Aortaproject has been turning heads for quite a few years now, with vivid and expressive alternative electronic music that speaks to listeners and leaves them wanting more. Steven Sheffield leads this musical production, a talented composer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer himself.
Aortaproject's newest single, "Wounded Warrior," has recently been released, and it is nothing short of breathtaking. The song features Rachel Bennett (A Just Nova), a beautiful addition to the song with a diverse and impressive vocal range. The song starts out dark and stormy, the bass following the underlying melody in from the start and setting the scene for what will be quite the moving and impassioned three and a half minutes.
Energy radiates from your speakers as the pressure builds, and you wait for the inevitable beat to drop. In with the beat are Rachel Bennett's ethereal vocals, relaying the well-spoken lyrics that will pierce your soul and reminding you that you are on the "road of change." "Wounded Warrior" is packed full of fearless chord progressions, startling guitar, and combative lyrics and is the perfect second single in a line of new releases in 2021 for Aortaproject.
These singles are to be compiled into an EP entitled 'Seminal' and pay tribute to the late father of aortaproject. "Wounded Warrior" will leave you feeling rejuvenated and determined, and we can't wait to hear the next single that will precede the release of 'Seminal.'
How does “Wounded Warrior” fit into the narrative that you have created for your new EP?
Wounded Warrior fits into the narrative of the "Seminal" coming from a dark place but pressing on. My dad passed away unexpectedly and this collection of songs is about that process. I didn't know it at the time, I wasn't writing the music or setting out to do it as an ode to my father or reflect on my grief. WW was the 3rd song of the writing process. I connected with it emotionally early on. My songs tend to build their own path over me trying to force them in a certain direction. WW followed this same narrative, it occurred on its own and in hindsight is easier to reflect upon in relation to the other tracks. WW was originally crafted entirely instrumental, it sat in a folder for a while until I was able to get in contact with Rachel. Rachel laid down her powerful vocals to bring a new spin on the track and transcend it. The pressing on and embracing change vibe is mostly from her standpoint.
What was the songwriting process like for “Wounded Warrior?" How did your first idea turn into the atmospheric and passionate production that “Wounded Warrior” is now?
Many of my tracks start with piano and I find a full range of melodies and octaves to explore. Then I pull those layers apart and adapt to a different sound pallet. I knew I wanted a powerful "movie trailer" like drums but something honest and vulnerable for the overall feel of the track. There was a lot of back and forth with the song. Wrangling it and trying to find the "right" expression. I even omitted an additional ending piece that had a more climatic finish. Maybe something to add for live performances but it didn't feel right for this presentation of the song.
Who are some of your musical inspirations for “Wounded Warrior”, and how do they weave their way through the song?
The easiest comparison is "nine-inch nails." NIN had a huge impact on me in my formative years and TR is still an icon. There are other influences for people who are into deep cuts of "God iI An Astronaut," "Jon Hopkins" and "Moderat." These artists' emotional presentations of electronic music have always been a staple for me and I think that shows in my writings and production. The vulnerable pianos with very atmospheric production, driving beats, and an ethereal feel. Just to name a few things.
What gave you the idea to release every song on your new EP 'Seminal' as separate singles? Are they being released in any particular order?
The idea to release a series of singles over an EP started from a different place than what it has become. Originally in the brainstorming process was to have more content available to provide on SM. You release an EP, promote it for a month, and then you have nothing to talk about without the daily; "I'm eating this, or here is random chords on a piano that won't be in a song you hear, etc." Nothing against people or artists who do promote that way, it's just not my style. I like my content to be more meaningful and direct. As the songs were coming together and being mix/mastered and artwork designs coming in, I was able to reflect on the process a bit more and realized what I had written was about me coping with the sudden passing of my father, and releasing the track one at a time 1x a month was about the same pace I was processing the world around me. It felt more true to the experience I lived and I felt an honest connection to that with the music and decided to release the tracks this way.
What's next for you?
Up next? 3 more songs to be released. 2 instrumentals (Asylum and Last of your Name) and 1 with vocals from my friend Gabe Cavazos (The Lying Den). They will follow the same path with 1x release a month for the next several months with the corresponding video. With all the free time from the pandemic, I have already written and recorded a 3rd EP with about 6 songs. They still need vocals and then will be mixed and mastered. Probably late 2021 or early 2022 releases for them.