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Armed Aria - a Dream Band for the Practical

Kick out the jams: Orion, Kent and Kyle of Armed Aria

"I was asleep at my desk, and I woke up with the name on my tongue." Even in a somnambulant state Kyle Grant, lead vocalist for Armed Aria, knew that was the name their band had been looking for. "It's intentional, to be armed. You're ready." Considering what they've been doing over the past year, this is a most apt description.

Armed Aria has been doing more than simply gearing up for their first show. "We've been playing since early in 2007, but we wanted to wait to perform. We wanted to have some recordings so people leaving the show could take something with them." So, instead of simply putting together a demo, perhaps doing some recording on their savings, they built their own studio from scratch.

"Orion basically put it together," guitarist Kent Swanson relates. "He'd say 'we need this', and we'd say 'we're broke'. He'd say 'but we need this', and we'd just figure it out." What seems a hardy feat for a budding band turned into a professional recording-and-practice studio with 32 digital (16 analog) input capacity. "Now, we just press a button, and we're ready to record."

"We play all our practices with headphones on." This might ultimately lead to possibly pesky in-ear monitors, which Kyle says they haven't yet decided upon. However, it has it's less obvious perks. "I can go home, sign onto the FTP site, and listen to what we just played. It makes writing lyrics really easy."

Easy seems a relative term. With a list of influences running the gamut from classic rock icons Led Zeppelin, nordic melodic-metalheads Opeth, prog-rock's idolized Dream Theater, and the genius of the Beatles, Radiohead and Pink Floyd, living up to what they love is quite a difficult task. The guys take it in stride, and while they do have at least one 13-minute anthem in their repertoire already, the music is edgy, easy to engage with and deep enough to swim in.

Armed Aria debuts on August 21st at Garfield Artworks, and yinz bet ch'yer butt I'll be there. Within a few weeks, they will graduate to one of the most prestigious stages in Pittsburgh, with a September 13th demo release at Mr. Smalls Funhouse. "We wanted people to get excited about music in this city." Kent explains, saying that each band on the bill at Smalls will be releasing something that evening. Fountain Infinity (compare to A Perfect Circle), Chux Beta, and Come to Dust will be among those bands. "There's so much going on, but no one seems to know about it. We think this it'll be good to show off a lot of good local bands at once."

It's not until much later in our conversation that they mention the Haunted House attached to the studio. And the wet bar. And the hot tub. And the opthalmist. "The studio's in the same building as Orion's family's business. His dad's an eye-doctor. Every year they have a Halloween party, and eventually they collected so much stuff that they just leave it up all year now."

Though they plan on doing some touring after the EP is released, we hope they stick around Pittsburgh and play for us a while. I propose a live-in-the-studio-haunted-hot-tub bash.

The fun-loving, multi-talented guys aren't bad to look at either:
Kyle Grant (vocals, rhythm guitar), Kent Swanson (lead guitar), Orion Czarnecki (Percussion)

And if you think that photo is sweet, well, just wait til you hear the music! A few rough tracks are available through their myspace, and others will be available at the upcoming shows.

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