Versions – the remarkable first instalment in a brand new mix concept from Berlin-based imprint Innervisions – has just been put out, courtesy of German DJ and producer Aera.
Embarking on a captivating excursion of left-field electronica, trip-hop and down-tempo sound palettes, Versions sees the Applied Magic label head revisit and reimagine some of the most notable records from his extensive back catalogue, as he delivers an impressive opus of edits that explores the more experimental side of his diverse sonic repertoire.
Giving us a different insight into his acutely honed craft as a multi-faceted producer, the in-demand German pulls reference from a plethora of realms beyond what many perceive to be his immediate musical home. Returning to Innervisions following an emphatic contribution to Secret Weapons Part 14 with Acido back in June, Versions shines a light on Aera’s innate passion for the cross-pollination of genres, as he marks the beginning of a new mix series format on Dixon & Âme’s esteemed Berlin-based imprint.
Aera – Versions is out now via Innervisions: https://lnk.to/versions
Hi Ralf, welcome to Deep Tech Magazine. How are things?
Hey, thank you for having me! All good, hope you too!
You’ve just released your new mix project ‘Versions’ on Innervisions. Tell us more!
It’s basically downtempo versions of some of my dancefloor releases on Innervisions and Applied Magic in the mix.
The idea is to show a different side of what I’m capable of as a producer, as well as putting out something that might last longer musically than your typical dancefloor 12″. The goal was timelessness. Something you can listen to again and again.
Can you see yourself moving away from making dancefoor records more in the future? Do you find it more liberating from a creative standpoint?
I have always done all sorts of different things musically, it’s just that I might be most known for my dancefloor releases. I put out an album on Permanent Vacation with more experimental and listening material for example. I really enjoy this open-ended approach. I am interested in so many different kinds of music, so this just way of working just suits my personality. I think you can also hear in my dancefloor releases that I am taking inspiration from a lot of different places and do not stick to one formula.
Regarding the actual production process for the project, did you have a bunch of ideas in your head you worked towards or did you just experiment and jam and see what happened?
Interestingly, I usually don’t really know what will happen once I sit down to work on something – but here, I had a clear goal in mind. Before the start, I set myself a few constraints such as working at 105 BPM or using old Funk and Soul samples for the drums and percussions. I also had to pick the original tracks to start from, so that was another point where I could make certain decisions early on. That was probably one of the reasons I was able to finish this project rather quickly.
What gear do you use currently to make music? Do you use lots of hardware to create your sound?
I’m not much of a gearhead, to be honest, I’ve been using the same set-up for years now. I’d rather know what I have inside out and be able to get down my ideas quickly. Every once in a while I might try out a new piece of equipment, but more often than not, I stick with what I have. I do like using hardware though, as I enjoy the tactile part of it, especially when recording.What’s more important for me is having a space that I feel comfortable in, where I don’t feel disturbed and can let myself go, preferably with an inspiring view.
Do you make music to fit certain labels, or do you just create what you like and worry about finding a home for them later?
When I am creating, I don’t judge or limit myself at all, I just open the floodgates and see what comes up. But once it’s finished, I do make decisions about where it might fit or who to send it to – or if I should just keep it to myself.
Onto your own baby, Applied Magic. Can we expect some more releases on the label soon?
Absolutely, apart from producing and DJing, Applied Magic is my main focus right now, and I hope to build it further to make it an even bigger platform.
I am currently working on a dancefloor EP by myself which should hopefully be out by November. I’m also thinking about doing a compilation and am currently gathering music for it.
We’ve just come off the back of a huge festival season. What were some of the best events you played this Summer?
Playing for Adriatique in their hometown Zürich during Streetparade was way up there for sure. Or playing 6 hours plus at Moni Mykonos, going from House to Disco to Breakbeats to Ambient and back. Another one that sticks in my mind was closing Mit Dir Festival near Berlin on a Sunday evening…it was one of the hottest days of the year and you could feel people were already partying for a couple of days. But somehow I was able to reignite their spirits and fill up the floor again, and it felt really special. I also never had so many people requesting “one more tune” for so long as that day.
Where do you feel your best environment as a DJ is? A dark club or an open air stage? And why?
I’ve thought about this quite a bit and must say that right now I simply have way more experience playing clubs than open-air spaces. So I feel most comfortable there for sure. Playing the big stages is more exciting and challenging and can be super rewarding when you pull it off properly. But I’m not sure anything compares to the feeling you can get at 4 am in a packed club. When it all blends together perfectly, it’s second to none and one of the main reasons I’m doing all of this.
Finally, what else have you got coming up in 2022 that you can tell us about?
I’m playing Fabric for the first time which I’m super excited about, as well as preparing a Mexico Tour, Argentina, hopefully Brazil and also going back to India. I also can’t wait to get back to the studio to work on new music!
Thank Ralf, we wish you all the best for the rest of the year.
My pleasure! Wishing you the same.