If there’s one thing the music world has no shortage of, it’s up-and-coming bands in hard rock and metal. What there is a shortage of, though, are quality bands to represent the bridging of heavy-metal style and radio-friendly melody that is not only current, but also appeals to headbangers and mainstream listeners alike.
Gemini Syndrome is one of those rare bands.
I caught up with Aaron Nordstrom, the insightful frontman of this fresh new act from Warner Bros., to talk about the group’s debut album, Lux, and their upcoming tour with one of the most dominant forces in the genre, Five Finger Death Punch.
Going back to the beginning, tell me how you all came together in Los Angeles to form Gemini Syndrome.
Aaron: We all moved here to play music, and at the point when we all met each other, it was just divine timing. We were all in the same place, the same mindset, had the same agenda. We were all ready to work hard. It all happened really quick, between meeting and recording our first independent record, then moving in together and starting to rehearse seven days a week for a few months before we even played our first show. Then we hit the road. It was just divine timing, being in the same mental place and same physical place at the same time.
Speaking of different people coming together, when you get together to write or record, does each member bring a different aesthetic or ideas, whether it’s sonically or stylistically?
The vision overall is pretty much the same, but the metaphor I like to use is a color wheel. Whether it be the influences that we have musically, or the set that we perform live, we always have a middle ground that we overlap on. Everyone has their own individual uniqueness that they bring to the table as well, and that’s kind of how we evolved.
There are about 9,000 bands floating around your genre right now, new and established. How do you separate yourself from the pack and how do you describe the Gemini Syndrome brand?
I think first, like we were just talking about, everybody in the band has their own unique spin on it. Instead of being all Slayer fans, and only Slayer fans, and having that kind of influence, we’re all coming from different places as far as what we listen to and what we’ve played. I think that lends itself to the creation of a unique sound.
Beyond that, there’s a message behind what we do and a whole point of what we’re saying. We’re trying to create a community and social positivity on a deeper level than just being a party band talking about going to the bars and stuff. I think that’s very important to us.
Having a message, you know, something that we not only believe in ourselves but that is a positive influence for people. Even in the negative songs that we have, there’s still a glimmer of hope there. That was kind of the goal from the beginning; I don’t want to put negative energy into the world if I don’t have to. I did that too much when I was younger, and I think we’re all kind of in that place.
Going back to what you were saying about party bands and bars. It seems like the most successful bands in your genre are the healthiest. Have you found, especially as a new band coming up, that it’s actually not that cool to be the band that gets wasted all the time?
There are a lot of people in hard rock and heavy metal that are completely sober. Our band is not a party band. I mean, I’ll be the guy to go sit at the bar after the show and have a couple drinks with people, but as far as going out and doing the Sunset Strip of the ’80s, or chucking TVs out of hotel room windows, it’s just not the point anymore.
I think that was something that manifested at the beginning of this era of rock ‘n roll and heavy metal, where [musicians] were the crazy groups in society who were all about shock value, but I think it’s just evolved beyond that now at this point.
Being a new band in LA and coming up directly in the heart of it, have you found pressure to take on that Sunset Strip/Hollywood vibe or have you been able to find your own style absent of that particular scene?
We’ve been a part of the community of musicians, and we support other bands, but there’s a line between socializing and hanging out with people in the scene and going out and getting hammered every night.
Enough of that, let’s talk about your album. Tell me about Lux, particularly the choice for the name and the sonic style of this debut with Warner Bros.
Lux is a single unit of measurement of illumination, so Lux is our path, our light to the world, I guess you could say.
Looking at the album artwork and the videos, can you get a little more specific about the vibe and overall message behind Lux?
The album, sonically, really runs the gambit between really, really heavy to really, really melodic. As far as topically, it runs the gambit from really negative to really positive. I think that’s captured even in the band’s name, Gemini Syndrome: having duality and it bringing together the two sides of our human condition. I think that’s what we wanted to say with this record. All of us, everyone who’s alive, goes through this whole cycle of emotions, from extreme happiness to despair, anger to calmness, and everything in between. It’s our way of letting everyone know that we’re all in the same boat.
A lot of bands that fall into the “active” category have a difficult time identifying what genre their music falls into. Your style sways between a few different styles. How do you describe Gemini Syndrome’s style of music?
If we have to pick one, we say heavy alternative. It has elements of metal, it has elements of hard rock, it has elements of prog rock, but it’s not any one of those things all the time, though, if you know what I mean.
How do you think you’re going to fit in with Five Finger Death Punch on this upcoming tour?
Even if it’s not as heavy as Five Finger Death Punch, we do have those heavier elements; the emotional heaviness is still there. I don’t think there will be a problem translating that to that audience.
Gemini Syndrome’s debut album with Warner Brothers Records drops today, September 10th. Catch the band at Aftershock Festival September 14th in Sacramento, California and on tour with Five Finger Death Punch this fall.