Aestrid feels like more than just a band. The Utrecht-based rock band is more of a pact between three good friends who help each other through whatever life throws at them and sometimes carve incredibly beautiful songs from those experiences. That special bond was tangible while filming their session for The Influences. Singer Bo Menning, drummer Ray Kornet and multi-instrumentalist JJJ Sielcken recorded covers of Madonna and Sheryl Crow and were joined by Immen on their newest single Death Wisher.
“Aestrid is a way to deal with trauma and life.”
Aestrid’s singer and guitarist Bo Menning tells us about his influences growing up. “As a young teenager I fell in love with trance and house music. I’d be the DJ at high school parties and I think what got me the most was the loud volume in combination with these long melodic tracks that never seemed to end. Those break-downs and forever building intro’s… It felt so good and very cathartic. Although I didn’t know what I was really feeling back then. It was more than just having a good time at a party for me.”
“The love for electronic music shifted towards guitar-driven music. Heather Nova, K’s Choice and Sheryl Crow formed my voice. Bands like Motorpsycho, Kent and Goo Goo Dolls would form my playing. So there I was in a room with three big guitar amps set at a deafening volume, a delay pedal and a Fender Telecaster. I’d sing and scream at this wall of sound coming at me until I felt exhausted. I had found it. I tapped into something. Catharsis. That’s still what Aestrid is about to this day. A way to deal with trauma and life.”
“There was some comfort in sound”
“I’ve spent a childhood grinding through trauma and seeing women being treated like shit and getting hurt in the house I lived in. The same goes for me as I learned to cross myself out in trying to protect them from getting hurt. My mom, two sisters and I, we’d always stick together. Listening to music was always our escape in this bad place that was always too far away from the next house for anyone to notice. What I saw as a kid and teenager informed me about sexism and homophobia. I’d find my mom crying listening to Sade’s albums. I’d hear Heather Nova’s voice and angsty Paramore tunes coming from my sisters rooms. It’s stuff that still gets me choked up.”
“But there was some comfort in sound and whenever I felt the urge to sing I’d sing up in this high register. In my head my voice sounded like a female voice. It felt more natural for me to be in touch with that feminine side. I’ve struggled hard to not lose it. Where I was raised I was supposed to kill it off and be a ‘man’. Fuck all of that. ‘When you’re trying hard to be your best could you be a little less.’ It fucking kills me when I see women crossing themselves out, because of men.”
“It blew my mind the first time I saw the video of What It Feels Like For A Girl on MTV. I think everyone remembers Madonna driving around in this angry looking muscle car and violently getting back at these men she came across. The spoken words in the intro and the lyrics she sang were and still are so spot on and relevant today. We really love this song and it felt like a great opportunity to bring it back to life in our own way. We also wanted to add a small excerpt of Madonna’s Drowned World/Substitute for Love at the end. We almost couldn’t choose between these two super powerful songs. I’m back in the house that I grew up in whenever I hear these songs.”
“I really learned to sing when I sang along with Sheryl Crow’s albums.”
“This deep and dark track by Sheryl Crow has always stuck with me for some reason. The songwriting on all her first three albums actually. It was something else. I was 15 when I first heard Redemption Day and I remember it touched a darkness deep inside that I was afraid to touch. It’s such a brutally honest performance. I really learned to sing when I sang along with her albums and then turning it into something of my own.”
Bo Menning is enough.
“Death Wisher is about suicide and suicidal thoughts. I feel no shame anymore in saying that I’ve been there more times that I’ve wanted to. I still have a hard time dealing with those feelings. Therapy has helped me a lot, but there’s always that fear of having those dark thoughts again. They often find me unexpectedly. It’ll even find me while we’re on tour driving the beautiful Canadian landscape, but I’m very lucky to be in a band with my best friends who are there for me, saying that I’m enough. Talking helps. Having friends like that helps.”
Filmed & edited by Matthijs van der Ven.
Additional filming by Clasine Haringsma.
Audio recorded & mixed by JJJ Sielcken.
Den Dolder, The Netherlands
There is no better way to discover music than watching great musicians cover the songs they love. The Influences has been producing these videos ever since 2008.Read more.