Interview – AUXR

I recently found AUXR’s EP Suite Of Flow and found myself very impressed. It’s well worth checking out, especially for those into their more experimental styles of music. Find out more about AUXR below!

By Jane Howkins

From AUXR himself:

‘In the late nineties, I was a sound engineer in recording studios and teaching the art of music production and engineering at the SAE. Around the start of the blog house period, around 2005, I got inspired to produce music myself, first with a dear friend and later on my own. Initially electro mixed with disco, later more focused on disco, Italo disco and electrofunk. The blog house movement and MySpace were super exciting and inspiring as a DIY movement, the goal was often to get in touch with DJs and have them spin your music. I started releasing my own music under the moniker Auxiliary tha Masterfader (later simply Aux) in 2009, and am still doing it.

You recently released an EP titled Suite Of Flow, which we reviewed. What can you tell us about the EP?

During the pandemic, the dance floors disappeared and so did the inspiration to produce music for them. Musically I was a bit lost for a while. In late December of 2021, I was doing late night walks through a virtually empty Amsterdam listening to trip hop from the 90s that I always loved: Mo’Wax, Wall of Sound, DJ Shadow, DJ KrushGive ’em enough Dope and much more. It took away the stress of the moment and inspired me right away. I sat down one of those nights and started producing music to calm me down. So I dropped all my conventions and started from scratch. This resulted in a bunch of demos from which Suite of Flow is the first release. 

It’s a really unique sounding EP, with lots of different genres present. What/who influences you most as an artist? What have you been listening to recently?

Thank you! I have always been listening to a lot of different artists, styles and genres, from my hero Prince to death metal, from Italo disco to gangster rap and from yacht rock to boom bap. My biggest inspiration for this release are the 3 compilation albums released on Mo’Wax: Headz 12a and 2b. Dark, ambient, downtempo beats with a lo-fi sound, sparse vocals, dreamy sound and a calming, almost soothing sound. We used to go to parties in the mid to late nineties where they’d play this music and I loved it! Kruder & Dorfmeister, DJ Shadow, DJ Food, DJ Krush, Thievery Corporation and many more artists. Here’s a playlist of music that inspired me a lot for the EP.

With so many different elements present in your music I have to ask – what is the writing and recording process like for you?

For my disco and Italo productions I would lock myself up in a room full of analogue synths and drum machines, making music the old fashioned way. Right now, I will start with a vinyl crackle, start tuning a sampled drum loop and find the bass line in there. Tuning drums gives them more tonality, which will become the key for the track. I will grab my bass and jam around for a while on the drum beat in that key until I hear a bass line that works. If the base is there, I automatically hear the other elements in my head, so I will try to make those elements with synths or other samples. What I love are little mistakes that become key elements: accidentally dropping a new sound in the wrong place, or pressing the wrong key on a synth.

Do you plan to release any singles from the EP?

We made a video for Canada, so I guess that is the single. Dope got picked up by a few big playlists, so that might be the next. 

Your music is largely instrumental. Would you want to include more vocals in the future?

Yes, absolutely. At the moment I am working with 2 singers for 2 different tracks. I like working with different people on different songs, everyone brings new ideas and inspiration to a project.

Has the pandemic hindered your work much?

It closed some doors and opened up new ones, for me it is a new chapter in life. The DJ work came to a halt, but I got new inspiration.

Have you started writing for another EP or an album, for release in the future?

Yes! This first EP contains 3 of the initial 8 songs I wrote, but more rough ideas and demos are in the making. The next EP will be out early to mid September, 2 or 3 new songs on Masterfader Music. Just follow my Spotify artist profile for new music. 

You’re based in Amsterdam. What is the music scene like in your part of the world and are you influenced by it?

Amsterdam has a very diverse music scene, plus we are lucky to (roughly) be in the middle of Europe. So most touring bands will land a gig at the big clubs and concert venues. Unfortunately there are not many small stages for local bands, so to discover new talent you really have to look for it. The scene really lacks the cellars and cheap clubs to discover bands. One of my favourite local bands is Altin Gün, they’re playing their own psychedelic versions of Turkish folk songs. They blew me away a few times, an amazing live band. The hip hop scene is big, especially in our own language. For many years it was not done to rap in Dutch, but now it is the new norm which I think is great. The dance music scene is very huge, there is always an interesting DJ playing somewhere. And of course we have the Amsterdam Dance EventDekmantel and the huge commercial dance festivals like Sensation. I am not really influenced by the local music scene. 

Do you have any tour dates lined up?

No, nothing yet. At first I will try out DJ sets at local venues, it is simply a lot easier to set up. 

Any last words for the fans?

Thanks for the support and keep an eye on my socials for the new music!