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AERS Dreams Up Something Beautiful
Thursday, September 25, 2014

When AERS’ Tasha Abbott was a college student studying abroad in Germany she found herself at an outdoor cafe, understanding nothing, and everything, all at once. “I couldn’t understand a word anyone was saying,” she recalls, “but it was kind of amazing.”

“I was sitting there, and I was like wow, there’s like no more noise. It was just beautiful sounds. You can’t understand what anyone else is saying, so your mind isn’t clouded with other conversations. It was really interesting.”

Abbott, the singer-songwriter-producer half of AERS, along with arranger and producer Zack Nestel-Patt, have taken that concept of being in a beautiful, self-created, bubble of sound and crafted their unique brand of ethereal folk music in a similar vein.

Nestel-Patt explains the Brooklyn-based duo’s vibe, saying, “What we’re trying to do is create these little three, or four, minute worlds that people travel to, and hang out in, and then the next song comes on, and they go to another world.”

Creating those worlds requires Abbott and Nestel-Patt to go places musically that other folks acts may have never considered going. “We like to kind of push the boundaries,” Abbott explains, “and we wanted to create something that we’d never heard before. A lot of our influences have done that, like Radiohead, and Bjork, and even Laura Marling on her latest record.”

Boundaries began being pushed two and a half years ago when the AERS duo were first introduced to each other by a mutual friend, and Nestel-Patt took an interest in Abbott’s work. “It started off kind of as my solo project,” she remembers. “I was a songwriter, and I was just bringing him in as a musician.”

As the music progressed, so did their desire to work together. According to Abbott, “It felt really good, and we liked the collaboration. Zack started taking on a larger role with arranging strings, and then it became AERS.”

AERS will be making their official debut with their EP, Blue Tempest, which is due out September 30th. The effort is a culmination of two years of songwriting, and the revisiting and expanding of those songs.

Although the EP covers a multitude of topics, including the title track being about Hurricane Sandy, much is left to personal interpretation.

“I don’t like to be so blunt about what I’m saying,” Abbott explains, “I like to get the listener to really think about what the song could be about, or maybe they perceive it in a different way, so it’s something that’s going on in their life, and they take it that way.”

Musically, AERS’ song construction begins with Abbott and her guitar. “I generally write with my guitar and my voice, and I’ll just start layering my voice four, five times,” she says of her process.

“I tend to gravitate towards that ethereal, dreamy sound,” she continued, “so we eventually translate some of those vocals into other instrumental parts, and just kind of build off that.”

According to Nestel-Patt, another key aspect of how the duo crafts their music comes from the non-traditional way they choose to use their instruments. “We really try to think of instruments not as playing melodies in the standard string section, or horn section, of pop music,” he explains. “When I write strings I really just try to think of textures, and give them a little fuzzy note underneath.”

The first opportunity to feel AERS’ musical textures is their lead single, “With A Light,” the video for which features the song being played over Walter Ruttmann’s Lichtspiel Opus 1-4. The film was a find of Nestel-Patt’s, who is a silent film buff.

Not giving anyone the silent treatment on stage, AERS’ live show looks to elicit thought provoking emotions, as Nestel-Patt notes that even though their music has a smoothness, and a dreaminess to it, “We try less for intimacy, and more for reflection.”

According to Abbott, “There comes this really nice moment where you’re just kind of there with the audience, it’s quiet, it’s vibe-y. It seems like people are in a very peaceful mood.”

It’s a moment where AERS creates a peace that’s much like the one Abbott felt in Germany, sitting at a cafe, allowing her surroundings to wash over her.

Interview originally ran on Arena.com.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 2:02 PM  
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