Onda Skillet has been creating waves in electronic music since his tweens. His passion for the music can be felt in his productions and will embrace you during his sets. His brainchild, Aerotropic, started releasing tracks in 2013 from some of New York City's freshest Techno talent such as: Onda Skillet himself, Chanski, Headliner, Duckhunter and Chamomile with more to come. Aerotropic is true Underground Techno boys and girls! Make sure to check out Onda Skilliet's guest mix, it is a real aural treat!
CGNY: What is the Aerotropic Label's concept?
Onda: The concept is to express the original works of various artists' personal Science of Sound. It's a platform with clear landing for the artists' mind works to be set off into the planetary airwaves as a record in time in digital presentations; for now, as in the future there will be physical presentations as well. The cover artwork is moderated with each artist in order to personalize the visualization for each release according to the inspired theme of the production and designed according to the artist's vision. The established relationship opens a portal for the artists to release the pure essence of their sound concepts. Through their various scientific methods of production, each artist has a very special sound to express, so the label concentrates primarily on the originality of their works. There is a formal induction to the SOS Research Board that officially transforms them into Scientists of Sound where their works will be prepared for public transmission release as their Original Audio Stories. Aerotropic, from the insemination of the idea ten years ago, was born to conserve the Organic Preservation of the Science of Sound.
Onda with artist Fumero (Twice as Proper, Brooklyn)
CGNY: You are originally from Costa Rica correct? Have you ever played there?
Onda: In 1989 I moved to the NYC area, and didn't get a chance to go back to Costa Rica until 2008 for first time after I received an email from a European couple that wanted me to play their wedding on a resort on the north-west coast beach. The booking sort of fell out of the sky into my hands from a google search they did looking for a 'costa rica electronic music dj' and for some reason the first result was my myspace page that automatically had one of my sets playing and next thing I have is a contract to play in a beautiful resort on the west coast beach in Costa Rica. I contacted my friend Eleazar Delve to let him know I would be in town that weekend, and he invited me to play at Club Oh in San Jose the night before the wedding. Since that night he has invited me back 4 different times to play New Years and festival events. My friend Craft came to play with me on one of the tours in 2010 and we had an amazing time. I think it's safe to say here now that we will be returning to Costa Rica to play soon again, so stay tuned!
CGNY: What music did you grow up listening too?
Onda: As a kid in Costa Rica going to the beach every summer, I always enjoyed the Caribbean style of reggae, but as soon as I got a double tape deck player, I started making clips of popular tracks that were playing on the radio in those days so eventually I put together a recording of a bunch of clips from radio hits I had asked my mom to buy me in 12 inch remix vinyl format only. The tape recording was about 5-6 minutes long composed of a bunch of parts from remix versions of tracks from Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Madonna and few others that I pre-recorded from our family record player that I later clipped seamlessly together. I made a copy of it and wrote a letter specifying who I was and how I came up with the production and sent it to a popular radio station in Costa Rica that was playing those hits. Two weeks later I received a phone call from the radio station receptionist asking me if I could come to the station that day, so when I got there I was walked into the dj booth 'on air' and got to experience all the mechanics of a professional radio station at first hand. When the dj turned the mic off, he told me he wanted to meet me in person because he couldn't believe I was twelve years old. He played my recording over the radio station air waves, but could not give me credit for copyright reasons, which did not have any less impact on my experience discovering music.
CGNY: What inspires you?
Onda: There are many experiences that inspire me, but I feel it’s where or what we concentrate our minds on and whether we let our minds wonder into creative timescapes that matter most in my formula. The natural experience of different sunrise settings, especially by the ocean, has an imminent impact in my mind; for those moments to me are some of the clearest of the day. Sharing experiences with friends is really where I feel my inspiration takes on another level because nothing equals or generates the energies of our friends together at that moment in time. I think my friendships are the one of the best fruits of my love for music therefore in my friends I find the greatest inspiration, whether in one way or another, all are vital to the development of my passion, for it is the interaction of us that sharpen ourselves. I am blessed to experience at close friendships the ways some of my best friends express their art.
What my friend Fumero paints on canvas or on worldwide murals, although on a different plane of expression than music, is very inspiring to me on many different aspects from watching him live in action to talking with him very often leads to enlightenment of some sort and it can be felt visually through his works, always with good energy.
Art by Fumero
CGNY: Tell us all about the Pink Festival in Vermont?
Onda: Pink's been going on for about 4 years now on an amazing private property in a pristine area of Vermont with a river running through and it's three days of non-stop music with a stellar sound system on all three stages. The overall aesthetic experience is such an outstanding out one words cannot describe the levels of energy created at this magical event. Every year friends and djs from many different countries around the world fly to this event to experience the beauty of Pink. It is truly a beautiful time with amazing people in a wonderful place. Every year gets better in unforeseen ways; this year I had the privilege again to close the festival on Sunday with a seven and a half hour set. Playing at Pink is definitely very special to me; I look forward to it every year!
CGNY: Describe your science of sound?
Onda: In a world of noise pollution, I like to treat myself to different parts of the sound spectrum naturally or in studio and delight in the soothing effects of the prolonged exposures. Audio enhanced meditation helps me enter a realm of uncertainty to be discovered within the sounds. There are natural sounds that are very difficult if not impossible to reproduce and that are rarely captured on stereo recording, therefore I research many unique sources of field recordings. Within the symphony of natural sounds from Earth, I find some of the most soothing frequencies that are some of the simplest yet most impacting in our lives. For example the ocean waves carry briefly every single note on the sound spectrum from the crash to the very last fizzle creating one of the most relaxing natural effects on this planet, but if any one of those notes is locked into place, the exposure to that one note would take a totally different effect, if not the opposite. In similar relaxing ways, creating atmospheres with different layers and textures is one of my favorite things to do and where most of my productions begin to develop. There's no end to the amount of audio formulas that could exist to create a beautiful aesthetic experience. I think there's yet so much more to discover about our sound spectrum and the gift of melody.
CGNY: What are your production methods?
Ten years ago I started using Fruityloops and since then I have used and still use some of the other programs out there like Reason, Ableton Live, Logic etc, but for now I prefer the live recording of a composition through analog equipment. Every one of my productions is the result of a live recording of prepared layers and live automation on Korg and other equipment from start to finish. It's an old way of production, but putting together songs this way is the most comfortable for me. I'm looking to add more gear this year to expand the sound and I think a mac is finally in the horizon as well, so I will soon most likely be using Logic to refine my production methods.
CGNY: What other types of music do you listen to besides Techno/House?
Onda: Being exposed to all sorts of music is important I think in order to really appreciate what one really likes, so I like to listen to all sorts of music whenever the opportunity comes up. Since the plasma digital era, music composition has been transformed into a controlled symphony of many musicians at the hands of one person with many more digital instruments our conventional collection can offer or produce, so today creating music is very different than it was a hundred years ago and back and because of that I think our understanding of melody is just beginning to open up on another level in our spectrum. I find compositions of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven the most interesting till this day. In order to produce, they learned to play and write the music for every instrument in the orchestra and went over with each musician their part in the symphony to make sure they were tuned properly. There's something very special about the techniques they used to come up with the formulas of their melodies that I think have yet more to reveal about sound composition in this atmosphere. If I was to choose to see someone live it would be any of these three master artists in action so I could really experience the true melodies they proposed in their compositions within the instrumental tuning of their preference.
CGNY: What is in store for the future of Aerotropic and Onda Skillet?
Onda: There are no remix works to be released for now, but there are plans for future renditions of original works from different artists. In due time, part of the vision is to present vinyl format releases. Vinyl recording is definitely a wonderful creation that preserves music beautifully; therefore we can expect Aerotropic in the future to present vinyl impressions of the artists' mind works. The label's SOS Research Board has not been fully presented, so there are still more artists to be introduced with many interesting scientific techniques of productions to be released this year. The financial fame is not a primary goal of the label, but it does recognize the value of the art, therefore provides an official agreement for the artist's works to be revered as masterpieces with all the royalty they deserve. The artists will always know where their master recordings are being preserved. There are formulas in preparation for projects soon to be fulfilled. The live presentation is starting to solidify more as I develop my passion for music as much as I can. Music theory will soon be one of my fluent languages as well and more analog equipment in the horizon will see an even more astral sunrise set, this time live.
Interview for CGNY by House Diva