Dylan Heneck (Daddy Warbucks) caught up with fellow DJ/Producer and Leggo! organiser, Aran Neidhardt (White Nite), to chat about his work, plans and inclusion in the Olmeca Mad Decent Block Party this past Sunday. Here’s what he had to say:
Who are some artists that inspire you musically?
That’s a tough question as the answer has changed pretty much every month since I can remember. Everyone from Stevie Ray Vaughn to Hendrix to Metallica to ATCQ to Shy FX to Timo Maas got me into music. Nowadays it’s such a constant stream of influence I couldn’t even begin to tell you. Let’s just go with THE INTERNET
What led you to start producing?
Myself and the homie Johnny Filter were always into the same music growing up (see above). We really got into Hip Hop in High school. We messed around on lame software until I finally got Propellerhead Reason (Version 1!) and we started making beats on the daily. Also, I played guitar and studied music from age 12 so it was natural for me to want to write tunes.
Did you make a conscious effort to find the sound that you produce now or did it just happen?
Well it was mostly downtempo stuff, as we were (are) hip hop kids. It’s so much easier for me to make a beat at that tempo. I’ve been quiet on the production tip lately, but I reckon a comeback is in order and I’m keen to start producing some different shit.
What, besides your music, are things that you believe differentiate you from other performing DJ/Producers?
On the DJ side, I’d say I do my best to mix it up as best I can and still make it work. Also for some reason I mix really quick when I’m in the mood, which has become kind of a habit. Good or bad, I’m not sure. I have a firm background in turntablism/scratching and mixing like… a Hip Hop DJ I suppose. I think that’s an advantage that sticks with you in terms of controlling tunes and whatever gear you’re playing on, as well as thinking quickly.
What are your thoughts on how performing has become a facet of DJing, rather than focusing on the mix?
It’s a double-edged sword. The majority of punters want to get shitfaced and go mad at the rave. They want to see the DJ standing on the decks with a mic in his hand telling them to go nuts. Which is fine. There are others who are obsessed with music, and want to hear a stellar DJ set first and foremost. For me, if a DJ plays an amazing set musically, the only other prerequisite is that he/she doesn’t look completely bored. You gotta enjoy yourself a bit. But to each his own – I can’t hate on a super talented DJ who happens stage-dives every 10 minutes. That’s rock n roll right there. Just leave the cake for your birthday.
Do you like trap? What is your perspective on the culture that precedes trap?
During the Dubstep boom a few years back I was always drawn to more southern sounding stuff from guys like Girl Unit. I still dig the sound. I’m still finding good Trappy stuff all over the place, but less now than ever. A lot of it is taking from the LA beat scene which I’m very into. I do however think that that “Trap sound” that everyone knows has almost eaten itself at this stage. I’ve never seen a style of music peak so quickly. As a result, every bedroom producer and his Mom are making big room Trap shit and in the process, diluting the sound with the same old lasers and snare rolls and shit.
If you’re referring to the early southern US hip hop that inspired this whole Trap thing, I’m not sure I have as much perspective as I’d like. I was never the biggest fan growing up, as the raps were a bit gangsta compared to the stuff I was into. The beats have always banged though.
I think another issue I have with this whole Trap explosion is that nobody really seems to care where it came from. You don’t see Trap “fans” bigging up Toomp/UGK/Three 6 Mafia the way underground hip hop kids used to (and still do) worship Premier or Dilla or Pete Rock etc.. It just feels as though a lot of people jumped on the bandwagon. At the end of the day though, who cares. It’s music. Listen to it, play it, or don’t.
How did you hook up the Mad Decent Block Party gig?
I’m not sure. They got hold of me and I passed it onto my management (Gaartjie) and we confirmed it. I was one of the openers at the Diplo show at The Assembly last year (or 2012?) so maybe that helped. There was possibly a bit of a recommendation from a friend out there somewhere!
What are your plans for White Nite, Leggo and any other projects in 2014?
For myself, to just keep doing what I’m doing but better. Bigger shows.. Get out of Cape Town a bit more. For LEGGO!, we had our first Assembly show in Jan and it was amazing. We’ll be doing a series of shows there in 2014 with some sick acts on the way. Tell your friends.
Are we going to get any new White Nite production soon?
Depends on your definition of “SOON” 🙂 I’m working on it!
Who would you book for a White Nite x Boiler Room Presents:?
I’d need at least a week to answer that one properly but let’s go with… Scratcha DVA, Oneman, J. Rocc, Jumping Back Slash, Ray Keith, Sinjin Hawke, Kaytranada, Dusky. (It’s a day/night jol this…)
All images by Stewart Innes