Interview by Kaivan Adjedani. We sat down with DJ, producer, and Hydrozoa principal artist Aardy to discuss his latest EP, future releases, and the Hydrozoa record label he spearheads. You can take a look at the Hydrozoa releases on Beatport here.
Can you tell us a bit about Aardy as a DJ?
As a DJ I started playing a long time back, it was around 1995 or 1996. It wasn’t full time or professional, I just started playing at my friends houses and at some house parties, that’s how it all started.
What specifically got you into techno?
I can’t really recall anything specific. I had taken a break from music for about four to five years and then restarted. I used to actually play progressive house when I started off, the kind of melodic stuff that used to be more popular in the 90s. I was never really happy with it though, I used to go in and play the same thing every night it was kind of boring so I started digging into new music. I found myself more comfortable listening to deeper techno and the more “underground” stuff I guess you could call it. I started collecting more and more of that sound even though people didn’t accept it as much back then especially with such a small scene here in Asia, but that’s how it all began.
Can you tell us a bit about the techno scene in India, do people recognize techno where you’re from?
A lot of people do know about it, but when you compare them to the population of the country it’s quite small. I would say that obviously commercial EDM, pop, and here Bollywood music attracts the biggest audience at parties, but as of late there’s a small congregation of these underground heads. There’s some nice parties happening and a lot of promoters now I would say are confident enough to spend money on guys like us to come up with a good party. There are a lot of good parties and festivals happening here in India. If you’ve heard of Supersonic festival it’s one of the biggest festivals that happens in India every year. There’s also word that awakenings has a stage this year at Supersonic so that’s a big lead for India and it’s music scene.
Moving onto Volte Face, can you tell us a bit about this album and your inspiration going into this release?
I’ve always been motivated by those haunting basslines. If you listen to my dj sets there are a few tracks that I push out between my sets that are intriguing and bring a lot of people closer on the dance floor. I felt like those big synths, loud bass calls, and rolling highs did that. Volte Face actually did not happen with a set plan. The first track I made on that EP was Vacuum, the third track, and I felt it suited the Hydrozoa label. It’s more clubby and I felt it has more of the dance floor techno effect, although I wanted to keep that essence I also wanted to make tracks that brought out those production elements that I enjoy and I feel Volte Face has really done that. I think the EP turned out well and I’ve received some really good feedback so I’m very happy about that!
What about Volte Face made it a good fit for the Hydrozoa label?
I’ve been managing Hydrozoa and I’ve made a lot of tracks before this album, but nothing that I could say would fit this label. I’ve been thinking a lot about what Hydrozoa is going to do with other labels in mind, and I felt Volte Face fit this label perfectly. I wanted Hydrozoa to focus on groove while keeping the techno element and intense sounds. Volte Face turned out the exact way I wanted with heavy bass and haunting melodies which is actually what Hydrozoa is all about. I’m expecting some other guys to come out with some great stuff in the near future that will complement the label too.
Are there any collaborations coming up for yourself or the label?
At the moment I would say Hydrozoa is in the process of building a nice heavy roster for the label. There’s been talks with a couple producers this month, and we have a huge EP by Adapter being released with a massive remix from Timmo. I guess you could call that a collaboration but as for me I’m working on my next release actually I’m not sure if I have any collaborations planned in the near future. Hydrozoa is like a fresh new baby so I want to give it as much time as it needs to absorb, while reaching out to people who I feel would put out some great releases on it.
So you played Reset this year, which took place in India! Can you tell us a bit about this event?
Reset is a homegrown showcase, so it’s strictly Indian DJ’s. The agency Unmute owns the concept of reset, which happens once a year in about three or four different cities. This was the third edition this year and I was lucky enough to play it last year as well. It took place on Halloween this year so which was a big night. The focus of the showcase is to bring together a lot of top Indian talent as well as to give a platform for a lot of new names who the promoters feel are doing it right so it’s an amazing concept, big ups to the guys for bringing something like that together. It’s like a huge warehouse scene and last year they brought almost 2000 people out which is amazing!
What’s coming up for DJ Aardy and Hydrozoa?
Right now my focus is honestly on Hydrozoa as well as my releases. I’m definitely going to be sticking with my label for some time bringing out my own EP’s as well as trying to lock down a lot of names which I can’t reveal at the moment. 2016 is going to be a big year for Hydrozoa and hopefully for myself as well.
What would you say was the biggest moment so far for you as an artist?
I’ve been playing with some folks from Octopus for about three years now, I played at ADE in 2013 as well as their Sonar parties for the last two years. Associating myself with a big label and then forming Hydrozoa was the biggest moment for me, and then bringing out my own EP on the label. The EP would have happened anyway but to have the kind of pedestal that I have today is a huge moment for me. Getting my first EP out was thrilling and the kind of reviews I’ve been hearing about it is exciting. It’s always a great feeling waking up and hearing that a lot of good people are playing your tracks, or getting an email saying that so and so played your track. Being associated with a good group however is more satisfying than anything else I would say.
Volte Face is now available for purchase on Beatport.