An Interview With Aaron Simpson Of Simplify Recordings

If you love listening to high quality bass music then there’s a good chance you’ll already be familiar with many of the artists whose music careers have been boosted with the help of Simplify Recordings – artists like Tut Tut Child, Love & Light, K Theory, Kezwik, Kairo Kingdom and Crazy Daylight to name a few. In this exclusive interview with Aaron Simpson, Founder and CEO, we got some great insight into how he got started and what it’s like to run one of the best bass music labels in the world.

 

Hey Aaron, how goes it? What’s your background with music and how did you get into it?

I came from a punk music background, and discovered raves in 1999. Trance was the first genre that appealed to me, and I began DJing in 2000. This is a whole separate story within itself, but within a year I found myself being a teenage resident at 21 and up clubs. At the time I worked for a record store that specialized in Trance, called Frequency 8. I was very immersed in the scene, and knew then that I was not going back.

 

As I grew older into my 20’s, my ears yearned for edgier sounds, and I got into drum and bass. I had a similar success story again with DJing, and found myself getting thousands of downloads on my mixes (before internet mixes were really prominent or popular), and playing all over the U.S.

Eventually I started going to festivals, Burning Man being the biggest. I began to discover and develop an interest in Glitch Hop and Dubstep, as well as other new and emerging bass music genres. It was all a perfect storm of inspiration and timing, and Simplify began in 2009. DJing was then put on the back-burner after well over one-thousand shows.

 aaron simpson DJing

My friend Jesse Brede from Gravitas Recordings wants to know how you came up with the name for your label?

The name was actually thought of by Kiro, who is one of my best friends and our in-house mastering engineer. It’s a take on my last name “SIMPson”. I liked the name because it matched my intentions with the label; to release good music, and to be only about the music.

 

It’s an awesome name. How would you describe the Simplify sound? 

We release a number of genres, but there is a common theme; the tunes are melodic. If you cannot hum the song from memory an hour after hearing it, then it’s not the Simplify sound.

 

Many of your artists are doing something different – do you focus on trying to push a different sound?

We focus on the sound of now, in addition to what I believe could be the future. I love it when we release music that’s fringing on 2 to 5 genres, and hard to pin down with just one name.

 

What have been some of the most ground-breaking or successful releases for the label so far? 

Our biggest release in 2013 has been Rudebrat’s “The Quick and the Dead” EP. The single “Won’t Stop” hit #1 on the Beatport Dubstep Singles chart for well over a month, and is still sitting in the top 10 from being released four months ago in February. I believe this song is special because it fringes on both dubstep and trap, once again not being pinned down with just one genre.

 

Our biggest release last year was Kairo Kingdom’s “BoomBox / One Two”. It had a similar success story sitting at #1 on the Beatport Glitch Hop Charts for over two months. The follow up single “Get Down” also hit #1, and has been licensed for a number of different things which include the Ellen Degeneres show airing on prime-time television.

 

We have a number of iconic releases i feel that really influenced the scene and are now considered timeless, for me some of these are:
Blunt Instrument – “The Pocket”

K Theory – “Welcome To K Theory”

DCarls – “Flavorhythm”

Kezwik – “Tame”

Love and Light – “Crunk Junkee” & “The Light We Bring”

Kezwik & Protohype – “Problematic / Hold Your Breath”

Interview With Aaron Simpson Of Simplify Recordings

 

What are the biggest challenges of running a record label? 

Being limited by 24-hour days is my biggest challenge.

 

It sounds like more than a full time job for sure… The artwork on your releases is incredible – who the artists behind it?

We have used about 10 different artists over-time, but at the present moment have a lineup of 3 amazing artists. Their names are: Vince Peersman, Seth Broman & Chris Tarampi. A couple more notable names are: Jesse Noemind, Gonzalo Rescalvo, & Jacob Unmess who we work with from time to time on specific projects.

 Aaron Simpson Dead Center

OK, for producers, what qualities do you look for when you listen to a demo? 

I give each demo about 3 to 5 seconds of listening before deciding whether or not it’s worth a closer peek. Producers often feel the need to write me an elaborate bio in their submission emails. But when you go through 20 to 30 demos a day, these written descriptions eventually have no meaning and feel exhausting. My eyes and curser go straight to the link where i can listen to their music. Ultimately there’s just one quality I’m looking for, is this the Simplify sound? If i feel the magic is there, the producer will definitely hear from me.

 

What’s your advice for people who want to get their music signed by a label? 

Be both patient and diligent. Right now there’s a massive trend with new artists literally buying their way into the scene. From fake plays and followers to literally having their tunes ghost written. It’s a massive turn off when i want to sign a new artist and i see they already have 20,000 Facebook likes that are clearly not real. I would rather sign an artist with a 150 organic Facebook Likes that has a lot of drive to make good music. The people doing these things often act in desperation and do not make careful, calculated moves. You can feel this vibe when you interact with them, and it doesn’t feel natural.

 

Diligence is also important.  There are some artists i say no to for 6 months, but they politely keep sending me their demos, never taking me personally, and eventually come through with some amazing tunes. These are the artists i gravitate to, because i feel they are down for the long haul and willing to do the REAL work necessary to progress in the scene.

 

Does Simplify have an in-house mastering engineer or do the artists choose their own or do it by themselves?

His name is Kiro, originally from the UK, now living in Northern California. His studio is called Infected Logic. He is hands down one of the best mastering guys around, and truly understands dance music. I would give you contact information, but his services are not made available to anyone not recommended personally by an existing client.

 

What can we look forward to in 2013 from Simplify Recordings? 

I am currently finalizing over 20 releases that i don’t want to give too many details about. Expect fresh new international artists, future classics and anthems from our existing artists, and amazing remixes from new and past releases.

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We hope that helps all of you up and coming producers out there who may be wondering what it’s like to work with a label, and indeed if you are thinking of starting a label yourself, hopefully Aaron has given you some useful insights into what a day in the life of a label owner is like.

A massive thanks goes out to Aaron for sharing all this great info about his phenomenal label.

To keep up to date with all of Simplified’s news make sure you check out the website here.

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