Sound Session recently had a chance to chat with Gaia, a 6-piece hardcore group from Connecticut. Check out the interview by Kalene Pacheco below!

It’s no secret that the local New England music scene, especially anything under the “alternative” umbrella(i.e. Metal, Hardcore, Punk); is lively, energetic and full of talent. There are many respectable acts making a name for themselves, however one stands out. A group of artists by the name of “Gaia” has found their niche and brings something special to the table that not many others have captured. They recently released their debut EP “Chaos” which is full of ambiance, djent, and soaring vocals. Many are excited to see what’s next from them, seeing as they’re only getting started and are full of potential. We recently sat down with Chris Johanson and wanted to get a closer, more intimate look at the inner workings of the band.

“Gaia” is a very interesting name, I’ve never seen or heard of it before. What inspired your name? Is there meaning and symbolism behind it?
Gaia is actually the hypothesis that the living and nonliving components of earth function as a single system. It’s also an ancient greek mythology that ties in with Chaos. within the mythology, Chaos actually comes first, as the balance between earth and heaven, soon followed by Gaia who is Mother Earth. we chose the name after a long deliberation of what sort of message we wanted to send. A lot of our songs are about humanity itself and the state in which we’re in as a society currently.

We know some of you have been in previous bands together but how’d you come together as a six piece, are there any interesting stories? And how’d you find a direction for the band?
There are three of us who had been playing previously together. Everyone else we had known through the scene or just through friends, so when it was time to put it all together the core group had a good idea of who we wanted to work with. We acquired Joe and Chris C and a new member (to be announced) after really seeing their dedication to what this all meant for us. As per our direction we wanted this to act as a better follow up from our previous material. As we changed as individuals as did our creativity.

What was the writing process like for your EP? Were there any times that you guys struggled or was it relatively easy?
The writing process for us is actually relatively different than most bands. I will usually start off at home with a pre-production of a song and work out the kinks as I go. It then gets presented to Jay who will work out his own feel for drums, and then Peter and I will get on to the words. We have a lot of the similar thoughts when it comes down to our song concepts, so that tends to make it a lot easier to have conceive ideas.

Are there any other artists/genres or even things unrelated to music that you guys draw inspiration from?
Personally I listen to all sorts of music. Mostly hip hop and indie as of late. Most of the inspiration however comes from either abstract concepts, visual arts or dream like states.

The speech in the beginning of “Aphelion” is really intriguing and gives off an interesting vibe to start off the EP, who’s speaking and what does it mean?
The intro speech is an excerpt from a Timothy Leary dialogue. Back in the ’60s he was very key in the counterculture movement. I chose that specifically after going through our lyrical content, because a lot of what we talked about had the same fundamental ideologies. It sets the tone for an adventure through an unknown plain of reality; the chaos that controls our lives. It ends with “…and as you begin this journey you must remember the following truths and beliefs” before immediately being torn apart by our single Eternal Abyss which describes coming to grips with a lot of these ideas and concepts, and sort of having an existential breakdown due to it.

Is there a reason the songs are in the order that they are? If they were in a different order would it change the story/meaning behind the EP?
There was a lot of deliberation over the order of the songs. I personally think the way they flow helps tell a larger story from all the concepts. Aphelion setting the tone, Eternal Abyss speaks of coming to terms with the unknown, Eradicated touches on how as a societal whole we’re having our gift of free intelligent thought taken away from us by people who can’t have a populace of free thinking individuals, Chaos describes how it feels to finally accept these things although it may hurt, while keeping the idea that life itself is chaos, from the initial void to the very end of life itself. and then Onism sets the tone for the passing of life and what’s to follow after. Ido believe it happened the way it did for a reason.

All the titles of your songs are short and sweet, is there a reason for this? What inspired the titles of the songs, and how are they connected to the meaning behind “Chaos”?
Chaos itself is a general concept of the unknown forces that govern life. At all times there is chaos, sort of like a consistent buzz of the universe. so all of the names were planed out around that. Aphelion being the point of which you’re furthest from the sun. We chose it because the intro sort of starts off slow and far away from the rest of the album, and makes a full circle into what our aim musically was. Eternal Abyss references just what it states; we’re all lost in the depths of space and time when you consider the vastness of reality and the universe. Eradicated speaking on how our intellectual identities are being taken away from us as we’re force fed garbage information in this new age. Chaos referencing the main points of the album. And then finally Onism, meaning the frustration one feels having lived inhabiting only one body and mind in all of space time. We felt they connected the overall idea really well.

What’s next for you guys, any shows planned, or have you been writing and recording new music, is there anything you can tell us?
We’ve been slowly writing and demoing more material over the last year. We really want to take our time and put as much care and dedication into these next releases for the people that enjoy hearing us. As of now we’re working on putting up a show with some of our close musical friends, so updates will be made about that very soon!