Paola Bread 'n Water: You've been playing shows since you were 15, playing in Boy of the AfterThought since late 2009. Can you sum up for us the feeling of performing?
Aaron John: Anyone who is in a band will agree there’s nothing like playing a great show. It really is a great feeling and nothing beats it when the band and the crowd are in that zone. It’s those kind of moments that make all the crap worth it.
PB'nW: Out of the music projects you've done, how is Boy of the AfterThought different?
AJ: The first band I was in, The Lazarus Kill was much more down the punk line. I was playing bass and the singer/guitarist was my best friend from school. We had a great few years that I look back fondly on but as I was playing guitar for a few years before I picked up a bass, I always saw myself as a guitarist first. Playing guitar and singing with Boy Of The AfterThought I feel I can express myself a little more. Moyano, Adam and myself are very much on the same wavelength so when I’ve written some new bits it's great to hear what they do with it.
PB'nW: How was the experience of recording 'Lupa', Boy Of The AfterThought's debut album? I know the majority of it was done at home.
AJ: The good thing about being an underground band is you can do what you want and make exactly the kind of albums you want. Naturally you don’t have the budget so yes a lot of 'Lupa' was done at home. In the end it came out how I wanted it. I think we managed to get the right balance of a garage rock, low fi, raw vibe while still sounding like we thought about it and put a lot of time into it. I still can’t get my head around most things on a computer let alone be some great sound engineer so the recording process was slightly Ed Wood-like, but a hard rock album needs to have some dirt and I’m still happy when I listen to it now.
PB'nW: You had to switch drummers at one point. How was that? Was it easy to find a new drummer and have him learn the songs?
AJ: Our drummer during the 'Lupa' time was Adrian Graham. Not only a great drummer but a very cool chap and a good droog of mine. He was unable to commit fully to the band when 'Lupa' was done as he was also a session drummer and bassist full time. The separation was very boring and amicable, I would have liked some tears at least but I met Moyano through musical friends and he is for sure one of the quickest drummers I have ever played with so the change was very easy. I knew it would be as he was recommended by people I trust. It’s so much harder going through the route of putting out adds and having an endless array of strange people showing up who do nothing other than steal your cigarettes.
PB'nW: Your video for 'Satellites' is almost dreamlike. What odd places do you draw inspiration?
AJ: Musically I get influenced and listen to a pretty wide range of stuff. Everything from Buffalo Springfield to the Ramones, Rockabilly, Hip Hop and Rap such as Dead Prez, Talib Kweli, old blues like Son House and Skip James. I love Dylan but I love death and thrash, Annihilator, Megadeth, Deicide and then bands like Broken Social Scene and Sigur Ros. The more you absorb the more free your writing can get. The Sigur Ros influence comes through in 'Satellites' and the grainy kind of film adds a nice touch. I do enjoy my old grainy movies. CGI stinks.
PB'nW: You've talked about wanting longevity in the music scene. Whose career would you want to emulate? Who is your favorite artist who has pulled off longevity?
AJ: Bob Dylan and Neil Young are pretty amazing. Plus when you count Neil Young’s other projects it’s like the guy has never had a day off in his life.
PB'nW: Do you prefer writing solo, or with a band? You've done both, what do you feel is the difference?
AJ: Both have positives. It’s great to hear other people’s ideas and the different spins they put on things. Then again you could say writing solo is far more personal. I’ve enjoyed doing both so far. No use in limiting yourself to one method.
PB'nW: Any news on the follow-up to 'Lupa'?
AJ: We are doing our second album now and it will be released early in 2012. It’s not a 'Lupa' rehash, it’s heavier, darker and more grumpy and we are really happy with it so far.
PB'nW: Push To Fire wrote a review of 'Lupa' praising the band; “The reconnection with the garage rock roots of the 90s is a style that will set them apart from the pompous rock bands of today”. What other aspects of your band set you apart?
AJ: To be honest we just do what we want without giving thought to what may be liked and popular and trendy. But there are plenty of bands with our kind of approach. I hate these people who think they're the only ones, it shows they don’t get out much and listen to enough music. I do think folks are getting a bit fed up with bands who spend more time on their hair and make up then they do playing. The sad truth is most people just want to be famous. We’re just music fans who play music. People should focus more on the little webzines and magazines and go into record shops as that’s where you’ll find the good stuff.
PB'nW: You attended an all boys catholic school? How was that experience, and how do you think that effected the style of music you write?
AJ: Other then the friends I made there I hate everything about that fact. But then again if I didn’t I wouldn’t have been in The Lazarus Kill and everything would have been different.
PB'nW: You've mentioned in an interview that you grew up in a shady area, and that music helped you stay off the streets. Have you always been around music your whole life? Did you have a plan B?
AJ: To be honest I don’t think I ever wouldn’t have done the kinds of things I see kids doing now. My area is dodgy but yeah, music always kept me busy. I wouldn’t say I have a plan B but there are a lot of things I want to do.
PB'nW: On the band's facebook there is a post that states, “Bands today would rather be called good looking than good musicians”. When did you make it a point to never let your band get sucked into the superficial? Why do you think “soon people who write good stuff and wear jeans and jumpers will be getting some recognition”?
AJ: It’s just a lot of bands look they’ve come straight out of a catalog. It’s become so boring. I want to see more bands in cardigans and blue jeans and jumpers.
PB'nW: How did you get involved with SHAC? Why did you choose to give proceeds from the single to SHAC?
AJ: I started attending some demos and getting more involved with those kind of issues. Music takes up so much time but releasing the benefit single was a way of combining the two and I hope to do more of that kind of thing in the future. I chose SHAC because it's something I really believe in and wanted to do something to help out. I know the people involved are very dedicated to the cause. A lot of folks have the attitude where they think their just one person, they can't change much, but if everyone does something no matter how small it counts for a lot. I knew we wouldn't sell a million downloads of it but always better to try then not try at all. The single was very well recieved by those who have heard it but we are limited with how much we can get things out to people. There aren't too many radio stations or magazines that feature us so much of it is hoping people stumble across it. If people hear about us through that single and like us then thats great, equally it would be great if fans of us who are not yet aware of these things begin to take more of an interest in groups like SHAC, it's just all about trying something and doing what you can even if it's small.
PB'nW: Your site mentions that one of the themes that you write about is animal rights. Tell us which songs specifically so our readers can check them out, and do you have a favorite lyric that you've written pertaining to animal rights?
AJ: I would say songs like 'Lupa' and 'See Evil' and a few of the new tracks follow that theme. I can't say I have a favorite lyric as it’s all connected in a way. ' Lupa' is about hunting wolves for sport and fur. Hunting for sport and fun is a terrible thing. Theres a lyric in 'Lupa' that goes "you do it just because you can, but it doesn't really make you more of a man". It doesn't take much guts to shoot an animal from a safe distance with a gun. 'See Evil' is about animal testing and includes the lines "Blood on hands, no guilt no conscience". It suprises me that people who do those things can go home and sleep. I like many find that very strange and sad.
PB'nW: Is it safe to say you have a thing for dogs/wolves?
AJ: I have had dogs my whole life and am pretty obsessed with wolves. The workings of a pack are amazing to learn about and they have genuine love for each other.
PB'nW: Are all your dogs rescues/adopted?
AJ: No, they’re not but I have so much respect for people who get dogs from rescues. It can sometimes be very difficult but it’s worth it and there are plenty of great dogs who need homes. I wanted to work in a rescue home. It’s fairly near the top of the things I want to do other then music.
PB'nW: Did you ever make the connection between the dogs we love as companions and the animals we eat? Was your own pets part of the incentive? I know your mother had you around dogs a lot.
AJ: People in the West think it’s normal to eat pigs just as people in some parts of Asia and the rest of the world think it’s normal to eat dogs, but yet people over here gasp at the thought of eating a dog so where do you draw the line? People draw the line wherever it’s convenient for them. Every animal feels and can feel pain just the way a dog can so to me there's no difference. A living thing is a living thing.
PB'nW: How did you get into veganism?
AJ: I was vegetarian for a while and then started looking into vegan food. Some things I loved and some things take some getting used to.
PB'nW: Do you have any advice for aspiring vegans?
AJ: It’s not an easy road and I am far from the best person to give advice to anyone but like anything, stick with it and it becomes easier.
Visit http://www.boyoftheafterthought.com for more info.