Introduced in 2017, Aether has proven an exciting new presence in Techno.
Through the Mind Against collaboration ‘Solaris‘, Aether’s fruitful relationship with Afterlife began, leading to a solo contribution on a Realm Of Consciousness compilation, a Voyage podcast, and sets at the Afterlife’s Ibiza – sets that are journies for body and mind, expressed through a diverse selection of experimental-leaning Techno, House and Ambient.
With plans for a live set in the works, and an Afterlife appearance at Hï Ibiza on 30 August, Aether anticipates the event with this exclusive mixtape for us and goes in depth into his history, relationship with Afterlife, and future with a far reaching interview.
What moments would you consider as your breakthrough in your career so far?
Well, my career with Aether started in late 2016. Before I was struggling to find the right balance between my music experimentations, the people around me and all other problems in the usual life.
I started to understand music and productions really young, I think around 10 years old. At some point I was trying to deejay in some clubs in Rome, where I was born, but I was always rejected from it. Somehow I wasn’t in the right place in the right moment. Maybe I was too much forward. I will never known but for sure nobody understood what I was trying to express with my DJ sets and my productions. My stuff was too difficult, for sure not an easy listening! I think also now people have problems to understand my music sometimes, I can understand I am not an ordinary artist.
Better in Milan for sure, when I moved on, I played in more parties and I had fun, but at some point I was bored. I needed to get out from organising parties, non sense deejaying, lot of drugs and no discipline at all. I needed to get out as an artist and not as a DJ who is residencing in some clubs around the city without a music identity or history or background. So to find my right peace and my right identity I decided to move in London and try to rent a studio for make something special in the right place. I just fly away from the past and focusing on the future. I rented a studio in Shoreditch and for at least couple of years I was close inside it from 8hrs to 15hrs per day. I was so focus on it that I had problems to socialise or find a job and it was extremely rare find me deejaying in some clubs. In 5 years in London I played only in 2 parties.
The studio helped me to find the discipline and the focus only on music productions, then my breakthrough came when I got back in touch with Mind Against in 2016. I sent to them a track called “Shelter” and they also produced an edit. They played it all around the globe for a season, so from there I saw something, I saw the light. Then they invited me to visit Berlin and make some music in their studio, that was inspiring. The week after when I went back to London I wrote Eclipse and Event Horizon and then we decided to make the collab “Solaris Ep” for Afterlife.
How did you and Tale Of Us meet in the first place? Any interesting stories there?
Well yes is a long story! I never met Tale Of Us before 2018 in Tulum. I think I didn’t need it. I had a good relationship with Mind Against since 2008, I mean like friends for real. I moved to Milan to study Sound Design and my best friend introduce me to one of the Fognini brothers (Mind Against). From that moment we started to hang out. We did have something in common and the right sensations about music, records, deejaying and producing. Apparently I was more focusing on techno, influenced from the Detroit, Berlin techno and industrial scene. My productions compared with them were more psychedelic and hard. So for that reason our music roads get in two different directions, they became Mind Against moved to Berlin and me, well I just remained “me against myself” in London 😀
So in October 2016 we complete the collab “Solaris” and around Christmas I produced “Beyond the Lights” for “Realm Of Consciousness Pt.II”. Then my brain has stopped in deep thoughts. I was trying to understand myself and what I could be able to do with Afterlife in the future. Also Aether project came out so fast that I wasn’t ready or prepared to get in the music business in less then 2 months. As I told you before I was close into the studio focusing only on production and when Afterlife came to me, well I wasn’t ready for all of this, I didn’t expected something so big and huge like that. So the collaboration helped me in a way, but in the other I didn’t have enough pay back on me because of my unknown profile. I didn’t get enough respect, even if I did 2 out of 3 tracks on the EP, so from that moment I was targeting to make my first solo EP with Afterlife. When I decided to move in Berlin, in summer 2017, I went back in Italy for a break and there I produced “Spectre” on the sea side with the right peace, positive vibes and the right harmonies. The day after I finished the first arrangement, I sent the track to Mind Against, they played it straight at Loveland Festival, and it went so good that Tale Of Us ask the track from them. After the last collab for Fabric Mix “Covenant” in early 2018, I received a call from Tale Of Us. I caught their attention so much that they want me for the Voyage Series and for a solo EP. I met Matteo (Tale Of Us) in the office and planned the road together and then I finished the Voyage Podcast and the all ep in only two months. Well this time I was prepared!
What space do you see Tale of Us and the Afterlife brand occupying in the wider landscape of electronic music?
A great future ahead but Its an hard battle. I see so many new born labels coming up in the same line and sound of Afterlife trying to rise up, so its hard to be always on the top but seasons after seasons Afterlife is becoming an icon and it´s unstoppable. The fans are going crazy for everything around it, stories, new artist, merchandising, records and parties. I think there’s no other innovative and fresh label like Afterlife with strong messages and concept/idea at the moment. The team working behind it is amazing and Tale Of Us during them career had creating something emotional and special with an unique sound that a lot of artist are trying to follow. I can see already new producers rising up and also new labels, as I said before, are following the Afterlife mood. So the label need to be aware from competitors releasing always something new and fresh, renovating the sounds every release for not fall in the repetitive loop, but I am sure and positive that this will not happen.
Afterlife is certainly a high-profile event, what are your experience with it so far, and also expectations?
Massive parties I have to say. I was one of the first artist within Afterlife and I played a couple of times. The crowd is always on high expectations and the line up are constantly in changing. The vibe in the nights are really magic, its hard to explain. In Ibiza at Privilege last year I was shocked! It was fully packed and the music was in perfect balance between the lights, the falling man, and the venue with the sunlights coming inside. Wow awesome! Hoping to see the same vibe in Hï this season, or even better. Also, in Tulum I felt in love, there is no other venues like that, right under the stars with an amazing crowd. Honestly there is no other Afterlife event where I would like to play at more.
My expectation? Well they are always low for not be too much upset if I miss a show. My profile is still underground and for this it will be hard to get always in the bookings, also because of the limited shows. But maybe a couple of gigs outside Ibiza could be nice. I could see one day an Afterlife Festival, why not?
The line-up of Afterlife is appropriately massive, which makes it hard to start picking out highlights. What is your personal favourite act from the imprint?
Well, I am not really sure or able to say which is the better act, cause I prefer to not get into the influences from other acts or producers and for this reason I am not focusing in hearing DJ sets so far, also because I am not usually able to go in every Afterlife party at the moment. Tale Of Us and Mind Against look really in the same level but in some way they choose some different style tracks to push themselves. I am more interested in live sets of course, I prefer listening to a full live set instead a DJ set cause is more innovative, creative, personal, with characteristic imprints and unexpected tunes. You can always put something new and fresh in there. Woo York for example has a complex set up but wow is powerful and Recondite, on another level of simplicity that never bores you. In DJ sets unfortunately there are a lot of similarities in some acts, like same tracks played in two different rooms in the same nights etc, like that you loose a bit of your originality I think. Some young producer send tracks to many different DJs, I don’t think is helping, but only creating chaos, its better to choose one platform and push it forward. I also made a few mistakes to send same tracks to different artists, its just nonsense.
After spending some time in multiple countries, which country/city has inspired you the most and left a significant impression on your music production?
Quite a hard choice but I think that every single cities where I lived, gave me something for reach the next level of my music experiences, helping me building my own ideas and reach out my own sound. For example in London I was in a problematic situation cause I didn’t have enough peace and time around me but only problems with more then 12hrs work (not in music of course), money problems, debts, etc, so with all of this things I learned to make music in a short period of time during the week. In Utrecht, I was quite young, so no responsibilities, no work and no stress at all! So all my music imagination and creativity was more productive and unique. That small city inspired me so much.
Maybe the right city could be Berlin. I actually complete my last ep in here plus 3 more tracks “Spectre II”, “Clark” and “Vortex” (in the Voyage podcast). Berlin offers you a full panorama of musicians, clubs and job opportunities with a cheap life style for artists, that helped me of course to find the right peace. I just played at Ipse last night on the river and I totally felt the people connected with me and for a Thursday night, well was packed and even if the rain came a couple of times but they were dancing non stop. I was impressed how the people are so much sensible to new acts and how much they care about the music without really seeing big names on the decks. But my last decision is London. I considered it my city because I lived there for 5 years knowing the crowd as perfect and the lifestyle that helped me with my music process giving me the right push to the next level ahead.
“Spectre”, your new EP is available soon. What was the starting point for the package?
Spectre is basically a code name for my own sound that I used for my last works. Spectre is the man behind Aether, that is in constantly mutation. Is like a thought, a concept, an idea of music and experimentations. Basically is a melting of shapes harmonies and synth lines with some of ambient ethereal atmospheric sounds. Honestly I am still working on it, to finalising as best the idea and create something special for the future.
When I made Spectre, I had the idea before, to produce a track with a long intro, very deep in atmospheric, that comes into an epic drop. Like a sine wave indeed, a build up, finishing with the last drop throughout the end. Also the melody of the synth line is something not usual and easy. Is not between the regularity. I see the track for big room venues.
Raven and Endeavour instead are something more fresh that I produced 3 months ago that basically are following the Spectre idea but with a minimalistic and light warp.
The EP is described as a combination of tonal richness and patient headspace, that leads to dreamy hours on the dancefloor. What feelings do you personally aim to trigger in your audience?
When I am deejaying I always test my new material, sometimes I can play for several hours only with my own stuff, but sometimes could be risky because of my madness in productions and for some unexpected tune completely out of the usual. At the same time could be rich of emotions, from peaceful and angelic harmonies to aggressive beats and unbounded synth modulations.
To be honest in some places is hard to get the right attention. My productions are not for all the venues and crowds, so for this my DJ sets are always in mutation and improvisation.
The feelings that I would like to reach on the dance floor is the energy. The power of the kicks and sub basses combined with sweet melodies and long pauses. I would like that the crowd never stop dancing with my DJ set, never be bored or suggested for a break. A set from a peaceful tech house to an atmospheric techno, giving to the crowd a journey of peace and tempest.
More on a personal level, Utrecht plays a very important role in my life, a city I truly feel at home; a city that turned out to be a tremendous influence on my self-development as I’ve read had some influence on you as well. What are your memories of Utrecht, the little sister of Amsterdam?
Utrecht was my first city outside Italy. I was around 18years old, so I was quite excited to explore something new and unique with an amazing connection, development and sensibility within the music. I went with 2 friends and the day in the life was focusing in productions only, combined with the nature around us.
The city helped me to reach another life style level and the opportunity to meet the right people with open minds. The situation were more on a joy level, without bad thoughts and for that was an amazing experience full of fun.
On productions, I was very inspired from it, sometimes I went out with my bike for a ride, listening to some music, thinking about the place around me while exploring the nature. That was just the right peace and the right relax that you need for make magic music. I just pull out a track I made in Utrecht long time ago, called “Imaginarium”. I revisited only for you and put it as a intro for DHA podcast, for show you how much I was inspired from those moments. Hope you like it!
What advice would you give to young artist who are just experiencing their first taste of “success” in the scene? How does one maintain a healthy head on their shoulders?
Always renovating your self and your music step by step. Try to make something different with experimentations. Explore your self and your creativity. You must know your self before and get surrender by the emotions. Go beyond your limit to reach. Continuing focus on music and just be as much as you can humble and patient. Is better don’t get too much expectations from people in the music business, but stay stick with the ones who you think they are helping you in your music. Don’t lose your time too much on socials, doesn’t help you really if you don’t have a strong material to push, but its always better spend a day in the studio. Try to be as much more original as you can, without falling in similarities from the music you get inspirations from. I think every one has something particular to show one day, in the right moment.
– Interview by Qendresa Rexhepi