Photo Credit: Blascia
Aera has just unveiled his brand new eight-track mix project ‘Versions’. The release inaugurates the label’s latest format, which makes available both the mix and the unmixed elements. ‘Versions’ finds the German producer embarking on an eight-track excursion of left-field electronica, trip-hop, and downtempo as the producer revisits some of the highlights from his ever-evolving catalog, providing a different insight into the broad scope of his creative realm.
“For a long time, I wanted to revisit some of my older tracks and put them into a completely new context, outside of the world of dancefloor bangers and the hunt for the next big track ID. Now don’t get me wrong – I love this world, but I always knew there could be something more than this. With this record, I wanted to reference the heroes of my youth: Ninja Tune’s golden era, DJ Shadow’s ‘Endtroducing’, Massive Attack, K&D Sessions, and so on,” says Aera about it.
Now, to celebrate the drop of ‘Versions’, Aera invited EG into the studio for 5 studio tips used in the recording sessions for the mix project.
1. Set The Mood
Having an inspiring and comfortable working environment is key for me. I need to have my tools set up so that I can use them without much effort. I don’t want to pull cables when inspiration strikes.
The way your studio looks is an important part of this as well. For ‘Versions’, I was working in my temporary studio near Málaga, with a stunning view of the Mediterranean Sea, which obviously had a huge impact on the final product.
2. Get In The Zone
Before even starting to work, I need to get myself into the zone and tune out all distractions. For me, it helps to do a few rounds of breathwork, but it could be anything: turning off your phone, lighting some candles, or having a cup of coffee. Any kind of ritual helps to let your brain know that now is the time for creativity. For ‘Versions’, part of this ritual was listening back to my old music and deciding which track to start working on.
3. Know Thyself
When you are ready to start working, ask yourself – what do you really feel like doing right now? Somedays, my hearing feels exceptionally good, so I might work on mixdowns.
Other days I might have a melody in my head, so I start with that. I might feel like trying out new plug-ins, rearranging my sample folder…or even cleaning the studio!
When I was making ‘Versions’ I had a handful of days where I was laser-focused on remixing my old tracks into what you can hear on the record. I did nothing else in the studio during that time as I felt it would break the spell.
4. When In Doubt – Leave It Out
Whenever I come across an idea that I’m not 100% sure of, I tend to just delete it and move on instead of desperately trying to make it work. This could be anything from a simple hi-hat pattern to a complete track. I would rather start something new than bang my head against a wall again and again. With ‘Versions’ for example, I wanted to remix one of my first tracks called ‘Flowers On Fire’. I tried, but I just could not get it to work – even though I really really wanted it to be part of the project. So in the end, instead of wasting more energy on it, I just had to let it go.
5. Embrace Errors
At any time during the production, something unexpected might happen. You plugged in the wrong cable, you pressed a button by mistake, copied the wrong file, or one of your synths is acting weirdly. Sometimes, these are the moments when the magic happens. Try to capture it instead of trying to fix it. You might have opened the door for something special and unique to enter into the song. I had a few moments like that when working on the remix of ‘Krystal Close’. There’s a percussive element that came from dragging in the wrong sample from a folder. But it worked out perfectly, so I just left it.
Aera’s ‘Versions’ is out now via Innervisions. Purchase your copy here.