Ancient Visionz interview with "Ace" aka Michael Gajewski, guitar/vocals from Aeraco (Hard Rock/Heavy Metal)
Photo taken by and courtesy of Michael Gutierrez, of www.gutimedia.com
1. What inspired the name Aeraco?
We tried thinking of band names for quite some time. I was researching Greek mythology and Aerico popped up. Aerico was a disease demon in Greek folklore and I really liked the way it sounded. After thinking about it for a while, we changed the spelling. It was really different, no one was using it and it had a great sound to it.
2. Listening to the album, it comes across that you are a high energy band clearly enjoying the music you are playing. Has that always been one of the tenants behind Aeraco?
Absolutely. People go to a rock show to let loose and have a kick ass time. The songs we write always translate well live and get the audience going which fuels us to put on a kickass show. We don’t write for radio or compose based on what we think might hit. We put out the songs we do because it’s the style of music we listen to as fans and genuinely enjoy. It’s pretty awesome and definitely a plus that people feel that energy and dig it too!
3. How long did it take to write the album?
Everything usually starts with a guitar riff. From there, we build the songs and start to shape them. Lyrics go last and then finally we add the finishing touches. I’m sure I skipped 10,000 other things that go into writing but those are the general steps we use. Recording is a whole different animal which our bassist Beast tackled. Between writing and recording, you’re looking at around a year.
4. Do you all work on the writing together?
Everyone contributes to the writing process. They usually leave the lyrics to me but everyone gives me feedback on how the content is coming out. Spidey and I work on guitar parts, Beast and Misfit hash out the rhythm section and I piece things together to help the song have good flow. Every member serves as a checks and balances system to make sure the song is solid before we record it.
5. What are some of concepts behind Baptized By Fire?
There’s quite a bit of material we cover. Strength, vengeance, time, love, deception, lies, relationships, etc… there’s a lot going on but it all ties in nicely. We like exploring different concepts and pushing the envelope but we of course enjoy writing about common emotions-love, hate, pain, fear. It all depends on where the song takes us.
6. What themes would you like to explore on the next album?
I really enjoy writing about politics and war. It’s not the most relatable theme but I truly enjoy it. The song ”Destruction” off of our first album was such a great process and definitely a fulfilling experience. Writing about a political stance, a religious belief or something with far right/left substance is satisfying to reflect on. There are definitely other themes I’m sure we will go for but time will tell…
7. The artwork is something that drew my attention. How long did it take to come up with idea and who created the artwork?
Album artwork is what got me into music in the first place. The first album I remember looking at was in my dads vinyl collection. The artwork on the front of Queen’s “News of the World” really amazed me. Artwork used to be an art in itself before digital came along and suppressed things. A bands release should be a holistic experience. The songs, the messages, the artwork, etc should all be a journey that the listener and viewer is taken on. We wanted the album to be just as visually appealing as it is musically pleasing. There was only one man for that job so we hired a good friend and extremely talented artist, Drake Mefestta, to execute it. I drew up a terrible rough draft and sent it to him with some notes. Drake then turned that into one badass piece of album artwork. I think that whole process took about a month or so.
8. The angel or fallen angel depicted on the front looks like he is holding some rosemary beads. What did you guys wish to signify with this image?
You are very observant! The angel actually isn’t an angel at all. He is a demon that betrays the devil for a reason we haven’t disclosed yet. If you watch our videos, read the articles we post and pay close enough attention, we drop very subtle hints as to what his story is. He has an entire backstory and that locket is actually very significant. Usually, when people buy an album, they purchase an hours worth of music, listen to it and make their judgement based off what they heard. We wanted to give people something more. For the fans who enjoy diving deep into the rabbit whole, pay close attention to detail and enjoy piecing things together, we wanted to provide something that will last longer than the 60 minutes worth of music. That “something” is the journey of discovering who this creature is and what his story is about.
9. Outside of the US where would you guys like to play and visit?
Everywhere! The hard rock/metal scene has great fans all over the world. South American, Europe, Asia, Australia… there are so many great places that we would love to go. We have had fans in some of those places asking us to come out so its only a matter of time. On another note, I love history and I’m a total nerd so I’d be taking tours non stop if I had the time in between shows. I also love cooking and enjoy good food so I’d definitely be trying different foreign things. Playing outside of the US would be a dream come true that I’m sure will happen sooner rather than later.
10. Most memorable shows to date?
I’m blessed to be able to play music and do what I love. We’ve played shows that are absolute nightmares and we have also played shows that are a dream come true. Whatever the case, it’s always great to take the stage and play. There are definitely some memorable shows though. Our Los Angeles (2016) show was amazing. We opened for Dokken at the Whisky and the fans were great! Rockfest Cadott (2016) was another one. The people up there loved us, the show was great and everything about that day was stellar. New York (2017) was badass. The fans in New York are just awesome and were crazy as hell! More recently, we opened for Art of Anarchy here in the Chicago area and every aspect of that show was perfect. I’m sure there are other shows that kicked ass but those are the ones that come to mind right away.
11. What do you all enjoy the most about playing in a metal band?
My bandmates are my best friends. I get to hang out with them, travel the country and see our dreams come true on a daily basis. I can’t think of anything else that would allow me to do that. I also get to meet a lot of different people, create relationships all over and network with all sorts of individuals. There are definitely cool perks to being in a band!
12. What do you enjoy to relax?
Aside from catching up on sleep, I love working out and cooking. I’ve always said that I would love to take cooking classes or go to culinary school. There’s definitely something therapeutic about cooking a kick ass meal! Working out is a total stress reliever and it always feels great walking out of the gym from a killer work out.
13. Are any of you sports fans and followers of the Chicago Bulls, or Chicago Fire?
I’m a huge Chicago sports fan. The other guys are Chicago fans but I’m a die hard Bears fan. Cubs, Bears, Bulls, Fire, Blackhawks… I’m down with all of it. I played football super briefly in college and always enjoy a good ball game! Chicago has a great sports history. We are unfortunately a pretty cut throat group of fans meaning the minute you don’t produce, we throw you in the guillotine and move on. But the upside to that is if you do produce, you’ll win our hearts and go down as a legend! Chicago is a great sports city. I’m proud to be from here in numerous aspects but I’m definitely proud of the athletes we’ve had in our clubs.
14. What other music outside of metal and rock do you all enjoy?
I have a pretty diverse musical palette. I listen to a lot of different genres which might sound like a cop out answer, but it’s not intentional. What originally captivated me was blues music. There’s something about what blues music provides and gives to the soul that makes it a go to genre for me. I studied classical guitar for about a year and I love all sorts of classical music. Gypsy Jazz is very interesting and I consider Django Reinhardt to be an incredible guitarist. I originally went to NIU to pursue Jazz guitar but I dropped out… as much as I’d like to listen to jazz, it’s not my go to. I can appreciate it for it’s complexity and musicality but classical, blues and gypsy jazz would take precedence. Opera is always a great theatrical experience and honestly, seeing Carmen in high school opened my eyes to Opera and I find it quite enjoyable. To make a long winded answer short, I can get into anything. As long as it isn’t derivative, mindless pop bullshit, I can marinade it just about any musical genre and take it in for what it is.
15. What are some of favorite movies & TV shows?
I don’t watch many TV shows but I am a big movie fan. The Big Lebowski is definitely my favorite movie of all time. War movies would probably be Fury, Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Down, Braveheart and Schindler’s List. Favorite westerns would be Tombstone, Outlaw Josey Wales, 3:10 to Yuma and True Grit. There are so many great comedies but I love Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Some Like it Hot, The Blues Brothers, Step Brothers, Planes Trains and Automobiles, Caddy Shack and numerous others I am sure I’m forgetting. Me and our drummer Misfit speak in movie quotes because we absolutely love cinema.
Thank you Ace for the very in-depth interview. It was great to read with some excellent answers. I wish you all the best with Baptized By Fire and future albums, and tours. Peace and respect Ace, Gaz, Ancient Visionz.
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