Insomniac’s Metronome series features mixes from some of today’s fastest-rising electronic stars, as well as championed legends. It takes listeners deep across a wide range of genres, movements, cultures, producers, artists and sounds that make up the diverse world of electronic music.
RAM Records continues to impress with its ability to nurture and cultivate new talent in the drum & bass world. With most new-school artists surfacing on its sister imprint Program, the label continues to earn a reputation as a hotbed of budding talent on the fast track to the top.
Take the latest newcomer, Aperio, whose latest release on Program, Affections / Grey to Blue, is already causing a stir among liquid connoisseurs across the globe. Hailing from Leeds and reflecting the region’s reputation for a love of the deep and heavy side of the dancefloor, Aperio channels that energy into producing celestial bits that range from dreamy rollers on through to sunrise-session heartbreakers.
With his latest release on Program as a gateway into the ethereal dancefloor vibes of which the producer is capable, we thought we’d tap Aperio for a late-summer comedown in the form of this latest installment of Metronome.
Think back to when you were growing up. What kind of music do you remember hearing around the house? Any specific songs, labels or genres you associate with your family life?
When I was growing up, I was surrounded by music in my house. My dad being a pianist meant he always practiced his instrument and had regular band rehearsals in the house, too. Because of this, I was exposed to genres like jazz, pop, funk, and soul at an early age. Having a dad into music has evidently rubbed off on me, as I picked up the drums at the age of 7. Bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Linkin Park, and Green Day became big influences throughout my early childhood; at this stage, all I wanted to do was be a drummer.
At what point do you start to develop your own taste in music, and how does that lead into electronic music, and drum & bass in particular?
It wasn’t until my older sister got to the age where she started going out to nights with friends that I was exposed to electronic music. Before going out at night, she’d have a playlist on, which happened to feature drum & bass tracks from the likes of Shy FX, Chase & Status, and Sigma. I was instantly attracted to the energy D&B gave off. I’d started listening to house music and a bit of dubstep at this point, but for some reason, drum & bass was the genre that caught my attention.
My dad had a very basic music production program called Magix Music Maker. I asked if I could borrow it off him to try my hand at making music. After a few months, I was using the software a great deal more than my dad ever did! I then moved on to using FL Studio once I was a little more confident.
Who were some of the first artists, songs, or labels you cite as being responsible for pulling you down the D&B side of things? What is it about the genre that you think appealed to you then and continues to appeal to you now as an artist?
The more I got into drum & bass, the more it became apparent that the subgenre “liquid funk” was what I was most interested in. The first two labels I became attracted to were Hospital and RAM. I loved the melodic, “vibey” sounds of Logistics, High Contrast, Netsky, Wilkinson, and Sub Focus. These artists were, and still are, a considerable influence on my music.
When I went to university in Leeds at the age of 18, I started to meet other students who were also passionate about drum & bass. These people introduced me to the deeper, darker, heavier sides of the genre and showed me music from people like Calibre, Break, Alix Perez, and Ed:it. Going out to nights and seeing these types of artists play rubbed off on me, too. I believe that these types of artists and this style of D&B go down better in cities like Leeds, especially with it being the home to legendary labels such as Dispatch Recordings and events like Jungle Jam and Subdub.
For me, it’s getting that balance between keeping my melodic influences prominent in my music, but also making sure it can suit the vibe for underground venues and events in Leeds and similar UK cities.
Drum & bass is such a diverse sound, and it’s obvious you’re destined to rise to the top on the liquid side of things. Is that a fair assessment, or do you have some proper neuro or jump-up bits waiting to make their way through?
Drum & bass is very diverse, yes. I respect the production and effort gone into making all areas of the genre, and I do love going out and skanking to the heavier stuff, without a doubt! For now, my heart lies with liquid, though. There may be a time when I decide to delve into the deeper and darker sounds, but I feel like this will happen naturally. I don’t want to force anything, as I’m still striving to develop and improve the liquid drum & bass tracks I make. I do, however, have plans to start a new alias for music I make that isn’t D&B. I have already got a couple of tunes almost finished (one of them being a house track), so keep an eye out!
What is it about liquid that attracts you as an artist?
What I love most about liquid is that there’s never a time I don’t like to listen to it. If I’m on a long train journey in the morning, I can stick my headphones on, and a liquid track can feel appropriate for that time of day and the mental state I’m in at that time, too. As well as this, though, when I’m on a night out and I’ve had a few drinks, I’ll still happily listen to it. It’s the perfect balance between a listening experience and a raving experience.
I imagine it has a lot to do with this idea of “documenting moods and memories with music,” as quoted from your Facebook page.
Absolutely. This saying came from when I began listening back to stuff I’d made a while ago. I instantly got taken back to how I felt and what I was doing with my life at the time of making that track. That’s what’s amazing about music: It can be so nostalgic at times. Every track I make seems to document my current moods and feelings. It will be amazing to listen back to my tracks in 20 years to reignite those memories.
For those who may be just getting to know you as a producer, what kind of journey should they expect when they hit play on this mix?
Thanks for letting me do a guest mix for you guys! I really enjoyed recording it, and I hope you enjoy listening to it. The mix features a lot of my own music, such as the tracks from my recent release on Program. I have also included tunes that I am really enjoying from other artists at the moment. Expect dreamy liquid with the odd surprise.