Break Free's Tori Otamas, was fortunate to do a photoshoot and interview with new rock band, ÆLONIA. ÆLONIA is Jake Pitts and Inna Logvin-Pitts. Soon to release their single, "The End", and more tracks to follow, we asked them a few questions for you to get to know them and what they're all about! Break Free feels as though this rock band is not only the next big thing, but we believe in their power to change the world with their strong message. Check out our interview here!
**Disclaimer: please do not post the photos without crediting all of the following: Break Free Co (@BreakFreeCO), Tori Otamas (@ToriOtamas), (@InnaPitts_Photo), Jake Pitts (@JakePittsBVB), and to hairstylist, Andrey (@Andrey_Hairmaster_LA)**
1. Break Free believes that you can find yourself again, through music. Have any artists in particular, or even your own music, helped you find yourself?
INNA: When I was a 15 year old girl I was a huge fan of the Finnish rock band The Rasmus. I was a “crazy” fangirl, because I had every poster of them, listened to their music every day, I knew every biography fact about all the members and I knew every single song by heart! I easily could wake up in the middle of the night and could sing any song if somebody would ask me to do that! I think I could sing them even in my sleep! Haha
They were so inspiring for me that I started my own first band where I was a singer. I also started playing guitar and write songs in Russian and Ukrainian. I tried to write in English as well but my level of knowledge of the language was too poor so it was just a terrible parody on the song! But I didn’t give up as you can see haha
I went to their show when they were in Kiev for the first time and I couldn’t believe they were real! That was crazy! Who could have thought that they were real humans! I saw them only on the TV and couldn’t believe they’re real human beings. But I was teenager and everything seemed over exciting. It was so impressive for me to see my favorite band. I’m pretty sure you’ll understand what I’m saying when you see your idol! Nothing is comparable to that amazing feeling, even the world exploding! But who could even think that I will meet them personally in many years after and even work with them, doing some videos for their live DVD and being on the same stage with them. That was an even bigger inspiration for me because I saw my favorite song “In The Shadows” being performed live and got to be on stage with them! It gave me a final vision of those things I’d love to do for a living!
I always knew that I’ll be a singer but it was hard for me to believe in myself. But the guys supported me and kinda pushed me for big changes in my life. Maybe they don’t even realize that but I’m really grateful for that amazing experience!
JAKE: I can’t really say that any band or artist helped me find myself, nor can I say I was ever lost and didn’t know who I was. I guess the best way I can put this is the idea of music and being a musician changed my life and who I wanted to be when I was 13 and started playing guitar, so in a way, that showed me my calling in life, and what I was meant to do.
2. Was there ever a defining moment in time, or place, where you felt that you found yourself?
INNA: I already told you about my experience of being with The Rasmus at their shows in Ukraine and Russia. That was definitely a big moment for me in realizing that I have to believe in myself for being a musician and a singer. But I think I found myself before that experience when I started reading books about our existence and about who we really are. The first amazing book that made me feel like my world did a 180 was “Conversation with God” by Neale Donald Walsch. It was a big inspiration and a huge discovery for me. I couldn’t stop reading it and all other books by this author. I think I read it three times and every time it was different for me. I always could find something new in that book reading it. By the way it’s not a religious book. But it’s about life, it’s about the world, it’s about who we are and about why we live our lives. There are many thing discussed in those books that changed my vision of my life and made me a different person I guess.
After that I started reading similar books of authors who write about self improvement ( yeah, I’m such a nerd!) and I have a bunch of my favorite ones now. I always advise people to start reading books by Deepak Chopra. They are fantastic!
3. What inspired the creation of ÆLONIA?
INNA: I wanted to be a singer ever since I can remember. It was always a huge dream of mine and a big goal in my life. I remember how my sister came in my mom’s room where I was jumping around and pretending I was singing in a microphone holding a brush in my hand instead of a real mic. Oops! It was one of the most awkward moments in my life, so my imaginary audience immediately disappeared! Haha
I always knew that I would become a singer but it took many years for me to learn how to sing. I’ve never had a big talent for singing so I needed to work on it a lot. But my faith and my dedication became saviours of my biggest dream and they helped me make this dream real! So never stop believing guys! It’s really important.
The creation of AELONIA started many years ago when I lived in Ukraine. I meditated a lot and I got a message in one of my meditations about love and other beautiful things that I would like to share with other people. I know it sounds like I’m weird or crazy but I’m not afraid to seem like such a person because I really am, haha. But open minded and smart people who have knowledge or any idea about meditation and any other spiritual techniques will understand me. For me there’s no reason to be a public figure or to be a famous person if you can’t be inspiring or if you don’t have that sparkle, that flame in your heart, that light inside of your entity that you can share with all the people who surround you. But first of all you have to fill yourself with this light, love and inspiration to share it with someone else because you never can fill an empty glass with an empty jar. The jar has to be filled with something so you can share it. It’s like an allegory of my vision on these things.
AELONIA hopefully will touch hearts of people and will make some positive changes in the world because INSPIRATION inspired us for creating AELONIA!
JAKE: What inspired Aelonia from my point of view is a bit different from Inna's story. When I met Inna she told me she was a singer, and that she was searching for a band, and wanted to do music for a living. We clicked right away because of our similar interests. I had actually helped her do some corrections with English Lyrics to make sure it was grammatically correct. After a little while, she decided to show me some music she had been working on and sang some melodies and it grabbed my attention very quickly. This was something she had been working on for a long time, and finally it came to be when the universe brought us together. We tracked the song at my studio Iron Audio and then started writing together, and we really meshed well. I was making a joke about some guitar riffs one day and then something really cool actually came out, and I ended up making a voice note on my phone. Later I put all the music together. I made a mix for her to write to, and went to walk the dogs, or something, and when I came back she had already written the chorus melody, lyrics, and I think almost all of the verses too. I was blown away with how fast she was able to put the song together vocally, and then I added some screams for the breakdown and bam! Song’s done. We are still tracking vocals to it but all the music is done. We have probably 6 songs in the works right now. It’s hard to work consistently on our music as I am producing another album right now, was finishing up the BVB album, and I have been Co-Writing with a lot of awesome artists like New Years Day, Evol Walks and Godsmack. I’ve been very busy, but Aelonia’s music makes me feel alive and I am very excited for the future of the band!
4. How would you describe your genre and style to viewers?
JAKE: I would describe this band’s style as whatever the hell anyone wants to call it. We have some really heavy stuff with screaming at times, but very catchy melodic choruses and verses. In a sense I would call it pop metal. Inna has a very unique voice, she sounds like an angel, then we can both scream and bring the brutality to the music as well, but we only like to do that tastefully so that it doesn’t get tiring to listen to.
INNA: I’d say it is post hardcore or pop metal as Jake said before but it’s always so weird about music! It just has no limits! There’s no certain rules you have to follow creating your songs. We all know that the human brain needs to order everything! We are naturally created that way with our logical minds always trying to put all the information in some invisible boxes, then sticking labels on them and placing them on their invisible shelves. But music is created through our feelings and it’s really hard to accept for our logical mind, that our feelings and intuition are too big for sticking them in boxes. Sometimes they are not logical at all but they always lead us the right way. That’s why I think music can’t have any limitations and we have to follow our hearts for creating something real and beautiful.
5. “Be Real & Co” is about being real to the world- what is your definition of real?
JAKE: My definition of real is someone who could be nobody and be a good person, be kind, and loving to others. Then somebody who could be very successful and famous, rich, whatever, and also have no ego, and be a real person to others. So many people just get a tiny bit of fame or popularity and become the biggest assholes, and think their shit doesn’t stink. It drives me crazy and I’ve never understood it. Sure we can all have our moments, but I’m talking about people who think they are gods gift to the earth. I’m not saying not to think highly of yourself, as you should, but be respectful and honest with others.
INNA: Haha I love the way how you said about stinky shit, Jake!
I agree with Jake and also I’d love to add some of my opinions. For me being real means to not judge yourself and other people. I’m not talking about self analysis because it’s a good habit to be able to analyze yourself, that’s the way of self improvement. But I’m talking about judging and self punishment when people compare themselves to others and they compare others to themselves. That’s how we feel guilt, shame and we deny ourselves or we get the opposite, narcissism with all kinds of aftermath to follow. The human ego is a really tricky thing! It plays its games very well. So my definition of being real is accepting who you are! When you learn how to accept yourself with all your positive and negative sides then you can accept people around you because you understand that everybody’s unique and only our differences make us real, make us the personalities we really are! Sometimes it’s not easy to do but remembering that we are all connected on a different level (not on a physical one) helps a lot.
6. Thematically, do ÆLONIA and Be Real & Co collide?
JAKE: We created Be Real & Co. because we wanted to have our own brand that we believe in and want to wear. I feel that if it’s something we believe in and love genuinely that it will catch on and people will join. This brand is special because Inna created all the designs. She’s never done any T-shirt designing before, or graphics like this. It was her first time, and again, just mind blowing what she is capable of. We went over t-shirt material and types of cuts together with our manufacturer and are building this together, along with Aelonia. I wouldn’t say they collide in anyway, but more so co-exist together alongside one another. Part of the same family type of deal.
INNA: I don’t think they collide. I would rather say they co-exist together. It’s two different brands but they complement each other creating the whole idea of life for the new generation. We are those who build our own future and I hope AELONIA and Be Real & Co. can be an influential building block for many people lives. It’s time to build our own EMPIRE!
7. Tell us a bit about the background to ÆLONIA! How did you form? Jake, what made you step up and be a vocalist?
JAKE: Well I already kind of explained from my point of view the forming of it for me, but it’s much deeper from Inna's side of the story. As for me taking on backing vocals in the band, it just kind of happened. I’m by no means the best singer in the world at all, I honestly don’t really know what I’m doing, but that's how I work with everything in life. If everyone just thinks “aww I don’t know how to sing, I can’t”, well then they won’t and never will. I have a different approach to how I think in life, and to me it was “well I know I have good pitch, I know I can sing, maybe I’m not a huge fan of my voice but other people might be”. So when it comes to producing, and songwriting, songs can sound really funny at first when you are putting down ghost melodies coming up with ideas, and singing a bunch of da da da’s then auto tuning them to be in the right key and get the sense of the melody. I did this a lot and playing those ideas for other people really helped me get more comfortable with myself and my singing. I actually learned this from John Feldmann when we were making Wretched and Divine for Black Veil Brides. He would record some of the funniest and crazy sounding things, singing da da da’s but it was effective and ended up sounding amazing when we put actual words to it. So I learned that sometimes to be the producer you just have to not care, you know what the end result will be, so who cares, just get the idea and point across. Then I produced the debut album for Thrown Into Exile, which I feel like I didn’t get to fully produce, because I really had nothing to do with the Vocals other than having to correctly sing the harmonies on 90% of the album because they were all done wrong. So this gave me quite a bit of experience just having to step up to the plate to make this sound better than what I was given which was very hard to do. It’s really hard to produce an album for a band when the singer doesn’t want to record with the producer. Every experience is different. That being said, I just started singing things to help build the songs out with harmonies and it just happened that my voice sounds great with Inna's, and they really complement each other.
INNA: Yes, I think we were just created for each other. ;-)
I’d say that AELONIA officially started its existence when Jake and I met. That was a birth of our relationship and of our band. Of course the first time we met was a bit strange and it’s totally another story haha but It was definitely meant to be. I already had an idea of AELONIA and I had some sketches of “The End” and of “I’ll find my way”. I told Jake that I have these ideas and he supported me because they were cool. You know, my ideas are always cool! Haha Hello, the humblest person in the world! :-)
Anyway, I’m really happy that we are such a creative couple and do so many things together. That’s awesome!
8. What motivates you as an artist to create something new, like this?
JAKE: I’m always creating in my studio. Always working on music, with other bands, and co-writing. I constantly have melodies and guitar riff ideas popping in my head. People probably think I’m insane when I’m walking our dogs and I pull my iPhone out and start singing some crazy shit into my phone. Sometimes it’s a drum beat, a guitar riff, so I probably sound like Beavis and Butthead a lot haha. But that show ruled so I’m cool with that. Basically what inspires me to do this band Aelonia, is that I'm getting to make music and create art with my wife who I love dearly. She’s my world, and it’s very meaningful and special to me to be able to share this love for music and create together. Before I was born my mom and dad had a band together, and I always thought that was so cool. I come from a very musical family. Musically I have become much more open minded than I used to be. I’m all about writing good songs, I don’t care if it’s the heaviest song ever, or the poppies ballad you’ll ever hear. You know a song is good when it makes you feel something, so that's what we are all about, trying to create something that moves people, and makes them feel something. Makes them feel alive.
INNA: My motivation is in our unity. I really do believe that we all are invisibly connected to each other not on the material level. We all have the same feelings, the same emotions and similar situations in our lives. But unfortunately we are too focused on our differences that we can’t see what we do have in common. My best motivation is to make people feel connected to each other, to feel this unity and our power through the union. We are stronger when we are the one!
9. So, ÆLONIA is a unique name, what’s the meaning behind it? Where did the name originate?
INNA: Meditation. I do meditation and I got AELONIA’s name while I was meditating. It means a lot and it’s hard to explain. But I’ll try... It is a spiritual name and it has the energy of pure love and light. It has that frequency. Everything has a frequency.
AELONIA is a message to this world about the great things like unity, gratitude, our purpose on the earth and about our existence as the human race. Sometimes we forget about these important factors of our lives but they make us happy, they make us free. This world is too full of hatred, envy, greed, lies, eternal war and all the problems that can be solved if we as a human race will take a step closer to the light which lives inside of us. We just have to remember who we really are and why we are here. That’s why I felt like it’s a good name for a band because it’s inspiring and it has a deep meaning. It made sense to name the band AELONIA because we would like to spread our message about all these wonderful things and remind people about them all over the world with the help of music.
Music is a universal language. There are no barriers, no limits for sound. All ages, all races, all social classes, we all listen to music because it gives us some certain feelings. We would love to create something that will give people the opportunity to feel related to that and to look at things from a different angle. Our goal is to create something that can change people’s thoughts. Something that will make them see the world from a another perspective, something that can change their lives! We want to make people feel they are a part of something bigger that is called UNITY.
10. If you were to leave your fans with a message, what would you say?
JAKE: To leave the fans with one message I would say this. I read a lot of comments, from a lot of people and see a noticeable trend of comments from people saying they can’t do something, or they don’t have enough of something, or they would if they could, or I’m broke, I’m poor, I’m sad, I’m depressed, I have anxiety, I have this, I have that. I want to tell all those people, that in order to change your life, you have to start changing the way you think, and the things you say. When you say these things, you are sending out a frequency into the world, the universe. Literally, sound is a frequency, you can’t see it, but they can be measured, and it is a real thing. The same thing goes for your thoughts, your brain is firing frequencies out, and when you put this out into the universe, you are only going to get that right back. You may be thinking I’m talking a bunch of BS, it’s easy for you to say, you have this and you have that. But guess what, I grew up poor and had nothing but a laptop, guitar and a dog only 8-9 years ago. I had no money to pay rent, and lived in one of the most expensive cities, but I didn’t let Los Angeles spit me out, I knew I was going to make it if I just kept fighting for my dreams. So my point is, if I didn't actually believe in the first place that I would be where I am today, do you think I would be here? Absolutely not, because you HAVE to believe first before anything. We live in a world where damn near anything is possible, you just have to be willing to go get it. Go out there and create opportunity, don’t wait for it to come knocking on your door, because it won’t.
INNA: I often hear that people would do something but they can’t. They always have a million excuses and reasons why they can’t do something they would like to do. I know sometimes it’s not easy to leave your comfort zone and change your life or some situations. All people have fear of changes. But miracles live out of your comfort zone!
I came through experiences when I needed to make some serious decisions in my life. But that made me who I am. Turning around I’m grateful for everything even if it was something not pleasant. Every experience can be pleasant and good or not really pleasant but useful. There’s no bad experience, there are no bad decisions. Time always shows that everything is right and everything happens for a reason. I learned a good lesson from my life and our song “The End” (which ironically became our beginning) is about these things. So my message would be…
Don’t be afraid to come out of your comfort zone, be willing of changes and remember… There’s an end to everything in life, but where there’s an end, there’s always a new beginning.