On top of running a label, designing artwork, and playing in his numerous bands, Aaron and his bandmates also just recently relocated to Los Angeles from their longtime home of Boston. While en route from Guitar World to their new practice space to rehearse for their tour with Mogwai, I caught up with Aaron, who was nice enough not only to kindly suffer my questions with patience, intelligence and good humor, but to apologize for the interview being so haphazard -- all while giving driving directions to his bandmates, fielding questions from his girlfriend, and answering mysterious cellphones that he somehow ended up in possession of. Did I mention that on top of being extremely busy, Aaron is also an amazingly nice and congenial person?
There are few bands whose releases knock me flat upon my back with the first listen. 2000's Celestial was such an album. Its follow up, in the form of the collaborative remix SGNL>05, along with last year's critically acclaimed Oceanic, are further testament to Isis' prowess at creating immense sonic tapestries. Imagine licking your tongue across the sun's battery. That's the sound of Isis.
Meet the new heavy.
Aaron Turner: Sorry about that, I thought I was going to be out of there sooner.
Not a problem. How was Guitar Center?
Aaron: It was a fucking nightmare, as usual! I hate that place.
It's the Wal-Mart of rock 'n' roll gear.
Aaron: Exactly! You have to stand around and wait for somebody to help you, then you have to wait for them to ring you up, and then you have to wait to get out of the store. It's terrible!
What did you buy?
Aaron: We were picking up a PA for our new practice space.
So you've relocated from the east coast to Los Angeles, right?
Aaron: Yup, we were all living in Boston, and everybody has just now arrived here as of the last few days.
Why the change of scenery?
Aaron: A lot of us had been living on the east coast for most of our lives, and we were just ready for a change. I think California and the west coast in general was pretty appealing, but LA was one of the few cities here that was actually affordable, as compared to a city like San Francisco.
You know, no more winter to have to deal with, nicer places, and all that. And we're going to make it! [Laughs] We're determined to make it in this business, and LA is the place to do it... or so we hear.
[Laughs] I was reading on Hydra Head's site that you're now sharing offices with Big Wheel Recreation and Doghouse Records.
I had to chuckle at the comments you had for them!
Aaron: We were sharing office space with some of those guys in Boston, too, actually, and they relocated as well, so it just made sense to pool resources once again.
What kind of effect does that kind of long-distance relocation have on both your label and the band?
Aaron: I don't know. I mean, it's good just to be around people that we enjoy being around. It's hard to say how it affects us other than we're just in an environment where we're around a bunch of other creative and inspired people. And even if they're not working with music we like, necessarily, they are still working with music. It's just a good environment to be in and, like I said, we can pool resources as well.
Sorry, what I meant to ask was if there were any logistical difficulty in the move with either the label or with the band?
Aaron: Not really. Just the normal logistics of moving geographically from one place to another. I don't know. It definitely was difficult to get uprooted from Boston. The band and the label had been there for quite some time. It took us awhile to dig ourselves out, but we're out now and everybody's starting to get settled.