Exclusive Interview: Aristic talk Writing and Recording!

Niklas Runstad is fast becoming something of a legend in these parts. A multi-instrumentalist hailing from Gothenburg Sweden, he’s been creating music under the name Aristic with elements of Metalcore, Deathcore and Progressive Metal before inviting a different vocalist to appear on each track he creates. His debut album “Dimensions” has been a regular on our playlist since it’s appearance in 2019 but the story doesn’t end there. So having spoken to Spoiler and Ruina in our series of interviews on writing and recording, Aristic was an immediately interesting and obvious choice…

The Aristic project is yourself as a multi-instrumentalist with a guest vocalist on each track, so how do you go about choosing your collaborators? By the time you reach out to someone is the majority of the instrumental written and do you reach out to someone based on that?Before I ask a vocalist to collaborate with me I have the instrumentals completed and lyrics written. This is my way to ”sell” the song to a vocalist. I want to present a good instrumental production and thoughtful lyrics to give the vocalist the best possible conditions to decide if the song and project is something for him or her to participate in. I do however give full creative freedom to change lyrics or patterns within the vocals to be able to put their own ”touch” to the song.

When I write lyrics to a completed song I have an idea in mind of how the vocals sounds. With that sound in my head i begin to scout a vocalist and it’s a process of it’s own. It doesn’t matter if the vocalist are a part of a small or big act. Voice, talent and excitement are what’s most important. I do however love to find unknown talents and have a close communication rather than make it a business.

I actually only have known one vocalist before asking to feature my song. Everyone is hand-picked after hours of scouting. I take pride into finding gems in the underground scene. As people find out about my music I hope to also help music lovers expand their discoveries and find the featured vocalists bands as well

Originally your collaborators were based in your native Sweden but more recently with single “Vir4l” you were joined byNO:IR frontman Sam “Evvi” Davis from Bristol, England. Have you enjoyed the freedom of collaborating with different vocalists and have there been any frustrations along the way? Have you worked with the vocalists in the same studio or has anyone recorded their own parts separately?Yes, definitely! An urge for creative freedom is what started this project. With the Dimensions album I wanted to use and show local talent but apart from one, I didn’t knew the vocalist before hand. We did record all vocals for that album as well as the Elements song in Rexius studio. 

Finding Evvi for “Vir4l” in the middle of an pandemic had us to work with the circumstances and distance. I was fortunate that Evvi is capable to record his own parts and i sent him examples of how i imagined the lyrics. 

This experience have opened global doors as I developed a structure of how to present the song without a physical meeting. 

I would lie if i said there hasn’t been any frustrations. I would say i experience frustrations every month with this project. There’s always something new to learn being alone with writing, marketing, planning and structure. Getting the the work to flow towards a release date with several people from different parts of the world is a struggle. I always find myself having to re-organise my plans and i would say that having a flexible mind being one of my strengths! “

When it comes to gear, what are your old reliables and what do you experiment with and change around? How much time do you spend getting the right sound with things like guitar tones?I hate to disappoint anyone but I’m far from a ”gear-nerd”. Always have been. Even outside of music I use what fits at the moment and I adapt. I don’t spend much time searching a ”perfect” guitar tone. We have a sound we use and do small tweaks to fit the song. We also record two tracks simultaneously where one is ”dry”. This means that mix-engineer can change the guitar sound. I do have opinions but, I like what I like. 

When speaking to a few other bands, they talk about writing riffs and then programming drums to record to before recording live drums to a click track and putting everything together. How do you go about your writing process?My writing process can be found a bit unique. I use a software called Guitar pro as a tool to quickly ”save” the progress. Most riffs are written in my head while doing something else. Music runs in my head all the time. Whenever I get an idea I can quickly write that down in the software. I do of course practice and play the guitar to write songs as well. That’s often how the process starts with a riff, while the ”mind-riffing” are how I usually proceed after that. When the song is written I do a demo-recording. Similar to other bands you’ve spoke too adjustments and additions are done in the studio as well!

In the studio you’ve worked with producer Mathias Rexius with Max Maly mixing and mastering all of your material. What’s it like working with them and how important are they to the project as a whole?The possibility to have an extra pair of ears are very important being a solo-musician. Me and Mathias have developed a solid work flow. We know each other inside and out and can speak freely with our opinions, without stepping on any toes. We both have a ”what’s best for the song” mindset.

What I like about Max in particular is how he can get into a ”mode” where he adds elements into a song that I wouldn’t have thought about. I can tell that he puts his heart into the project and that’s in-valuable to me. Working with these guys makes this project sound professional while contribute to the creativity. Because they both really enjoy being a part of this project our work go beyond being just business. It’s like having two members!

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