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Feature: Aiden [Interview]

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Aiden is a Rotterdam-based DJ/Producer who steadfastly avoids producing music with certain genres or formulas in mind, preferring to blend a unique variety of sounds and textures into his work. His adventurous debut artist album (‘Gebruikerssporen’) defies simple pigeonholing, which is what makes his music so interesting. When an artist has a creative palette that ranges from psychedelic overtones, through leftfield electronics, to limitless organic textures and irresistible percussion, Progressive-Astronaut thinks its time to find out more about the man behind the music…

Let’s go back to the beginning… When was the first time you stumbled on electronic music?
The first time I really got into electronic music was in the late 90's when the Hardcore/Gabber culture got really big in the Netherlands. In this period of time I saw the first records being spun by a DJ and live performances with synths and drum machines (on TV as I was too young to go to parties) and I instantly knew I wanted to do this!

So, when and how did you decide that making music is something you want to do, how did you end up producing and DJing?
As I got older and saved some money I bought some records and a crappy mixer with crappy turntables. Later we got a home computer and a classmate gave me a cd with samples and a program called Impulse Tracker, which allowed you to make patterns with the samples and in the end a whole song. I got quite good at making these songs and mixing records and I did love it so I never stopped.

What were your early productions like? How do you think your production style has evolved over the years?
My early productions were, of course, very simple as they were just loops and samples stacked together, basically, and they were very hard as I was into hard music at the time. I think the BPM's then were 160 up to 180, so very different compared to the productions I do now! As I got older, my taste in music evolved as did my productions - software changed and I learned how to use effects and things like equalization. The basic things like mixing, using compression and stuff like that were things I had to learn, and after this, recording things like hardware synths or live percussion gave my way of producing shape. I really like my music to sound organic, so this is why I record a lot of percussion with my microphone, or like to add static and noise to my sounds. I never draw automation clips, but record them all by hand - I think this is also a big part of my style.

Which artists would you name as being influential for you?
In the beginning - DJ Paul Elstak was a really big influence for me at the age of 11 or 12 - I really idolized this man. When I got introduced to techno/minimal, then Extrawelt and James Holden were big influences regarding which direction I was going as a producer. Nowadays, I think Four Tet is someone that really inspires me as a producer and I’m also very much into Fleetwood Mac and the brilliant Kate Bush, because they are both so diverse but still everything they make is so good, and most of all - timeless.

Where did the idea for your ‘Gebruikerssporen’ album project come from?
The album is a collection of tracks that I made throughout a period of 5 years. When I got about 7-8 tracks which I didn’t know really what I wanted to do with them, I decided to make a few more tracks and put them together. I presented this at last year’s Amsterdam Dance Event to Robin (Cinematique) and he liked the idea, so we made a project out of it. Together with Paul (Manual Music) we made a plan and now here we are one year later with my debut album ‘Gebruikerssporen’!

https://soundcloud.com/cinematique/sets/aiden-gebruikerssporen

You’ve been on the scene for some years how, so how come you just now decided to do an album? Do you think you have now reached a certain musical maturity level for such an endeavour?
I did just a couple of EPs now, which is a small piece of the music I have made in the last 10 years, but you cannot release everything. First of all you have to find a label that fits you and not every track makes the cut, for me or for the label. After this, you're not the only one who wants to release your music, so you have to wait your turn, so sometimes when your release comes out the track might be almost 2 years old. What I’m trying to say, basically, is that time flies and than you realize you did about 5 EPs and its time for an album! Haha. As I was saying before, some tracks were about 5 years old and I still liked them, so that's a good reason to put them on the album, and as you get to release about a dozen tracks at once its a great way to release some really fresh material as well.

Can you tell us more about your ‘Gebruikerssporen’ album?
The title track ‘Gebruikerssporen’ means “user traces” in Dutch, and is one of the tracks that are 5 years old and always had that name because it's a word I like. After this I decided to give all the tracks a Dutch word that fits the track, but is also a word I find interesting or just weird!

Your track ‘Houdje Touwtje’ features the vocals of Hermione Green – can you tell us about her?
Hermione Green is my girlfriend and soon to be my wife and she loves to sing, so that's a match made in heaven! There will be probably more collaborations in the future and she also did the artwork for the album.

https://soundcloud.com/cinematique/aiden-ft-hermione-green?in=cinematique/sets/aiden-gebruikerssporen

Your album is released on Cinematique - how and when did your relationship begin and how has it evolved to this significant point in your career?
I had some music up on Soundcloud and Michael (then 10dens) found it, liked it and introduced me to Robin (Cinematique). After this, the first (‘Jetplane’) EP was born. We kept in contact online for a few years and then Paul (Manual Music) threw a party in Groningen (the largest city in the north of the Netherlands) and I decided to go and finally meet up with my label managers. Also, Michael was at this party, so that was great meeting him in real life as well. After this, we met more frequently and nowadays I can call Robin and Paul friends. They are great guys and run their labels very professionally, so that's really important to me.

Could you tell us your most memorable gig and where was it?
I don’t really have a lot of gigs that I attend (which I intend to do something about soon), but my most memorable gig was at an illegal party years ago. My friends from the notorious Club von Westen (a Rotterdam based crew) threw this party at an outdoors location where people started to build fires during my set and someone even started to set off fireworks. It went on until 8 in the morning and I think the police then came to say it was enough. Good times!

How is the underground scene in Rotterdam? Are there any other exciting, up and coming producers we should be looking out for?
Actually the Progressive/Deep House scene is not very big in Rotterdam. The best melodic stuff that's coming from Rotterdam at the moment, in my opinion, is coming from producers such as: Folie a deux (who also release on Cinematique), as well as my buddy Arp. Mattheis and the Nous Klear crew are doing very well for themselves and I think Rej. are going to do some great things in the future.

Since you come from such an open-minded country can you tell us what’s your opinion on dance music & drugs?
I think dance music can exist without drugs, I think dance parties don’t.

What is the best piece of new music that you have heard recently?
I really like ‘Chimicalissimo’ by Argoman on the Permanent Vacation label - very strong bassline and cool production.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people?
I’m not really a surprising guy… I think… haha! The only thing that springs to mind is that in my daytime job I’m a butcher and my girlfriend is a diehard vegetarian.

What are your plans for the coming months and the future?
We’re going to sell some ltd edition CD copies album at the next Club von Westen party next month, and I’m playing at the Manual/Cinematique get-together party during ADE… And, Hermione Green and I are busy planning our wedding for next year.

Is there something we missed and you wanted to tell our readers about? 
I just want to say to the readers out there: you didn't really have pizza if you didn't burn your mouth!

Thanks for your time here Aiden

Aiden - Gebruikerssporen LP (Cinematique) is out now…

Beatport – Digital: https://www.beatport.com/label/cinematique/14887

Bandcamp – Ltd Edition CD: https://manualmusic.bandcamp.com/album/gebruikerssporen

Aiden Info:
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/aadhoppie
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Aidenaudio/

Cinematique Info:
Website: http://cinematique.nl
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/cinematique
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cinematiquerecords

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