Producer Sessions 022: Rising bass star Ace Aura walks us through debut Disciple EP, ‘reset_environment’ [Interview]
If you haven’t heard the name “Ace Aura” yet, it’s safe to say that you’ve been living under a rock. With a quickly growing list of heavyweight supporters in the bass music scene including SVDDEN DEATH, Subtronics, Riot Ten, and more, Ace Aura’s wildly innovative take on dubstep has catapulted him into the 2020 spotlight.
Combining chord-based sound design with the rail-breaking headbanger energy of heavier modern dubstep, Ace Aura’s self-proclaimed “melodic riddim” sound started making waves late last year when a clip of an unreleased track went viral on Twitter. That track was later revealed as “Coma,” and went on to be included in his Circus Records-distributed EP, Comatose, released in February. As heads began to turn, titan bass music label, Disciple Records, took notice, and Ace Aura’s 5-track EP, reset_environment came to light.
Ace Aura is no stranger to Disciple. The upcoming producer previously released a collaboration via Disciple Records, “Interdimensional,” with longtime friend and Rushdown Records label head, Chime. Shortly thereafter, the Dallas, Texas native was included in Disciple Round Table’s Reinforcements Vol. 1 collection, with his heavy hitter, “Glass Cannon,” nabbing a spot on the offering.
Now, with a full Disciple Round Table EP under his belt and much more in the pipeline, Ace Aura is talking production process, COVID-19 complications, and more with Dancing Astronaut.
First off, congratulations on the release. Working with Disciple is a huge goal for many bass music producers. How are you feeling right now?
Ace: “Thank you! Feeling super excited. Having a release of my own with Disciple has been a goal of mine for a while, and having finally gotten it feels pretty dang good!”
Walk us through the writing process for this EP. How long have you been working on it? What was the inspiration behind it?
Ace: “This EP was no doubt a pretty big pain in the butt to finish. I wrote the tracks about a year and a half ago but didn’t finish them for a while because I really wanted [the EP] to sound cohesive and wanted the theme to come across strongly. This EP is inspired by the book of Revelation in the Bible, particularly the concept of a “new heaven and new earth.” That has always given me a sense of wonder and awe, so I created a futuristic-themed EP behind that concept.”
Each track from the EP has its own “alternate title.” Tell us more about these. What story does the EP tell?
Ace: “The alternate titles all start with “re_,” which stands for the “reset_environment” title, but each alternative title also has a cohesive meaning. For example, “re_generate” is two separate words, but is also the word “regenerate,” and so on and so forth with all of the titles.
The EP tells the story from the beginning of the shift to the new world (“re_generate”) and ends with this shift being brought to completion (“re_fraction”) and God’s glory being refracted throughout the universe and beyond.”
Do you ever see yourself doing a full story-driven album in the future?
Ace: “I didn’t originally see myself doing something like that anytime soon, but seeing the response to the EP and how people are really getting the story makes me want to do something like that in the future! Right now, I’ll be focusing on smaller projects though.”
You have an extremely recognizable signature sound, fusing heavy elements with bright, melodic influences. Did you always know you wanted to make this kind of music, or did this inclination arise through years of experimentation and practice?
Ace: :It’s definitely a combination of both. Ever since I heard Skrillex’s ‘Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites’ in eighth grade, I thought it would be cool if someone did something like that growl, but with chords. The last eight-ish years have been a journey of me finding how to take that sound that’s always been in my head and make it into a reality, and over the past two to three years, I’ve finally found a way to do so!”
Your sound seems to really be gaining traction within the scene. From Chime’s Rushdown label, to Oolacile’s recently launched Halcyon, do you think this style of sound is the future of bass music and how big do you see it becoming?
Ace: “To be completely honest, I have no idea. It’s been really interesting seeing others push the sound. It’s introducing a sense of friendly competition that wasn’t there before and will definitely result in innovation within the subgenre. Even if it does become a big thing, trends come and go so I have no idea if it’ll stick for the long run. But regardless, I’m gonna keep making it.”
Who are your biggest inspirations? How did they help shape your sound?
Ace: “My biggest inspirations as of late have definitely been MUST DIE!, Voltra, and Skeler. MUST DIE!’s got that signature melodic and heavy hat that I love so much, Voltra’s pushing that tech-y, futuristic sound, and Skeler makes Hardwave, a genre that combines elements from trap, synthwave, and trance, all of which I try to incorporate into my sound.”
2020 has certainly been an interesting year for the music industry, I know you had a tour in the works that was cancelled. What have you been doing in the meantime? Do you have any exciting plans in the works you can share?
Ace: “Dude, for sure. I had a tour in the works with Oolacile and Aweminus and was bummed that it got cancelled, but that didn’t stop me from improving my craft as a producer and making tons of new music. I’ve got lots of new collaborations in the works and maybe even some tours, drive-in shows, and festivals that you’ll hear about soon enough.”
Who are some underrated producers in the scene right now that you think deserve some recognition?
Ace: “Space Yeti, Skybreak, Millennial Trash, Myki, and Voljum create INCREDIBLE music and they need recognition for it!”
If you could go back in time and tell middle school Ace Aura ONE thing, what would it be?
Ace: “Quit playing Minecraft and use that time to produce.”
Anything else you’d like to add? Any final thoughts?
Ace: “Baked beans.”
In the time since this interview, Ace Aura announced a brief drive-in tour with Riot Ten, Squnto, Al Ross, and Subdocta, as well as an Electric Zoo Adventures show in Cancun with NGHTMRE, Svdden Death, and Wooli. Tickets for the drive-in tour can be found here.