Aether is a visually impaired music composer and producer hailing from Scotland. His discography contains a diverse catalogue of sound and he's grateful to learn more with each passing day.
"When I switched to Audeze around 5 years ago, I ended up being super fascinated that I was hearing sounds I had never known were there prior!" - Aether
Here's our talk with Aether:
Can you pick out any highlights from your work that you're particularly proud of?
I always tend to vibe with whatever I’m making at the time. Recently I think my “Mizuki” and “In Shattered Forms” EP’s from 2021 are highlights just due to the growth in my overall sound.
How would you define your main role on most of the projects you work on these days?
I’m very fortunate to be exclusively in control of everything I make outside of collaborations. Everything from the production, writing, mixing and even commissioning artwork. I try to reflect as much of my initial ideas as I can through use of everything I have access to.
How did you get started in music? What kind of music did you listen to while growing up and how has that progressed?
I listened to a lot of rap and dance music as a child. From an early age I actually wanted to be a rapper when I grew up, but fortunately I found myself taking better suited position in the production side as opposed to rapping side haha. I think I initially switched to production when my older brother came home from college one day, he was studying sound engineering. He loaded up his computer and showed me the beat that he had been making and it blew me away. Was it because I idolized him as an older sibling? Was it because the beat had incredible potential? Who knows but either way it fueled enough to dive in myself.
Can you name any factors that influenced the course of your musical life? Heroes, role models, moments, interactions, etc?
Hmmm well as a child I was diagnosed with a visual impairment known as Retinitis Pigmentosa, which slowly deteriorates my vision, so I had always known I would like to do something that doesn't require sight. I also always just loved the feeling that music could bring me, it was like no other feeling I had felt. When I would hear new styles of music too, that also really fueled me. First listening to Pendulum, Caspa & Rusko, Skrillex and just every kind of electronic sound that followed, watching the technology develop and people breaking limits of what seemed possible. All of this has led me to where I am today.
Can you briefly describe a moment of frustration from your past work, and what you may have done to overcome the obstacles? Would you approach it differently now?
I feel like this is a common answer to this question, but back up all your files. When I was working on a score for an upcoming game, I was 2 months into writing and my harddrive actually fried itself during a gaming break. I ended up losing all of my recording for that game and having to restart, which as you can imagine is very frustrating. There are websites out there that can be great to counter this if you are short on free USB/SSD/M.2 drives.
Is there any gear you find yourself turning to most when working on a project? What are some of your favorite tools/instruments recently?
Outside of my Audeze headphones that I use for every session, I’ve been pairing my ASM Hydrasynth synth unit with my Hologram Electronics Microcosm effects unit. It’s an incredibly strong base for building ambient worlds with, which I’ve been enjoying a lot lately.
Do you have any words of wisdom for people who might aspire toward a similar path for their own careers?
Take your time. Another thing that frustrated me in my earlier years was feeling disappointed in what I was making. It never felt up to standard, but the standard I was setting was too unrealistic for the amount of time I had been making music. I’ve been writing under the Aether moniker for almost 10 years now and it’s only recently that I’ve started to feel happy with my results. Of course you’ll always want more but in the earlier years, don't stress too much, just enjoy the journey.
How long have you been working with headphones, and how do you typically use them in your workflow?
Everywhere I have lived has had awful acoustics sadly, so I work constantly with my headphones, making sure I take regular breaks after every couple of hours to prevent damage or discomfort. Because of this I use them for literally everything which is amazing simply because I have a strong reference of how things should sound.
How have your Audeze headphones affected your work? Can you tell us what you've been working on with them recently?
When I switched to Audeze around 5 years ago, I ended up being super fascinated that I was hearing sounds I had never known were there prior! Because of this I’ve taken much more control of the way I mix and design sounds and with every passing project I feel that slight increase in musical power haha. I’ve been scoring a few video games this year and working on some collaborative projects with some friends!