Our first Guest mix of 2016 is here courtesy of Mad Decent favourite, AQUADROP. As Italy's most valuable export, Aquadrop's going to take you on a 40 minute journey through his favourite tracks of the moment, but before that, peep our interview with him and get to know him a little more. Guest mix and Tracklist below.
How long have you been producing?
I started producing when I was really young, but it became a proper work 5 / 6 years ago.
How would you describe your sound?
Like a mad chef in a kitchen with loads of ingredients, tryin' to put 'em together and make that delicious and unknown recipe.
Why the name Aquadrop? A love of water or moisture?
"You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend." (Lee Jun-fan)
You've been a sound designer for Diesel, Discovery Channel, and MTV. How does sound design production differ from working on one of your own tracks? What’s your approach?
It's not so different if you're able to speak your client's language, cause 80% of 'em is obviously not a producer nor a music "expert". You have straight deadlines and artistic "limits" that you can't trespass, even if you think your idea works better than their one. You don't need particular inspiration - which is essential if you're producing something for yourself -, just follow their guidelines, give 'em advices and find a good middle way that's perfect for the requested project.
Sound design production gives you another type of music experience that I find very useful in my personal work too.
Who or what inspired you to produce?
My uncle was a good double-bass player, my father's a vinyl collector. I won a shitty Casio keyboard when I was like five years old and I soon realized music was my thing.
What kind of music did you listen to growing up?
Jazz and Funk by my father, Rap and Metal by my brother, Pop by my mom and sister.
What was the first album that you owned?
It was the original Warren G tape of his LP "Regulate", but I remember I bought some crazy vinyls like "Ramirez - El Gallinero" before that.
Currently who are your favorite producers/artists?
I honestly listen to new music when I work on my set only, but there's a flood of great producers everywhere. My favourite jam is still "GoGo!" by Baauer.
What's your funniest or weirdest touring story?
I was touring with an Italian rapper and we were rockin' the party so hard that my glasses literally flew over the crowd - I'm like blind without my glasses -. Our tour manager had to crowd surf the club to get'em back. This is funny story, the weird ones deal with on-stage porn.
Where in the world would you most like to play next?
I would really like to play in NY.
How does the Italian dance music scene differ from the rest of the world? Is the Milan scene different from the rest of Italy?
Italy has always been a little slow to understand new waves of music and labels have to deal with this problem everyday. We have a lot of great producers, but if you're not smart enough to export your project overseas - I'm not talking about that horrible Italian Pop music -, you're stuck. Italians talk about Dubstep, but they don't know who the **** is Mary Anne Hobbs. They talk about Trap and they think it's Lil' Wayne... ok, I'm a bit drastic right now, things are getting better, but majors and some producers are victims of big hits like "Lean On", for example, and they make really bad copies just for selling. This is not good because majors will trust you only if you make something they already heard and they already know it's gonna work, even if it's a bad copy, but I'd like to emphasise that things are getting better. No, Milan scene is not different from the rest of Italy. Yes, it's a big city, but the internet is everywhere.
Italians are known for their great food. What's your mother's signature dish?
Pasta al forno and gnocchi al sugo!
Love or hate Silvio Berlusconi?
I don't know basically anything about Italian politics - I'm beautifully detached from everything that's not work and relationships - but sure I'm not in love with Silvio.
Any forthcoming shows, collaborations, or an album in the works?
I just started a big collab right now and I have a lot of singles to release soon. I'm more focused on studio time than shows in this period.
About the Artist:
Aron Airaghi aka Aquadrop is a producer and dj from Milan, Italy.
He worked as sound designer for Arena, Custo Barcelona, Diesel, Discovery Channel, GoPro, GoodYear, Le Coq Sportif, Forever21, Nivea and T-Mobile. He produced soundtracks for TV shows like Skins (MTV US) and Sirens (Channel 4).
He played live and dj sets with Dillon Francis, Stateless (Ninja Tune), Benga, Felix Cartal, Artwork (Magnetic Man), SGT. Pokes etc. and he won the 2012 Sziget festival dj selection together with his friend The Golden Toyz.
His discography has received support from Diplo, Skrillex, Flosstradamus, Mau5trap, Baauer, Crookers, RL Grime, Dillon Francis, Crystal Fighters etc. and aired on radios, shows and channels such as Fabric Live, Boiler Room, BBC 1, Ministry of Sound, Solid Steel – Ninja Tune, Mary Anne Hobbs Xfm, Trap and Bass etc.
He recently released tracks on Universal Music, Mad Decent, Ultra Music, Main Course, Top Billin, Trap and Bass, Borgore's Buygore and Wiwek's Rimbu. Crystal Fighters called him for an official remix of their hit “Love Alight” and he made the music for a Forever21's ad starring Iggy Azalea.
His song “Favelas”, re-edited by RL Grime, is one of the most played tracks in Trap dj sets and "Back and Forth" is the official soundtrack for a GoPro's viral video which reached 3 million Youtube views in less than a week.
He also co-produced - together with Big Fish - the Italian platinum hit "Maracanã", singed by Emis Killa and remixed the biggest Italian artists such as Jovanotti, Max Pezzali, Club Dogo and Gemitaiz & MadMan.
He recently made a mix for Diplo and Friends on Radio BBC 1 / 1Xtra and he's one of a few Italians called to play at San Siro Stadium.
Aquadrop - Higher (Unreleased)
Gammer - Nostalgia (Rustie edit)
Kito - Get Faded feat. Tara Carosielli
Hudson Mohawke - Scud Books
Diplo - Express Yourself feat. Nicky Da B (Tanner Viteri re-work)
KOLAJ - The Touch (Indiginis remix)
Disclosure feat. Sam Smith - Omen (Dillon Francis remix)
Zhu X Dj Snake X Dj Mustard - Faded 2.0
Herobust - Dirty Work
NGHTMRE - Street
Tkay Maidza - Ghost
Boombox Cartel feat. Ian Everson - B2U
A. G. Cook - Beautiful (Rustie edit)
Baauer - GoGo!
Mike Will Made-It feat. The Weeknd - Drinks On Us (Salva remix)
Oliver Heldens & Shaun Frank feat. Delaney Jane - Shades Of Grey (Ephwurd remix)
Drezo - Guap
Valentino Khan - Deep Down Low (Moksi remix)
Pep & Rash - Red Roses
Lucky Charmes feat. Wiley - Skank (Skank Out)
Jauz - Deeper Love
Future - Sh!t