So I was originally supposed to do an interview with Aaron Nordstrom from Gemini Syndrome, but I was able to cajole guitarist Rich Juzwick into joining us. I’m glad too, because they are both super-nice guys, and as I told them after the fact, to be this close to the people who made not only one of the best albums musically of 2013 (LUX), but an album that touched me on so many levels was a dream come true. So, here it is:
Amps: Ok, you guys have been on tour like crazy. What have you learned from being around all these veteran bands you shared the bill with?
Rich: For me, just how to kick it up a notch. You know 90% of bands’ life is in smaller clubs, so playing this large of a venue (Verizon Theatre) this often is a totally different way to have to own the stage and try to relate to the crowd. So playing with a band like Five Finger, who’s used to playing to a crowd that big, and observing them and catching onto like, “Oh, you know things that I do in a smaller way work, but that doesn’t translate here” (laughs).
Aaron: For me too, it’s part of like, becoming comfortable in your own skin and being confident with that. Seeing guys that we’ve been on tour with this whole year, like Five Finger Death Punch and for me as a vocalist, watching David Draiman every night, those guys go out and just own it. They’re so confident, and I try to absorb that mentality.
Amps: Aaron, with all this touring how’s the voice holding up?
Aaron: More or less good. There was a week there where I got really sick and it was pretty rough.
Amps: What’s your regimen to take care of it?
Aaron: Tea is good. I try to sleep a lot. It was really rough coming out of Canada, it was cold and rainy. And you get sick and you still gotta power through those shows, so that was hard.
Amps: Tom George over at FiXT Publicity was adamant that I let you guys know that he and I are good friends, by the way!
Amps: He’s actually in two of my Fantasy Football leagues, and I’m upset because he’s friggin’ destroying in one!
Rich: Weirdly enough, right when you started to say that sentence I started thinking, “Tom. Fantasy. Oh man, this is weird…”
Aaron: (Laughing) this is going somewhere very strange!
Rich: My brain just moves that fast-
Amps: (Laughing) I said FOOTBALL!!
Aaron: Two of my fantasy…
Rich: It moves weirdly fast, man.
Amps: Uhhh, fast and a little bit sick (laughing)!
Aaron: Possibly, right? Possibly…
Amps: With regard to the material on LUX. What I’m noticing is that the songs really seem to resonate with your fan base, myself included, on a deeply personal level. What’s the coolest interaction you’ve had in that respect?
Aaron: You know I’ve gotten quite a few e-mails and messages through social media from people telling me anything from, “You saved my life” or “You saved my friend’s life” to just impacting them on such a personal level that they’re asking me what the songs are really about to get my insight, but then they take it and see it their own way. Which is so cool because that was always a goal for me is to be able to write lyrics that mean something to me personally from my direct experience but have it be ambiguous enough that someone can interpret it any way they want and have it be their own meaning and inspiration to them. And to hear that kind of stuff coming back is really cool.
Amps: What’s next for you guys after this? What’s our next move?
Rich: We have two more shows for this tour, and then we go home for a few weeks. Then we’re doing Christmas shows and some headline dates to close out the year. It’s all getting confirmed right now, but we’re exploring our options.
Amps: Who would you like to take out with you as headliners?
Rich: Oh, us as headliners? That’s tricky because we’re so busy thinking, “What tour could we be on?”
Aaron: Yeah, sharing a stage with Korn and Five Finger Death Punch and Asking Alexandria is pretty awesome. So I think we’re still in that kind of mindset, like “Who could we go open for?” not who would open for us, you know.
Rich: I would have to say on the idea of opening for us, what would be awesome for me would be to take bands that we played with before and grew up with in L.A. and other places. What I would really like to see is take two, three, or four baby bands like us that we played with before we were signed and do a run together, and know that we accomplished something together.
Amps: So there’s still sometimes a “Pinch me” mentality?
Rich: It’s all relative because sometimes I stop and go, “Hey! I’m playing a show with Korn! That’s awesome!” and other times you realize that this is our career.
Aaron: Someone asked me something similar to this a month or two ago, and very similar to what Rich said, it sinks in for me when I get home, when we have that week or two off it’s like, “Wow! We did that all year!” You get that second to sit on your couch, you don’t have to go to load-in, and you realize that we did all that. Also like Rich said when you’re in the grind, when you’re in the middle of it it’s show in, show out, day in, day out you don’t have time to reflect on it, you’re just doin’ it. It becomes a routine and what you’re doing on a constant.
Amps: Days all start to run together…
Aaron: What day is it and where are we?
Rich: I always know where we are because I have all these lists in my head, but I don’t always remember the days.
Aaron: (Smiling) he’s very good at that.
Rich: I’m like, “Oh, here’s Corpus Christi, tomorrow’s Pharr, day off, Dallas, Lubbock, Colorado Springs, and go home.”
Aaron: “It’s Tuesday!” “No, it’s Friday, dude.”
Amps: Last question. Anything you’d like to say to the Gemini Syndrome fans out there?
Aaron: Thanks for everything you’ve done so far, man. Keep it up, spread the Syndrome. Our fans are very hardcore and it’s awesome!
Rich: Muchas gracias!
Yes, we the Synners are very hardcore. Once again I have to give a HUGE thank you to Aaron and Rich for sitting down with me before the gig, and Mike, AP, and Brian for stopping to shake my hand and chat for a minute. Also big thanks to the guys for signing a CD for Mini-Amps, and of course the biggest of thank you’s to Tom George without whom none of this would have happened. Thanks, Tom!