interview for DPRP by Martien Koolen
Aina, Days Of Rising Doom, the metal opera, created by Sacha Paeth, Robert Rizzo, Amanda Sommerville and Miro really blew my mind. An excellent piece of progressive rock music with amazing musicians and a great story. On a rainy Monday evening I have a chat with Sacha about the world of Aina; enjoy ...
Hans van Vuuren called me and asked me if I was interested in “doing” a metal opera, and who am I to say no to such a great opportunity. I really had no second thoughts about this project, I liked the idea from the start, but I immediately decided that it was impossible to do this on my own. So I asked Robert (Hunecke-Rizzo) and Miro to join me and they said yes. Hans also asked me to write some songs for Aina, but that was too much for me, I was so busy. But in the end I finally got one song for the album, namely “The Beast Within”. I asked Amanda Sommerville to do the lyrics and to come up with the story and well the result is amazing. I really think that Aina is quite different from other metal operas, such as “Leonardo”, “Avantasia” or “Nostradamus”. It is far more experimental, it is not just metal, it even sounds light at some points, and that is of course because there were no limitations. It is a concept album that you should really listen to; so enjoy the complete album for more satisfaction. If you play the CD and read along with the lyrics in the booklet you will be really drawn into the story of Aina; you will notice that the world around you evaporates and that you will understand the concept much better. The production was very tiresome, but in the end also very rewarding. It was also a great pleasure to work with a complete orchestra and the choirs, and of course the amazing singers and musicians.
Musicians, “old rock heroes”
It took us very long to find the right singers and musicians, but we finally succeeded to find almost all of the “characters” we were looking for. I would love to have had Ronnie James Dio, but he was on tour, so… It was not our intention to ask only “big” names, it was far more important that they had to fit into the concept. As it turned out, a lot of the musicians and vocalists are great rock heroes of mine, and I am really proud that they wanted to work with me. Michael Kiske’s role may come as a surprise to many, but he showed his “other side” and his voice and role is super on this album. He really changed his style since his Helloween days and he really came out strong for this Aina album. At the last moment we switched his role… Originally Michael had the part of Torek, which is now sung by Tomas Rettke. In the end we decided that Michael’s timbre’s was not suitable for Torek’s part; Tomas’s voice is much more brutal and he can really “shout”, and that is what we wanted for Torek, so…. Glenn Hughes was not that easy, he first wanted to hear a lot of stuff before he decided to go along with it; but finally everything worked out fine with Glenn as well. His voice is really amazing, perfect for the job.
Amanda really worked very hard on this, she wrote a complete new language for this album; even with a complete grammar overview. For the record, this language has nothing to do with the language that is being used in the novels by Tolkien; “The Lord Of The Rings” or “The Silmarillion”. It is completely made up by Amanda; furthermore she was the linguistic coach for the correct pronunciation of the Ainae words. Luckily not many had to speak Ainae, the boys’ choir, but they are quite used to singing in Latin, so that was not a real problem. I think that this language gives an extra dimension to this album; it creates a lot of atmosphere! If you own the limited edition you should check out “Ve Toura Sol”; the Ainae version, it is great and Amanda did a wonderful job there. Or to hear more Ainae language listen to “The Siege Of Aina”, just magic and amazing.
The limited edition is truly a superb edition; it looks great and it has a fantastic booklet with all the information about the project; the lyrics, beautiful pictures. Furthermore you get two CDs and one DVD all for the price of 18 Euros; it cannot get any better than that! We really focused on this; it had to be a product that you would like to have for your CD collection, we wanted it to make it so beautiful that you would not be satisfied with an ordinary copy. I think that we accomplished that. Of course for the buyers it is all a question of money; am I prepared to pay for a “regular” CD, or would I rather have a cheaper, illegal copy?? Because of the too high prices for CDs, a lot of music lovers buy an illegal copy and that is still a big problem for the music industry…. But at least “our” album is fairly priced; so buy it, now… ha ha ha..
I was truly surprised about all the excellent reviews the album got. There was only one bad review; someone on the Internet was complaining about the Aina language, there were far too many A’s and E’s in the language. Therefore you could not listen to it properly, and actually this “critic” did not listen to the album to come to the astonishing conclusion that this was a bad album????
So, the actual feedback was amazing. I did not expect this, because I still think that it was a risky business to release this album. It is not ordinary pop music or metal music, and I really had doubts about the fact if real metal heads or real progressive music lovers would appreciate this album. I had this prejudice that metal lovers only listen to metal and that prog lovers only listen to progressive music; but I was wrong!! Metal lovers as well as prog lovers really like the album, they are all very enthusiastic about it and that is something I had not anticipated in my wildest dreams.
Aina 2 ?
First of all I have to say that this album should sell really well; if you know what I mean. The production of this album was very expensive, so we should make some money first and then we can see if there is as possibility to “do” this project live. Hans(Transmission) already had some ideas about doing maybe 2 or 3 songs live in Holland, with a complete orchestra….
As for a second Aina album I can say that there are already a lot of ideas to do this. Amanda has already written a lot of new lyrics, so… Of course we would then like to “use” a few new musicians for that album. We definitely would let other musicians play more, because we (Robert, Miro and myself) played far too much on the first album. I still have a few “dream candidates” for the new album… I would like to have Ronnie James Dio again, furthermore I would love to hear Richie Blackmore’s guitar on Aina 2 (maybe we could “use” Candice Night, his wife, as a negotiator). On drums I opt for Simon Phillips and there are so many good musicians out there, let’s wait and see.
What about James LaBrie? (MK)
I never thought about him actually, but now that you bring it up, a good idea, thanks.
I really am not into power metal and that sort of music; do not get me wrong, I like it, but I prefer classical hard rock like Aerosmith or Van Halen. The last three CDs I bought were: the first Rage Against The Machine album, Marilyn Manson and Eminem, which I think is really cool. When I go to a concert I want to be entertained, I do not want to look at some guys showing how good they can play their instruments, if you know what I mean.
So, you are not a Dream Theater fan? (MK)
Actually, no. I have been on tour with DT, by the way, with Heaven’s Gate and these guys can really play, but it is too “sterile”, there is nothing going on at the stage. If I want to hear that sort of music I listen to it at home; then I can enjoy it. A live band that I really like is the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, they entertain you, or even better Zappa; his shows were awesome, he had great musicians in his band, he had lots of humour and he was a professional from tip to toe.
I think that in Holland there are a lot of excellent bands and musicians, of whom we will be hearing a lot in the future. The Dutch are very open minded, they are willing to try anything, even if it is very experimental stuff. Moreover they seem to have fun and excitement with everything that they do, it is really great to work with guys from Holland. I hereby send all my greetings to all the Aina fans in The Netherlands and around the globe. Watch out for Aina 2…….
Read our Round Table Review of "Days of Rising Doom" !
Official Aina Website