Only a year into existence, A/V duo Aerate Sound’s already turning heads with their successful album launch, and music video with Bangalore-based rapper Smokey the Ghost. We talked to the audio half of the band, Joe, who had a lot to tell us about their roots and the way they work.
Although Aerate Sound doesn’t identify with any particular genre, Joe reveals that he’s largly drawn to and inspired by black music, from hip-hop to African folk. So it’s no surprise that, unlike most electronic artists, Aerate Sound collaborated with a rapper for the track. After isolating whatever he liked from a blues guitar riff that a friend of his played, Joe slapped a rap acapella onto it just to experiment, before realizing that it could work. Then it was just a matter of calling Smokey in, who wrote the song in just 2-3 hours.
This pretty much sums up Joe’s creative process: the journey is more important than the destination. He likes sampling stuff, recording and then messing around with it later at home, because he’s not sure how it will turn out in the end. And it works for Aerate Sound, because Naquash is a prolific visual artist who’s constantly creating new material.
“We have a lot of time and head room to exchange ideas back and forth. He projects it on the wall, and sometimes we just sit and trip out.”
While Joe, having started out as a drummer for rock bands, has a soft spot for the traditional structure of songs (intro, verse, chorus, etc), he also notes that it’s important to break such monotony in electronic music. In an environment where such a large portion of the audience not only expect but want a song to build a certain way and get excited when a certain part comes no matter how predictable it is, artists who do sound design and work in electronic music are pushing the envelope. “It’s not about harmonies or chords or this many bars. People are actually taking sounds and creating sounds like music. Electronic music is basically sound sculpting, especially now that software is so easily available to everyone.”
And as the way of music evolves, the way of listening to music also has to evolve. According to Joe, when artists in India perform their original music on stage, the audience has a tendency to space out. “Instrumentals are always considered background music, fillers. But that’s the opposite of how live shows should be. The least artists deserve is attention.”
For Aerate Sound, Only For External is the beginning of something, thanks to their record label Consolidate. Though the album launch at The Humming Tree was supposed to be a lowkey event, about 150 people showed up, being nothing but encouraging and energetic throughout their set.
Joe uses Ableton Live and Push, from which he feeds audio to Naquash, who triggers the visuals. The audio cues are all real-time, and the songs can never get boring since they’ve complete freedom to tweak different elements in every set. This puts Aerate Sound right up there on our list of bands to catch live.
Purchase the album here.
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