Q+A: 5 Minutes with Aiden Francis
Image credit: Alex Winton
Let’s return home to the London streets where the house (music) that Aiden Francis built welcomes us with open arms. It’s here that we’ll wander into the halls of ‘Elegy’ and allow it to cradle us for a while, providing sweet rhythmic sanctuary from the world outside. The sanctuary will be expanding shortly, as we wait in anticipation for the producer’s upcoming EP Mezzanine, slated for release this Friday via Houseum Records.
Born in Yorkshire, Aiden Francis has fond memories of a rave at the White Hotel, in his current hometown of Manchester. Little did the producer know, it would be his last night out before the turmoil of Covid would take over the world. ‘Elegy’ was created in an effort to document the blissful walk home after a night out, acting as an ode to a place in time we’re all hoping to get back. Naturally, we were curious about the producer who takes such a poetic approach to creating music. Find out more in the exclusive interview below.
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
Producing music has always been a form of self-expression for me, and tying it in with my love for underground rave culture is even more enjoyable.
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
A bit of both, really. I don’t usually go into making a track with a solid idea. Most of my tracks start off with my playing about with my synths and then adding a few beats here and there to get it going. It’s all very abstract for a few hours, then after that, a track starts to form.
Personally, I find if I go into starting a tune with an idea in my head I just end up incredibly disappointed when I don’t reach it. Instead, I like surprising myself when I create something I haven’t thought of before. It’s all about iterating and ideating on little bits of experimentation for me.
Does your material feature any collaborations?
No collaborations on this release but I am working on getting more collaborations done. I love it when two artists come and mash their brains together to create music. I haven’t done many collaborations in the past, but want to get better at doing them. In all honesty, I’m not that great when it comes to collaborations. In almost every other aspect of my life, I am absolutely a team player, but when it comes to music I seem to like getting into my zone and not coming out of it.
What’s on your current playlist?
At the moment I’ve been listening to a lot of old trance records, early 90s stuff before it got commercialised and insanely cheesy. But other than that, the same old rotation of electro, techno, folk and indie-pop (strange mix, I know)
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
Not sure about fans, but I love DJing and connecting with a crowd. Especially when they react to a tune you were worried about playing, that’s probably my favourite feeling. I’m also not afraid to move/dance like a maniac when DJing. I feel that sort of energy is infectious to people.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
I really love playing about with delay, reverb and phasers. A lot of the music I make has that combination going on in a lot of songs. If you get the combination just right, it creates a really not ethereal feel to it, especially if it’s been applied to pads or acid synths
Take us through a day in the recording studio.
I don’t really like sticking to a solid producing schedule as I find that way I don’t get my best material out. I want to be creating music because I want to, not have to. But usually, it involves me just sitting down and playing about with either my Digitakt or synths and seeing what comes out of it
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
The first time I heard my own tune played in a club. That was mad!
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
Other than a red stripe, just a bottle of water (very boring, I know)
Any emerging artists on your radar?
Abdul Raeva, Baby Rollen, Marc Brauner and Maara, to name a few
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
Current set-up involves a Korg Minilogue, Novation Peak and a Elektron Digitakt. I’d love to get some vintage rack synths though, especially the EMU Orbit
Any side projects you’re working on?
I have about 3 other EPs either in the works or completed ready for release in 2022!
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
Focusing less on what others are doing and more on my own development helped me a lot to craft my sound!
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
A lot more music that’s for sure. I say that every year but the end of 2021 and the whole of 2022 will finally see a nice stream of releases for the first time in about 4 years.
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