Shaped by the music his parents listened to in the 80s before continuing his musical journey and diving deep into HipHop, Aaaron then found his way into the electronic music scene. With releases on Defected, Objektivty and now Chapter 24 the Berlin based DJ and producer not only shares uplifting and percussive music with his crowd, but ultimately a groove that undoubtfully must have evolved from his musical past. Shortly before Aaaron’s remix release on British based label Chapter 24 he found the time to have a little chat with Torture the Artist to talk about former Berlin hypes, his musical past and influences and the stores he would grap all the DJ gear, if he no one could see. In order to set the mood for this interview listen to Aaaron’s remix for Djuma Soundsystem and Westerby’s track ‘Disambigua’ exclusively and in full. We know you are ‘Feelin’ This’.
Torture the Artist: As you’ve been living in Berlin for a while, where do you go to for a moment of silence?
Aaaron: Luckily Berlin – as it grew together from a lot of small cities – has a lot of calm places where you can find relief from stress and peace for your mind. If I need to rest for a few hours a park or a place at the Spree is great. You are within nature quick if you leave Berlins ‘center’. We have a lot of lakes in the outer regions. And if I really need to have a timeout I can leave any time to go for a week to my parents‘ place, which is in a small town in West Germany near Cologne and have a walk with the dog every day.
Torture the Artist: Was there a music hype in Berlin you could not resist?
Aaaron: Definitly the minimal techno hype and places like Bar25, Villa and others. At that time it was really mindblowing for me. I mean techno has always been there with Ostgut and clubs like that, but the minimal techno was a bit more approaching to me. More positive vibes, obviously more daylight, every open air was free entrance, no fences or securities. Sometimes secret sometimes within a residental area. Hundreds… sometimes thousands of people. You could easily run illegal clubs in abandoned houses at that time. Which a lot of people did.
I feel that the music we do and listen to in general is always evolving when it comes to quality and styles.
Torture the Artist: Trademarks of your tracks are features like a stomping bass line and a slightly percussive influence from time to time. As Berlin has been famous for a somewhat techy approach to electronic music while at the same time Afro influenced House music is on the rise in the German capital, do these phenomena support your approach of producing music and where does the percussive influence in your music derive from?
Aaaron: When I started listening to Techno it was definitly, like I said, the era of minimal techno. At that time there was already a lot of percussive minimal techno around with artists like Ilario Alicante, DJ QU, Michel Cleis, Reboot just to name a few. I think that was what attracted me in the first place. Since I evolved from Hiphop, Funk & Afrobeat, that played a huge role also. Artists like Fela Kuti and Gil Scott Heron, or Africa Bambaataa who was always between Breakbeat HipHop and electronic music, were an inspiring source as well.
Percussion instruments are great to built a trance-like state and a certain tension.
I always prefered ‘Eyes closed’ over ‘hands up’, so that comes in handy for me.
I feel that the music we do and listen to in general is always evolving when it comes to quality and styles. There were times where it was only about a simple 4 bar pattern that repeated over the the whole track, but nowadays there are so many more ideas. Also people are more interessted in abstract or experimental stuff.
My approach to percussion instruments has slightly changed as I try not to overuse them anymore. I don’t use them as a base but instead use them as highlights here and there. Less is more
Torture the Artist: Recently your EP, ‘Chains’, on Dennis Ferrer’s label Objektivity was released, fitting easily into the line of releases such as ‘Feelin’ This’, ‘What Makes You Itch’ or ‘Entropy’. What’s the tagline you will use on your social media from now on?
Aaaron: That’s hard to say. I dont like the whole advertising thing. I always want people to approach my music on a more natural base, so I’m torn between doing it and not. I want to keep it simple and raw, not too polished. Basically, it should reflect the music I do.
I have the opportunity to travel the world and maybe to become a small part of some people‘s lives or a memory to remember.
Torture the Artist: How would you describe your profession to your grandparents?
Aaaron: I would tell them that I play music that I, or other musicians, created and people dance to it. And that I have the opportunity to travel the world and maybe to become a small part of some people‘s lives or a memory to remember.
Torture the Artist: Your remix for Djuma Soundsystem and Westerby’s track ‘Disambigua’ will be out on Chapter 24, October 6th. What’s the stem that made you come up with an own idea for your remix?
Aaaron: Well, it was the arp lead sound and the bass line that attracted me originally, and that it’s a deep melancholic track, as that’s what I normally would go for. So I got the idea to create a more percussive lead from the original arp which sounds like a mallet as the lowpass filter is on, but I wanted to give it more of a left field groove. All sounds, except the drums, are created with my eurorack, and since I love polyrhythms I had to do another percussive line on top. This makes the rhythm always evolving. The second rhythm has a bit more attack and decay/release, making it sound more string-like. By doing this I’ve made it sound really different than the original, even though to me it still sounds quite similar. I find that having less vocals in the remixes is better, so I used a stripped down vocal slice. It’s a great release with great remixes and I love the artwork. It’s obvious that Marcus from Chapter 24 knows what he’s doing. I feel very honored to be a part of their vision.
Torture the Artist: Turning the tables, which artist would you like to remix a track of yours?
Aaaron: Roman Flügel. He is so diverse. Not only with all his alter egos, but his sound aesthetics are incredible. His ideas are always on point and every track is timeless.
Torture the Artist: Name three tracks that always gets the party started.
Aaaron: The Maghreban – Wonder Woman. It’s a groovy masterpiece.
Right now any track by Florian Busse. If I had to choose one, it would be ‘Heus’ from his latest Connected EP.
Cymande – Getting It Back. There is no party without the Cymande LP.
Torture the Artist: What TV series would you have liked to produce the soundtrack for, and why?
Aaaron: Thats a tough one. For Movies that would have been easier, and I would have said Bladerunner or Neuromancer. But for TV series, I’d say Mr. Robot has a really great Soundtrack. It‘s by Mac Quayle who also did the soundtrack to American Horror Story: ‘Hotel. Oneincontrol.aiff’ is stil my favorite.
Torture the Artist: Describe the ordinary listener of your music.
Aaaron: I hope he or she is open minded, and always looking for something new. Hopefully someone for whom music is as important to them as it is for me.
Torture the Artist: What was the music you were surrounded by when you were a child?
Aaaron: Of course, I was surrounded by the music my parents where listening to. Queen, Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream, Jean Michel Jarre – 80`s Music. I didn’t like it back then but years later they became my favourite bands or artists and then my dad gave me a big part of his vinyl collection. Later as a teen I mostly enjoyed HipHop and artists like Big L, Souls of Mischief, Jeru da Damaja, MF Doom.
Torture the Artist: Which store would you visit, if you had one minute of time to take everything you wanted, and why?
Aaaron: Schneidersladen maybe, or some store like Thomann. Obviously to get all that gear.
Torture the Artist: What does our society lack?
Aaaron: Nothing material, that’s for sure. I’d have to say peace and therefore empathy, tolerance and justice. This may sound cheezy but they’re seriously the most important things that exist.