Aeris' Debut Single and the Duality of Human Nature: Artists Smothered Beneath the Serpent's Tongues
Self-proclaimed “amateur musician” and full-time college student Aeris sits comfortably in their home in the Granite State as the meeting starts. We make quick introductions before spending over an hour discussing how their musical journey has evolved from “angsty piano ballad writing” into a lyrical representation of the two sides of themself.
Since they were a child, Aeris’ life has always been filled with music. Creative writing and songwriting took root in them, although they aren’t sure who’s to blame: their mother who pushed for classical, jazz, and choral lessons or Rock Band. “Rock Band is a source of great nostalgia for me,” they mention. We take a second to laugh at the similarities between the two of us before Aeris comments on how they recorded everything and dabbled in various genres. “Hip hop, rap, R&B, gospel… I was a fan of everything— still am.”
“Cottagecore is my debut single and in many ways, it served as a ‘back to the basics’ kind of record.” It’s easy to understand what they mean as they tell me about their two biggest influences. Gwen Stefani’s post No Doubt era served as one of Aeris’ biggest influences in terms of performance and lyrically, they even name-drop Jonathan Coulton.
Aeris fondly recalls their latest single, amidst the frequent bubbles of laughter that erupt from us, and admits that writing songs quickly has always been a strength of theirs. They go on to share that music has always been an emotional outlet for them and that, as a result, songwriting is usually finished in a day. “Cottagecore took me like 15 minutes,” they shrug. “Its essence came out pretty quickly”. Even then, Aeris went on to make all of the instrumentals on GarageBand before perfecting their song into what we obsessively listen to now.
Although their song blew up on TikTok after just two days, Aeris emphasizes that they don’t rely on music for income. There’s no doubt that they admire those who do but for them, keeping money out of it allows them to be more authentic and helps their creative process. “Cottagecore” is a pop punk sapphic anthem, yes, but it’s also about the singularity of their experiences that is the epitomization of the dual nature of humanity. While they want to be politically and socially active to fight for everyone’s liberation, there’s a part of them that just wants to give up and run away to the countryside with their lover.
The events of the summer of 2020, severe writer’s block, burnout, and lack of social interaction due to the pandemic all inspired the single. Aeris sought out to create a “cottagecore fantasy” which led to the single Cottagecore, based around that and the feeling of “a lot of life is happening right now”. Having conversations about the influence of social media, the death of George Floyd, the BLM protests, and other government issues was exhausting but it provided an avenue for the creation of safe and supportive spaces through the channeling of their inner punk.
The one ethos of the world of punk is that punk is for everyone, but the reality is that punk is a space largely inhabited by cishet white men. However, it’s undeniable that punk has its roots in black music and that black, brown, and indigenous people, as well as other marginalized communities of people, have been involved in punk since the beginning. The misconceptions of punk being a “white genre” need to be addressed and corrected. Punk needs nonbinary, queer artists like Aeris to shake the table and demonstrate the endless dimensions of their musical and composition abilities.
As the interview drew to a close, Aeris teased their current work-in-progress and passion project. “It’s in the same vein as “Cottagecore”. Bearing in mind Aeris’ background in gospel, hip hop, and R&B music, there’s no telling where their next project will take us but it’s safe to say that we’re locked in and ready for the ride.
Aeris' single "Cottagecore" can be found
on all major streaming platforms now.
They can also be found on Instagram
and TikTok @aeris_ruby.
If you're interested in hearing the very first demo
version of the song, click the zip file to download
and rock out!
Header image done by our graphic designer, Rei Kong.