Featured Artist

Cosmic Rock

Our Featured Artist today on Cosmic Rock.com is the one and only Aria from the cutting edge metal band Blackwater Drowning. Roaring out of Carolina with a vengeance, Blackwater Drowning is winning over fans all over the world. Aria holds down the bass and has an extensive background in heavy music over the years with BWD being her most recent group. We caught up with Aria for an exclusive interview about her history, news, thoughts on the music world today, influences and many cool subjects. Aria is known by many and stands tall in a sea of underground music madness. Check out this very interesting discussion with Aria on a thursday afternoon.


1.Hail Aria howre you today? Good to catch up with you. How have you been?


Hail, My Friend!  Great to hear from you.  Doing really well, and staying busy.


2.That’s great. Awesome thank you. You too my friend. Tell us a little about your background, did you grow up in North Carolina? How did you get into playing bass and singing in bands?


Well, I grew up in Asbury Park, NJ.  My father was a founding member of the Asbury Jukes and the tenor sax player.  The music scene there was very tight and I grew up spending a lot of time with musicians like Bruce Springsteen, Clarence Clemmons, and Steve Van Zandt.  I think a never had a chance at being anything besides a musician, hahaha.  At a very young age, I found that I was obsessed with harmonies.  I would sing along to the radio, but only in harmony, and all of my favorite songs were always bass driven.  I did a lot of singing and dancing and acting as a child, but always resisted being a musician, as I had watched my father live the "tortured artist" life, and wanted to avoid it.  Eventually, that changed. 


3.Any classic records or concerts you saw back in the day that inspired you and in what way?


Well, of course, I grew up spending a lot of time at my dad's gigs, well the local ones anyway.  I was always in awe of how cool he was on stage.  He just exuded this sort of zen vibe, and I guess it came through to everyone.  He was given the nickname "Saxy" Carlo Novi, hahaha.  After my parents split, I would spend weekends with my dad in New York City.  I remember that he would just grab his sax, and me, and head to whichever bar.  Everyone always knew who he was, and would ask him to get on stage, and he could just fall perfectly into any song, whether he'd heard it before or not.  That inspired me in a big way. 


4.How did you form your first band and what was it like? Was it Mortufairy?


It was indeed Mortufairy, and I have my little sister to thank for finally helping me to let go of my stubborn refusal to end up a "tortured musician" and allow myself to be true to my nature and play music on my own terms.  At 14, my sister (Alexandra) started her first band, called Uncle Xandra (taken from my children's name for her) and she really struggled for about a year finding a solid bass player.  Finally, at the ripe age of 25,  I offered to fill in while she found someone permanent.  I went out to the local pawn shop and came across a weathered 5-string Ibanez EX for $100, which was all I could afford as a young mother of two boys.  I brought it home, cleaned it up, and started plucking.....and that was it.  I was home.


5.Right on yeah. What inspired your songwriting?


Hmmm, that's hard to say.  If we're talking lyrics, I find I can be inspired by just about anything.  I never seem to find trouble with that.  Musically, I've always been the kind of musician that listens to a song in progress and lets the song tell me what it needs.  When I'm the one writing a song, though, I'm very drawn to a combination between dark and sludgy grooves, and eerie, more classically inspired runs.



6.What are some of your favorite films? 


I'm Italian, so I LOVE movies.  It would be hard for me to name favorites, or even favorite genres.  I'm very sensitive, so I shy away from tragedies.  I do have some favorite directors: David Lynch, Terry Gilliam, and Guillermo Del Toro are my main three.  They do a wonderful job of combining existentialism with fantasy and disturbing imagery, and it's the perfect cocktail for my strange soul.


7.Cool yeah. Favorite books?


Books!  I love books.  Like movies, it'd be easier to name favorite authors.  I enjoy Chuck Palahniuk, Tom Robbins, Phillip K. Dick, Stephen King, and Joe R. Lansdale, to name a few.  Probably for the same reasons that I enjoy the aforementioned directors.  I'm just a spooky kind of person, and when I encounter these sorts of movies and books, I feel a little less alone in the world.


8.These days you are playing in Blackwater Drowning. How did you come to join the band and how would you describe it to new listeners?


You know, its such a crazy, and lucky, coincidence how I came to be in Blackwater Drowning.  I had been doing a kind of indie/punk/metal band with my three best girlfriends, just out of my basement for fun, but I really missed getting out and playing shows.  Two of my friends had really young children, and just were'n't in a place where they could dedicate the time to being in a gigging band, so finally, when the itch got too great, I called it.  They were all really understanding about my desire to get back out there on a more professional level.  Oddly enough, one of them (who worked in insurance) got a call from an old drummer friend at work, and they got to talking, and he mentioned that his girlfriend, at the time, had just formed a band, and they were looking for a bass player.  That girlfriend was/is Morgan, vocalist and founding member of Blackwater Drowning.  My name was thrown out, and the next day I got a message on facebook from Jeremy Bennett, other founding member and guitar player.  Now, I've known Jeremy since back in my Mortufairy days, when he was doing Art of Dying, and then A Vision Grotesque.  I hadn't spoken to him in years, so when he sent me the message "Hey, what's up?" I responded with "Let me guess, you're looking for a bass player?"  We met up a few days later to talk about what they were looking for, and so we could see if we thought it'd be a good fit.  Well, that was about 4 years ago, and it's been a GREAT fit.  I couldn't ask for a better group of people to be playing music with.


9.Awesome. Are you guys working on any new recordings or tour plans?


Absolutely!  We've just finished tracking for our new EP, so that'll be out by years end.  We definitely pulled our punches quite a bit on our first EP, and have dialed that back on this one.  You'll find a lot more technicality and brutality, but still that familiar melodic quality that is probably our most distinguishable characteristic.  We've recently signed to a WONDERFUL label called R.I.N.D Records, and they've got an AMAZING tour lined up for next year, with some of their best domestic, and international talent being showcased. We'll be joining that for as many legs as possible, and couldn't be more excited about it. 


10.That's great. You guys are really cool. What about your side projects or previous bands? Any news?


Hmmm, its hard to devote serious time to a side project with Blackwater doing so well.  There are always so many tempting offers from talented friends, and I get excited, but I know that my heart lies with Blackwater and I never want to be that member that's holding back the rest of a band because they have themselves spread too thin.  The whole band is pretty much in that same place.  I'm always happy to lend myself to guest spots on recordings and at shows, when I'm available, though. 



11.I know you are big into horror films, art etc. Whats your favorite vampire movie, ghost movie, werewolf movie and zombie movie? 


Gid, hitting me with these HARD questions! Hmmm, favorite vampire movie would probably be Lost Boys, though there are so many great ones.  I remember Salem's Lot scaring the bejeezus out of me as a child. Favorite ghost movie.  That's hard.  Sixth Sense was GREAT on the first watch, but the first Poltergeist was really groundbreaking and I can watch that over and over.  Favorite Werewolf movie has got to be An American Werewolf in London, for all of its surrealism and humor.  Dog Soldiers is also great, though.  This last one is the ABSOLUTE hardest.  There is such a wide variety of zombie movies, especially in the last decade.  I really come back to 28 Days Later, quite often.  I'm not sure if it's the score, the scenery, the acting, or a combo of all, but that one really tugs at my heart strings while it brings the terror, and I find that intriguing.


12.Any horror filmed tv shows you are into? Walking Dead?


You know, I'll probably get crucified for this, but I find the Walking Dead, as well as many other horror-themed television shows, to strongly follow a soap-opera story line, which (to me) is uninteresting, as well as offensive.  Stringing viewers along in that way, creating compulsive viewing even when artistry is lacking, really bothers me.  I greatly enjoyed the first two seasons of American Horror Story, and Ash Vs. The Evil Dead was a hoot, but overall, I'm not terribly impressed with television programming.


13.Yeah totally, okay. What inspired your tattoos over the years. I know your sister Xandra is a guitar player and tattoo artist?


Hahaha.  That's a question I get asked a lot.  I feel like there's a lot of VERY serious stuff going on in the world, so I try to keep as many things as light as possible, and that definitely extends into my tattooing.  I'm the kind of  person that would walk into a shop, flip a few sheets of flash, pick one in complete whimsy, and put it on my body forever.  That was my younger years.  Now, with my sister being a tattoo artist (and an extremely talented one at that.  Check her out at alex@nctattoos.com) my tattoo process is still very whimsical, but the art is MUCH better.  Pretty much, my sister will contact me with some crazy idea for a tattoo and I'll be like "Yeah!  That sounds awesome!" and that's that.  Last month, she asked if I wanted to get a Jeff Goldblum tattoo (I'm a fan) and now I have a HUGE tattoo of his face on my leg, Independence Day inspired, with some cool surrounding galaxy and chess pieces.  It's awesome.  But if you asked me what meaning it had, there's nothing deep there.  Just having fun. 


14.Cool, aside from music talk what is one life skill you think every person should have?


I think everyone should learn to listen, at least sympathetically, if not empathetically.  Listen to what is underneath people's words, and the words behind their eyes.  Try to imagine life in their shoes and not pass judgement, when possible. This is something I've actively worked on my whole life, but have really made a priority in recent years.  Also, I think that everyone should learn to meditate.  When one finds their breath, and their stillness, I think the rest often falls into place naturally. 


15.Definitely, well said. How do you feel about the music scene today?


You know, I find it to be quite different than when I was younger, but I'm not sure that the scene has changed.  I think its possible that I may have been much more gullible before, and now I see things a little more clearly.  At any rate, there's still a LOT of really genuine support out there, and I try to surround myself with those people.  In a larger sense, the scene is incredibly more DIY than it was when I was a kid.  Most local/national bands are doing at least 90% of the work, often procuring their own buses, booking their own tours, all while holding down day jobs and paying bills. Even national acts are barely squeaking by.  I find this to be very sad.  In many other countries, being a musician is a respected job, that people are paid for, and hard-working musicians are supported in their endeavors.  It would be nice to see that happen in the U.S., but I think we'll have to address the issues of unchecked greed that are happening here, first.


16.For real. What advice would you give a new artist just starting out?


Have fun!!! Never lose sight of that.  Play music with your best friends, and love each other.


17.Great advice. What have you been listening to lately, any new music to suggest?


I spend most of my time listening to the new music coming out of my local scene.  I'm very fortunate to be in an area with a plethora of talent, and there is no shortage of new tunes to dig on.  Here's a few you definitely wanna check out: Kairos, Annabel Lee, Black Ritual, Faithful Annie, Den of Wolves, The Reticent, Divine Treachery, Reason Define, Written In Gray, Death of August, Skinkage, ReDefind, Reflect||Refine, Obsidian Darling, Black Plague, Filth, I could really go on all day with this. I encourage everyone to look into their local scene, and support it.  Without the support of listeners, and attendees, music cannot thrive.  Also, wanna give a big shout out to a few of our label mates: Casket Robbery out of Wisconsin, U.S.A; Synlakross out of Valencia, Spain, and Frantic Amber out of Stockholm, Sweden.  You can catch all of us on tour together in 2019.  Stay tuned for more on that.


18.Any last words or news for your fans?


Probably sounding like a broken record by now, but seriously: be super cool to one another, and love as much as you can, as often as possible.  Namaste.


Namaste Aria! Keep us updated on your news. - G