It was my pleasure to interview Aesthetic Perfection. Not only are they a really good band, but also some great friends of mine. I’ve been going to their shows for years and they keep on getting better every time. They are always playing bigger and better stages. I think 2020 is going to be a great year for this band.
If you want to see them live, catch them at The Lounge on Saturday 22nd of February and at the Forum on the 23rd of February.
Daniel, thank you so much for talking to us today. How’ve you been? I’ve just heard that you moved to Austria? Is that permanent or … just for a holiday?
Daniel: ummm, well, first off, thank you for having us, it’s a pleasure to talk to you. Um, yes, I am speaking to you from my new home in Austria. Whether or not that will be permanent, just remains to be seen… uh, life has it’s way if, er, sneaking up on you and shaking things up so, we’ll see what the future holds.
So I came out of what’s called the ‘goth industrial scene’, so um, that was where I grew up musically, but I have a really diverse set of influences and I just kind of started –– not moving away from the scene –– but, trying to incorporate different elements into what I was doing. And so now, 20 years later, I’m calling what I do industrial pop, so it’s kind of darker-edged pop music, or poppier industrial music.
Yeah, because you do have some really catchy choruses in your songs and it is also dark. I guess alternative goth pop?!
Daniel: Yeah, alt-goth-pop-rock-industrial, however you wanna hyphenate it, I’ll take it I’m not picky.
What were the first instruments you played?
Elliot: Violin. When I was a kid, my Mum was very much of the idea that everyone should try to learn at least one instrument, so for me it was violin. My sister played piano, and we had tons of instruments in the house growing up so it was just something that we did.
And so did your passion start from when you learnt to play the violin?
I was always interested, but not to the extent that I loved it. It was just something that I did, that I had to do, like I liked to play but it wasn’t until I was 12 or something that I really connected with music (in the form of playing music).
Before that is was just something to do, like other kids went to football practice and I went to my violin teacher and later, drum teacher.
But, it was when I started listening to Iron Maiden *laughs* that I wanted to play guitar. That’s when it really clicked for me.
Have you ever been in any other bands before, or has this just been your full focus, always?
Daniel: This is actually my first ‘real’ band, I had a couple of projects that I played with in high school, but they weren’t really like, my thing. I wasn’t a songwriter or anything, I was just like, the guitarist.
This is the first band that I ever formed. And I tried to start projects with other people, but I found it really difficult find others with the same amount of, dedication and motivation as me, and also, people who shared the same sort of artistic vision.
So it started as a solo project, but over time I found the members that I’d always been looking for. (at the very beginning in my drummer Jolette, and my multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire, Elliot Berlin, who’s just all over the map in terms of the instruments he can play.
(To Elliot) You know how to play every instrument, don’t you?
Elliot: Well, I think the main thing is just to try, and if you try long enough you learn it (laughs)
What was your first band?
Elliot: Me and my half brother, who played drums, we wanted to form a band, and er, we were terrible.*laughs*
I think the shock was when we went from both practicing an instrument on our own, to try to play with each other, and all of a sudden nothing worked.
Elliot: Yeah, we were very bad at compromising, being two teenage kids who, you know, we were just fighting and screaming at each other! *laughs*
What day are you starting the tour?
Daniel: We were lucky enough to be offered the direct support slot for the Lindemann tour, Lindemann is the solo project of Til Lindemann from Rammstein, so this is quite an opportunity for us…
Elliot: We start on the 4th of February with the tour and then it’s all over Europe until March.
Well, I’m excited to see the show!
Elliot: Yeah, I’m very excited to go back to the UK, I always love going there. London’s always a good show. I don’t think I’ve been to that venue [the Lounge] before.
No, in fact, it used to be in Camden, but that was tiny – I think you could only fit 100 people in there, really squashed. So, that would be too small for you guys, so happy it moved back to archway.
Elliot: Yeah, we need a big stage to fill our egos *laughs*
What I like about all of the bands you’ve been in, and particularly Aesthetic Perfection, is that you always put on a great show and every time it’s different. You get a great energy on stage and such a strong look, from the costumes to make-up and the energy that you bring to the shows. Is that something you plan ahead or is it different every time?
Elliot: Yeah, Joe likes to plan that stuff ahead of time and think about what we wear and I don’t I get onstage and kind of blackout and I get offstage and wonder why my legs hurt and my back is broken.*laughs*
And what is your favourite venue to play in Camden?
Daniel: We have played at Underworld many times and I really really like the bar… they make the best snakebite black I’ve ever had in the UK.
Elliot: Oh, The Underworld is amazing!
You live more on the road than at home … you’re touring most of the year, right?
Elliot: Yeah, it’s been a lot the last couple of years, just been really crazy. So the time we have left is just balanced between doing as little as possible and also practice for upcoming stuff. The main point is being so ahead of time so that when you get close to events you don’t get stressed – if you get stressed you just get nothing done it’s gonna be a complete mess.
And what’s your routine to stay fit and healthy while on tour?
Elliot: Oh, I’m really bad at that *laughs* I try to bring a tennis racket wherever I go so I can find a wall and shoot some balls and run a little bit.
Because I really like that, it’s the only sports that I’ve ever done that I’ve enjoyed.
And I try to keep my head in a calm space and not get stressed out about things. And try to keep busy. Sleep as much as I can. That’s really it.
How do you take care of your voice and keep it sounding so amazing?
Daniel: Well, thank you, actually just before our call I spent two hours practicing and getting ready for the tour. It’s something that never ends and (I think) something that something I didn’t really realise when I got started was that being a singer is very similar to being an athlete, because you have to pay attention to every aspect of your body, not just your voice.
I mean, you have to take care of your health, make sure that you get enough sleep and that you’re eating right, and that you don’t strain yourself, and that an injury can put you out of the game for weeks/months, and even years.
I actually had a really scary vocal injury back in October, so… I would just recommend that anybody that’s just getting started, make sure that they are willing to go the distance, because it’s not an easy job.
What inspires you both to perform or to write music?
Daniel: I think it’s really interesting, when people ask me this question, often people enquire ‘how do you stay inspired after all these years?’ And I think it’s so easy, because life is always there, life is always giving you new obstacles and worries and existential dread is constantly looming… It just seems like there’s never any shortage of things to write about and try to work through because for me art is just a way of working through whatever’s going on in my internal emotional life. And it never stops.
Elliot: I don’t know. That’s a difficult question. I think as long as there’s a lack of exactly what I like to listen to, then I want to do that. To kind of fill the gap, right? But it’s also, just expressing something that might be the mood that I’m in at a certain time or sometimes it’s just for passing time – it’s a lot of fun to create something from nothing and just sit down and put your problems aside and draw something up that didn’t exist five minutes ago.
Would you say that music is almost parallel life, like a dreamworld where anything can happen?
Elliot: Yeah, for example, I have this one project called ‘Machine Operator’ or in Swedish it’s translated ‘Maskinoperateur’ where I just go into it without having any preconceived idea at all, and I let the sounds of the devices I use to guide me to what it wants me to do, if that makes sense. It’s all very subconscious and it goes wherever it goes.
Any advice for new musicians just starting out?
Elliot: Oh, never take anything for granted. Even if things are looking good and you’re getting a lot of offers, just remember that it will last for a minute and then it will go back down, you will become important for a minute – you just kind of ride it out… so focus on making new music and opening new avenues and just, you know, take it easy… It’s supposed to be fun. And if it’s not then what’s the point?
Do you keep in contact with your fans?
Elliot: I’ve actually been trying to do less of all of that because I’m a private person and I started feeling that all of the interaction with a lot of people is very stressful to me and I can’t remember people’s names and… so I’m taking a step back from social media and everything. Which I hope that people will eventually understand. At the moment it’s difficult to tell people that I ‘m not going to come out and talk to them after shows. But hopefully people will be able to understand that I’m not doing that to be a rockstar, that I just need my sanity! *laughs* That said, what could possibly be better to blow off steam than to come off stage straight into a party every now and then?
Daniel: I actually have a wonderful, incredibly supportive community of fans who I am just eternally grateful for.
I try to communicate and be engaged with them as much as possible through social media, and meeting them personally after gigs – we’re almost always at the merch table after shows, taking pictures having conversations and – I actually run a Patreon as well, with 500 really really incredibly dedicated fans who have allowed me to remain an independent artist, which is something that’s incredibly difficult in this day and age. So I’m definitely blessed with some of the best fans ever.
Anything else you want to say?
Daniel: I just wanted to say thank you for talking to me and thank you to everybody who has been supporting me over the years, especially over there in London and on the UK.
And if you’re not familiar with us you can check out aesthetic perfection at every single social media platform that exists. And if you like it, I hope you will come see us.