Tue, 28 May 2013 06:42:03
There's some real spirit at the heart of Aan. The Portland quartet slides from snappy melodies and shimmering guitars into hauntingly catchy choruses, making for visual, vibrant, and vital rock 'n' roll. With recent dates alongside Smashing Pumpkins under their collective belt and a new single "Mystery Life" [iTunes link], the group have been turning heads across the country. Be prepared for them to make a very big impact on 2013 as one of the most exciting young rock bands on the scene.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Aan frontman Bud Wilson talks "Mystery Life" and so much more.
What's the story behind "Mystery Life"?
It's like a dream. Everybody's got their regular world, while they engage in this exploration of possibilities and fantasy. I started with the chord progression. I don't remember the exact circumstances, but I had to work really hard to make money at my regular job in order to pay to get this music thing going. It was one of those reactions to the mundanity of day-to-day. That's the basis of the song. Testing fate is the basis of the lyrics. It's like riding motorcycles around. It's really about escapism. It's a fantasy. You're living in this mystery world and riding around on a motorcycle with beautiful ladies. The bridge of the song is confronting real life. The lyrics talk about realizing it's all a dream, and you have to make your own world.
Where did "I Don't Need Love" come from?
I think that's a projection. It doesn't really fit into my personal life. It's a misanthropic about co-dependence. It's a reaction. I'm not in a co-dependent relationship. I'm friends with a couple of people who are, and they really can't function. I'm calling them out on it in a backwards way. It's about living in a world where you don't rely on other people to get by. Like everything, there's a Ying to that Yang. It's bullshit. The narrator is not happy at all. He claims to not need love, and that's not true.
Is it important for you to tell stories and paint pictures with the songs?
It's less important for me to tell a story than it is for me to make an impression. Both the music and the lyrics convey a feeling whether it's a Wayne's World-style fantasy or an angry and unhappy passage that the music will coincide with. That's more important to me than a front-to-back fictional story. You never wake up and remember a whole dream, but there are certain colors and specific moments. A couple of choice words can really paint a picture that you'll remember. You might not understand what it means, but you'll know it's important in some way.
What artists shaped you?
I've been on a big Pink Floyd kick. For some reason, they've been particularly poignant in the last year. I really like grunge. We're all into grunge. At my age, anybody would be a fool to say they weren't influenced by Nirvana. I really like Deerhunter. I like Os Mutantes and bands who break the rules while they're still in it. I discovered the Tropicália stuff when I was in college. It was a Brazilian movement of really adventurous pop around the same time The Beatles were getting psychedelic in the late sixties. Touchstones for that in a modern sense would be Ariel Pink and these bands who are just weird [Laughs]. That was music was really inspiring because there are no rules.
What's next for you?
We're trying to make the right decisions and use these things like the tour with The Smashing Pumpkins to do this right the first time. Touring with the Pumpkins is amazing. It's like a pinnacle of my life [Laughs]. Our first show with them was in Melbourne, FL. That was my first trip to Florida too. I was in a new place. Walking out on that stage in front of three-thousand people was incredible. We had our work cut out for us.
Have you heard Aan yet?