"Bands like this need some love, because there are far too many bands (especially here in the United States) who go around claiming to be the most unique band out there and talk about how awesome they are. Usually they’re just a bunch of boners who think they sound a thousand times better than they actually do. AITTALA on the other hand, is a truly original band, and yet they appear to keep a pretty modest attitude about it. "- Metal Temple
The music of AITTALA (pronounced 'EYE-tah-la') crosses many metal genres; it’s hard to put it into just one category. The sound infuses elements of classic heavy metal, doom, progressive, power, thrash and hard rock with lyrics drawing inspiration from the darker side of the human condition. The AITTALA sound has been cited for being unique which is no easy feat in the metal genre.
The first version of AITTALA was formed in 1991 while Eric living in Holland. With fellow American Tim on vocals and Dutch bandmates Ed (drums) and Jon (bass), the band became a staple of the Dutch metal scene.
The Metal Band Aittala Interview
Scott- Hi Eric, thank you for agreeing to do this written interview w/ me and my readers. Tell us a little about the band, where you are from and what is the music scene like.
Eric: The original incarnation of Aittala was formed in 1991 in Holland while I was stationed there in the United States military. I met the original vocalist, Tim (an American living on the military installation) and we started talking about forming a band. We found a Dutch drummer and bassist and started to learn some of the songs I had already written, but we had no name yet. After contemplating various names, Tim said 'why not just call it Aittala?' and it stuck. For about 18 months, we played shows around Holland and started to create a buzz around the scene. Unfortunately, I had to leave Holland at the end of 1993. My plan was to put a new band together right away and try to get Aittala going again in the States, but nothing went as planned.
Though out the rest of the 90s, I continued to write and record new material as demos (a lot of those early songs have been released on the 5 Aittala albums). I kept on trying to put a band together, but it was challenging as I lived in an area at the time with a non-existent metal scene at the time.
In 2000, I moved to the Raleigh NC area. It had a better music scene and was able to play with a few different bands over the next few years. I continued to write and record Aittala as a side project. In 2009, I decided I was tired of being in other people's bands and made the decision I would concentrate on Aittala again as a live band.
Currently, the band consists of Gary 'Zues' Smith on drums (since 2012) and Ali Lugo on bass (since 2019). This is by far the best version of Aittala.
As far as the Raleigh scene, it’s OK. The heavier original music scene has been on the decline and obviously COVID didn’t do any favors.
Scott - Please give my readers a short description of Aittala's style of music and songwriting. Is there an overall message in the music?
Eric: The sound infuses elements of classic heavy metal, doom, progressive, power, thrash and hard rock. We’ve been call ‘eclectic doom’ quite a few times over the years.
As far as an overall message in the music, lyrically, I like to explore the darker side of human nature and interaction. It's just more fascinating than writing about happy or positive subjects.
One of the biggest compliments that I’ve gotten is the band has a unique and original sound. In this day and age, with so many bands out there, that’s a tough thing to do.
With the release of the 3-song EP 'Selling Heaven' in summer of 1993, AITTALA opened for such bands as THE GATHERING and SADIST.
Unfortunately as the demo started to create a buzz in the underground European metal scene, Eric had to return to the US and disbanded AITTALA.
Over the next decade or so, Eric played in numerous bands (TRIBE, MAGNETHEAD, DWELL) and lost focus on AITTALA.
Near the end of the 00's, Eric decided it was time to refocus his efforts on the AITTALA brand. From 2009 to 2016, AITTALA released 4 full-length albums: 'Bed of Thorns' (2009), 'Haunt Your Flesh' (2011), 'Effigy' (2014) and 'American Nightmare' (2016). Each album showcasing a natural progression of songwriting and lyrical content but retaining the core AITTALA sound and evolving it.
Scott - Who are some of the band's musical influences and which one of these influences stand out the most when it comes to influencing the band's songwriting?
Eric: Growing up as a teenager in the 80s of course I was influence by Maiden, Judas Priest, Dio, Black Sabbath, Motley Crue, Metallica, Megadeth…the list of 80s metal is almost endless.
But as I got older, I started branching out and appreciating different genres of music.
Those non-metal influences may not be evident when you listen to Aittala, but they are there in primal essence.
When I write songs, I write organically and try not to let any band or style influence the music consciously. I’m basically just a conduit for the song to exist how it wants to exist in this moment.
Scott - What instruments do you play and what is your "go to" instrument for writing a song?
Eric: Guitar is my main instrument, but I do play keyboard as well.
In 2019, AITTALA signed with Curtain Call Records and released the band's fifth full-length album 'False Pretenses'. It was 10 brand new songs that not only continued the songwriting evolution of heavier but catchy songs, but also sonically. AITTALA used an entirely different approach for the recording, mixing and mastering to create the best AITTALA album to date.
The current lineup of AITTALA consists of Gary 'Zeus' Smith (THE FIFTH, ex-MR BLACKWELL) on drums and Ali Lugo (ex-AGE OF DESPAIR) on bass. They continue to write, record and tour to bring AITTALA to the masses.
Scott - Are there any new bands out there that you guys like that are making a difference in the music business and are setting a trend on how to market their music?
Eric: Pre-COVID when I was working in the office (I’ve been working from home the past year), I would listen to various Spotify playlists and hear some really good new music (though I couldn’t tell you the band names), but now that I’ve been working at home, I don’t have tendency to listen to music that much.
"The band’s sound is difficult to pigeonhole because they incorporate a variety of styles. The common element in all the songs is the potent groove. On tracks like “Black Coffin” and “Afterthought” stoner/doom is at the forefront, while songs such as “Disowned” have a more traditional metal vibe. There are progressive influences on “How Much Longer,” while the closer “Debt” is a piano based ballad. Even with so many disparate styles, Aittala bring everything together into a cohesive whole."
- Heavy Music Headquarters
Scott - Tell us of any recent music and or videos you have released and what are your musical goals for 2021.
Eric: Our latest album is entitled ‘False Pretenses’. It was released in September 2019 on Curtain Call Records.
For 2021, we’re currently recording our 6th studio album tentatively called ‘War of Attrition’ and should be out by the end of the year.
And we’re starting to book shows the 2nd half of this year as COVID restrictions come to an end.
And be sure to find us at:
We’re also on all the major digital streaming and distribution platforms. Just search ‘Aittala’ and you’ll find us. Don’t misspell it…we get mixed up with ‘Atilla’
Artwork by Scott Thomas
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