Interview with Aaron Turner of Isis: Radiating Energy

Are you playing Irving (Plaza) this time around?

I think so, I wouldn’t swear to it but I’m pretty sure that’s where it is.

Well that’s certainly a large room. Pelican is the main support for you, right?

For a portion of the tour, yes.

As you said, you want to match someone else’s aesthetic or have a similar mindset to music, but do you sometimes feeling that it might be too much of a good thing? I’m not saying that you and Pelican sound exactly alike but there are a lot of parallels in terms of direction.

Yeah, that’s a concern sometimes, and it’s hard to strike a balance between finding a band that’s complimentary and a band that you find personally interesting but also finding a band that isn’t stylistically too similar. That was somewhat of a concern with Pelican, but I feel like we’ve done enough tours with bands that are utterly different than we are in terms of the way they sound that doing something like this from time to time isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

I also think that this type of tour compared to a lot of other metal tours is pretty forgiving in that way. If you think a lot about grindcore or death metal tours that happen it’s not one or two bands who have similar sounds, but it’s sometimes as many as seven or eight. I’m not saying that that makes what we are doing good by comparison, but I don’t know. At this point, how many tours have we done? I can’t even count them, it’s like at some point it’s not like it ceases to matter, but we want every show to be a singular experience and people to appreciate it, and we want each of the bands and ourselves included to stand out, but at the same time, it’s sometimes a matter of logistics: ‘Okay this band is comprised of people that we get along with, we like their music and we feel like we can definitely listen to it night to night without going crazy.’

We also feel like both bands will benefit from playing with each other, so why not do it? If we did a tour with us and Pelican and Cult of Luna and whomever else that sort of operates in the same territory, it might feel kind of ridiculous, but I feel like this is something that is definitely manageable and doesn’t feel like an overload as far as we’re concerned.

Now I’m thinking of that Avalon show again, you were playing with Dalek and Zombi which are pretty wide stylistic range, and I would say maybe too different sometimes. Just from when I was there it seemed that a lot of people went outside for Dalek or weren’t even there yet, of course, for Zombi maybe. But it’s interesting because the scene that you’re in is still very tight knit and a little—I don’t want to use the word ‘incestuous,’ but everybody knows each other. (laughs)

Yeah, definitely and I think that that to us is almost the most important factor, and we want to go on tour with people that we know we are going to get along with. Whether it’s Dalek or Pelican or whoever else, if they make crappy music, it’s unlikely that we’re going to go on tour with them. But if they make music that we like whether it’s quite different from what we do or somewhat similar it doesn’t really ultimately matter as long as the personal element is there and also feeling like there is some mutual respect for the music that is being made by those individuals.

Isis play the Fillmore At Irving Plaza with Pelican and Tombs on Tuesday, June 2 and the TLA in Philadelphia on Wednesday, June 3. For more info, visit