Going Deep with aya
June 14th 2023
- :: aya interview on Deep Web
Over the past weekend Sydney was graced by the glitterati of underground, online, and otherwise niche genres for Soft Centre. Hyperdub signee aya is one such artist, with her transcendent production, acerbic wit and frenetic liveshows winning her fans all across the world.
She joined Krishtie and Chuyi on Deep Web last week to chat about early musical memories, the making of im hole and 5-deck blending on YouTube.
Asked about her early musical development, aya recalls being immersed into diverse types of music and technology from a young age:
“There was quite a lot of dnb and jungle in my house as a kid… I had a pretty varied diet musically growing up… I discovered IDM when I was 13 and started wearing big fleeces and big trousers.”
aya credits this early exposure to music to her dad, who beyond playing her everything from the aforementioned dnb and jungle to Led Zeppelin, also had an eye for early music software.
“The scene I was involved in was the spare bedroom in our house because we had music production software from when I was 7. My dad was an early tech adopter… we had Ableton 2.”
As she grew up and eventually moved to London from her native Huddersfield, aya first made music under the moniker LOFT. That project spanned a variety of sounds, from glitchy techno-esque rollers to even a soft and gorgeous dubstep reimagining of Marvin Gaye’s ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine.’ But as time went on, aya felt the need to evolve and leave LOFT behind:
“The intention with LOFT was to move into a UK bass… post-dubsteppy kind of world. But as time went on it became more apparent that I didn’t really fit in that scene and that the things I wanted to do felt constrained by that. Taking the project into my own hands and working with my vocals gave me a lot more freedom to pursue exactly what I wanted to do without fitting into some greater structure.”
This brings us to aya’s celebrated 2021 record im hole. Garnering immediate critical acclaim upon release, im hole was for many the introduction to aya’s artistry as both producer and poet. While talking about the record, Krishtie offered up the word “symbiotic” to describe the relationship between aya’s lyrics and production. aya thought the word was fitting:
“I think symbiotic is a really good description of the process. I’ll have two disparate elements of an idea I’ve been working on and I’ll have half a poem that comes from a moment of intense emotion… I have loads of these fragments and eventually something makes sense, there’s a connection drawn at some point.”
Upon first listen, it is striking how layered and intricate the soundscapes on im hole are. You’re never really sure of where the next sound will come from – songs ebb and flow before they suddenly emerge from the mist fully formed. But as aya described, the making of im hole was actually quite spontaneous:
“It was actually one of the quickest records I’ve made… I’d made two or three demos and I was like right I need 5 demos… By the time I had those 5 tracks I was like ok this one is track 3, this one is track 4, this one is track 7, this one is track 9 and this is the closer. So everything after that was like ok I need to make sense of what goes in between those things. The process of writing was pretty instinctive.”
In true Deep Web fashion, Chuyi and Krishtie also got the chance to chat with aya about her relationship to the internet and music. Chuyi asked aya to elaborate on influences that listeners “might not expect” and aya delivered:
“I love YouTube mixing… trying to beatmatch on YouTube, that sh*t is hard as f*ck. Having a tab with freesound open so you’ve got a nice recording of a Swedish forest going on and then a slowed down interview with someone… You can really get into some stuff there… some 5 deck blends. You can go deep on that.”
aya, Chuyi, and Krishtie covered a lot of ground in their chat last week, so click the link up top to listen back to the full conversation, which includes deep dives into ableton plugins, the origins of the im hole cover art and more. FBi was also lucky enough to air a special guest mix from aya, available to listen back here. If you’d like to listen to aya’s music, im hole is linked below.