The W.A M. Awards celebrate the year’s most outstanding independent artists from around the world in multiple genres and categories. "Best Song" and "Best Album" nominations were based on Artistry, Musicianship, Originality, Professionalism, Diversity, and Excellence. W.A.M. stands for "We Are the Music Makers.' Epikus' Album "Voice of Thunder" was the 2020 W.A.M. Award Winner for Best Album in the Concept music category.
What got you into music?
That's a tough one. I could claim that I've always had natural talent for it. I could claim that when I heard the soundtracks from the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, I was "pushed off the edge" into a career path of music. I could also say that it started when I joined the choir in my senior year of high school, and not long after started private classical voice lessons and composition lessons.
What is your favorite part about being an artist? Is it songwriting, performing, recording, something else?) Tell us why.
I am a storyteller. I LOVE telling stories, and music happens to be the best way I can do that. I love all aspects, honestly - relatively equal levels, too. I might have a slight bias for performing, but it really depends more often than not! But one thing is certain: my talents are used to tell stories that uplift, inspire, empower, motivate, and give hope.
Can you tell us what being in the recording studio is like for you?
I use a home studio, so it's honestly rather relaxed and laid back. Quiet when not in use, I go here to seek and find creative inspiration.
As a songwriter or musician, are there any obstacles you have had to overcome or obstacles that you are facing right now in your career?
Finances and lack of connections. Those are my biggest hurdles. Struggling with mental illness that has at times made it very difficult to maintain a regular schedule and routine has not helped. Things, however, are beginning to change...
Who do you admire most in the music scene today and why?
Right now, at this very moment, Lindsey Stirling and her great self-made career are a source of great inspiration for me. She faced odds and challenges that could've caused her to quit and give up, but she didn't. Look at her now!
To date, what do you think your best song is? Can you describe the song for us?
"Otar the Foul" which is the fourth track off my 2018 album "Voice of Thunder". It is high-energy aggression and visceral tribal villainy in musical form! I don't even SING in that song! It's all chanting, which by the climactic portion of the song is bellowing at the top of my lungs, followed by a massive scream at the end! The instrumentation is simple in comparison to other tracks in the Epic Music genre, but the emotion is enough to cause even folks like PewDiePie on YouTube livestreams to react in a war-like fashion! It's all the things we love about metal music, without the pitchless screams, distorted guitars, bass, and drum set - though I do love metal, too!
Are you working on any new material right now or what's in the works for the upcoming year?
I have a new album set to be released in November! I'm putting in the finishing touches on it, and promise it will hit hard and deliver some Epikus goodness! Check out my social media - Epikus Official on Instagram and Facebook, as well as on YouTube - to be updated on progress of the album, and as always: STAY EPIK!
Tell us where fans can access your music?
In 2004, Aaron Woodhouse started his musical journey. Born in New Mexico, USA and raised in southern California, his first exposure to music was in the high school choir. He began to learn the basics of music composition, then enrolled in more advanced musical studies at the university level. In his junior year, he left the university to begin professional voice development, competing in several national voice competitions. While in university, he collaborated to produce his first professional music recording, an instrumental entitled "The Journey", soon followed by the new age solo piano compilation, "Soulace".
In the following years, his skills in composition and voice development improved, resulting in the creation of multiple classical crossover singles and albums. These included the fourteen-track album entitled "Catharsis" (2016), an emotional and dramatic classical crossover. Soon followed by the hard-hitting ten-track album "Cataclysm" (2017), which includes the popular track "How the Mighty Have Fallen". Aaron's versatility saw the creation of the ten-track, new age piano: "Parks and Seasons: A Tribute to the National Parks" (2017) inspired by the many trips and hours spent in the National Parks as a youth. In 2018, Aaron created the music for "Voice of Thunder", a classical crossover story album where Aaron composed and sang, and where his nom de plume was finally established. The album goes hand-in-hand with a novel authored by Aaron, in the genre of fantasy for young adults, with the same title. Aaron has also arranged epic orchestral and vocal covers of songs such as "Legends Never Die" from League of Legends", "O Fortuna" by Carl Orff, and a personal favorite, "Silent Noon" by Ralph Vaughan Williams, featuring the full range of Aaron's vocal abilities.
"Voice of Thunder", in addition to winning the W.A.M. Awards for Best Concept and Story Album of 2020, has seen great success on many other music platforms with the fan favorite, "Otar the Foul" nearing ten million views on YouTube and five hundred thousand streams on Spotify. Aaron is now working on a new release to be entitled "Like a BOSS", a driving apocalyptic classical-trailer crossover compilation of hybrid tracks. He is also working on the sequel novel and album to "Voice of Thunder" of which the working title will be "The One Tree", highlighting Aaron's composing and vocal skills once again. Even though Aaron has endured the effects of mental illness since 2006, he finds healing and fulfillment when he's creating. His drive and love of music continues to motivate him, and he looks forward to creating even more powerful and inspirational music in the future.