Aistis Cepinskas is a multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter. His first album presents a reflective narrative – a sort of “in retrospect” commentary on intimacy and love – but on a past that is only about 3 minutes behind him. He dissects his behaviour and streamlines it into two themes; the reactionary lover (“beast”) and the reflective self (“man”). While drawing from very personal experiences, Aistis employs the common tropes of first love as a way to mirror his own ideals, while finding the comedy in exactly that.
What can people expect at the (sold out!) release?
I’ll be playing an album release show at The Church on April 29, which coincidentally/not so coincidentally happens to be on my birthday. I wanted to play the release show there because The Church offers a beautiful intimacy while still providing ample room for big sound. I’ve seen some of my most memorable concerts there. It’s a special space.
I’m really looking forward to it. It’ll be the first time playing a show with a seven piece supporting cast, so that should be interesting. Doing something completely new while playing a sold out show for the first time is hilarious. There’s a beauty to the uncertainty of it all. I think that’s when either something really special happens, or something equally as disastrous ensues. There’s something to be said about a grand disaster though. I’m pretty into the idea of that the more I think about it.
Love Me, I’m Bored: a rather absurd expectation, no? Is boredom being used here as a substitute for more emotional feelings? Are you lonely?
Loneliness comes and goes. This interview is making me feel strange though. I can’t quite pinpoint it but you seem to share a lot of qualities with someone I used to be involved with. There’s a strange resonance in this room as I glance at these dying orchids (they’re lilies) atop of this Beau’s Lug Tread TM coaster (laughs).
The album title is meant to be this sort of grand, over-the-top absurdist remark. It’s this narcissistic, needy, out-of-line statement that is meant to showcase the ridiculousness of the commenters thought and perspective. It’s a very appropriate summary in context to the writing throughout the album.
So the album reflects on your past relationships?
Yes, very much so, but while love loss may be the initial muse behind the writing, the album is much more about this macro self-analysis that is occurring in real time – a conflict between my toxic emotions’ responses to intimacy, contrasted with the realization that my actions, intentions, and behaviour are drenched in polarity. It acknowledges that romanticism and idealization (whether we are consciously aware of it or not) drastically affect human intimacy, and the reality of what true affection contains is incredibly far detached from the farcical ideals we are constantly fed.
What comes first – music or lyrics?
Writing first, or sometimes simultaneously. I usually start by playing some chords on piano or guitar while singing nonsensical filler when trying to figure out melody. Then, once an idea starts, I tend to stop playing and distance myself altogether from it. Once I have an idea of how a vocal melody needs to be phrased, then the writing takes over. Everything with my music is about the writing. The music is meant to be the impact that communicates what I am trying to say through my lyricism.
Listen to Well, Do You? here.
Is it true you have a basketball court in your yard?
Yeah, I ball. Simon and I would actually take occasional recording breaks to play basketball. You can ask him about how our game of 21 went.
Who is Simon? Tell me about the recording process.
Simon is this terrifyingly modest conglomeration of talent that made this record with me. He owns a studio here in town called The Sugar Shack, and is a big part of how it all came together. It’s hard to envision how this album would have come to fruition had we not met when we did. He’s a brilliant engineer, super kind-hearted, work and art driven, and we connect really well with each other. I was introduced to him at a show here in town one day, and I basically told him in brief that I wanted to make an album that was generally ambitious as an unknown new artist, and was looking for the right person to help me with it all. From there, we met at his studio one day, discussed everything, and I immediately knew that he was the person I was going to make the record with. I told him from the beginning that I’m opinionated and not necessarily the easiest to work with, but so long as we’re open with each other about our opinions towards what we’re trying to achieve, the end result will hopefully be something of substance and beauty. It sparked a very close friendship and I look forward to doing the next album with him.
It’s really about raking in the big bucks. With the resurgence of vinyl, my marketing team advised that we could maximize profits by the end of the fiscal year if we decide to press vinyl, so that’s what I did (HAHA). Really, there is just something lovely about a physical thing I can hold in my hands that I made, that will outlive my physical self, at whatever capacity that may be. The idea that something will exist after my body decomposes is pretty romantic. Ultimately, it’s nostalgic and feels really good, the same way that holding a physical photograph feels really good.
So what’s meant by all the water (album artwork)?
The centrepiece of the cover art is of a woman in an emotional state – distressed, uncomfortable, in the palm of a giant hand meant to symbolize possession. The water is meant to show fluidity and calmness. The central album themes are based around the dichotomy between the grotesque and the beautiful so we tried to create a visual that showcased these opposing traits of conflict and allure. Tania Dupon-Martinez was the driving force behind it and made something that I think is really visually gorgeous.
The album release show is on April 29 at the former First Spiritualist Church, 80 Rectory St. “Misha Bower will be opening up the evening and that alone is reason to try to make this event. I could watch Misha simply exist and it would be entertaining and probably provide enough fulfillment to last a lifetime. Give that girl a microphone and something to write with and it’s game over. Add an audience and be sure to waste no time gathering your loved ones because shit is about to go down” – Aistis.
Check out the track Consumer here.
Feature photo by Ioulia Krisak