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Sinisha Mladenovick & Dragica Maletić (Aurium)

Interview with Sinisha Mladenovick & Dragica Maletić from Aurium
by Joe Brewer at 11 August 2020, 9:59 AM

In these bleak times, now more than ever, creativity and passion are essential to maintaining sanity and achieving moments of joy in life. As a music enthusiast, the one thing that COVID-19 has not affected is the myriad of new music being shared around the world. Even in places where the metal scene is on the small side, bands like AURIUM from Serbia are blazing their own path forward and writing music that is powerful, emotional, and undoubtedly beautiful. Evolving into a more gothic symphonic sound on their second full album, “The 2nd Son”, AURIUM wears their heart on their sleeve, opening up to the world and inviting them to experience the tragedy of life that is felt so richly in their music. Metal Temple writer Joseph Brewer conducted a two part interview with members of the band to find out about the inspiration behind the album and about their approach to music. Part one is a video chat conducted with newly appointed lead singer Dragica Maletić with part two being a written conversation with AURIUM mastermind and keyboardist, Siniša Mladenović.

Obviously, the big story around the world right now is COVID-19. Tours around the globe have all been cancelled or postponed, band activities have been put on hold, and people are being advised to stay at home as much as possible. How has this affected each of you? What is the COVID situation like in Serbia and how has the country dealt with the outbreak?

Yeah, very hard times for all musicians. Two months ago we were in complete lockdown, but now the state of emergency is over and we all follow safety measures. The big problem is that our album was released on 19th of June, and we weren't able to promote it, all our plans are just postponed indefinitely. We still work on band ideas, and slowly we are starting to work on a new album but I believe it's too early to speak about it! :DLet’s talk about “The 2nd Sun”. This is your third album as a band. What was the driving force for writing this album? What themes or messages were you trying to convey? And what is the meaning behind the title, “The 2nd Sun”?

"The Second Sun" is a pretty bitter one. All of our life's shipwrecks are mentioned on this album. So the inspiration for the title was - there's always a second try. Also, there's a quote hidden in our booklet as a main message this album conveys.

As this is your third album were there any major differences in the writing and recording compared to the others? Any specific things that you were trying to achieve?

I believe this one is pretty the same as the first one in that respect overall, but you can clearly hear the growth and a big change in a technical way. We will try to keep expressing ourselves in the best way possible, and keep being storytellers from our own point of view.

In this album you had recorded all of the vocal parts with Milissa Strange first. And then when she left you recruited Dragica and made the choice to integrate her into the album, even though it was technically finished. What was that process like for finishing the album? What was the process behind deciding which singer would be used all throughout the album?

Hm, good question. Yes, you're right. We had recorded and mixed the album, but when we parted our ways with Milica after that, the album inevitably had to be re-recorded for some songs that we wanted to present with official and lyric videos. Selection of the songs was easy, Milica and Dragica had split the album and we chose what was the best for the band, not for us on a personal level. They are both professionals and they did this job perfectly.

“Phasianidae” is a truly epic track. Not only in length, but in tone as well. What went into pursuing such a lengthy song? I also hear a lot of interesting new elements in that song: chimes, xylophone, other percussion.

Yes, this song is actually my composition from 2005, as well as "Son Of The Morning Star". I was very nostalgic about it so I couldn't cut any part from the song, and I just had to define the song arrangement better, with a greater commercial appeal, and add some new elements such as the one you've mentioned.

What has been the response from friends and fans with this new album? Are there any specific songs that you would consider a favorite?

When we played them live we got a lot of amazing reactions from the crowd as well as from our friends. My favorites are Dead Landscapes, Timekeeper and Nodus Tollens.

“Dead Landscapes” is easily my favorite song on the album. It is very dynamic, with a lot of grungy attitude but a great melody. The best part has to be that moment where things slow down sweetly, before coming crashing down with blast beats and screams. How did that moment come to be during the writing process?

In that slow-calm-sweet string part, lyrics convey that everything is going to be fine, the music follows the lyrics and sweet vocal lines to illustrate calmness and safety, but after that, dark clouds just gather again and the storm comes up, which shows that those words are an illusion and brings you into the new state of mind with the ominous blasts.

Lastly, for me another great song is the bonus track, “Son of the Morning Star”. It’s upbeat and  a great finish to the album. Why did that one end up as a bonus track and not part of the main lineup?

As I mentioned above, this song is also from 2005. We put a lot of effort in this one and it was mixed by Nightwish's producer Terro Kinunen in Finland. So everything is very different in this one from mix to music, musical structure and lyrics and we saw that as a perfect fit for a bonus track. Also, this one is band's favorite. It stood out so much that we had to give it a separate status.

I know that “The 2nd Sun” dropped very recently, but are you starting to think about the next album? Any new ideas or musical elements you would want to include in a new album?

Yes, we already have everything ready for the new one. In a month we will start to play them in the studio and start demo recording. I can say that the next album will be a huge challenge for all of us, in every way, and a great and worthy endeavor. A lot of new electronic synths are waiting to be played on this one. :)How long has Aurium been with Art Gates Records? What did it mean for the band to be signed by a major record label?

We had had offers from several different record labels, but when we discovered Art Gates Records, we just decided we wanted to be on their roster. We sent the demos and we got the contract to sign. I just can't explain that feeling in words, but I believe everyone can relate.

Have you toured in the past? What are some of the highlights or favorite moments from past tours? If you could choose a band to partner with on an upcoming tour, who would you choose?

Right after the first release - "Still Life" back in 2015, we had our tour all over Serbia and in one town in Bosnia and Herzegovina. All towns have their own vibe and every show was an amazing experience to share with the crowd. A band we wanted to play with, before Corona, was The A.X.E. Project from Bulgaria, also a band from the Art Gates roster.

What does everyone do in their spare time?

Dragica often records song covers for her fanbase on YouTube. I mean this girl has too many qualities so if I started listing them, I would need two more A4 pages to fit my text, so I'll just mention this one as her hobby in a free time. \[Julius Velker] and I usually work on our side projects, and the rhythm section - \[Miloš Jovanović] and \[Alexandar Mušicki] are hardworking employees in a company that demands a lot of their time and attention, so they don't have much spare time at all. (lol)

Last question, pretend that you’ve just finished an amazing show and as you walk off the stage a fan wants to buy you a drink. What is your drink of choice?

I will sound pretty basic but it would be a beer or Jagermeister.

Thank you for the interview Joe,iIt was a real pleasure!


Sinisha Mladenovick


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Edited 24 September 2022

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