• Discovery Project Releases: Aaron Jackson ft. Megan Hamilton “Insomniac” [Free Download]

    Discovery Project Releases: Aaron Jackson ft. Megan Hamilton “Insomniac” [Free Download]

    Discovery Project Releases is a regular series featuring exclusive music downloads from our Discovery Project alumni.

    The revival of garage has spawned an avalanche of artists who are adept at crafting basslines that venture deep into the weird and wonderful. It has also created two distinct markets of bassline-focused house music: one that borrows more from the brash and upfront excess of electro house, and one that is decidedly deeper.

    Leading the pack of US artists that have adopted the more restrained UK approach is Aaron Jackson. His tunes have all the low-end heft of mainstream electro, but with a sense of subtlety that allows the groove to speak for itself. The Oregon-based producer has, in a short time, found himself inching closer to primetime mainstage gigs based on the success of releases on labels like Buygore, Monstercat, Helldeep, Mixmash and Audiophile, the label for which he is handling A&R.

    For his Discovery Project Release, he’s enlisted Megan Hamilton to lend sultry vocals that layer beautifully over the soulful organ breakdowns. The bassline is thick, with some clear attention paid to dynamics, and the shuffle in the drums gives it an undeniably funky swing.

    We chatted with Aaron about learning the ropes of DJing on vinyl, the importance of having a mentor, and his second passion: gaming.

    Megan Hamilton seems to be your go-to vocalist. How did you guys meet, and what is it about your chemistry that keeps you working together on tunes?
    I met Megan through my good friend Mike, also known as Ghost Channels. He sent me to her after we started talking and became friends through my getting him on the label I A&R for, Audiophile XXL. I think one of the things that helps with the chemistry is that Megan is so amazing and talented that she can just choose a chord progression she likes and then record the vocals and send them over to me dry, so that I have total creative ability with the track; I just place the vocals where they fit best with what is written around them. Not only that, she writes all of her own lyrics, as well, which is a hard combination to find: someone that cannot only write, but record at studio quality, so that there is little editing needed on the vocals.

    You had a DJing mentor early on who took you under his wing and taught you the ropes. How important do you think it is to have a community for artists to bounce ideas off each other and help push one another forward?
    I think it’s very crucial. I honestly believe it would have been a lot harder for me to get this far if I also didn’t have friends in music who helped mentor me. From the start of my first DJ gig, and even now, I have a good group of friends, and we all help push each other and give feedback, so that we are all constantly growing and moving toward our goals.

    You learned how to DJ on vinyl early in your career. Not that it matters much, but do you feel like it gave you a creative or technical edge at all?
    I won’t say I have an edge or that it makes me better, but I do feel like learning to beat-match on records, with nothing to assist you... teaches you a lot of things. You learn to know whether to slow or speed the track up just by listening, rather than taking a gander at the BPM counter on the CDJ. When you can do that, too, you get this amazing feeling. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s bliss to me when you are sitting there and have two different records matched up and blending into each other. I would say it’s a good thing to at least try out. No one needs to be a vinyl snob, but there is a lot people can learn just from having a couple of sessions on some turntables.

    Besides DJing and producing, you also are a big-time gamer, right?
    Yeah, I actually am. It’s my one release outside of traveling shows, making music and going to school. I was always a big gamer growing up, as I felt like I never fit in with too many people at my schools, so I liked to game and play guitar at home all the time. Now, I figured I might as well do a little side project, so I like to stream a couple times a week on Twitch to have fun with viewers and to try out new games that come out. I also plan to make some video montages and gameplay recordings to put on YouTube with this project when I have more time to spare for it. The last thing I’ll say about gaming is that it is a great way to find new music. I actually found one of my favorite ambient producers through an indie video game called Machinarium.

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