During my travels playing some shows across Canada, I’m happy to say I’ve met some really great people. Occasionally, I’ll meet someone who shares a lot of the same feelings about music and the Canadian music scene as I do. One such person just happens to be on the forefront of the Canadian EDM scene. He’s a fantastic DJ, a great producer, with several huge releases and mix cds, and an all around nice guy to chat with. Continuing with my spotlight series of inspirational Canadian hard dance DJs, I present to you, Aaron Olson.
Aaron is very quickly on his way to becoming a major player in the Canadian dance music scene. Reading his list of affiliations is a like a whos-who of harder dance and trance labels; Nukleuz, Riot! Recordings, Traffic, Kung Fu Wax, and Tech Fu Recordings. With a slew of remixes and original tracks to his name, there aren’t that many other Canadians in this genre who have reached this level of success. Rodi Style, mentor and head of Kung Fu Wax/Tech Fu, being one of the few others to achieve success.
Aaron began djing in 1998 with his early musical choices ranging from epic melodic trance to chuggy acid techno. In 1999 after listing to an early Jon The Dentist mix that featured a then little known producer by the name of BK, Aaron’s interest in Hard Dance really grew. You can hear the early musical influences coming out in his wide range releases. Most notably, Aaron’s use of smooth sounding basses mixed together with chugging beats (a lot of his tech-trance tunes really show this). Always present in his tunes though are his signature melodic elements.
Like many other producers, Aaron uses his music to channel his emotions. Early on, he credits getting into production for providing him with an outlet to deal with some troubled times. You can see (and hear) that he has come out ahead of any past issues. Some notable accomplishments certainly have to be the huge international mix compilations he’s released, Nukleuz In Canada Vol 2 and Kung Fu Wax Presents Vol 1 (the latter being reviewed here in Mixmag)
Having recently left Saskatoon and moved to Vancouver to attend the Pacific Audio Visual Institute , I had a short virtual sit down with Aaron to ask him about his background, his views on music, and on the Canadian scene.
Tamerax: When did you start DJing and what style?
Aaron Olson: I started djing in 1998. I needed a new CD player and got one of those dual units that DJ’s were using at the time and a cheap radio shack mixer. Shortly thereafter I got a couple tech 12’s and the rest is history. As far as style, I was all over the board – from the slightly psy trance sounds of Platypus Records to the fiercest acid techno coming out of Stay Up Forever.
T: Who has / is an influence on you and why?
AO: There are loads of influences on what I do : djing, 100% has to be Deko-ze. Fantastic DJ who really looks at mixing records in a way that is unlike any other, which is why I can now mix 20 trance tracks in an hour! As far as producers, I have a long list: BK, Trent Reznor, Nick Sentience, Simon Patterson, Sean Tyas, Armin Van Buuren, Bat for Lashes, and the list goes on. They all either sound incredible or have an emotional connection that is like electricity.
T: What are your musical current goals? What do you want to be doing?
AO: I want to be immersed in everything music. I’m learning mixing, producing, business, as well as engineering. I love djing and don’t want to give that up, but I’m done with customer service or the regular day job, which is why I decided to go to school. If I must have a day job, I want it in the industry I love. So, to answer, anything music related.
Currently, I’ve been scoring short films for various students in Vancouver and took on a feature film with my recording partner. As well, treating audio (removing background noise, levelling things out, mixing, etc) in films has been bringing me some work. On the side, I still get the occasional graphic design project and of course, working on remixes and original productions including revisiting my industrial EP from 6 years ago.
T: What are your feelings on the Canadian dance music scene as a producer?
AO: I love the Canadian EDM scene! It’s about to explode and I’m really excited about it! There is loads of amazing producers emerging who are insanely talented and I can’t wait to see what’s next!
As someone who parallels myself in so many ways, I’m really happy to have been able to present this great up-and-coming Canadian producer! You can check out his monthly podcast here for a great dose of what he has to offer. His soundcloud also has a huge number of tunes both for sale and for free download. Here is one of my favourites:
Sean Tyas – Lift (Aaron Olson feat. Devon Quelch Remix)