||Awake and Asleep - Old HOW/NOW interview with Aaron Rios of Sonnet To Sleep
Recently I interviewed Aaron Rios of the band Sonnet To Sleep. We discussed faith, music, and giving back .
First of all, where’d you get the name “Sonnet To Sleep”, anyway? It’s kind of ironic that you’ve since woken up. ;)
Haha, well Sonnet to Sleep has dual meanings for me. There were multiple facets of inspiration that I drew from. First literally, it means a song to put you to sleep; songs of peace, hymns for meditation, songs for rest. God wants to inundate us with peace; in His presence is fullness. The word of God is a beautiful sonnet; the redemptive tale of Christ from Genesis to Revelation is nothing more than a beautiful love story of Gods' love for man. When you read it, if you believe and receive it, you can put it down and in the end rest in peace and knowledge of His saving grace. Likewise I was also fascinated with John Keats' poem, his poem sort of touches on death. The peaceful relief for a believer is found in death, something beautiful. It is not quite the mystery it has been made out to be. It’s the completion of one story, total reconciliation of man with God and chances are the beginning of a new story.
You say you were undergoing major changes in your faith at the time of your first album release. Can you elaborate?
I went from admiring Christianity and enjoying the stories of Jesus to embracing faith. But felt like an outsider at the same time, never truly embracing, what the church people call “blessed assurance” or Confidence in my faith. I was struggling, dipping my toes in the water. Somewhere in the last 5 years I decided to plunge into the deep. I decided I wanted to truly be a Christian and forsake myself and my agendas. As Yoda said “there is no try, only do” so I did! The biggest change for me is I can confidently say that I am a Christian, I’m not ashamed and I hope everyone knows it. Not for reputation's sake but I want people to know where I am coming from point blank hands down.
Why do you think your previous album is still valid? What does it say about you?
The previous is album is still a reflection from where I’ve come from. Some artists hate their old stuff and are embarrassed by it. I think that’s silly. I am proud of every song I’ve ever written. I was honest and sincere when I wrote it. It shows my progression as an artist and the lyrics are representative of where I’ve come from.
After having a record label back you once before, why would you go indie again? Is there any advantage besides the obvious of having more creative control?
My main reason for going independent is simply this. The next time I align myself with a label, I want to be 100% certain that it helps me achieve the vision and goals God has for me.
Tell us about the inspiration for each of the 4 songs on Angels Fall.
I wanted to express my love for God blatantly, as I felt it. I wasn’t trying to sell an album; I was trying to express my love. Man was designed to worship God. When we do what we were created to do, there is no greater fulfillment.
Kudos for giving back, Aaron. What exactly are you going to do with the proceeds?
I recently had the amazing privilege to join my friend Nathan Boleen and his organization Well Worth It in Haiti to deliver fresh water, work with YWAM and scout out potential well drilling points. The trip was life changing. I believe in mission and humanitarian work with my entire being, and I wanted to bless this organization with the proceeds.
What would you say to people who are surprised by your choice to do a worship EP?
Many who have followed me musically and know me personally know that i have tried to make a distinction between church music and “secular music”. I’ve struggled with writing music for religious people who already spend plenty of time inundating themselves with music that support their beliefs. But that way of thinking is all screwy. I am not doing music for people; I’m doing music for God. If people choose to tune in they are welcome and if it blesses or encourages them than that’s wonderful. People might expect to hear a sappy ballad or poetic gloomy lyrics. Nothing is as simple and beautiful as honest sincere worship.
Can you give us any information about your upcoming full length album?
Well, it’s going to be amazing, huge, intense, outside the box, loaded with string arrangements, arena sized guitar hooks and punchy bass lines. I have the privilege of working with Aaron Marsh and his talent is phenomenal. I expect it towards the end of 2011.
I imagine it’s kind of lonely sticking out on your own after living the band life. Is there anything you’d like to say to encourage musicians who are considering similar career moves?
Figure out your purpose and design and do not let anything get in the way of accomplishing what you have been created for. Too many great musicians have given up simply because they have not been able to find musicians to back them up. You may never find your dream line up, and you might have to buy them, beg and plead- but nothing should stop you from creating if you’re truly an artist.