One of the defining features of Aeroplane’s music is always how huge the mix sounds. What’s your approach when it comes to mixing ?
Ah man, it’s funny you say that cause I consider myself the worst final mixer in the world. Still, people ask me how I get that sound, and I don’t understand why they ask. I’ve come to peace with it now, realising that mixing is slaved to production and that you can’t change what you recorded when you mix, so I focus more on producing now. Before, I would write for a long time, produce for three hours, and mix for four weeks. Now I have a better balance, so the mixing stage is less painful.
Your recent In Flight Entertainment compilation was a defining moment in modern disco music. Are you planning any further compilations?
I’d love to do more. The compilation was a challenge because I give away mixes all the time, so why would people pay for one? That’s when the idea of exclusives came to mind. I called all my friends and people I was a fan of and the compilation happened. It was a lot of work. Like, a lot!
One of the groups you included was Oliver. They’ve been a real success story.
I’ve been following them since the beginning. I came across U-Tern’s music with his Mark Ronson remix and naturally got into the new project. They are amazing at what they do. It’s fat… it’s funky… it’s a party saver every time. I wish them all the success in the world. They remixed ‘We Can’t Fly’, which will be out soon on an Eskimo compilation.
I understand that you had classical piano lessons as a child. How important do you think that is?
Well, it taught me how to write and read music and gave me the basic knowledge to actually understand music and not just guess. So I wouldn’t say it influences my music, but definitely the way I work.
A lot of Aeroplane tracks are great examples of the “less is more” approach. Do you have any words of advice to producers for keeping the arrangement and composition absolutely essential?
Well, you said it. Keep the arrangement absolutely essential. Go crazy with the writing, find interesting chords and crazy hooks, but then the arrangement needs to be spot on.
Disco can have a tendency to look to the past. How can people avoid that retrogressive attitude and make sure they’re moving forwards?
I don’t mind looking at the past. I don’t think we can make much better than what has been done. People just need to keep writing songs, instead of just making beats, and music will remain interesting. Good songs, I mean. Technology will carry us forward. If you use new tools you’ll sound different enough. The main reason why electronic music, acid house, techno and whatever genres exist is because new tools were made available and that generated a wave of creativity.
Where do you think dance music is moving in the next few years?
I have no idea. Trying to give any kind of answer would be weird. I could tell you where the music business is going, but music itself, I don’t know!
OK, we can’t leave that one unanswered. Where do you think the music business is going?
Well, it’s obvious that it’s reaching the highest level of consumerism. Disposable music is the norm for radio and TV. That leaves smaller artists or labels struggling to make a living out of it, but it forces them to come up with original ideas: projects, videos, record sleeves… That’s where the real changes are being made. But not the money.