep about ancient theories and study that.
A lot of people kick around the term aliencore when referring to your band, but how deep does your belief in aliens really go?
Ian: I think they're real. I could go on and on about it. To me, that's real shit. They are among us.
Miles: They're right in front of you. [laughs]
Ian: I feel like they're spoon-feeding it to us through movies, TV shows, and images of what an alien looks like with the gray head and big black eyes. So whenever they do reveal the real thing, there won't be mass panic because everyone will be familiar
Do you have a favorite alien movie by chance?
Ian: There's on that came out recently called Life. There was this blue blob that grew wings and adapted. Then it started hunting down the crew of the ship, which had an old-school Alien and Aliens vibe to it. The Fourth Kind is gnarly. Close Encounters of the Third Kind is an old one and they communicated through music tones. Anything about aliens, I'll watch it.
What are your guys plans for the rest of the year?
Aaron: We have a tour with Whitechapel, Carnifex, Entheos, and So This is Suffering. It is Whitechapel's 10th Anniversary for The Somatic Defilement. We have that until mid-December and then come home for the holidays. We have some more touring plans for early next year as well.