We touched down with Aeph to talk his new EP and his plans for the forthcoming year...
Hey there Aeph, so to the labels relieve, you've finished your Enter The Vision EP and we're thankful in saying, we're extremely happy with it. As this is your first extended play release, can you give us an insight into the making of it? Any mountains you had to get over, or is there anything you've learnt in the process?
Thank god this nightmare is over. Just kidding, obviously during the making of a five tracks EP there was often the and desire to throw away what I’ve done so far, call the label manager, and say you want to join the hermits at the top of some random mountains and disappear forever (well I don't know about other producers but this happens to me very often), probably because of the amount of time I have spent on it. Nowadays the market requires quality but also quantity so there isn’t much time to relax during the process which sometimes causes a few creative blocks. Making a full concept EP like Enter The Vision has one taught me how to organise my ideas and schedule my studio workflow much better. Also, after moving to the new studio this amount of work allowed me to fully understand the way the room sounds. I definitely feel more confident right now.
Most producers these days, stick with their bedroom studios. Where is your Studio and what's your hardware/software setup? Can we get a picture, or maybe even a studio ‘selfie’?
I moved to this new studio in December 2012 and it took me couple of months to make it fully operative. I've been very busy working on different audio projects and it’s been annoying that I took so long to come with this new release. At the moment the studio is fully operative but there will be some changes very soon so this picture will not reflect the real status of it. We are (as I’m sharing it with another Drum & Bass producer, Kung) changing our monitoring system upgrading the Adams A7 with a beautiful pair of Adam 77x. Also an RME soundcard is on his way and should be delivered tomorrow (excited!). Bass traps and acoustic panels are provided by GIK Acoustic and they are doing an amazing job. My music software choice is Cubase 7 64bit, I also just started to study FL studio cause I think it’s an incredible piece of software. I think the interaction of the 2 of them could help me better to express my music ideas. Plugin wise I think most of the ones on this list will be the same as everyone use nowadays: NI instrument stuff, Fabfilter bundle, Camel products, Sylenth 1, etc.
We're super impressed with the overall production level on this release, and we class it as a step ahead of most Drum & Bass tracks getting recognised as 'popular' in the current Drum & Bass market. How hard was it to get there? Can you tell us any studio secrets or tips of how to engineer dance music so precisely? Chris will probably tell us that it was his constant "not good enough" speeches over AIM that drove you to get there, but we're not so sure.
With this EP I've just followed my instinct, influencing them with some of the music, movies, book or any other media/visual/vision works I've enjoyed recently, trying also to keep a danceable vibe, hoping the listeners will enjoy this product as much at home as during a gig. This was very risky as most the time Drum & Bass requires to follow certain formulas to make sure it has support from the main "gurus" in order to reach as many followers/bookings as possible. It will not be a formula which I will keep forever, and at the moment I'm more into getting back a bit to some more techy vibes, but it is something I always wanted to explore. I can't thank enough Chris for the support and freedom he gave me during the writing as much as I hated him when he sent me back his crude feedbacks. The main aim with it was to try to be original, creative and musically dynamic but also to don't lose myself too much into crazy patterns and switches. I wanted to be a musical journey that’s easy to follow. This is why I've connected some of the tunes into 1 full "voyage" and I hope some people out there will get my message.
We loved the "Aeph Is Dead" electro house track on this EP. So, since the sharp rise of "EDM" and Dance music over the past few years (especially in the states), how do you think the Drum & Bass scene is doing as whole? Can it now be classed as a cross-over to all other dance genres as more and more DJs add a variety of tempos to their sets?
I think Drum & Bass is on shape, it’s a very good moment for a lot of new names out there which are experimenting and establishing their sounds. A real generational turnover. “EDM” sometimes is perceived as something "bad" but it has also connects people to Drum & Bass who haven’t taken notice of it before. These new "kids" who came from different music formulas have no bonds with the old school so they are more willing to assimilate a different approach to the writing of a track and at the same time, happy to have a classic amen break in their new favourite producer's track as for them it is still something new to hear. The "great beauty" of Drum & Bass is in constantly getting influenced by others genres. We will do the big step as soon as some more closed minded listeners will give up with their needs to have the same formula over and over again. Gridlok once said to me that “Drum & Bass will never die", and it’s true, but it also needs to wake up and expand its boundaries a little more.
Allot of dance music producers tend to switch up tempos and styles of genres these days, as an attempt to gain recognition above a specific genre. Your take on Drum & Bass is definitely hard and heavy - Do you see yourself making a similar style of Drum & Bass for your next releases? Are you sticking with the current formula or changing it up, maybe we'll hear "Aeph is something else" at some point soon?
I don't blame them as it is always a good challenge to start a new project, exploring different sonic fields, and I had the same needs a few times too. About my future projects I have now fully satisfied my needs to tell a story within the music. I will keep my influences but the next step is being more focused on writing something darker and more technical. I will not exclude in the future to write another concept EP like this one but at this stage this is what I really want to explore. The aim is always try to surprise the audience with something different. It's not just about becoming popular, for me it’s more about being significant.
The teaser video was more so your idea than the labels (who would have thought huh?), regardless, it's had some great apprise and approval from fans. What's next for Aeph and what else can we expect for the forthcoming year?
When I have the chance I always want to connect my music with a visual message. When music travels alongside a video it elevates the concept to another level. My biggest dream is proposing a full music/video experience like Amon Tobin's Isam, but it takes a very long time (and high budget) to be prepared and at the moment I'm more focused on trying to deliver as many good tunes as possible during the next months and improve my production level. This is the most exciting and personal challenge for a producer: to overcome your limits and constantly improve your skills. You'll see me around quite often this year.