Interview with Auras

Photo credit: Randy Edwards

Photo credit: Randy Edwards

“Watching other bands/artists succeed in general is very inspiring to me and the guys.” -Josh Ligaya (Auras)

On March 20th, Canadian metal rockers Auras released the video for their track “Spiral” from their album Heliospectrum. Founded in 2010, Auras is on the road touring quite a bit this year. However, Auras band member Josh Ligaya happily took some time to share with us his musical history and talk about the band. And be sure to check out the video for “Spiral” below.

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What and who does your act consist of?

Josh Ligaya: AURAS is a four-piece metal group. Eric Almeida on vocals, myself (Josh Ligaya) on guitar/vocals, Aaron Hallman on guitar, and Nathan Bulla on drums.

How did you and your band meet?

J.L.: We all met through mutual friends. I’ve known Eric since high school where we started our first local band together. Aaron and Nathan have been friends for a long time as well. But the key person who brought us all together is one of my best friends Eyob. We call him the “Keyob”.

Where are you and your band from?

J.L.: We are all from Cambridge Ontario and all currently live in Kitchener-Waterloo Ontario area.

Thinking back to early childhood, what was your first experience with music?

J.L.: My first memorable music experience happened when I was very young. My parents would tell me that I was obsessed with Michael Jackson. Apparently I used to sing and dance to his songs all the time. Then when I was in Grade 8, I started playing the drums which began my musical journey.

What type of music did you hear the most growing up? Is it different from what you listen to now?

J.L.: I started out listening to a lot of R&B, rap, and hip hop when I was much younger. When I started learning instruments, I slowly transitioned into metal music. Avenged Sevenfold and Linkin Park were my go-tos. I started out learning drums and eventually moved to guitar. I pretty much listen to the same stuff nowadays except I listen to more R&B than metal whereas it would be the complete opposite when I was younger.

What was the first song that you ever sang?

J.L.: The first song I ever attempted to sing with an acoustic guitar was “Numb” by Linkin Park. Key word “attempted”.

What made you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in music?

J.L.: I taught myself how to play guitar when I was about 14 years old. When I wrote my first song on guitar and showed my friends who ended up liking it, I realized that I always wanted to write music for people. To this day, I love the thrill in writing a song and getting an emotional response from listeners.

How did you become involved in the type of music you play/sing now?

J.L.: The more I began to learn drums and guitar, the more my musical taste would grow. Everything I write is influenced by I enjoy listening too at that moment.

For those who have never seen or heard your music before, how would you describe your music for the public audience?

J.L.: I’d say our band is has an energetic blend between the heavy and melodic aspects of modern metal. We are are rhymically driven but we like to compliment it with a nice atmospheric texture or melody.

Would you rather play live performances or be in the studio?

J.L.: I think it changes from time to time. Writing has always been my favorite part of being in a band however I do also enjoy the energy that all live shows bring. Currently right now, I think I’m a studio guy.

Have you ever entered any contests to enhance your musical career?

J.L.: I don’t believe so. We did battle of the bands a couple of times locally when the band first started out but nothing recently.

Have you been involved in any benefit performances?

J.L.: We have done a few in the past. Definitely looking forward to doing more in the future!

What do you think your greatest accomplishment has been so far in your musical career?

J.L.: Personally for me, just being able to share the stage with amazing bands has been a great accomplishment. We have toured with bands that we look up to who influenced us in our younger years to shape what our band is today. These bands have been incredible people to tour with. Also, knowing that we have inspired other musicians is a great feeling as well.

If you had to categorize your music, what genre would it best fit?

J.L.: I’d say we are Progressive Metal.

What are your songs about and what general themes do they talk about?

J.L.: The lyrics I write are very open-ended and never really specific to any topic. Everyone relates to my lyrics in a very different way which I find really neat. When I am writing, it is all relative to what I’m feeling at that time. Sometimes it has something to do with the world we live in or even just a simple thought I had in my head. But if I had to narrow it down to one topic though, it would be “awareness”.

Why do you choose to focus on these themes?

J.L.: I like to write lyrics open-ended so that there is something to offer to everyone. Everyone can relate to it in their own way. In terms of my “awareness” theme, I feel like it’s good to question things and to be aware of your surroundings. I’ll just leave it at that.

Are there any stories surrounding your songs that you’d care to share?

J.L.: I don’t think so. There isn’t any specific story surrounding any of our songs. However, we wrote the entire Crestfallen EP when the entire band lived together for the first time.

What has been your strongest influence to continue performing?

J.L.: Watching other bands/artists succeed in general is very inspiring to me and the guys.

Does anyone in particular influence you?

J.L.: There isn’t really a single person that influnces me. If there was a band that influences me and the guys, it would be our labelmates in The Contortionist.

What are your immediate music career goals?

J.L.: I’m very fascinated with the music industry and how it is always changing/growing. My goal is to be forever involved in the music industry; if that means being an artist or someone behind the scenes.

What has been the biggest challenge for you or the group?

J.L.: Our biggest challenge used to be becoming noticed and connected with the right people. Now that we have a great team put together, our biggest challenge currently is fine-tuning how the band operates now. We are doing pretty good however we are still relatively new compared to a lot of other acts so we are always learning on how to improve ourselves on the road and in studio.

What type of fan base do you have?

J.L.: If there is one word to describe our fan base, I would say “loyal”. We have been getting a lot of hardcore fans coming out to our shows that have been listening to us since day one. We think it’s awesome!

Music tends to appeal to everyone, young and old. Do you have any advice for the youth of today?

J.L.: I feel like the local scene used to be so much better; at least where I’m from. I would say support your local artists/bands. Go to a show. Buy a T-shirt. Buy an Album. Do anything that supports an artist directly. For those young musicians out there, save your money and invest in yourself. Don’t be afraid to be creative and think outside of the box a little bit.

Do you have other interests or talents you would like to share with us?

J.L.: Fitness is something that Eric and I are always into. All us guys love Super Smash Bros. 64 and play competively amongst our circle of friends. Beat us and forever earn our respect.

What do you do with your time away from music?

J.L.: I enjoy working out and hanging with friends over a nice cold IPA. Simple as that.

As an artist, is there anything special you hope to be able to accomplish?

J.L.: I hope to forever inspire young musicians and people in general. My passion for music will always be there and I hope I can start or help keep that within a person who listens our music.

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Author: Samantha Stevens

I am a retired Canadian sailor turned writer, journalist, and academic. Currently completing my MA in journalism, and keeping my writing skills sharp through freelance work. The Littlest Voice is my baby.