In 2002, Aimée Osbourne’s family was the talk of Hollywood. The Osbournes was consistently a massive ratings-achieving reality show. But Aimee steadfastly decided she would not be a part of it. Now, as the singer of ARO, the eldest Osbourne child has a new single out, “House Of Lies.” And what do the press outlets want to talk about? A two-decade-old “scoop” on why she didn’t want to be on the show.
“It’s been a little bit challenging to redirect the focus,” Osbourne says, diplomatically. “But, you know, it’s fine. It’s just a bit of a balancing situation.”
Music fans should definitely come around to her way of thinking. ARO features Aimée Osbourne front and center, putting her dynamic voice across inspired electronic vistas. From the cinematic expanse of “Shared Something With The Night” to the tight electro-wave action of “House Of Lies,” ARO are seemingly destined to be a major force. They are the connecting circle in the Venn diagram between electro-metal and dark pop.
ARO—Osbourne, bassist Grecco Buratto, keyboardist Eric Scullin and drummer Brendan Buckley—will make their live debut Sept. 26. Their performance at L.A.’s Hotel Cafe will be livestreamed over the internet. Don’t make any plans that night. You’ll want to be in on the ground floor when ARO sail through the modem in your psyche.
Osbourne talked about her personal aesthetics while exploding a lot of myths people may have had about her and her family. She explains why she left acting to navigate “the new normal” of the music business. Clearly, Aimée Osbourne is ready for what the world throws at her.
These ARO songs are wonderful. The electronics are really great. Do you see electronics-based music as a coloring aspect to what you want to convey? Or as a genre? There are really great atmospheres, things you probably couldn’t do with just a guitar and an amp. How does the electronic realm work for your songwriting and what you wish to convey?
Well, the electronic realm is boundless. There’s not much you can’t do as far as exploring whatever it is that you’re trying to convey. It’s also really great because you can work remotely really easily with them. I find electronics-based programming and things like that can really convey, as far as mood and a certain feeling. I’m always amazed at how many hundreds of thousands of different samples there are and different synthesizers. And this is endless really, which is exciting because you’re always finding something new that’s inspiring within itself.
Within the realm of electronics, there are all sorts of genres that you could go into. Whether it’s just straight-up dance music, something incredibly avant-garde and painful to listen to or the atmospheric things. The technology allows it to be completely open-ended for whatever you write. You’re not going to do a coffeehouse gig with a battered acoustic guitar anytime.
No. There’s a lot of that I absolutely adore as far as the stripped-down stuff. I do have some songs that I’ve written in that same vein, which I will definitely sing, eventually. I would love to do an album stripped down like that. Maybe like a T Bone Burnett kind of dark folk, I guess you could call it. I mean, never say never!
The songs I’ve heard are very diverse. What does an ARO record sound like once it’s out into the world?
It’s interesting because I am so inspired by so many different genres. You can definitely pick up on those different influences when you’re listening to the album. I would hope it would feel pretty well-rounded and not too one-note. I guess you could say it’s definitely moody. There are some upbeat, dark pop songs and ethereal, softer songs. I would hope that someone would feel like they were being taken on a well-rounded musical journey. There are really very few genres that I haven’t connected with in some way, even if it was just one song. So I tried to keep my ears fresh. I’m looking for new things and asking people whose taste I really respect.
What is the new record called?
It’s called Vacare Adamare, which is Latin for “to be free and loved.” So to love without control or boundaries.
It also seems to be a great thing to have in your career. Considering how often it seems like accountants decide what goes on artist’s records.
Very much so. My good friend Billy Mohler runs the A&R division at the Make Records label. He’s a fantastic writer, producer and bass player. He really comes from the headspace of the artist himself. He really understands. Make Records is a very supportive, lovely little record company family I have right now. So I’m very grateful for that.
Have you had to school people about your career?
I wish I was as comfortable with confrontation to say I had just schooled people. For me, it felt like I was run over by a steam train. And every time I tried to be taken seriously, for a long time, because people made assumptions about what I should sound like. The family name. And also, you know, people assume that if you come from a certain background, you have access to unlimited funds and that they have the right to dive into those funds. [Laughs.]
There was a lot of that kind of situation, of course, a lot of delays, even a lot of legal situations. I got tied up in and, as much as it’s been a blessing, it’s also been a bit of a challenge, as well. So I think, as I mentioned, now I’m at a record company where I have none of those issues with them at all. They see me as a separate artist that has my own path with them. But I’d say in the past, it was definitely challenging.
Even in your acting career, did you have to deal with the same type of thing? You had to explain your vision with whatever type of creative juncture you were going into?
Absolutely. The reason why I exited the acting world as quickly as I entered it was very much to do with the energy that surrounds it. The #MeToo movement was just very on the surface at that point. And it was something I was unwilling to get involved in, in any way. It was a very uncomfortable and unpleasant world to enter, even with the connections that my family was able to provide. It was very clear there was some very unethical and dark energy surrounding the whole world. It’s great to see people are breaking through and major necessary changes are being made.
But you’re essentially at the mercy of so many other people’s visions. You can sign up for a project with an incredible script, with an amazing team. And then you get a studio involved, and the project just becomes something that you never would have wanted to be associated with had it been more upfront with what it was. Getting involved with stuff that, for me, [contained] just too many personal compromises and a really unhealthy working environment either. That’s not to say that there aren’t some incredible people in that world. I think at the time, I was just far too young and just too sensitive to get myself through the bad side of that to the good. Music is where I felt the most secure and I guess the most naturally inclined, creatively.
You’ve been working in music for a while now…
A long time, since I was a teenager. It was kind of a secret and a hobby because you never want to do what your parents do, and you want to feel totally separate from that. It was a friend of my mother’s who overheard me in my room writing, singing and messing around. And she said, “Oh, that’s really, really good.” And I was like, “No, it’s not. I’m just bored, and I’m just playing around.” And she’s like, “No, this is good.” She flew me out to stay with her in the Midwest. I ended up working with some producers and writers, and it took off from there, but [it was] not a smooth road. [Laughs.]
How long ago would this have been?
Let’s say about 14 years ago.
“House Of Lies” is out soon. What is it about?
Well, I usually like a little bit of mystery as far as what exactly all of my songs are about. But essentially, if I had to play around with that, [the song] would be about feeling those ties to someone that you don’t particularly want to feel. And you tell yourself that they’re not there, but they very much are the same.
What I notice about your work is that there is that sense of mystery, but there’s also a degree of grandeur to it, as well.
Oh, OK. As far as, like, cinematic?
Yes. The songs aren’t all quiet and austere. There’s also sweeping gestures. It seems like you’ve hit a sweet spot where these songs are fascinating and captivating.
[Laughs.] You know, I think because I felt quite pensive and austere in my personal life for many years, it was my way to get all that pent-up frustration out. Maybe that’s what you’re picking up.
Cinematic is appropriate for “Shared Something With The Night.” “House Of Lies” is a lot more concise-sounding, if that makes any sense.
Yes. It’s funny because I wrote “House Of Lies” right before Stranger Things came out. I was at home with my roommate at the time, and we were so excited to watch the show. I remember the opening credits came up, and there’s that really amazing, driving synth-based track that was written for the show. He looked at me and was like, “That really sounds like your new song.” And I’m like, “Shit. That would have been so perfect for the show.” I wish that now, the timing would have lined up.
About timing. There was a time when you were younger when you were traveling with your parents on tour. Obviously, you’ve seen life on the road, know all the inner workings of being in a different city and all. Does it feel weird that you have your own band, and now it’s time for you to make your mark and do your thing? But you can’t do it the same way because of the pandemic?
I had such an insider’s experience of the old way of doing things for many years. I grew up in that. It’s nice to see things being done differently. I’m new to the whole streaming concept of playing shows like everyone else is right now. There’s something really interesting about that. Human beings are resilient by nature. And when one limitation is set, humans tend to find a way around it. I feel like that applies to what’s going on with entertainment right now. So it’s interesting. People are really getting their heads together and saying, “OK, how do we keep this industry going, maintain integrity all around and stick together?” Because it is a really challenging time, as well. I think this period of time will be really impactful, powerful and memorable for everyone. It’s definitely keeping me in check, that’s for sure.
If you didn’t want to pursue music or acting, what would you do?
I would probably do some type of direction or producing in some form. I pride myself on having a pretty good eye and intuition about people. I’m good at honing in on someone’s potential or talent that they don’t realize they have and helping nurture that. I think that’s a really incredible thing to be able to do. It’s something that I’m really passionate about and definitely something I think I’d like to explore after I hit my limit with all of the stuff I’m doing now. Also writing. I really love to write.
Have you written books, short stories, poetry?
Yes, I’ve done all that. I also developed the treatment for my parents’ movie, which got picked up. Which was a lot of fun to do.
I didn’t know you wrote the film. How was that?
Well, my mother had been trying and trying for years to find the right people to get the film going. I can’t go into too much detail about it, but I basically said, “No, this is how the story should be told from this angle, with this kind of story.” And she’s like, “I love that. Can you write it?” So I wrote the treatment. I think within two weeks, we had numerous deals on the table. It was pretty exciting and unexpected because I didn’t really have experience with writing film treatments. But it came naturally, and it was just a lot of fun.
I think the big takeaway from our conversation is that there really isn’t anything Aimée Osbourne can’t do.
That’s sweet. [Laughs.] Trust me, there’s a lot of things that I can’t do!
I have to ask the obligatory family question. But it is about music. Is it a rite of passage for an Osbourne child to cover a track with their father? I was wondering what that song would be.
I would love to. We do talk about that, but it would be very, very different. I’d say more of Nick Cave/Kylie Minogue kind of raw, interesting alternative route. Not just some mainstream ballad. He’s often inquired [if] I’d be interested in writing lyrics with him. And we’re going to see how that goes with his new album. So, yeah, there’s always been a natural inclination to want to be creative together. But that can also be tricky when you know other siblings in the family that also want to do that, as well.
I was wondering if there was a particular Blizzard Of Ozz or Black Sabbath song that you would like to recapitulate on.
I haven’t even gone there in my mind. To me, those are such untouchable genius bodies of work. I would never want to try and take that on. But you never know.
Would you go for the harder rock thing or the deeper atmospheric-type vista?
It would definitely be more the deeper atmospheric, for sure.
You’re not going to be banging your head to “War Pigs” anytime soon.
[Laughs.] Well, maybe a different version of it.