An Interview With The Duo, BY AN ION About New Music And More!
Posted On 07 Dec 2017
Meet the California-Based Band, By An Ion! They are a duo composed of Ray Aguilar and Alex Gonzales. Merging the worlds of ambient synth and contemporary music, creating a stunning sound that echoes their melody driven vocals. Dreamy and cinematic, the music speaks of personal and relative topics to the listener. Both members have a similar yet distinct sound to their vocals, which makes the music that more interesting.
Aguilar and Gonzales discovered the power of their chemistry whilst in the studio and playing in different electronic acts. They describe themselves as best friends and brothers and compare this chemistry to literally finishing each others sentences. By An Ion’s heavy use of synth pads and reverb give the music a euphoric and angelic ambiance without shying away from the sometimes abrasive electronic drums. Their layered, lush synthscapes fill every inch of the spectrum, whilst maintaining a balance that keeps listeners rooted in their empathetic songwriting.
Leading single ‘Autre Vie’, highlights the bands signature style of beautiful, ethereal melodies which emit a sense of tranquility. Fusing nostalgic electronica, atmospheric aesthetics and building anthemic drum beats, the band have succeeded in producing a dynamic song to portray a sense of peace and understanding. ‘Autre Vie’, meaning “another life” in French, was written in a time of need during Aguilar’s struggle with a temporary illness. The illness consequently forced him to be house bound. Aguilar reveals, “they say that a man’s character is best defined when they are alone, my journey led me to discover a specific musical sound that brings peace and freedom to whatever someone is going through”. The single expresses how love is the most powerful thing to conquer ones personal moral state of being.
‘Fenestra’ is a shimmering serene song, which takes listeners to a place of utopia. Immersed in ambient melodic hooks over celestial backdrops and 80’s drum machine beats, By An Ion have created a unique sound reminiscent of vintage M83 fused with Depeche Mode.
By An Ion’s eagerly awaited upcoming EP, Violet Sky has already had the stamp of approval from industry professionals, being mastered by Pete Maher (Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, Rolling Stones, The Killers). They have also worked in the studio along side with The New Division’s John Kunkel, TimeCop1983’s Jordy Leenearts and Spanish Synth Pop artist Sergio Palacios from Puerto Aereo. Aguilar and Gonzales continue to collaborate with various artists and are quickly propelling into the next chapter of their musical journey.
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Learn more about By An Ion in the following All Access interview:
How did this band first come to be?
(Alex) It all started through friendship, we’ve been friends for about 16 years, we go back as far as high school. Funny thing is we always played in different bands and admired each others work but never actually exhausted the idea of merging our worlds together.
Can you recall the moment when you all thought you could be in a band together?
(Alex) 2013 was an interesting year, I began taking my drumming career super serious and I auditioned for a band called The New Division which I’m still a part of till this day. Within that time frame Ray broke off from his band and began to produce and compose, I actually didn’t know he was doing this until he showed me some demos and I was floored. We sat down together and began writing and singing melodies to each other, something we always loved was a good harmony. We’ve mentioned previous interviews that our connection is so strong we can almost finish each others sentences. We’re on the same page even when it comes to choosing who will sing the song. We leave our egos out the door and do what’s right for the composition.
Was it hard to come up with a name that you could all agree on?how did you come up with the band name?
(RAY) Not at all, Alex came up with the idea of BY AN ION and it felt just right and suitable for our music. We are ions in this universe, either for closeness or separation for positive or negative. We are given the choice to either embrace one another or divide ourselves. We all have a positive outcome when we embrace each other, channeling us towards love regardless of the outcome.
How do you think this band has been influenced by the city you are from? How did that particular music scene affect you all?
(Alex) Our band was never really influenced by our city, our inspiration taps in from a lot of different sources. We’ve spent 100% of our time in the studio and we never got an opportunity to socialize and mingle with the music scene. One thing we do know is that San Diego is such a diverse community with such a big heart for art and music, we are excited to show everyone what we’ve created.
How does 2017 compare to last year?
(Ray) We’ve come along way with finding a sound that defines us,. 2016 was the concentration stage of giving birth to that sound ,we wrote and recorded a lot of music. 2017 has been mostly planning the release of our EP “Violet Sky” , We are extremely grateful with everything that is happening right now.
Can you talk about the inspiration and how your band new single Autre vie came together came together exactly?
(RAY) The new release was written in a time of desperation for restoration. There was a time in my life when i experience a temporary sickness that I had to just stay at home. It made me appreciate and value things for what they are, even the smallest things you can possibly think of. They say that a mans character is best defined when they are alone, Well it led me to discover a specific sound that nods to peace, ambience, hope and tranquility. The original piece was roughly about a minute and half long and the track was sent to Alex, he then instantly reacted to the music and recorded a vocal melody sent back a demo, its one of those things when the song just meant to be, it all flowed effortlessly.
How did this band first start using nostalgic electronica, atmospheric aesthetics in your music? Where did the idea to use these sounds come from originally ?
(Alex) We always had an affinity to cinematic music, I think we always aimed to put our listeners through similar experiences as to watching a film, some moments can become so intense and then shortly after it cuts out to the next scene and its a peaceful and calm. This is why we incorporate soothing pianos, celestial synthscapes , different reverbs and delays followed by often abrasive heavy drums and risers. We really hope to see our music on film.
While this may be difficult to answer, where do you think you are all happiest, on stage performing in the studio recording or elsewhere?
I believe that our happiest moments we’ve shared them in all these scenarios, (Ray) If I had to choose I would say the Studio Recording, just the mystery behind of how the songs will be finalized excites me. (Alex) Super tough question. I obsess over playing live, I’m always thinking music, singing in my head, tapping on tables, oh god buying tons of gear, but if I had to choose, id choose the studio as well.
We are all living in a crazy and at times rough world right now so I am curious how you think being in this band gives you the most joy in life today? do you think that new music being created today is going to reflect this difficult time?
(Alex) Music is scientifically proven to help enhance mood, memory, reduce stress and anxiety. These are crazy and rough times and we live in world were we are starring at our phones, buying over priced coffee and material, mother nature has been kicking our butts with earthquakes and hurricanes. In many parts of the world were facing war and hunger but no matter where you are and were you live we all smile when we hear music. I think we need new music more than ever .
What do you hope is the message for your music ? what do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
(Ray)Exactly that “hope” to bring hope to everyone , no matter what someone is going through there will be a time that we can overcome adversity .We just want to be a helping hand to everyone with our music and give listeners something inspirational to help brighten their day.