Editor’s Note: This is a man that has one of the biggest hearts in rock music today, and is quietly becoming one of the more influential vocalists in today’s rock music(based on what other musicians have told me), and this is what Gemini Syndrome brings to the table as a whole with their music. They bring something that is introspective, soulful. and I would describe them as a thinking man’s band when it comes to various topics, whether it’s politics, spirituality, or philosophy. Gemini Syndrome rolled through to play several one-off dates including a stop at Spicoli’s Rockade in Waterloo, before playing Rock Fest up in Cadott, Wisconsin. Aaron Nordstrom and I literally discussed just about anything in this interview. Without further delay, I give you my conversation with Aaron Nordstrom, vocalist of Gemini Syndrome.
M.T.C.: Since we’ve been discussing guilty pleasures and the like in music, we kind of brought up the band Twenty-One Pilots, what got you into them?
Aaron: We were doing a tour a few months ago and my drummer was playing them, and I was like, “who is this”, it was kind of poppy, then they have these different moments of heavy, then they have these different moments of hip-hop, and I thought that was really cool! Then, I got the record, I thought it was a killer record, and me and my publicist Tom started going back and forth, and he’s like, “it’s those dudes”, you’re welcome Tom! *laughs* You’ll come around, I got patience.
M.T.C.: What’s your favorite Twenty-One Pilots song?
Aaron: I think “Car Radio”. Either that or “Ride”. They have definitely figured something out, the thing that I love about this band that they’re kind of a neo-Linkin Park in a sense where they’re combining all of these different styles of music, but to me, I personally go to lyrical content, and that’s what I try to tell Tom, my publicist, and it’s talking about some real stuff.
“Car Radio” by Twenty-One Pilots
M.T.C.: As we have discussed, we could do a whole interview on bands that we love, but let’s talk about Gemini Syndrome and lyrical content, your band recently released the “Sorry Not Sorry” music video off of “Momento Mori”, and as I was studying the video, it seems to be talking about how we live in a superficial society, would you agree with that or what message are you conveying in “Sorry Not Sorry”?
Aaron: To a vast extent I would agree, but not 100%. Not everyone is a superficial person, I lived in Los Angeles for 14 years, and now I live in Las Vegas, and I have traveled around and seen the whole country and various parts of the world, there’s a lot of people that have lost sight of the humanity.
M.T.C.: How do you define humanity, what does that look like to you?
Aaron: I think humanity is about taking care of each other, taking care of yourselves and taking care of each other. We all want a nice house and we all want money. Somebody made a comment on the video when it first came out, and I’m paraphrasing this, but they said, “how ironic that a guy in a rock band is talking about making money, he’s talking about decadence”, I try not to get involved in those debates online, and he we are talking about this, which is going to be online. *laughs*, but the point is that I’m not a wealthy person, and the point is that I’ve seen people that are millionaires and multi-millionaires, and that’s all that they live for, they are cutthroat and they don’t give a flying you know what about anyone else, cause certainly, I play music and I want to make a living playing music, I’ve been playing music, learning music, and studying music for over 30 years, that’s my trade, the same way that somebody learns how to build houses, or somebody that learns how to build rocket ships, or somebody that does surgery. It’s something that I’ve spent my life doing, so yes of course I want to make a living doing this, we’re not supposed to be starving artists, that’s not the purpose. I want to be able to survive for my family and survive for ourselves, in the same way that you’re out here doing interviews, I’m sure that you’re doing it for the passion of it, but I think that eventually you’re doing it as an outlet where something comes from it. I’m not trying to say I need to be a billionaire, this is all I want.
“Sorry Not Sorry” by Gemini Syndrome
M.T.C.: Speaking of your trade, what got you into music?
Aaron: It was kind of a natural progression, my mom is a singer, it began when I was two or three years ago, I was drawn to the piano, and my mom would sing all of the time, and I would just kind of sing with her, without her guidance, I would just start singing with her, she would hear my ear and hear my voice and knew I had an inkling for it, so she started guiding me. I started playing piano and taking piano lessons, and in my teenage years I started getting angsty and angry, like anybody would, I would start listening to Nirvana and Soundgarden, and I would pick up the guitar and start doing that. This whole time, I’m playing piano, singing, and playing guitar, and then I would start playing the drums, and then when I turned about 15 years old, I found Type O Negative and Pantera, and now I’m really pissed! Then, that led to my black metal, my death metal, and then my anger kind of subsided, so I started listening to deep trance such as Paul Oakenfold and I started going to raves, so that kind of subsided, I started listening to all of this stuff this whole time, but there was always a focus. Maybe someday, something would come of it, then I started listening to Jeff Buckley, I lived on a street in L.A. called “Grace”, my roommate and my good friend at the time would turn me on to Jeff Buckley, I thought his music was so synchratic, but I would still pop to things like BT, to Pantera to Dimmu Borgir to Paul Oakenfold, there was always this progression to it, it depends on my mood.
M.T.C.: You brought up Soundgarden a bit ago, what are your thoughts on Chris Cornell?
Aaron: He was such a huge influence on me, “Superunknown” was one of the first records that I have owned when I was a kid, some of the deep traps such as “4th of July” and “Fell On Black Days” were such a once-in-a-generation type of band, and it’s such a shame. I know that everybody has to go sometime, but it’s such a shame.
M.T.C.: You also brought up raves when discussing your influences, if Gemini Syndrome is booked to play a rave, how do you get ready for that show?
Aaron: I have never thought about that, I guess we would have Brian just do the “unst, unst, unst” noises the whole time.
M.T.C.: I was having an online conversation with a friend about how I was covering your show tonight, she said that music literally saved her and how it changed her. What do you usually say when people come up to you and say, “that song really connected with me” or “your music saved my life”?
Aaron: God bless her. I get a lot of people coming up and saying that and to be totally honest, it’s a huge part of why I’m still doing it. We drove three days in an RV with no air conditioning in July, that was rough, and I would question “why am I even here, why am I still doing this”, and we only have three shows on this short run, and when I get comments like that, people have come up and cried in my arms, I would like to think that I have some kind of purpose here in this world, and I went through whatever hardships that I went through and whatever experiences that I went through, and I’ve tried not to let it define me, and I’ve been an open book about it, and it was just me venting as a kid and it’s evolved to whatever this is, and I guess if it means something to somebody else, then that was my purpose, and we gotta keep doing it, no matter what the cost is on my end. I make enough right now, barely, but I make enough.
M.T.C.: How has your music evolved from “Lux” to “Momento Mori”?
Aaron: We definitely have less cooks in the kitchen and after spending so much time as a band, there’s definitely a different flow of communication between me and the guys, but it really became from the direction that we were talking about, and what we’re trying to achieve musically, has been an easier back and forth, and there’s been less distance now.
M.T.C.: Let’s say there’s a day off in between a Gemini Syndrome tour, what does the band like to do?
Aaron: I say, 9 out of 10 times we are driving somewhere. If there is time and there’s stuff to do, we’ll find a mall, a movie theater, we’ll try to find group activities for the band and the crew to do. We just try to chill, some people might just stay at the hotel and nap, sometimes that’s me, go get dinner, go see a movie, try to live some semblance of a normal life, I like to sit in my hotel room and watch Comedy Central, that channel surfing sometimes just becomes my entertainment.
M.T.C.: Let’s say that the local bands that are opening up for Gemini Syndrome tonight are sitting with us on this interview. What advice would you give them?
Aaron: Expect a tough road because it’s not easy, it hasn’t been for me, I know that there’s somebody out there that can say “this happened overnight and it’s been great”, but I think the times have changed. Hone your craft, get good at what you do, and prepare to fight for it, if it’s something that you really want. I remember being in my teens, and my mom has always supported me through music, not just learning music, just learning the craft. But when I wanted to be in rock bands and stuff, she still supported me, not everybody is going to do that, some of them will say, “it’s a pipe dream, it’s impossible”, I always make the very sarcastic remark, “stay in school kids” *laughs* What you should do is stay in school, find a career, and get a paycheck. But if you really love it, if you really have a passion for it, just do it, it’s not always easy, sometimes it is though, but be prepared for it, it’s a hard road.
M.T.C.: What are the plans for Gemini Syndrome for the rest of the year?
Aaron: We’re doing a one-off show here in Waterloo, then we are playing Rock Fest and Ink At The Clink in Ohio, which is at The Shawshank Prison. I get to see a bunch of my friends from other bands, we get to play with my buddies in Lamb Of God, Hell Yeah, and my buddies in 10 Years, it becomes kind of family reunion stuff when you have done it for awhile. I think after this run, considering the travel, we need to take a few week breather and kind of reassess, have your ducks in a row, otherwise it could be a nightmare. If you’re not prepared, even if you have a crew, everybody has to know their job, make sure that your vehicle is in order, make sure that you don’t blow out two tires on the way out here like we did.
M.T.C.: Is there anything that you want to add in regards to the band, “Momento Mori”, message to the fans?
Aaron: Check out the video to “Sorry Not Sorry”. Keep your eyes out, we will be touring the rest of the year, we’re locking in those things, it’s kind of a chess game.
M.T.C.: This has been a lot of fun! Thank you!
And there you have it! Thanks so much to Tom for setting this up and for Aaron for taking the time out of his hectic week to speak with me! Please pick up a copy of “Momento Mori” if you haven’t done so, you can pick up a copy on I-Tunes here and also find Gemini Syndrome at the following locations: