Since March of 2015, Aaron Fink has created and shared his songs at a prolific rate.
The Wilkes-Barre-based musician began a new journey in his career with a solo debut “Saint Sylvania” and followed it up with 2016’s “Heavy Feathers.” Now, in less than two years, he is poised to release his third solo album, “Galaxies,” on Jan. 20.
Aaron Fink & The Fury perform a record release show at 10 p.m. Feb. 18 at the River Street Jazz Cafe in Plains Township.
Well tenured at 39, Fink was lead guitarist for heavy alternative rock outfit Breaking Benjamin during its rise to prominence from 2001 to 2011.
His turn to frontman and sole lyricist helps explain his rapid output.
“I want to be a good songwriter,” Fink said. “I want people to enjoy my songs, so that’s my goal. That takes a lot of TLC, and it takes a lot of work. I try to put in 40 hours a week on my craft just like anybody else who goes to a job.”
Fink said for every 10 songs he writes, he releases one.
“I over write, and then I’ll tinker around with all the instruments,” Fink said. “I’m layering stuff and overdubbing and erasing and starting over, so it’s a whole process with what I’m doing currently, which is the one-man band deal. It’s a lot of trial and error.”
Fink wrote and arranged all the songs, was lead vocalist and guitarist and played several instruments, including drums, piano and organ, throughout the recording process.
If “Saint Sylvania” was Fink dipping his toe into the full-fledged songwriting pool with its guitar-forward, heavy rock feel, and “Heavy Feathers” was Fink coming into his own as a vocalist and songwriter with its broader instrumentation and variety of rock styles, “Galaxies” takes that progression further.
“I feel like I’m getting close to finding my sound and what works for me and what works for my voice,” Fink said. “On one hand, it’s just a batch of songs, but, on the other hand, I think it’s a better batch of songs.”
From the bluesy swagger of album opener “Serpentine” to the subtle funk of “Left It Alone” to the joyful rootsiness of “Skies Above,” Fink approaches each of his rock compositions with different techniques, providing a spectrum of audioscapes for the listener, all laden with his signature guitar work.
Fink said his tendency toward such diversity on a record is inspired by his favorite band, Led Zeppelin.
“They did it all … the birth of heavy metal, blues, reggae, folky stuff, and that’s what I like about that band most,” Fink said. “For me, I can take that to the desert island. It punches all the buttons for me. I’m not comparing myself to that, but I like the idea of artists who tinker around and touch a lot of different stuff.”
Fink said navigating the current musical climate and honoring his roots can be challenging at times.
“You have to find a balance between fitting in with what’s going on and being true to yourself, which is really hard if what you see that’s going on isn’t you,” he said.
The music industry, Fink said, seems to be divided into two schools of thought, one in which an overproduced, image-driven philosophy leads to radio play and TV appearances, and one in which a band builds a grassroots following by touring constantly.
“I see this great divide with not much in between,” he said. “I’m somewhere in between. Maybe the production (on ‘Galaxies’) is slightly slicker, but not really. I still like a raw, organic thing. I don’t like that super polished, modern sound I hear all over the radio.”
Fink said his role as a producer is more geared toward adding another layer of expression to his songs than being on the vanguard of technology.
“I’m interested in seeing what paint we can throw on the canvas,” Fink said.
‘Galaxies’ features a number of accomplished musicians, including Fink’s Gentlemen East bandmates Ron Simasek and Paul Smith, but his friend and Fury bandmate, Patrick Flynn, made the largest contribution in studio, playing guitar on every song.
“With Patrick, depending on the song and the particular part, I was very specific, but on other stuff, I would say, ‘what are you hearing?,’ and he would throw his paint on the canvas,” Fink said. “He brought some colors and textures, which I didn’t think of. He cranked it up a notch for me, which I’m grateful for.”
Fink said he views the group of songs on “Galaxies” as a positive development in his songwriting rather than a lateral shift in his style.
“I feel I didn’t break any new ground, necessarily, but, that being said, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done,” he said. “When I made that first record, “Saint Sylvania,” I didn’t know if I was starting a band or not. I still don’t know what I’m doing in that regard, but (‘Galaxies’ is) less heavy. It’s more mature sounding, I think.”
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or on Twitter @TimesLeaderMatt
HOW TO LISTEN:
‘Galaxies’ is available for pre-order now on aaronfink.net. The album will be available on digital platforms such at iTunes and Amazon.com. Physical copies will be available at Gallery of Sound in Wilkes-Barre Township and Musical Energi in Wilkes-Barre, and both physical and digital copies will be available at CDbaby.com.
Aaron Fink & The Fury perform an album release show at 10 p.m. Feb. 18 at the River Street Jazz Cafe, 667 N. River St., Plains Township. Tickets cost $7 and are available in advance at riverstreetjazzcafe.com or at the door the evening of the event. Doors open at 8 p.m. Patrons must be 21 and older to attend.