Exclusive Interview: Aristic talk collaborations and cover songs!
Hailing from Gothenburg in Sweden, multi instrumentalist Niklas Runstad has been releasing a steady stream of music under the moniker Aristic, solo project with guest vocalists that sees him playing in a multitude of styles from the Progressive to Metalcore and so much more. Last week saw him unveil his latest endeavour, a two track single that belongs on a 7″ vinyl in collaboration with Johan Segerström as they take on a pair of 90’s covers in “Torn” made famous by Natalia Imbruglia and “Lemon Tree” Fool’s Garden and so we took the opportunity to have a chat…
You mentioned that the idea for the covers stemmed from Johan Segerström of Human Machinery sending you a demo of a cover a year ago, can you tell us a but more about that? “Johan surprised me with a Demo of “Torn” over a year ago that he had put together for fun. We laughed about it but I found myself listening to the Demo over and over, really enjoying a cover of a song that is slightly ”forgotten”. The thought grew in me for quite some time and several ideas came to me about how I could launch this with a 90’s theme calling it a ”Make over”. Covers are also a way to evolve in my creativity. After a short chat with Johan we began setting it up!”
What was it that was behind the choices of the songs themselves, was it just a bit of nostalgia from growing up in the 90’s or was there more to it than that? “Definitely a big part was the nostalgia. Covers are made everyday as a way to reach a bigger audience and often made to modern pop songs. The nostalgia in these songs and that they are slightly ”forgotten” makes this unique in my opinion. I believe some will get the feeling of ”aah I remember that song”. And they are of course legendary to the decade! Torn was born because of Johan as I explained in the previous question. Lemon tree was to me a choice that did fit a darker theme to the A/B single. I were able to go a little further in my creation and it would be impossible to ignore the relevant times with a pandemic in our world. I wrote Lemon tree with the theme of an apocalypse where we are stuck in our homes because of global warming and radiation. Instead of using the obvious virus we live in now, i used the feeling we all feel and put it up a level. A music video will be released July 30 and you will completely understand what theme I intended!”
What were your thoughts going into recording the covers and how did you go about putting your own spin on the covers without taking away too much of the original? “It is important to me that the core of the song is there but I really didn’t want to make it too simple like a lot of covers just pumping the chords or making a breakdown type of cover. There was a challenge to not be too far out of the main thread and at the same time keep it creative and fresh. My proudest riffs would be the bridges for Lemon tree where I really walked on the edges with both drums and riffs but still keeping the recognising structure”
Before doing the recordings had you listened to any other cover versions of these songs out of curiosity to hear what others has done with them, for example the Hands Like Houses version of “Torn” or was this more about doing your own thing and making them your own? “I wanted to go in completely blank and into my own mind in the writing process. I did my research in who had covered the songs but couldn’t find any in my style of music. Hands like houses are a lot more rock than the Aristic version which is leaned towards progressive style within the riffs.”
Previously you’d had work mixed and mastered by Max Maly of Sequence Sound but this time out Mathias Fälthskog of Crownseeker studios was the man for the task. How did that switch come about and how did you find working with Fälthskog? “I initially worked with Max on this one as well. Unfortunately he got technical problems and couldn’t finish the songs which led me to find a new engineer. Mathias works with the vocalist from the EVLN song (Lukas) and recommended Mathias by then. I had him in mind now that I search for a new engineer. Simple as that and a pleasure to work with Mathias!”
Since debut album “Dimensions” you’ve been releasing a steady stream of singles so what can we expect next from Aristic? Will there be more collaboration work with Dollhide? “The singles are mainly because of the music industry we live in today. Dropping albums without having a big fan-base are un-strategical from a marketing perspective. Releasing singles gives me an opportunity to fully market each and every song to its potential while growing my audience slowly. Nevertheless! Exclusive for this interview I will tell you that an album will be released next year. Partly containing released singles but with completely new songs in as well! Dollhide and I have not spoke about any new collaborations but while working on 5:30 we have established a good friendship and I wouldn’t be surprised if we make something more together or guest appearances in each others projects in the future!”