Hot off the Press

Sean Von Helvete of Ritual Aesthetic

by Anabel Dflux
– Senior Photojournalist —

Dark, creative artist mastermind and renowned Dawn of Ashes drummer, Ritual Aesthetic is a unique new project about to take the metal wold by storm. Anabel DFlux had the opportunity to chat with Ritual Aesthetic’s mastermind Sean Von Helvete. The two chatted about Sean’s various influences, the creation of this unique musical endeavor, and dove deep into the artist’s own mind.

Sean Von Helvete of Ritual Aesthetic

HRH: Hey Sean, thank you so much for talking with me today! Ritual Aesthetic your solo project. How did this project come about, and how did you all meet?

Sean: My pleasure. Ritual Aesthetic began coming together physically in very small pieces throughout the course of my time in and out of Black Metal bands between 2009 and 2012 in Colorado. During those years I began teaching myself the ropes of audio workstations and various hardware synthesizers because I would often find myself crafting little stage intros for projects or adding cinematic elements to the compositions. As far as the cerebral development – It was always in the back of my mind even before I began drumming, as a very young teenager, to oversee and front a creative music project. Then combined the dominating urge to get out from behind a drummer and standing in the shadow of others creative visions mixed with the long time inspirations from what I grew up on- took control.
A lot of different personnel worked with me on this over the years, who are all credited on the disc and come from a wide variety of places. I am a very big fan of working with a vast amount of individuals because of how refreshing it is and also how inspiring it is to see what can be created by having a guy who says he is a goth rock guitarist work on a track with a guy halfway around the world who travels playing noise and dark ambient festivals.
The kind of “around the clock” guy who sticks with RA is Kyle Skellington and a few interesting other faces I am yet to be allowed to speak about.

HRH: Your label regarded this band as “not designed to be easy listening.” Can you elaborate on this? Is Ritual Aesthetic pushing the boundaries into audible art?

Sean: “Not designed to be easy listening” is a term I would define and have defined through DECOLLECT, is dealing a deck of cards with vastly different faces that all strangely blend together in the end as one. What I mean by that is that let’s say you have this ” industrial ” or ” dark electronic ” disc in your hands – you put it on and you’re taken through every room within the house of that genre and although they all fall under the same roof, they are vastly different. Throughout our debut disc DECOLLECT – the listener is taken through rusty halls of gritty instrumentals that almost resemble horror cinema scores, all to be suddenly dropped into a cold pool of heavy aggro-tech with pulsating synth work with call & response choruses. Then perhaps dried off and reduced to ash by aggressive, guitar oriented rock n’ roll like anthems and then drifting away once more as a new format, into a tunnel of trip hop and dark ambient. In the end, each step of the way bore no similarity to the last….but by the end of the journey the listener is left with a divine and heavy sense of structure and similarity. I love and strive for that kind mysticism in music – the great beauty and fear in playful uncertainty.

HRH: How did you sign to a U.K. label and what benefits has this brought in?

Sean: I signed with Juggernaut via some recommendations from folks on the east coast from Wax Hart / Wax Tracks who felt that the oddness and freshness of the album was screaming for a European release. We will be expanding into North American distributors, but I am not yet fully pleased with how the ratio between dry, predictable releases continues to teeter against the favor of unique ones – and things didn’t used to be like that with the majority of North American labels who support this kind of music.

HRH: As you are notably known as the drummer for the final Dawn of Ashes tour, has this influenced your current music?

Sean: I completed DECOLLECT before joining DoA and it was a great way for me to take my mind off of just getting out of completing, scrutinizing and over analyzing something of my own and still be participating in industrial/metal. It’s funny you ask that because throughout my time with DoA, I enjoyed what avid listeners of many different genres the band was, as well as how much they had a deep love for really extreme metal. I think DoA is a great example of a project who’s explored many different sub genres and territories throughout their 12 year career so yes – that is something that definitely has influenced me now as I am back on board full time with Ritual Aesthetic to constantly expand and grow.

HRH: Tell me about your influences, inspirations, and muses.

Sean: My biggest influence over what I bring to the table musically all comes from film and photography. I love to structure things by displaying an image on a projector from various films, photo works and then creating with audio until what I am making “sounds “like what I’m seeing. I am very inspired by the concept of blending senses together in that relationship for some interesting outcomes. It’s very inspiring when you can take a looping piece of sound and draw, paint or take pictures until you’re seeing what you’re hearing and then taking pieces of that as well as other things, mixing up the method of how you accomplish that and then structuring it together to “fit” and then sitting back and pressing play. You then hear, see, taste and smell the birth of something completely new.

HRH: What is your favorite song thus far, and why?

Sean: My favorite song on DECOLLECT is probably a tossup between “Something to Know You By” or “Tender Petal.” Something To Know You By was written in a matter of hours and near the final, final stages of the album and it was the only one to literally explode out in nearly a finished form. “ender Petal” is special to me because it took the longest and is something that was composed entirely with colors and gracefully moving lines in mind like blowing silk or rings of smoke. It is an idea working towards things I always wanted to be hearing on trip hop records as an industrial fan as well. I feel like no matter how much you work at creating something from birth, it remains an idea upon an idea eventually leading to a statement or event – but usually at least to me that journey precedes the life of the artist.

HRH: Sean, as well as a musician you are known for your photography. Did you do all of the artwork for your band?

Sean: I shot the cover of DECOLLECT and designed our cover logo but the rest of the imagery behind DECOLLECT was shot by Damien Grey & Vadim Monoilo. Photography is a long going passion of mine and was originally how I was meeting people and doing things like exhibits and print work but I wanted to approach making my first musical effort in a new art form with full room mentally and low noise from other passions. I will be directing our videos and probably engaging in more photography work for future works because now I am comfortable with knowing what that will feel like.

HRH: What are your goals? What should fans expect next from Ritual Aesthetic?

Sean: My goals with RITUAL AESTHETIC is to offer the fans and hybrid fans of rock, pop, industrial, dark electronic and EBM something unique and passionately crafted to cater to their multifaceted interests and varying emotions all while still being catchy enough to stomp along to with their friends and strange enough to remind them of none of the last albums they bought. You can expect next another multicolored composition and I should also mention that the contemporary guidelines we are putting in place is this time around sculpting something that’s considerably heavier than the title tracks and a lot more atmospheric and heady!

You can buy RITUAL AESTHETICS debut album DECOLLECT on iTunes and any other major digital distributor!