A decade of producing and releasing some of the most renowned tracks on the leading labels of our time made Aera a highly sought after producer and DJ. Aera’s unique sound and production style always stood out which created the high demand from forward thinking DJs and record label owners alike. From collaborating with labels such as Innervisons, Hivern Disc and Maeve (to mention just a few) to Aera’s recent full-length album on Munich’s Permanent Vacation, the artist has been touring the world from South America to the Middle East, Asia and Across Europe. Besides being a studio wiz Aera spent his time from a early age digging for music of all styles, rare gems and dance floor killers. His incredible collection and ear for the special and unique gave him the edge as a fascinating and exciting dj though still always in touch with the crowd and emotions of the day.
What is the story behind your moniker?
It’s a wordplay on my real name that I came up with as a teenager. I found out that Aera actually has meanings in all kinds of languages. It leaves room for interpretation and imagination. It also helps when the line-up on the flyer is in analphabetical order.
You have been releasing music on renowed labels such as Hivern Discs, Maeve, Permanent Vacation, Innervisions, as well as your own label Aleph – just to name a few – for more than a decade. How has the perception of your own music changed as you’ve grown as a producer and person over these years?
I don’t really try to think about how I might be perceived and how this might have changed. It distracts me from expressing myself freely and being true to myself. Also, I am in the middle of it, I don’t think that’s a good position to judge. You don’t see yourself growing. It’s like when you are a kid and your aunties and uncles come to you and say: ‘Wow, you have grown so much since we last saw you!’ But as a kid, you don’t feel that way.
Do you produce better in day or night?
It really depends on the task, for mixdowns it’s usually better to start early with a fresh set of ears, but for new ideas it’s better to get in the mood when it’s dark outside and everyone else is sleeping already.
When writing music, do you always start with a specific idea, or do you just experiment until you find something you like?
I usually start with a specific mood, a strong sound or melody, something interesting that holds my attention. Afterwards I try to fill the spaces that surround it. The quicker I get from the first sketch to something resembling a finished track, the better.
If you had to give one tip to an aspiring producer, what would it be?
Don’t listen to tips from random strangers on the internet! Be yourself and do what you love with all your heart. The rest will follow.
What’s a studio routine that you’ve thrown over board that you once were fine with or is there a production process that you have optimized within the past years?
For me the important thing in the studio is to get into a state of flow, where I don’t think too much about what I am doing, but let things come to me instead; let my unconscious mind take over. For this, it’s important that I know my gear really well, that everything works like it should and that it’s available at my fingertips. Frustration is the opposite of inspiration. So generally, having a good workflow and just being happy in my studio is something that I am optimizing all the time.
You were born in a small town in Northern Germany where you happened to be fortunate enough to gain considerable exposure attending a youth center. You then moved on to Hamburg where you started to work for Wordandsound, one the main distributors of House and Techno records. Later on you moved to Berlin and started working for Native Instruments.
All of this time you had very few distractions and were able to focus on music. Now that you’ve gained international exposure and are surrounded by parties and other artists, do you find this distracting, inspiring, or both?
When I still had my day-job, I had much less time for music than I do now. It was always a struggle to find the time to work on something. I was also surrounded by so much electronic music during the day, that I sometimes just wanted to go home and put on something completely different, a Jazz record or some Leonard Cohen.
Now that I am traveling, meeting fellow artists and Djs etc, I am more inspired than ever, and whenever I am home in Berlin, I go to the studio every single day.
Where do you see your career heading over the next few years? Do you still keep up with Aleph as well? If so, do you reserve this for tracks which you don’t think fit into another label’s sound?
I just hope I can keep on making a living with my music, travel the world and make new friends along the way. Even though it’s a bit quiet at the moment, Aleph Music is still active, and I am actually thinking of opening it up and releasing others peoples music. We’ll see. I will also keep on putting out music on other labels for sure!
Which one of your very first tracks or releases puts a smile on your face when you listen to it now, and why?
Some time ago I listened to some of my old tapes from the 90’s. It was an incredible time-capsule. Back then, I worked with very stripped back equipment and it was super hard to find any information about how to set things up properly and how everything works. I’m amazed we were able to make any sounds at all! It was also super interesting that I could already hear some hints of where I would go in the future musically.
Have you noticed the crowds have changed since you started releasing on other labels, or that you feel pressure to play a particular sound?
The crowd changes from gig to gig, and so does the music. I can only go with what feels right in the moment, without trying to think too much about any expectations or pressure. Djing for me is a give and take, an exchange of energies. The crowd would feel if I play something that I don’t stand behind completely.