Brooklyn-via-Toronto & London's Chris Leung aka techno producer Aquarian debuted his heavy 4-track EP on cult imprint UNO NYC this November. Piecing together elements from his influences of harder Detroit techno sounds with more rhythmic UK dubstep and drum'n'bass and gentle nods to IDM, his three dark, hard-hitting tracks come with a remix from UK's Randomer. Here he's made us a stunning new mix featuring Happa to Mount Kimbie, Fatima Al Qadiri and Jimmy Edgar.
Dazed Digital: As this is your debut release, do you think this was a good representation of your 'sound', if you have a definable one as such?
Aquarian: The EP is a good picture of my sensibilities, I think. There are a few elements that are consistent, production wise - broken beats, a sort of brooding, dark ambience, heavy kicks, sub bass. That being said, the tracks are are among the first that I've ever fully "finished" for the Aquarian project - so in that sense, my "sound" is still in it's early stages. However it changes though, it's unlikely that I'll turn around and start making prog house or trap anytime soon.
DD: Apart from having been influenced by Detroit techno, house and IDM etc, are there any underlying/recurring themes that lie behind your work?
Aquarian: Aquarian definitely started out more as a functional dance music project, but I definitely have some attraction to the more cinematic and the narrative aspects of music-- some of which might come out in later tunes.
DD: What is the most interesting and exciting thing about electronic music for you today?
Aquarian: This might sound cliche, but the internet has broken down all kinds of time and space barriers all over the world, which allows everyone to be sharing and influencing each other's sounds immediately. I think it's so cool that a producer can make a dub, send it over to a someone else across the world, and have that exact same song that's been made hours ago, played on a massive sound system to thousands of people. In the same sort of way, I feel like DJ/Producers live in this imagined internet space where they forge these sounds and friendships, which become "real" when everyone inevitably bumps into each other on tour, etc.
DD: Having lived across NY, London and Toronto - what do you like most about the music scene where you are today?
Aquarian: I love the sense of community where I am in New York. The quality of venues and parties is a bit spottier compared to somewhere to say, London, but there are quite a few groups of amazing people committed to furthering the community and throwing amazing parties. Percussionlab (founded by Sepalcure's Praveen Sharma) have been around forever and are great friends of mine. The Bunker, Mr Saturday Night, Blkmarket Membership, and Fixed have been around for a while and throw some incredible parties, and there's a lot of new, young exciting groups like Rinsed and UNO NYC doing awesome stuff.
DD: What are you most excited about next?
Aquarian: Definitely more playing shows and making new music. I've been sitting a bunch of music that I've written since Obsidian and I'm looking forward to having it released, hopefully!
Happa - Beat of the Drum
Artifact - No Grip
Mickey Pearce - Tempted (F+ck Tonto Edit)
SCNTST - Let U Go
Zinc - 128 Trek
Doctor Jeep - Angel
Fatima Al Qaidiri - How Can I Resist U (Girl Unit Remix)
Blackwax - Surface
Trusta - Feel So
House Divided Voicemail(Interlude)
Mount Kimbie - At Least (Instra:mental Remix)
Aquarian - Obsidian
My Nu Leng - Damp (Last Japan Remix)
Ramadanman - Glut
Underground Resistance - Final Frontier
Maelstrom - Bipolar
Kahn and Neek - Percy
Aquarian - Fan Death
Bok Bok - Silo Pass
Jack Sparrow - Red Sand
Jimmy Edgar - Hot Raw Sex (Instra:mental Remix)
Aquarian - Motherisk
Toasty - The Knowledge