Aeges – “If it sounds killer I’m in”

Aeges had just released their new record DRØMMEN and hit the road with a full year of activity lined up – when the world shut down.

Now with things opening up again, the band are giving the album a second lease of life with new single Colors and a renewed promotional schedule.

We caught up with singer/guitarist Kemble Walters to talk about breathing new life into their record, what he learned from touring with Pelican, Local H and Chevelle, and making a record “slam”!

So you guys released DRØMMEN last year and then the world ground to a halt. That must have been quite defeating at the time?

Yeah, it kinda was. We had just released DROMMEN which was exciting for numerous reasons. It was the first record we’ve done as a three piece, our first with Dylan on drums, and our first fully self produced/funded/engineered (except for Josh Newell the drum engineer)/released album.

We self engineered and produced the Bridge as well as Above & Down Below, but this time we self released our album and went full independent which felt really good.

We kicked touring off with Shiprocked then straight from that we hit a full tour with CROBOT, Like Machines & the Jab.  The response was incredible and playing these new tunes felt great but like you said, the world stopped and halted all future plans till now pretty much.

So yeah, in short it sucked a lot of life out of that record but we’re slowly blowing it back up.

Now that things are reopening, how does it feel to be promoting the record afresh? Was there any talk about just moving on to the next record?

We are always moving onto the next even when things are going great and were in the middle of a release, what’s the point in waiting if inspiration hits right? We’ve got a whole albums worth of tunes ready to roll, we’re just seeing how this year pans out to know what route is best to release em. We are stoked to be getting the DROMMEN word back out there since we’re all really proud of that one and want to give it the push it deserves.

Tell me about your new single “Colors”?

It’s ripping. It’s fast, one of our shortest songs, and has a weird structure. It had been in the mix for some time, I believe it was one that didn’t quite connect when we recorded DROMMEN but felt right for right now.

It wasn’t specifically written for the times, but it definitely seems to be fitting so I’m stoked we had it ready to throw out there to our fans. Gotta keep the fans happy ya know? 

You guys have been on some killer tours in the last few years including supporting Chevelle, Pelican and more. Is there any one band or tour that you did that was more of a learning experience for you? Any bands that you watched how they operated or interacted with their audience that caused something to click for you or the band?

I don’t think there was any one band that we learned the most from as everyone does things a bit differently and it all works.

Chevelle has the best team of people and they all treat everyone with respect and do what they feel works for them which I think rules.

Local H travel as a two piece and sell/load/drive all themselves and that’s dedication you don’t see too often. We’re not a two piece but we keep our overhead as low as possible and do all the “heavy lifting” ourselves as well.

Pelican is just a massive wall of sound so being in the crowd to experience that was always moving and a reminder that space can be just as heavy as fast riffs. 

Check My Brain cover (ALICE IN CHAINS) - FEAT members Papa Roach, AEGES, Black Map, Ex-UnwrittenLaw

So guitars! What did you guys use on the record in terms of guitars/amps/pedals?

Oh man, leet’s see… I like to have a dedicated Left and Right guitar which is usually a Gibson Les Paul & Reverend Baritone. For clean gtr and chimey bits I used my Fender Tele, PureSalem & my short scale Danelectro for weird slide bits. 

Amps: 

  • BlackVolt Amplification 1x12 combo (INSANE amp) (main L or R sound)
  • Bogner Shiva Head (main L or R)
  • Vox Ac15 hardwired
  • PHAEZ custom hardwired 50 watt head

Pedals… LOTS!

BlackVolt Fuzz, Bogner Fuzz, Balls FX MKII, Keeley Comp, Zvex FuzzFactory / Distortron, Caroline Kilobyte, MXR Sub Machine / delay / reverb, WayHuge Green Rhino, RedSunFx White Fuzz, and soooo many more.

Did you have any reference records going into the studio in terms of how you wanted the finished product to sound?

Nope, just the idea of “this needs to SLAM”

How did you hook up with Beau Burchell for the mixing of the record? What do you feel he brought to the final mix?

Beau and I have been in similar circles for years but never met. When we wrapped up WEIGHTLESS and were looking for a mix engineer, we did a shoot out with some amazing heavy hitters and he was one of em. Beaus mix was our favorite an he’s been mixing for us ever since. 

Are you a gear head at all? Any pieces of gear you’ve played recently that were a pleasant surprise? Anything you got to play that was disappointing?

I’m a huge gear head. I love fun and weird stuff, the more inspiring the better. In my opinion, gear is only cool if it makes you think of creating differently. At the moment I’m loving my SunnAudio Nucleus & RabbitHead pedals. They are INSANE on both gtr & bass. You reading this, go check em out now!

As far as being disappointed… I’m only disappointed if it’s overpriced and stunts creativity, I’ve been good at avoiding those lately.

Is there any one piece of gear that you couldn’t do without? Anything that’s integral to your sound?

Not really. I switch stuff up all the time and never stick to one sound. My ride or die is probably my Taylor 814ce DLX acoustic. It’s continuously inspiring and beautiful. 

A lot of guitarists are embracing modelling and profiling amps these days, especially due to making fly in gigs much easier. What’s your take on digital amps and effects?

If it sounds killer I’m in. I haven’t had any luck yet as I’m a big pedal guy and lots of the digital amps don’t take pedals well. I’m open to it if it exists!

DRIFTER lyric video by AEGES / ÆGES

For someone who’s just discovering your band and wants to hear more music that sounds like you, what bands would you suggest they start with?

Well I’m not sure if these band necessarily sound like us but they definitely inspire us a ton:

Quicksand, Mutoid Man, TORCHE, Royal Blood, Handsome, Mastodon

If someone maybe wasn’t familiar with you guys but wanted to learn to play one of your songs, where would you suggest they start? Any riffs/licks/passages in particular that are fun to play, or maybe challenging but rewarding for more advanced players?

I’d say the Hunter. That one is a crowd favorite and then main riff is SUPER THICK. It’s an extremely easy song (until the bridge which has triplet picking) and sooooo fun to play. Lots of single note riffs as well as big thick chords.

What’s up next for the band? Where can people see you in the coming year?

We’ve got a records worth of tunes ready to roll out so who knows… album? Singles? Ep? Time will tell there. As far as tours go, we don’t have anything lined up but are starting to actively look so we will hopefully be out there infant of people by the end of 2021. The future is bright and HEAVY.

Brian Kelleher

I'm the main guy at KillerGuitarRigs.com and I want to tell you all about guitars. I've been playing music since 1986 when my older brother taught me to play "Gigantic" by The Pixies on a bass with two strings. Since then, I've owned dozens of instruments from guitars to e-drums, and spent more time than I'd like to admit sitting in vans waiting for venues to open across Europe and the US.