Over the last two decades, Aaron Turner has made his name with a slew of mind-expanding, genre-defying heavy bands — including Isis, Old Man Gloom, Split Cranium, Greymachine and Mamiffer — and as the founder of the trailblazing indie label Hydra Head Records, known to many by its slogan: "Thinking Man's Metal." When we spoke to him in October 2017, during a studio stint with his current group Sumac — whose latest album, Love In Shadow, is due September 21st — he talked about his artistic process, his vision for the band and his diverse listening tastes, from 20th century composers to Carly Rae Jepsen. He also expounded upon the seminal influence of Metallica's 1988 album ...And Justice for All, which, in many ways, set him on his lifelong creative path. Below are his words.
"I was talking to somebody the other day about …And Justice for All and how that record came along for me at a time in life where I didn't really understand where my angst was coming from or have any of my own words to articulate my experience. What that record did for me was, even in a kind of ham-fisted, simplistic way, was showed me that there were people who were dissatisfied with the way that they saw the world working. It was basically saying like, 'There's something wrong with the way things are. There's gotta be a better way and I'm pissed about it.' [Laughs] That kind of brought me out of isolation and connect me to other people through music. Even if they became a watered-down version of what they once were, that was music that did ultimately serve me positively and put me on a direction and on a path in life that I'm still on. And that was ultimately great for me. So I feel like even without having discovered hardcore, my discovery of metal and discovery of this kind of difficult, challenging music was a way in which my perspective started being broadened."