Close Encounters

31 May 2012 | 9:00 am | Cam Findlay

“I don’t know if my tunes are so different to the others out there," Aeph says, "but I always try to add something unique in what I do."

With the upcoming Bad Taste Recordings tour drawing ever closer, drum'n'bass and dubstep fans admittedly have a lot to be excited about. The internationally renowned label, born out of the work of legendary UK producer Michael Vegas and US-born wunderkind Jonas Uman (the duo officially named Blokhe4d), Bad Taste has tried it's darndest over the last few years to exhibit the finer, more entrancing side of d'n'b that doesn't often get a listen. And with Aeph – aka Simone Vellacorsa – their goal to push the boundaries of style finds a home in his dark, retro-futuristic beats.

But don't let any claim on his style be what defines him. ”To be honest with you, I'm probably not the right person to tell you if my style is so different than my contemporaries,” he declares when asked how he differs from his peers. “As a producer, I perceive my music in a very critical way. Sometimes I love what I'm doing, sometimes I hate it. When I started producing drum'n'bass, I was really into the sound of some producers and I was trying to 'emulate' them. Right now I feel more mature, I can make my own direction, I approach the music differently and I'm not scared anymore to experiment [with] new ways of creativity.

“I don't know if my tunes are so different to the others out there, you will hear always some sounds which reminds you [of] someone else of course – they are part of my roots – but I always try to add something unique in what I do, to distinguish myself from the copycat movement.” Which, in the end, is never a bad thing. And, despite Vellacorsa's adherence to not following a trend, the pop-culture references shine through what he does. From the jet-engine swerves and laser-esque distortion of Star Wars to the eerie builds of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, sci-fi themes find a place throughout Vellacorsa's music.

“I have always been a fan of old sci-fi movies,” he tells. “I read a lot of that stuff and I love spending my free time watching classic movies. I was born in 1984 so I grew up watching movies and TV shows from the early '80s and '90s. It's kinda natural to me to add some of that vibe into my tunes. Unfortunately I haven't done it so often in my first releases as I was scared to not respect the drum'n'bass 'cliques'. Now I believe this is a powerful weapon to use.”

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Rome would probably not be the first place you think of when you think of sci-fi fans, but it was here that Vellacorsa originally got his start, gigging around the underground Italian scene. It was here that he found an eclecticism of musical ability; Vellacorsa did not start producing d'n'b until the genre expanded and found a strong place in the Italian underground. “At the age of 16 I knew what drum'n'bass was but I wasn't really into it, I was producing rap beats, old-school electro and playing out with my metal band,” he reminisces.

“Nowadays many kids get involved in the drum'n'bass and dubstep movement because these genres are much more popular than when I started. I slowly stepped into drum'n'bass at the age of 21 when it evolved in something wider, subdivided between different styles, influenced by different genres of music. How could I say no to this? Drum'n'bass is the Babylon; a dance music orgy. I was lucky that in that period there were some really cool parties in my hometown. I first became a DJ, then because of it I had the feeling I should play out my own music. And then everything started.”