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Music Saved My Life: An Exclusive Interview With GEMINI SYNDROME Vocalist Aaron Nordstrom

By Geoff Ketler, Cleveland Contributor
Tuesday, November 4, 2014 @ 4:33 PM

"I want to have a career, of course, but on an emotional and spiritual level; to have someone come up to me and say that music that I made helped them get somewhere that they didn’t think they could get to."

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Live Photos By Geoff Ketler/Aces High Photography

After a successful run of dates with SEVENDUST and festival appearances peppered along the way, Aaron Nordstrom and GEMINI SYNDROME were poised to hit the road again; this time alongside NONPOINT. After a breakdown with their RV, the Los Angeles based group finally made it to The Outpost in Kent, Ohio. After their set, vocalist Aaron Nordstrom sat down with us in the green room backstage to fill us in on the band’s current endeavors.

KNAC.COM: So give us an update on the bus situation. We have all seen the Facebook updates. You made it here, so are all things in order? What happened?

NORDSTROM: A piece on it went out – like a pump or something. I am not a car-guy, I really don’t know, but apparently a pump went out on the transmission. They ordered a new one. It came in. It was the wrong one, so that delayed it another day or two. We got the right one in and then realized that something else was wrong. So we had to do a complete overhaul of the transmission. So they are like, replacing the entire thing. So that ended up being another four days on top of that. So we sat in Vegas – which wasn’t really bad. We got to hang out with our producer, it was great. We stayed in a nice place. You know, we had family, in my mind, there.

KNAC.COM: You missed the first few dates on this tour, right?

NORDSTROM: We missed the first three headline shows and the first show with NONPOINT. We, for sure, rescheduled the headline shows; so we will do those shows on the way back. So at least within the next month or so, we will hit those.

KNAC.COM: I wanted to ask you – I think I am picking up on a few elements in your lyrics that seem to recur: duality, yin & yang, that sort of balanced, two-sided, almost spiritual vibe. Am I on the right track? Would you agree with my assessment or what is your message that you are trying to get across?

NORDSTROM: I think you nailed it. We do have a message of balancing…basically the human condition and trying to be as balanced as you can be for whatever life gives you. That’s really the point, you know what I mean? You are born here. You don’t know what circumstance you are going to be born into. Something I have been thinking about a lot lately is that there are seven billion people on the planet, you know? And everyone is born into a different circumstance. You just try to make the best for what you were given. So if you were born into a house of providence and money and wealth, you’re gonna have a different set of issues to deal with than somebody who is born into poverty. It’s just something I have been thinking about lately; I don’t know why. I didn’t come from money, but I didn’t come from total poverty either. We always had enough; we didn’t have a lot. Everybody comes from somewhere and I think there is a universal aspect to that. Everybody’s circumstance is different and eventually you all get to the same place. They say in Buddhism that all paths lead to the top of the mountain. Whichever way you take, you still get to the same point.

KNAC.COM: That’s deep. You were speaking of where you came from – to follow up on that, is it true that your mother is a big-band and jazz musician?


KNAC.COM: Did that help get you into music?

NORDSTROM: Oh yeah…by all means, yes. My mom is an excellent singer. She is really good at jazz and gospel, that sort of thing. So I got kind of raised on that and as a very little kid I got into piano. She pushed me. Not excessively, I shouldn’t say ‘pushed’…she sort of supported it and told be to got get it. She has always had my back for it. It is funny now, being an adult, and she still has by back on it. I was guided through music my whole life by her.

KNAC.COM: I have heard the comparisons to TOOL

NORDSTROM: I’ve heard that too.

KNAC.COM: What bands would you say were influences on your path to GEMINI SYNDROME?

NORDSTROM: Well that’s a tough one. I’ve grown up listening to classical and jazz piano, being in choirs and stuff. I sang and played everything. I’ve been playing piano since I was three years old. I have been playing guitar for twenty or twenty-one years or something. But throughout that journey, I listened to everything. It could be metal. There were times when I was really into black metal. But then it goes to Billie Holiday. I love Jeff Buckley. I love THE FACELESS. I think music is thing where you just have to love all of it, if you’re really into it. If you’re really into music, you can’t just say ‘I’m a fuckin’ huuuuuuuuuuuge Britney Spears fan.’

KNAC.COM: So you were a psychology major in school, is that true?

NORDSTROM: I was. I went to school for psych, music, and philosophy.

KNAC.COM: Is it safe to say that your education background has played a role in your lyrical themes?

NORDSTROM: For sure.

KNAC.COM: I have heard you mention in your previous interviews that you have had an interest in the illuminati.

NORDSTROM: (Shows me his tattoos) I got really into Timothy Leary, Robert Anton Wilson, those cats. They were the guys in the 70’s doing a ton of acid and they were also Phd’s in psychology. It was really about consciousness expansion. Umm…that’s a really long conversation, you know what I mean?

KNAC.COM: (Laughs) Okay…I gotcha. That’s fine.

NORDSTROM: You know, I am certainly into it-

KNAC.COM: Even from reading your Facebook posts and whatnot…there is some deep thought there.

NORDSTROM: I am trying to get as deep as I can. I don’t think this life is just – I don’t think it’s just to be here. I think there is more to it. It’s not just about getting laid. It’s not just about getting high; there’s something more there. At least I hope so. And I try to explore that; try to figure it out. Lord knows if I did or not, I don’t know, but I am still on the journey. And far be it for me to judge anybody who is doing any of that stuff too. That’s just human nature; we all want to do that. I try to infuse as much as my experience as I can into what we do.

KNAC.COM: Let me know if this is too long of an answer, but just about thirty minutes ago, up on stage, you said that music saved your life.


KNAC.COM: Can you elaborate on that?

NORDSTROM: Sure. When I was growing up man, I was teased, made fun of a lot, but I went through a lot of personal stuff too; a lot of family things and what not. My dad died when I was fifteen and blah blah blah…I could go on for hours. But really…the solo from “Cemetery Gates” will make me cry to this day. It just happened at a moment in my life. I was exposed to that at that time and it hit a chord in my heart, in my soul. It was that kind of music or those songs in particular that when I was really, really, really upset, and I am a pretty emotional person, those songs would guide me through that. They would help me cope. Music always helped me. As I grew older and was in bands, my real goal was for it (the music) to help somebody else and I have seen that come back full-circle. I have seen people come back to me and say that music, that I wrote, helped them. That’s the biggest compliment you can get as an artist. That was really it. It ends there. Everybody wants to make money. I want to have a career, of course, but on an emotional and spiritual level; to have someone come up to me and say that music that I made helped them get somewhere that they didn’t think they could get to. That’s it man. It’s done. I had a lady in Biloxi, Mississippi come up to me after the show. I was standing by the merch table and she came up to me and she was crying. I’m an emotional guy. I saw her crying, I gave her a hug and was like “Are you okay?” She told me that her fifteen-year-old son had just passed away and she thanked me for what we did because it helped her get through that experience of her child dying. Immediately I started crying, we hugged it out and I was so glad that we could do something that helped her family get through that. Fuck man, I won. You know what I mean? I won. That was like one of the heaviest experiences I have ever had. Whatever pain and suffering I went through and I put it through music and it helped somebody else, then all of that pain and suffering was fucking worth it. End of story.

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