Isis Drummer Aaron Harris Talks About New Live Album Series
Although they decided to part ways in 2010, Isis‘ contributions to the extreme music landscape will be felt for decades to come. This week the post-metal goliaths posthumously released ‘ISIS Live I 9.23.03,’ a four-song, forty-minute recording from a performance at The Fillmore in San Francisco. The album is the first in a five live album series curated by the band.
“They’re audience recordings highlighting different time periods in the history of Isis,” former Isis drummer Aaron Harris told Noisecreep from his Los Angeles home. “There’s something from just about every era of the band, starting with ‘Celestial’ . We decided to do it this way because we were getting a lot of live recordings while we were touring and wanted to share everything with our fans.”
Anyone familiar with any of the five studio albums that Isis released throughout their 13-year career knows how sonically crushing they can be. Noisecreep asked Harris if their live sound posed any problems while mixing the recordings.
“Yeah, we had to be careful with that aspect of things,” Harris said. “It’s a balance of capturing the heaviness in the guitars and drums while having enough clarity in the recordings. You have to make sure that the person at home is enjoying the listening experience and not just trying to decipher everything through a wall of noise.”
With such a rich discography and so many live songs to choose from, the former members of Isis kept things democratic when compiling the new live series.
“There was a lot of material that we had to sift through,” Harris said. “We all listened to each performance on our own and then we came back and told the group what we did and didn’t want to be included on the release. When we all agreed on a specific song and performance, then we went with it. The songs we ended up choosing show off the different sides of what we did.”
Many revered live albums in hard rock history, such as KISS‘ ‘Alive,’ have included “secret” studio overdubs. We jokingly asked Harris if there was any overdubbing tomfoolery on ‘ISIS Live I 9.23.03.’
“No, these are all legitimate live recordings,” he laughed. “I think they are all actually recorded by fans on handheld minidisc recorders. They are all stereo recordings too. I think it’s a nice way to incorporate the band and audience bond.”
Watch a video of Isis playing ‘Celestial’ live