SMAAK return with their first release of the year, but more importantly – the first release from up and coming South African born, London-based producer/DJ AIDON, making his grand debut on SMAAK. ‘Beholder’ is an emotional ride of searing synths, tight percussion, and an unforgettable vocal, whilst the B side – ‘Umsuka’ – gets a little more nasty and rolling in the low end with just the right amount of ravey in places. With a fresh take on Afro-Tech, it also incorporates some tribal rhythms, and a haunting African vocal destined to take your mind places. DMCWORLD get in early with a world exclusive…
What first inspired you to get into the music industry?
House music has been a core part of my life since 2006 when I was a young teenager. It was around that time that I heard Booka Shade’s “In White Rooms” for the first time, and something inside of me just knew that there was something about underground house music that filled me with emotion and energy.
I don’t know if I can explain the what so much as I can explain the “who” inspired me: I can clearly remember hearing the sounds of Stimming for the first time in 2007 and deciding then that I wanted to become an artist of sound.
What inspired you to start making music?
In 2018, one day I decided to pack up my life in South Africa and go backpacking around Europe. Previously, I had spent 2 years heavily involved in the Cape Town festival scene. Eventually I became obsessed with the idea of going to the biggest techno and house festivals in Europe, and I started losing sleep over the idea of going to Awakenings and ADE. So I decided to sell everything I own, packed one small backpack and traveled across Europe for most part of the 2018 and 2019 festival season. It was at these festivals – dancing for hours on end to the very best techno and melodic house producers in the world – that I knew deep inside that I wanted to be able to create the same type of experiences for people. That’s ultimately what pushed me to start producing at the end of 2019.
What inspired your latest release?
My Beholder EP – which is my first official release – is inspired by two major themes that have played out in my life since moving to Europe and setting up a home base in London. The first: Beholder is inspired by my frustration of not believing I am good enough to be a professional house music producer. It has taken me a lot of introspection and realization that beauty is in the eye of the beholder – not just in the physical, but with music too. The second: Umsuka, the second track on the EP, means Origin. Since moving to Europe, it has been a constant struggle for me to feel fully connected to my home back in South Africa. Umsuka is my attempt at trying to keep the link I have with my family and my home as strong as possible.
How did your relationship with this label come about?
As an unreleased artist, submitting tracks to labels can be really daunting. I have generally shied away from submitting my tracks over the past year because I thought I would struggle to get a response from labels. However, one of my friends – who has been close to my music journey, and who has a good network in the South African music industry – believed otherwise, and submitted my track to SMAAK music. The next thing I knew, they were contacting me asking for a second track for a potential release. It’s been a really great experience since day one and they have guided me along what is a completely foreign path.
How would you describe your musical style?
Uplifting cosmic melodies with a dash of vocals
What does your average studio session look like?
I would say my music making routine is a bit different to most people. Generally, I have my Ableton open from 8am through to 11pm every day. I have a full time job from Monday to Friday so spare time isn’t a luxury I usually have. Instead I do 5/10 minutes of music every hour in-between my work. Once I have a a track outlined, I then spend a lot of time at a studio which I rent out in London on a Friday evening to put together the final product.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
My ultimate collaboration dream would have to be Rodriguez Jr.
Any advice for people struggling to stay motivated during the Corona Virus quarantine period?
Routine and schedules. It’s during times of lockdown, when we sleep, work, eat, exercise and make music all in the same place that it’s the most important to keep to a schedule (that you’ve physically written down on paper). By achieving small goals every day and ticking off your music tasks for the day, you provide yourself with a positive feedback loop and the motivation to keep going grows stronger. Push through the bad days and what ever you do, just make sure you turn up every single day, even if its only for 5 minutes.
AIDON’s ‘Beholder’ EP – available everywhere – MAY 07th 2021 via SMAAK MUSIC