I got the chance to Ask Aram a few questions before the COVID pandemic basically shut the world down. If you don't know him from his new band Change, you'd be familiar with his work in Betrayed or The First Step.
If you had to introduce extraterrestrials to music using only five records, what records do you choose?
- AC/DC - Highway to Hell
- Bad Brains - s/t
- Nas - Illmatic
- The Sisters of Mercy - First and Last and Always
- Slayer - Reign In Blood
What are your thoughts on separating "the art from the artist"? As in, do you think it's possible to still listen to a band, musician or watch a film by a pretty shit person ie: Harvey Weinstein, Gary Glitter etc?
That’s really up to the individual.
Your new band CHANGE has just put out a new record. One of my favourite Ep's is Betrayed - Addiction, and being the voice there are obviously similarities, but CHANGE (to me, anyway) sounds a bit more stripped back and slightly more aggressive, or urgent. Was that a conscious decision, or something you set out to do, or did it happen naturally, given it's a whole new band?
We didn’t really focus on it being stripped down, instead we wanted to write a record that you can listen to over and over and keep finding new things. Specifically, we don’t want to be too locked into a style where someone can say, “This band sounds like this.” So, we focused on taking elements of styles that we love and tried to make something unique. That was the intent at least, I can’t say how successful we were but I’m the happiest with this record out of anything I’ve been a part of prior.
On the surface there’s clear influence from Youth of Today, Gorilla Biscuits and Uniform Choice. Dig a bit deeper and there’s influence from thrash and crossover bands, classic rock, rev summer bands and some 80’s music. Again, that was the intent and perspective but I’m not sure if that’ll resonate with people.
One of the things we put the most effort into was the bass and drums on the record. I spent a lot of time with records that have a killer rhythm section and took tips from that. I also wrote and re-wrote the lyrics to get them exactly how I wanted them. Again, on the surface they might be dismissed as a kinda typical approach to hardcore. In a way that’s intentional because I wanted to lyrics to have an obvious meaning. But, if someone chooses to spend time with them, there’s an underlaying meaning for each song.
I spent time on this LP and obsessed about every note and lyric. At one point I think my friends thought the record was going in a Beach Boys “Smile” direction. However, in the end it’s a solid HC record and I’m psyched to get it out to people and play on it.
What have you been upto (other than CHANGE) since Betrayed became inactive?
We had a daughter who’s the center of my life and that’s easily the the thing I care most about. I also started my own business in 2016 that’s been a really great experience.
What's 2020 got up its sleeve for you?
Hanging out with my kid and singing Dora the Explorer songs, hanging with family and friends, growing the company and playing shows with Change. We just finished a European tour and are gearing up for a bunch of shows in the next few months.