ListN Up: Aeryn Jade Santillan (March 25, 2022)

ListN Up is a weekly series of artist-curated playlists that offer an intimate sonic portrait of contemporary artists by showcasing the diverse and stylistically varied music that influences their creative practice. 

Aeryn Jade Santillan (she/her) is a composer, guitarist, and bassist whose work is heavily influenced by the DIY punk scene and actively aims to blur the lines between band/ensemble and song/composition. Aeryn performs bass and vocals in Massa Nera, an experimental screamo quartet who’s toured in the USA, Canada, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Japan. Along with composer/guitarist Andrew Noseworthy, she co-founded this place is actually the worst, an experimental mathcore duo, and post-genre DIY label, people | places | records.

Hey! Aeryn Jade Santillan here. I’m sharing this playlist of my friends’ music. Most of it’s screamy punk. I’ve played with all of these bands throughout my life. Some from back in Chicago, some in New York, and some on tour. They’re all great friends of mine. I hope you find their music as inspiring as I do.

“k​-​14_1​.​13” by New Grass

New Grass is a solo project by my former Guillemet bandmate, Lucio Oquendo. Lucio’s song structures and angular guitar riffs are endlessly inspiring and being in a band with him has made me a much better musician for the long run. I also do a few backing vox on this track.

“selfish sleep” by Lord Snow

Lord Snow are friends who I got to play with while in Guillemet with Lucio and later at New Friends Fest with my current band, Massa Nera. They played at some of the first shows I attended in Chicago’s DIY scene. The three of them are amazing musicians and they have a level of chaotic lo-fi energy in their songs that’s unmatched.

“It’s Your Funeral” by Paper Mice

Paper Mice – If you know, you know. This gem of an incredible three-piece post-punk rollercoaster is my former composition teacher, Dave Reminick’s band. They are one of the tightest bands (ever probably?) and the lyrics to many, if not all, of their songs are inspired by bizarre news stories, which influenced my duo this place is actually the worst (tpiatw) to use weird internet reviews for lyrics.

“Myrtle-Wyckoff” by LOVE SPREAD

LOVE SPREAD is another band that directly inspired tpiatw. I saw this two-piece open for David Liebe Hart, known for his puppeteering on Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! They play J-Pop/bitcore and their set blew my mind. It was also one of the funnest sets I’ve ever witnessed. RIP Ryota – you are missed dearly. LOVE SPREAD Forever.

“Content” by Infant Island

Went on my first five-day tour in Massa Nera with Infant Island back in 2018. They have this huge enveloping screamo meets post-rock/metal sound that is captivating, urgent, and raw. Incredible music and people.

“Elevator Music” by Hundreds of AU

Hundreds of AU have a pummeling rhythm section and heavy angular guitar riffs with sci-fi themed, political lyrics delivered in intense, gruff screams. This is a band made up of scene veterans from Hell Mary, The Assistant, You and I, The Banner, Pelinore, Capacities, Estella and more. They have been making a ton of new music – dive in.

“landslide” by closer

Ryan’s lyrics and vocal delivery are some of my favorites in the genre. The music is pretty and aggressive, with song structures that unfold like the gorgeous visuals in your favorite sad indie movie.

“Cicatrice” by Respire

Respire, self-described as an “orchestral post-everything collective,” is one of my favorite bands ever. Their music is full of heart with dense, beautiful orchestrations that seamlessly weave in and out of intensely, devastating sections. If you want a masterclass in orchestration for rock band + orchestral instruments, jam their discography.

“Eros Obfuscate” by Beast Jesus

Beast Jesus can play any style under the punk/metal umbrella with an efficiency that most people can only dream of. If Respire’s music is a masterclass in rock band orchestration, then Beast Jesus’ epic 16-min track, “Eros Obfuscate,” is a masterpiece in genre-bending song structures.


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