Where did the name Aether Street come from?
“Well, I liked the name because aether represents something very nebulous, but street gives it specificity,” said Daniel Sion, one half of the Reno duo. “It’s both sides of the spectrum.”
Daniel plays drums and produces much of the electronic music. Along-side him is his younger brother, Aaron Sion, on guitar and lead vocals.
Although Aether Street is a fairly new project, founded earlier this year, the two are no strangers to performing music. The brothers were members of the popular local band Crush for years before forming Aether Street. While this new endeavor bears some key similarities to the former—namely with the use of electronic music—the direction that Aether Street has taken their music is radically different.
“We use the electronic music with real instruments to make a next level sound,” said Aaron. “[Our sound] is part Queen, part Green Day, and all run through an electronic filter.”
Instead of submitting to the formulaic simplicity of electronic dance music (EDM), characterized by manufactured bass-heavy beats and melodies, Aether Street’s music combines the cinematic drama of chamber rock and aggressive vocals within the context of electronic music. The result is what they call “theatrical electro-grunge” sound.
Their musical process keeps the integrity of live music-making, but accepts a transition for music into the digital era, which the brothers see as inevitable.
“There’s no getting around using a computer for musical production,” said Daniel. “That’s how the world is now. I can’t even book my haircuts without a computer.”
Lyrically, the songs are chock full of social commentary that's coupled with the use of audio samples from cultural icons like John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. While many songs are specifically critical of the “machine of Hollywood,” many of the lyrics critique abstract social concepts that are universally applicable.
“I think sometimes it’s important for art to not be literal and to convey a feeling,” said Daniel. “It can mean something different to everyone, yet it still connects everyone. … You can still have heart in electronic music.”
It’s a sentiment the band has strengthened by using classical music to influence their electronic production for Aether Street's first album.
“We’ve written orchestral interludes with synthesizers for many of our songs,” said Daniel. “There are audio samples [that] keep our music current and human. But the feel of the orchestra, especially the strings, almost seems ingrained in the human essence. It’s timeless and it hits you.”
Though the songs on the album stand alone, the interludes provide cohesion to the work as a whole, all to create what the brothers describe as an “electronic rock opera.”
The album tells the story of a fictional all-girl group, Mimi and the Diamonds, that moves from a small town to Los Angeles.
The songs focus on the imaginary lead singer, Mimi, who meets Albert Cloud, a scummy, cocaine-wheeling record executive who introduces her to drugs like Xanax and gets her addicted. Just as Mimi begins to question it all, Cloud drops her, thus ending her 15 minutes of fame.
“It’s a theme that’s so prevalent with pop divas today who have become such lifeless, shallow vessels of the industry,” said Aaron. “But it’s not a criticism of them, so much as it is one of the industry. It’s a culture that’s contrived without any heart.”