We were thrilled to talk to Ace Aura at the Monstercat Compound in Vancouver this past summer! Ace Aura is a dubstep artist who brings a unique flare to his music, with a strong influence from sounds used in video games. This is an important part of Ace Aura’s persona and adds dimension to his sound.
The Compound event over the summer is Monstercat‘s free block party event at the label’s headquarters in Vancouver. This summer’s was a highlight for us, and we were stoked to chat with both Ace Aura and PNW queen Nostalgix after the event.
Ace Aura has gained a large amount of success in the past few years and has played countless significant festivals from EDC and Lost Lands to Bass Canyon. Most recently, he took on the main stage at Lost Lands, which he noted is a career highlight for him thus far.
DMNW: We are obsessed with your sound and how unique it is! What are some of your inspirations, and what made your sound what it is today?
Ace Aura: It’s a combination of all the music that I have listened to that is electronic. So for example, in Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites by Skrillex: I love that sense of duality between the melodic intros and heavier drop sections. That was really cool to me. Listening to electronic music over the years, I was like, what if heavy and melodic stuff wasn’t separated but instead one thing.
That was something that I had been working towards since 2018 when I figured out how to do the thing I’d had in my head for so long. Skrillex was a big inspiration, MUSTDIE! was the same way where he has like melodic intros and heavy drops, as well as Zomboy.
That’s so cool. Have you found people gravitate towards your sound because it’s so niche and new?
I mean, any type or genre of music is going to have trends. There will be moments where there are a lot of people gravitating towards it, and sometimes it’s more underground. I remember in like 2020, I think it had a big boom where there were a lot of people discovering it. I think maybe it’s because people were indoors. It’s definitely been a thing that’s been growing but it doesn’t feel like it’s this massive boom like it was like 2020, so it definitely warps my perception of it. So it’s been really cool to see a steady following growing from a sound that’s been in my head for so long.
How was your show at the Monstercat Compound event this summer?
Great! Very hot, but great. The set was really fun, it was actually my manager Landon’s idea. He was like, “So this is like a Monstercat event, what if you just went and played your favorite Monstercat music?” So my set was my favorite Monstercat tracks, the oldest being 10 or 11 years old, Rogue by Exogenesis, and a bunch of old throwback songs.
How was the crowd?
Great! The perfect crowd for it. I never have the chance to play out the old songs that inspired me a long time ago.
Do you have a favorite festival or anything that you have played in the past?
Lost lands. It’s gotta be Lost Lands. Nothing else really compares. Especially last year, because I got to play on the main stage and got to do the live stream and everything. It definitely was a lot of pressure performing, but after playing the set it was really cool.
Was it crazy to rewatch the live stream after and seeing the set?
Yes, definitely. I usually get a little bit nervous before sets, but as soon as I plug in my USB, hit play, and see that everything works, I’m like fine. During that, it just kind of felt like a blur, because I was just doing what I know how to do, which is just like doing my set. But going back and seeing my set was really cool because I don’t get to usually do that.
It must be so cool seeing the crowd’s reactions and everything like that.
Right. Because I was so in my head during.
Do you have a favorite collaboration that you have done?
My favorite collab is tough [because there are so many fun ones]. Say It with Space Yheti was a fun one, and that’s a more recent one. Speedrun with Skybreak as well, [which] came together surprisingly fast. It’s kind of both an analogy for the inspiration behind the song (like video game speedrunning) and also we had to finish the song fast to get it out for a single so we called it that.
We see a lot of video game-esque sounds from your music. Any thoughts on the rise of artificial intelligence and electronic music and how those two might merge?
That’s something we were thinking about earlier a lot. It might be kind of a hot take, but I don’t have a solid “this is bad we shouldn’t do this stance against it.” There should be some heavy consideration around it, though. I think read something recently about how a Supreme Court judge ruled that AI-generated things can’t be copyrighted. I think that is great because it wasn’t generated by a human, but we have to figure out how to do AI in [an ethical way].
It’s going to shift a lot of industries as well, especially visuals right now, which are at the point where visuals are easier to emulate with AI than audio stuff, but with how fast things are progressing that is going to change. We know it’s going to get good in the next 10 years, it’s something we need to navigate carefully, but any technological advancement creates the ability to create newer and cooler things, so it can be a positive if used in the right way. That being said, it can also be a negative, so yeah that’s how I feel about it.
Do you have any projects coming up that you can talk about?
I’ve got a track with DEVDCROW and Roniit that may or may not be coming out on Monstercat later this year that is a big one. There might be others that I’m forgetting, as well. I’ve been working on a lot of music behind the scenes, I’ll just say that much.
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