The Aura's
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The Aura's

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | INDIE

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2008
Band Pop Shoegaze


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The Aura's @ Adelaide Hall

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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The Auras, a six-piece band that hail from Brampton and Toronto, have released their second EP, The Auras EP2. Five songs fit for a love-in or a bed-in, showcasing a band whose destiny is to be documented in Dig, the sequel. Dreams of promiscuity and the rebirth of the summer of love our generation desperately needs is given life with rainbow coloured sonic waves and a voice that floats through time.

The track, “Punching Grandma in the Face,” drifts in and out of you, waves of surreal beauty with a punch of lightening as the lyrics take a screaming risk at heightened moments, which later become accompanied by stellar feedback and massive drums and bass. Another notable song, “Love Just Spirals On,” encourages young love under the hot sun with no cares, just living. With many “Ohs” and “Ahs,” this track relaxes the mind as girls are left to twirl around through the fresh grass in summer dresses.

A psychedelic freedom trip, The Auras EP2 brings back the 90s take on the 60s state of mind. With three guitars, one bass, a keyboard and some drums, these Greater Toronto Area bandits shower listeners with love and peace in the same respect as Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhol’s. Any fan of hippie nostalgia and 90s love-rock should grab a copy and float away.(Shelby Monita, - Shelby Monita -

From the opening echoey seconds of The Auras Islands in the Sea, a descending, acid-soaked guitar riff you are taken to their far away soundscape, a mirage in a kaleidoscope dream. All sparkly bliss.

At points the band’s sonics hit space age, before veering back down to earth with a krautrock thump, perfectly timed and cloaked in echoey layers. Motorik drums and bass form a solid structure while guitar and synth develop more liquid surfaces around it. These freer elements invite the listener into this sonic construction to explore its well designed details.

Treading the boards worn down by the likes of Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Asteroid #4, The Auras follow a prestigious pedigree. Avoiding parody they embody the essence of their influences and metabolise them with a distinctive flair that sets them apart.

As part of a nascent scene they are part of a psych collective, formed by The Auras, Sounds Around and Deep Space Cowboys, each one borrowing members from one another. Having supported the likes of Ride,Ringo Deathstarr and Temple The Auras’ impressive résumé speaks for itself. Currently working on new material the six piece are not waiting around for things to happen, they push forward with verve.

Alex James Taylor: Talk me through how you all first met
Hank Van Harten: Most of us have known each other since high school, Dallas, Aaron and Peter were jamming since back then, the rest of us joined up later on. Hank and Robb met at an open mic jam.

AJT: Can you break down the line up for us?
HVH: We’ve got Aaron on drums, we got Robb on hollow body guitar, we got Peter playing the jazz master, we got Dallas playing the 12 string, we’ve got Hank on the bass, and we’ve got David playing keys. We all sing.

AJT: How long have you been The Auras for?
HVH: We’ve had this line up for almost 6 years, but the whole idea for this band has been around for a few years before that.

AJT: Were you all in other bands previous to this?
HVH: We’ve all been jamming around with friends, mostly just jamming for fun, so not really any other bands, no. Just a lot of playing music. we started this band when we were 19 so there wasn’t really a window for us to have any serious bands before The Auras.

AJT: You have a collective with other bands, Sounds Around, Deep Space Cowboys. Can you tell me a bit more about that?
HVH: Usually if the side projects play a show, the band is made up of members of The Auras. Different expressions of the group. Sounds Around is more like anything goes, sometimes psychedelic world music, sometimes acoustic singer songwriter stuff. Deep Space Cowboys is a lot heavier and noisier.

AJT: You teamed up with Tess Parks for your latest release, how did you guys first meet?
HVH: She came to see us one night at the Cameron house a few years back. She posted up some pictures of us on her blog and we ended up playing some shows together. Then we made the last ep together. We were able to get a couple new jams written before she left for the tour, so we’re stoked about that. We really clicked playing as a group, it felt natural. Wholesome

AJT: So I’m guessing there’s a pretty tight knit scene in Toronto, how is the Canadian music scene looking in general?
HVH: There’s definitely a lot going on over here. The psych scene here is full of awesome bands, Planet Creature, Saffron Sect, B-17, BB Guns, Sunshine and the Blue Moon, Mimico, Walrus, Mexican Slang, Tess Parks, Sun Stone Revolvers, Crosss etc., We have had some really awesome guidance from people who know a lot more than us, like Jose Contreras, Ryan Masters, Rishi Dhir and Brendan Canning. We are really into the scene in Quebec, every time we go there it is amazing. It’s nice that all these epic people in the Canadian Music scene have believed in us and helped us out.

AJT: I saw that you opened for Ride the other day, that must have been amazing… How was it playing with those guys?
HVH: Very life-affirming and uplifting. It was a really great atmosphere all around and we’d love to do it again.

AJT: If you could tour with any band who would it be?
HVH: We’ve played with a lot of our favourite bands, and we don’t really know who our choice would be to tour with. Lets just say it would be great to tour with Ringo Deathstarr, Spindrift, Ride, Elephant Stone, Temples, The High Dials or any of the other bands who we have shared a stage with, we are really grateful to be able to play with a lot of bands we have listened to for years and years.

AJT: What’s currently on The Auras record player?
HVH: There are six people in the band so its hard to say. Lets say its a cross section between The Rolling Stones, A Place to Bury Strangers, Ringo Deathstarr, Spectrum, Death Grips, Aphex Twin, Cocorosie, The Asteroid #4, and all our new tracks we have to listen to over and over again.

AJT: You have a few EPs out at the moment. Is an album in the works anytime soon?
HVH: We’ve definitely got lots of new stuff on the way, cha cha boom!

AJT: Any plans for a tour outside of Canada soon?
HVH: We’re working on it as we speak, shoot us a message if you’re into it! - HERO Magazine

Montreal Psych Fest closed off last Sunday night at L’Escogriffe and it was a great end to the festival’s 3rd edition. Toronto psych rock band The Auras had just arrived earlier in the day and were very excited and honored to have helped “open the closing” as they so eloquently told me after their set that night. And what a set it was; I had put the band on my “to keep note of” list before the festival so I was happy they were just as awesome live as they were recorded. I kept thinking to myself that if Hyde from That 70’s Show ever heard this band, he’d probably approve of them. The 6 piece band haven’t even hit the 5 year mark but already sound like they’ve been at this for a while when you listen to what they’ve put out. There seems to be one clear goal when they're creating music and that’s to take the listener somewhere they can’t exactly explain, but definitely don’t want to leave. I got a chance to get a few more “eloquently” formulated answers to my questions from 4 (then 3) out of the gang that night, on the bar’s outside patio. Transcribed in all its glory: my Q&A with the slightly inebriated Auras.

Describe psych music in one word:

Dallas: Perception!

Robb: Minds manifesting music…oh I’m sorry…fuck!.…k wait…Sound!

Aaron: Innovative

Hank: Shit….Reality! It’s life, deal with it!

With psych, it’s not only about just creating songs but also creating an experience for the listener (usually with the help of art, movies, photos…), would you agree with that statement?

Aaron: Psych music requires a lot more thought than most types of music and it usually has something to do with a form of spirituality or a form of other artistic thinking. It's usually not limited to just being music. Where with other music is like “hey these are my feelings and I’ll blab them out to you”. Psych music has a little bit more to do about world culture and world beliefs and that’s one thing that differentiates it.

Dallas: And psych music can also be very very pop-y and positive without any direct message to it. Which is very very helpful because since it’s so positive the majority of the time. You can look past a lot of other things that aren’t necessarily as [indecipherable definition] but you can fucking dig it because the soul is there.

Hank (in response to Dallas): we’ve been here since 6pm drinking.

Robb: For us, psych music has been a lifestyle for the past 5 years or so and it just becomes a lifestyle and it includes all sorts of things like movies, how you live, what music you play….

Do you take creating that experience into consideration when writing music?

Hank: It’s not like it’s the first thing you think about when you step into the jam space; you just wanna lay it down and have a good time. You wanna just bring the ruckus, right? Right?

Aaron: If you don’t see people for a week and you hang out with them, usually they’ve read a bunch of books that week you haven’t read or different articles, or listened to a bunch of songs; so you come to band practice, you come to a jam and you bring 6 different elements of thought where it’s like “ok, I’ve been living my life this way, you’ve been living your life this way” and you bring it all together and it’s like “this is what it sounds like”.

Dallas: Everything has the basic circle that we’re trying to get to, more or less. *band starts making spiral motion with their fingers*

Earlier Tasha was saying how everyone involved with the festival was part of a community; did you sense that as well?

Hank: I’ve felt very welcomed here; everybody I’ve talked to has been really friendly and really nice. The band playing right now (UUBBUURRUU) has been really cool and it’s cool here. I like it here. I wanna come back here, it’s awesome. Montreal, we love you.

How’s the psych scene in Toronto?

Hank: The psych scene is good! Optical Sounds, you guys wanna talk about Optical Sounds?!

Robb: Optical Sounds helped us out; we were just kids, 19yrs old and they scooped us up and said “you know what, you can play shows now”. They gave us the confidence to do that and we’ve been doing it ever since so that’s a real blessing. K, so: B-17, Sun Stone Revolvers, BB Guns, Shazam!

Hank: Check it out! Check it out!

Aaron: All the Optical Sounds bands are really really good. They’re all psych bands but it’s very very concentrated. There’s the one label, and then there’s kind of a couple other bands, and it’s like a little pocket in Toronto.

Where do you see Mtl Psych Fest in the next 5yrs?

Robb and Hank: To the Moon!

Aaron: I see Montreal as kind of connected to the whole global thing going on. Austin Psych Fest kicked off like 4 years ago, maybe it’s their 5th year now. And now you’ve got London, you’ve got France, you’ve got Liverpool, you’ve got Montreal. It’s literally kicked off to a scale where it’s global, so I think that Montreal is part of a collective thing. It’s not a stand-alone thing, it’s “Psych Fest”. Austin Psych Fest is Psych Fest, as soon as you put those words together you’ve attached it to this giant thing. And Texas was the beginning of psych music, 13th Floor Elevators they started there, that was THE beginning of psych music. I think it’s just a worldwide thing that’s going on and with the internet it’s so accessible.

Hank: I just wanted to say that UFO’s are real. I just wanted to take that chance, in case anyone hears this and you’re tripping out about that. Yes, UFO’s are real. Just come to terms with that. Listen to The Auras, we’re gonna help you. We’re trying to help you. Just don’t trip out about this. Don’t trip out about the New World either, just relax...

IX: And listen to The Auras?

Hank: And also a bunch of other things that we don’t have the time to get into but yea, yea. Thank you for that. That was a great plug.

Robb: If you could just say it again, say it exactly how she said it so we can put it in quote.

Hank: Just relax, and listen to The Auras. - ix Daily


Still working on that hot first release.