We caught up with Bournemouth-based artist AARDVARK AQUARIUM, following the release of the superb single ‘Reflections Ft. Helen Casey’, for a full interview.
Tell us about yourself?
My name is Connor. I’m from Bournemouth, UK and I’m 26 years old. I currently work a 9-5 and produce music under Aardvark Aquarium in the night time.
Music has always been an absolutely huge passion of mine, and I’ve been obsessed with it from a young age. It’s always involved in everything I do.
What is your songwriting process?
It often starts on the guitar as that’s what I’m most comfortable playing and exploring. I usually play around for a while until I come across a particular riff or chord progression I really like. Then everything slowly gets built around that.
Quite often that riff that I’m using is going to be the main melody in my track, so I’ll actually end up building up the middle of the song first, then working backwards to get to the start and intro, and then continuing onwards to get to the end.
This is just in general, though. Every now and again, there are moments where everything comes to me all at once, and it all falls into place very quickly. Other times I can spend ages just working on one small section until I’m actually happy with how it’s sounding.
Tell us about your latest release?
‘Reflections’ has been a big project for me. Before I have only produced instrumental tracks so, working with vocals was something completely new for me.
I was lucky enough to be able to work with a friend of mine, Helen Casey, on this project, which did make things a lot easier to be able to send things back and forth to each other until we were happy. Producing the track has also been something new for me.
I have always made music before, but it’s always been more of a personal thing. Although I’ve always liked the music I made, I made it for myself to get ideas out of my head and have something complete; I can enjoy knowing that I created every bit of it.
I took quite a long break from making music before getting back into it in the last few months. But this time it was a with a clear intention to make something bigger, better and overall more professional.
So I have taken a lot of time putting this track together making sure everything sounds exactly how I want it with no exceptions and with the hope this would be more widely shared, listened to and enjoyed.
Who are your musical influences?
This can range all over the place. I listen to music almost constantly and take inspiration from so many different artists when it comes to producing something myself.
I love the music from rap artists like Mac Miller, Atmosphere, Wax, Aesop Rock. But also love listening to great guitar players like Jack White, Mark Knopfler, Brian May and John Frusciante.
You can pick up techniques or get ideas from just about any kind of music genre out there. I recommend listening to as much as possible.
Who are your non-musical influences?
Hard to say when just about all of them would-be musicians. But just in day to day life, my parents and my girlfriend Kristi are always massively influential in my life.
What do you think are the biggest obstacles for bands/artists today?
Getting your music out there to be heard. Anybody and everybody can upload their music to streaming platforms these days, which is fantastic. But it also means that the pool of music to listen to is constantly growing bigger and bigger, and it just makes it harder for newer bands/artists to be noticed.
What advice would you give to other bands/artists starting out?
Keep going. Send your music out everywhere and anyway. Just get people to listen to it. You will often hear negative feedback or responses that don’t really give you any kind of feedback at all, but if you’re getting any good feedback at all, you’re doing something well.
Just keep practising, keep producing, keep working on things. And challenge yourself. Don’t get stuck into the same routine every single time you write/produce a new song. Try a technique you never have before, and even if it doesn’t work in this instance, it’s another tool to add to your wheelhouse for future projects.
The more you learn, the more comfortable you’ll become with things and the more options you give yourself when producing.
What are your hopes for the next two years?
Honestly, to just still be making music. This is something I love doing and have such a massive passion for. It makes me happy, and it keeps me sane.
The dream is as it would be with nearly any other musician, to be able to do this for a living and not rely on my day job. But I’ll take whatever I can get out of this, and just knowing that people are listening to the music I make leaves me more than content with life.
FV Music Blog August 2020
Want to be featured? Contact us here!