Adorned In Ash (AIA), a band that needs no introduction on our local scene. Hailing from Pretoria, they’ve been ripping up stages at our local venues, pulling huge crowds, and causing brutal mosh pits for the past 3 years. You’ll see Robyn Ferguson on lead guitar and vocals, giving you eargasms and jaw dropping guitar shredding skills, Marinus Terblanche on bass, jumping off stage bass in hand headbanging with the crowd, Leon Van Rensburg shredding beautifully written solo’s on his Jackson with a beard that almost intimidates you, Mark Ivey on drums, playing double bass like he’s a robot. Currently working on the finishing touches of their debut album, The Dead Walk Among Us, we caught up with them to find out who AIA is....
UP: What are your dreams and goals as a metal band on the local SA scene?
AIA: To play skilful music and to spread our message (the gospel of Christ). Also get Metal recognised as a technical and beautiful genre so it will have more support globally. It’s every musicians dream to quit their day jobs and live their passion, so that's in there too.
UP: Describe your show, visual and musically?
AIA: The makeup in combination with a brutal, highly energetic stage show, coupled with melodic and technical metal lends to an ominous and often ethereal feel. AiA is intense, entertaining, electrifying, heavy, spontaneous and overall face-melting at all shows.
UP: Tell us a story about a day in your life as a musician.
AIA: Mark: Get up and go to work!!!!
Robyn: “Ex-kuse me lady, do yew have springs for my keeetahr?” FACEPALM!
Marinus: By day I sell stock to clients and by night I bring music to the broken (including myself), like a spiritual Batman with a bass.
Leon: So, there I was at my day job, dreaming of the Wacken stage and touring Europe...
UP: How does music affect the world around you?
AIA: Robyn: Music is a part of my very existence and affects every aspect of it. It comforts, breaks, builds, destroys, gives a voice to emotion and can raise you up out the deepest darkest pit you may find yourself in. Life is music.
Marinus: It makes everything better. I drive a lot and without music it would be torture.
Mark: Music is a gift from God and is therefore intertwined in every aspect of our existence. Music tells a story and paints a picture of life, love and our Creator!
Leon: The world around me and music are one and the same thing. It's not an additive to life, but rather the very fibre it is woven from.
UP: If you were a Star Wars character which one would you be?
AIA: Mark: Don’t watch Star Wars!
Robyn: Davin Felth, the Guy Who Said "Look, Sir! Droids!"
Marinus: Barf...oh wait, that's SpaceBalls
Leon: I know Mark would be one of the robots there, but I think myself as more of a Chewbacca… Aaaarrrggghhhgrhrghrg
UP: Why are manhole covers round?
AIA: Have you seen the shape of the men that enter them?
UP: If you could trade places with anyone for one day, who would it be, and why?
AIA: Mark: My 2 year old daughter, she does not seem to have a care in the world!
UP: You’ve come to be known as the Jackson army, why all Jackson guitars?
AIA: Leon: Don't forget the Charvel siblings, of which we have a newcomer to the family, but Robs will tell you about that.
Robyn: Jackson guitars, are in my opinion the best hot-rod shred machines ever built. I myself only play Jackson and old-school Charvel Jacksons. The family includes a Jackson Soloist, Bass, King V, DS1 charvel, a 1988 model 6 Charvel Jackson, and the latest addition; my 375 deluxe Charvel Jackson. Coupled with tube amps = drool-on-the-floor awesomeness which has become the “AiA” tone and look for the band.
Marinus: My Jackson bass feels like an extension of myself, it moves with me effortlessly no matter how hard I play and rock out and sounds sooooo metal.
UP: Is Mark really a robot?
AIA: *In unison* YES!
Mark: Yes, but he often requires much oil and tender loving care!
Leon: He prefers the term humanoid android, thank you very much.
UP: If someone wrote a bio about you what do you think the title should be?
AIA: Adorned in Ash - His blood,Our sweat, Their tears.
UP: Who are your biggest musical influences?
AIA: Music that is well crafted and executed; music that moves and music that has a message. Anyone and everyone who puts real thought, emotion, skill, training, practice, effort and detail into their work and adds a new layer of depth, innovation and a different approach.
UP: Most memorable moments on stage?
AIA: Mark: Playing on half a drum kit because the previous drummer broke it! That was memorable but for the wrong reasons!
Robyn: Sharing the stage with Becoming the Archetype and seeing the crowd chanting with us.
Marinus: A gig at Rumours when the crowd all put their firsts in the air during The Dead Walk Among Us.
Leon: There are many moments which stand out for different reasons, but my current favourite would have to be when Marius, the original AiA vocalist, stood in the front row at a show and sang the songs word for word. We invited him up to the stage and he added vocals in one Chorus.
UP: Your album is to be released soon, any advice to other artists/bands when it comes to recording and the process of doing so?
AIA: Do not rush the process. Put in time and money (where possible) and ensure that the album represents the ideology of the band and that the music reflects the message to be portrayed. Take your time and do it properly until you are in love and proud of the final product.
UP: Describe yourself in 3 words.
AIA: Mark: Let....others.....decide
Marinus: Metal, Bookworm, Bear
Leon: Awkward, Clumsy, Bearded
Robyn: Pale, pale… pale
UP: How was your first experience on stage?
AIA: Leon: With AiA? Nerve Wracking. Technical music, weird sound. First gig ever? Playing bass at age 11(?) in a crowded bar. Never got so many cheek pinches before or after, ever.
Mark: For Adorned in Ash it was an awesome memory and a tremendous experience...first experience goes way back and was a bit of a disaster!!
Robyn: The first AiA show is among my best memories! As for my first show ever, at the age of 12/13 in a lank dodgy little club with creepy old men- I have one word: AAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!
Marinus: My 1st band played our 1st show at a school and the sound was cut after 2 songs and we were asked to leave the stage for being inappropriate....
UP: What is your favourite song to play at gigs?
AIA: Mark: Descent to Hell...fast and aggressive, becoming progressive toward the end.
Marinus: Rendered Innocuous
Leon: Too difficult to say. Maybe between Human Torch, To The Slaughter, The Dead Walk Among Us, Molested Innocence, Black!, Crimson To Dust, Rendered Innocuous, Decent to Hell, Broken Glass Reflection, Defy Your god, The God That Bleeds, Blood / Grace, Evangelion, Bloodhunt Labyrinth and a couple of others…
UP: In a perfect world how many albums would you record and sell?
AIA: 10 Albums and 10 million copies of each
UP: Who is your least favourite band?
AIA: Such questions cannot be answered in public but anyone who is fake, does it for the wrong reasons and wastes everyone else’s time.
UP: What inspirational factor made you first want to play your instrument and pursue on a professional level?
Mark: When my relationship with God was forged and I realized that this gifting was to be used for His glory, that’s when I decided to pursue music on a more professional level and studied music at a formal college. Playing in AIA is exactly what I had in mind all those years back!
Robyn: The passing of my mum, although devastating and tragic, aided me in my search for the real reason I wanted to make music. In realising what He has done for me and building a relationship with Christ, I dedicated my life and my music to Him and have never looked back. I wear my dedication in script inked on my body as a reminder.
Leon: Guitar happened very organically to me. Bored at home as a young boy, multiple instruments to play around on. Years passed and found myself gigging in high school semi-regularly without having specifically planned it. Never stopped and played in progressively more interesting bands.As you learn more about music: the lifestyle, the hours, the company we keep, the more would like to do what you love professionally. It's not about a pay check, but it would be awesome to live your dream career and be financially stable.
Marinus: Watching A Year And A Half In The Life of Metallica and also Nirvana, Live, Tonight, Sold Out
UP: As some ‘insiders’ know, Leon can play concertina, any of the other members play any other interesting instruments?
AIA: Most can play the fool very well, that is for sure!!
UP: What has been the greatest learning difficulty to overcome during your experience as an artist?
AIA: Do not play for the crowd, or the fame or the popularity and certainly not for the money; play with passion and conviction and this alone will stir all the motivation one needs to succeed in this industry. To unlearn the wrong self-taught things and to relax and enjoy the show. Click Track!
UP: Any preferences as to which shows, audiences and venues you play?
AIA: Any show where there is decent sound and an appreciative crowd is awesome
UP: If you could open for a band touring SA which band would it be?
Marinus: Cradle of Filth or Dummi Borgir just to show their fans how brutal music can be without dark blasphemy and vulgar perversion.
UP: How does a new AIA song typically unfold?
AIA: It can unfold from any number of avenues; a guitar riff, a lyrical line, a bass lick or a drum rhythm. There is no standard way of writing a song and that helps to keep the process from stagnating and assist in writing interesting and fresh material. of the above and it just happens during jam. We let the inspiration flow and try not to make it a set task
UP: Describe your sound in 4 words.
AIA: Progressive, black, technical, groove
UP: Stranded on an island which three modern day things won’t you be able to live without?
Robyn: Guitar, Sketch pad, Bible
Marinus: Bed, Books, Music
Leon: A guitar, Bacon, Another guitar.
Mark: Beautiful lady, bible and IPOD *promptly gets a death stare from Robyn, lol*
Photography by: Danni Vlademirovka Lombard