Leonard Bernstein once said, “Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable”.
Music is one of the most approachable medium to express one’s deepest feelings and one of the easiest ways to move a listener. But sometimes, so much weightage is given to the “words” that we forget the role of melodies and their individual power to influence the listeners. When Yiruma plays the piano, one does not need words to understand what he is trying to convey. Therefore, it is important that we pay attention to musicians who are trying to create powerful narratives with the mere use of sound and try to educate ourselves about their artistry.
Los-Angeles based, electronic dance producer Aries Deng is also trying to explore this relationship with sound in her latest EP “Unexpected Encounters”. Her instrumental music, rooted in future bass, captures her unique life experiences through the power of the melodies she creates. Her tracks are both sonically and emotionally driven. Each song of hers carries a positive vibe and one listen would instantly bring smile to one’s face.
The EDM artist is able to brilliantly translate her memorable interactions into rhythmic beats that convey her exact feelings at the time of the event.
“I hope that people who listen to my songs can relate to how I felt during that moment, or remind them of some things. In every song I wanted to tell a story not just capture a feeling…”
Inspired by events in her life and influenced by her love for anime and video games, Deng produces music that would resonate with a lot of people.
Apart from being an artist, she is also an inspiring woman whose journey is definitely a reminder that there is no shortcuts to hard work. CelebMix got a chance to interact with the talented musician and discuss about her endeavours. Check out the complete interview below:
Hi Aries! Could you please tell our readers a bit about yourself?
Hi CelebMix! My name is Aries, and I’m an Electronic music producer and DJ. I was born in Beijing, China. Raised half way in Beijing, half way in Atlanta. Now I’m in LA. I like video games, Miyazika’s movies and frozen yogurt. haha
For someone who will be exploring your music for the first time, how would you like to describe your sound?
I would describe my sound as very video game and anime influenced. It’s like a digital escape to a world of fantasy or dreamland of some kind. Sonically it is filled with depth, percussive elements, and emotions. Whether it is happy, positive, hopeful, or sad, it is a raw representation of what I feel.
We read that you have been a classical pianist. What prompted you to make the transition and pursue your professional career as a DJ and a producer?
I’ve always loved music production and Electronic Music. I wasn’t train to be a professional pianist, but it helped me understand music better so I can get to choose to express myself in my favourite music genre.
You have had a chance to perform at some of the hottest clubs and festivals. We read one of your old interviews wherein you shared your wish to start clubbing and now, you are playing at significant venues. How has the experience helped you? Also, do you have a dream location where you’d like to play your songs in the near future?
It helped me to be more comfortable when I perform knowing what it feels like as an audience, and better understand the music from different perspectives.
One of my dream locations will be Red Rocks Amphitheatre. It is such a beautiful place!
With Storm, you got a chance to take back your experience and showcase your work to people in China. How was the response? Please educate us a bit about the musical landscape in China.
The response was great! People were dancing and having a great time! I remember someone came up to me telling me he was really touched by one of the songs I played. That meant a lot to me, because I want people to have fun with my music, more importantly, is to share how we feel and bring back memories we all had.
To be honest, I only have limited amount of knowledge when in come to music scene in China as a whole. For EDM, I know it’s definitely blooming over there. More shows and festivals, people are more open to the idea of raving and going to EDM festival.
As a DJ and a producer, what kind of changes have you seen in your niche and how have you worked to catch up with the evolution? Also, amidst the changes, how do you perceive your evolution and journey as an artist?
As an artist, I’m always finding better ways to make music, creating new sounds, learning new techniques. For me, I think staying true to myself is more important than playing catch-up. I’d like to give people the purest form of my feelings and emotions through my music. I’m growing, my life is moving forward, therefore my music will always be evolving, sonically and emotionally.
We listened to your EP “Unexpected Encounters” and fell in love with it. Something that stood out for us was each track’s ability to stimulate and evoke different kinds of emotions. “Something Pretty from Afar” is our favourite track! Please tell our readers about the EP.
Thank you! Glad you guys enjoyed it! The EP is inspired by events that happened in my life and people that I’ve met. Lots of unexpected encounters and I just wanted to document them and express the feelings I had through music. So each song is either about a person, like “I Met A Metaphorical Boy” or just a feeling of seeing something pretty like “Something Pretty From Afar”, or inspired by a city like “Mirrored Lights”, or how I felt after while going through a breakup like “The Place Where Stars Align”. They are all the things that happened in my life that mean a lot to me and this EP is a journey of feelings.
Recently, we have had a chance to talk to a lot of DJs but your EP is the first where the focus has been primarily on the “sound” rather than the “word”. We would like to learn more about your choice of creating sonically driven tracks.
Yea, For this EP, I wanted to focus on myself as a producer, and what I can do with those music notes. I don’t really have any lyrics on those track. I want to focus on develop feelings and emotions through sounds and purely music. Words sometimes would put your feelings into a box, but music won’t. You can interrupt it however you’d like. The choices that I made on choosing each sound, it’s a representation of emotions. I also focus on arrangements to make sure the music will give a a experience or some sort of sonic journey.
Any video game or an anime lover would find resonance with the tracks in the EP. Would you like to share with us your influences and inspiration for the tracks?
haha yea. Anime and video games are definitely some of my biggest influences. Like I mentioned before, this EP is about people, feelings, and things that happened in my life. I wanted to share that through this EP. So for “Something Pretty From Afar”, I just wanted to write something pretty, simple as that. Capture the feeling of seeing something pretty. For “I Met A Metaphorical Boy”, it’s about a guy that I met, I thought he was everything that I dreamt of, but when I get to know him, he doesn’t have any of the qualities that I look for in a guy in real life. He looked so perfect, but still just an idea in my head, a metaphorical boy, and it will never be real. “Mirrored Lights” is inspired by a trip to San Francisco, went to The Twin Peaks, looking down at the city lights and its reflections in the water, so pretty and impactful. “The Place Where Stars Align” is about how I felt after a breakup. We were so happy, made lots of fun memories, played music together and now everything is fading away, he is also drifting away from me.
Will listeners get a chance to experience the tracks in a music video?
I have visuals for each track, in terms of music video, I will probably do something like that in the near future.
Today, when you Google “top DJs”, the list is dominated by men. But at the same time, a lot of female DJs are trying to make a cut and gain visibility. So, in terms of opportunities, how do you place yourself in the industry?
I think I’m still trying to find my place in this male dominated industry. For me, my rule is just stay true to myself and make good music, the music can make people feel some type of ways, whether is happy or sad, and we can all connect through music, through emotions. No matter your gender or identity. I think that’s more important to me than anything.
Would you like to share with us your future projects or endeavours?
I’m currently working on a new EP, in the next few months, I will slowly releasing some singles here and there. Really excited to share these songs with everyone!
Aries’ musical background stems from technical and classical piano training as well as experience in DJing with old school traditional turntables, which together has helped craft her unique melodic sound. Aries has performed at the hottest clubs and venues locally and internationally, such as Club Avalon (LA); House of Blues (Boston), Club Latte (Beijing,China), and more. She also has performed at music festivals and events like the biggest EDM festival in China: Storm Music Festival (Shenzhen); as well as one the the biggest events in North America: Anime Expo (LA), at which 100,000+ people have attended. Her journey has just started and she has a long way to go.
What do you think about “Unexpected Encounters”? Share your thoughts via tweet @CelebMix.