‘Click Interview’ with Aram 17: ‘I Never Met Another Ambient/Dark-Ambient Artist In Armenia’
Aram 17 is an Armenian solo-project driven by Aram. The number 17 is a kind of spiritual number as a lot of things in Aram’s life are connecting with that number. ‘I thought that the number 1 is me and number 7 is my fate’. Aram 17 has released four digital albums on Cephalopagus Records and next joined Noctivagant Records to unleash the new album “The Vision Of Death”. It’s a fascinating dark-ambient experience with a strong visual appeal, which incited me to get in touch with the artist. It’s also a way to get more info about this genre of music in Armenia.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: Can you tell us a bit more about your project Aram 17? When did you set up the project, what were the initial influences and purposes and what have been the main facts in the project’s history so far?
Aram: Well actually I started making music since 2010, everything has started with downtempo music which is similar to ambient music. I started listening to downtempo in 2012. The first album I listened to was “Mosaic” by Sounds From The Ground, which left me speechless. Right during that period I was only making club beats and instrumental electronic music, but after I’d heard that album I said to myself it’s time to do something different. I next discovered the electronic duo Boards Of Canada. Their style is more IDM-like, but there’re also a few ambient elements in their all albums.
So that’s how I felt in love with ambient music. I studied the history of ambient music, read a lot of articles and finally discovered sub-genres of ambient music which are dark-ambient, drone and lowercase. These genres are more fitting with my character and especially the dark-ambient style. The first dark-ambient album that I have listened to was “Shadow District” by Har & Altus. There’s a track called “Victims Of A System” which is one my all-time favorite songs in that genre. So I decided to create my own project Aram 17.
The influences were my love for history, space, ancient mysticism, alchemy and nature. The project was created in 2016. From 2016 to 2017 I started recording some dark-ambient music, but it should be never released because in my opinion it was not sounding perfect. After the experiments during that year I found my style to record dark ambient-music. My first official album is “Dark Abandoned Town” which I released in Summer of 2017. The next album “Gloomy Angels” was released already on Cephalopagus Records and I want to thank Gregg Stockdale and Araphel (owners of Cephalopagus Records) who gave me the opportunity to introduce my project in the scene.
The main facts so far simply are that with Aram 17 I compose music dealing with space-ambient, drone-ambient and also occult-ambient styles. So this is not a one way project.
Q: I’m not used to hear this kind of music made in Armenia. So is there something like an ‘Armenian’-scene?
Aram: It’s a shame, but there are only a very few electronic musicians (involved with techno, deep-house etc.) in Armenia. There are no movements or communities and I never met another ambient/dark-ambient artist in Armenia. I think I’m the only one, but I hope it’s not. Ambient music is undeveloped in Armenia. I hope in the future ambient/dark-ambient music will grow in Armenia and I hope to be the first one to create a community for this kind of music. But right now there are no sings that people are interested in ambient music here.
Q: “The Vision Of Death” is the first album released on CD while previous works were all digital only productions. Does the format make a difference to you and how did you get in touch with Noctivagant Records?
Aram: Yes it’s my first CD release and to be honest with you, digital- or physical format don’t matter to me. More important is that the labels really want to release my music despite of the format. I got in touch with Noctivagant during the process of recording “The Vision Of Death”; I think it was in November 2018. I love all their releases and wanted to have my music also in their catalogue. I finished the recording in February 2019 and sent the album to the owner of Noctivagant, Phillip Abraham. His replied telling me ‘I have started listening to it. Very impressive. I have a 3 hour drive ahead of me so this will be in my playlist’. I really appreciate the job he has done for the physical release and want to thank him again for that.
Q: The album has been introduced as inspired by ‘inexplicable myths from the past’ while it seems to evoke some biblical themes. What is it all about and what did you try to express?
Aram: Well, it’s not the album, but the project itself. As I said before one of the main influences for the project is history. I have three albums with biblical themes, which are part of the “Enochian Trilogy” (“Gloomy Angels” 2017, “The Ten Heavens” 2018 and “The Revelation Of Metatron” 2018). These albums were inspired by Enoch the Patriarch, in people’s fate he was an ancestor of Noah, but I think it’s a myth. By this trilogy I tried to express my love to ancient biblical stories , but for me those stories are all myths.
Q: Tell us a bit more about the creation of the album, your way of working, creating and manipulating sounds?
Aram:Well I create my own sounds and also download a lot of loops found on internet. For one song I can use 10+ loops, mix them together and record a music. I can’t tell you all the things I’m doing to achieve one single song, but I know this way of working helps me to compose my music. It’s more like sound engineering. Before the recording I always try to concentrate on the atmosphere of the album, the story behind each track and I try to avoid using similar sounds as on the previous album because listeners sometimes gets tired listening to the similar sounds from the same artist.
I always try to create something new in each album and to make the listener dive into the atmosphere and story of the album and track. I always try to improve my music skills on each album and as Brian Eno said it must be as ignorable as it is interesting, listener decides.
Q: I noticed you already (self)released a new EP entitled “Hills”. What can you tell us about this work and what brings the future for Aram 17?
Aram: That’s right. The story of this EP is actually funny because I had a couple of unreleased drone songs which I found in my old laptop. I even forgot the existence of these tracks so I decided to share it on my Bandcamp page, but I was not sure about the name of EP. The week before the release of the EP I was traveling in Southern-Armenia and the nature there is absolutely fascinating and beautiful. I was listening to these 4 tracks during my trip trying to find something around that will fit with the atmosphere of those tracks, and those big, powerful and gloomy hills in the South of Armenia became the reason that the EP was named “Hills” and every track name has its own season fitting with the atmosphere of the track. Also the EP’s cover picture was taken exactly from that trip.
Actually it’s been one month now since I started working on the next album, which will for sure released next year and I think again by Noctivagant.
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