DJ and producer Aiden Francis hails from Manchester UK where he’s been making waves in the house music scene. He’s recently released ‘Elegy’ the first single from his upcoming album Mezzanine, set to drop on November 26th via Houseum Records.
We caught up with him in the wake of his release for a chat about his artistic process, his inspiration, and how the pandemic has affected the infamous Manchester nightlife.
‘Elegy’ is a high energy track, beautifully suited to the dance-floor. How does it set the mood for your upcoming album Mezzanine?
The whole EP follows on the same vibe Elegy gives off: mellow, reflective & blissful. I feel all 4 tracks have energy behind them, but they don’t intrude too much so they’re equally as suited for both home-listening or the dancefloor.
You wrote ‘Elegy’ almost as an ode to the pre-covid days of clubbing. How has the pandemic changed things for the House Music scene in Manchester?
I think since clubs have opened things have definitely changed since the days before lockdown. More exciting local artists and DJs have emerged and some promoters seem to be making a conscious effort to diversify their lineups. Lockdown was crippling to a lot of people in the nightlife industry, and it’s been so nice to see it start up again. Manchester’s nightlife has always been one of the best, and the people here are determined to keep it that way.
Tell us about your earliest musical memory?
My absolute earliest memory would be sitting in the backseat of my parents car with Moloko – Sing It Back playing on the stereo. According to my parents, whenever that song would play I would drive them crazy by just repeating “back, back, back, back, back…” as it was the only part I knew how to say
Please list some of the most influential albums on your creative outlook and output:
Daft Punk – Discovery, Massive Attack – Mezzanine (yep, same name as my new EP ahah!), Tycho – Dive, Daft Punk – Alive 2007, Little Dragon – Season High.
I don’t necessarily make music like in these albums, but the themes and nuance in these albums are very influential to my musical development.
What key pieces of gear/software are you using to define your sound?
Hardware wise, I have a Novation Peak, Digitakt Elektron and a Kog Minilogue. I love using them so much and pretty much use them in all my productions. VST wise, Korg Monopoly, U-he Diva and TB-303 are my most used.
What inspires you outside of music? What do you turn to when the creative well runs a little low?
I usually turn to DJing or searching for new music. That always gives me a new lease of creativity. If that fails then I just take a step back for a week or so until I feel my creative levels are back up.
Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, what do you prefer?
I love doing both, they go hand in hand for me. DJing is a great way of getting that instant buzz whereas producing and creating music brings a gradual sense of achievement.
As a music artist, it becomes apparent that there is a huge difference between the art and the business. Is there anything about the music scene that you would personally change?
In the last few years it has been really good to see more varied lineups at festivals and events. In particular, it’s so refreshing to see more diverse people (female, queer, POC) higher up on billings as opposed to lineups 100% male orientated. Whilst there have been improvements in certain cities and events, the scene as a whole has a long way to go until we reach a point of full diversity and inclusion with event line-ups.
Any new or upcoming artists on your radar? Who shouldn’t the world sleep on?
Guy Contact, Dylan Forbes, Harry Oscillate, Reptant!
What can we expect from you in the near future? Any upcoming projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?
Well, gig wise I’ll be doing my first vinyl set in Manchester which is exciting. And I may be heading to Paris soon for something with Houseum Records. Additionally, 2022 looks to be a busy one for further releases on some very fun record labels.
Inage Credit: Alex Winton