Bloodstock 2018 – Band Feature/Interview: Aonia

This year’s Bloodstock Festival is shaping up to be one of the best ever with a line-up that spans all genres of rock and metal. If you haven’t picked up your tickets yet, what are you waiting for!? Check out our five reasons why you should go there.

Aonia is a 7-headed, 14-legged creature, wielding two ‘sopranos with balls’ as vocalists, shredding twin axes, symphonic keys, and driving drums and bass. An operatic/progressive metal band, Aonia has been compared to artists such as Therion, Avantasia, Nightwish, Epica, and ReVamp.

Having released a single, “Violet Hours,” on 18/11/17, the band is charging ahead, recording their debut album, which is set for release in 2018. An ambitious work, the ten tracks will feature up to five vocalists – including some exciting guest appearances from Blaze Bayley (Blaze Bayley, Wolfsbane, Ex-Iron Maiden) and Iliana Basileios Tsakiraki (Enemy of Reality). There will also be intricate interplay between guitars and keyboards, and a more fully realised dynamic counterpoint between the lead vocals than the band’s 2014 “Sunchaser” EP.

In addition to their recent endorsement by Vocalzone, vocalists Joanne Kay Robinson and Melissa Adams – who have been trained by the internationally-renowned Victorian opera expert Martin Yates – have recently featured on the current Blaze Bayley album, “The Redemption of William Black.” The duo also featured on Bayley’s previous releases “Infinite Entanglement” and “Endure and Survive.

As they press forward, the band continues to develop their songwriting and their live shows, adding more theatrical elements as they go.

Check them out via their website, Facebook Page, on Twitter, Instagram and watch some of their videos on YouTube! You can pick up and listen to their music via CD Baby, Spotify, Google Play and Apple Music below.

Interview

1. Congratulations on winning the Sheffield Metal 2 The Masses. Tell us about your journey in this year’s competition.

Dave: The one way system in Sheffield is a nightmare, and the car park was across town, so it was a tricky journey. I’ll link to Google Maps if you like.

Tim: I was following David – surprised we made it to any of the heats, let alone the final!

Mel: Thanks so much! We’ve played M2M competitions in the past, reached the finals twice before, but never quite made it over that final hurdle. So in 2018, we made the conscious decision to up our game – we’ve got a new logo from “Very Metal Art,” a proper music video, and a more cohesive look onstage. We’ve improved our live performance, invested in some stage dressing and effects, and – most importantly – our members who were new last year have had a full year to bed in and feel more like part of the band. That’s the stuff that was in our control – outside of that…the competition this year was intense – from the initial heats to the finals. At every stage, we were convinced we’d been knocked out – Sheffield has some incredible metal bands! We put everything we could into every show, but this slot really could have gone to a number of other very talented and hardworking groups.

2. How important of a platform is the New Blood Stage for yourselves?

Tim: Really! Lots and lots!

Dave: The New Blood stage is an incredibly important platform. Without it, we’d be set up on the grass with the rest of the riff-raff, and no one would see us play, and our gear might get all muddy.

Mel: The New Blood Stage is so important, not just for us but for music in general. It’s so great of Bloodstock to invest so much time and energy into supporting up-and-coming bands – and to put them in a tent next to the RJD Stage, not off in some far-flung corner where no one ever goes. For us in particular, we are excited because it will give us the chance to perform for people who have never heard of us before – hopefully they will enjoy what they hear and then come and see us elsewhere in the country. Plus it will be an incredible opportunity for us to meet other bands of a similar level to us from all across the nation so that we can work together, support one another, and build each other up.

3. You’ve got your own festival called AoniaFest. What made you want to do your own one?

Dave: Well we had to do AoniaFest. If someone else did it it’d be super awkward.

Tim: Agree entirely with David. It would be very silly another band organising AoniaFest.

Aonia 1

Mel: We’ve had some wonderful opportunities given to us by other bands and heavy metal lovers – Apparition, who organise “Dames of Darkness,” for example, and Rock Sector, who gave us the opportunity to play SOS Fest up in Manchester. Plus bands like FyreSky who invited us down to London for our first show in the capital for years and Alwaid, who took us on our first tour of the European mainland! AoniaFest is a way of bringing together bands who we really admire from the Sheffield local scene and from further afield to give everyone the opportunity to play in front of a crowd who will enjoy their music who might not have otherwise seen them. For the fans, the fest brings together a range of talented bands who they will (hopefully!) enjoy, an opportunity to discover new music – plus they’ll get to enjoy a great day of metal!

4. Are you going to be around the festival all weekend? If so who are you excited to see?

Dave: Yes. I’m looking forward to seeing my friends Gareth and Gordy and Claire.

Mel: Yep! I’ve been every year since 2007 – and I already had my ticket and RockSoc membership before we won the competition! I can’t wait to see Nightwish with Floor – I’ve loved her since I saw After Forever back in 2008! I’m also looking forward to seeing Fozzy – I enjoyed them last time the played – plus Chris Jericho is on the latest Blaze Bayley album, which Jo and I provide backing vocals on, so it would be really nice to meet him in the signing tent. Orphaned Land are great; I saw them last time they played Bloodstock and then went to their show in Leicester where they put on a great performance. On the New Blood Stage, Sellsword are a must – they played AoniaFest back in 2015 and are such a great live band. Also, our friends in Cadence Noir have won a slot – they are incredible, so I’ll be down front-and-centre for them! And I’ve got to go see Luke Appleton on the Jaeger Stage – he’s so talented and such a nice person.

5. What’s next for Aonia?

Tim: Organising Dakesisfest.

Dave: Mel or Craig [management] on charge for at least 2 counts of murder. Aonia looking for a new drummer and keyboard player. The ad will read ‘the last ones just couldn’t be serious enough so they suddenly, violently and horrifyingly parted ways, never to be seen again.’

Mel: We are releasing our debut album on the 6th of October at AoniaFest. It’s called “The Seven,” and it has ten tracks – we’ll be playing four of them during our New Blood set. Blaze Bayley (Blaze Bayley, Wolfsbane, ex-Iron Maiden) and Iliana Basileios Tsakiraki (Enemy of Reality) have kindly loaned us their voices for two of the tracks. We’ve already got the album artwork back from Very Metal Art and we love it. We’ll be releasing another video around the same time – and then it will be a matter of travelling around the country playing Cards Against Humanity in the back of the van, Carrot and me playing Pokémon Go after we finish loading in…. Plus Craig and I will have to spend quite a bit of time preparing our court case and hiring lawyers to defend ourselves against the murder charges – and we’ll have to find a new drummer and keyboardist.

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