A consciousness altering trip through heady deep house stylistics, driving atmospherics and trippy melodic arrangements. True to form, Aera journeys across his trademark multicoloured sound palette over the course of a nearly 100-minute transmission.

Our first mix outing of the year comes courtesy of Berlin-based DJ and producer Aera. Delicately honing his skills for over a decade, his personal blend of deep house carries a real sense of melody and storytelling while simultaneously packing enough punch to blow your socks off. With his releases landing on a not too shabby selection of renowned record labels, stretching from Hivern Discs to Innervisions and from Permanent Vacation over to his own Aleph Music, we warmly welcome Ralf onto the platform.

Over the course of a nearly 100-minute transmission, he journeys across his trademark multicoloured sound palette for us, building towards dense peaks before detaching into gravity defying release points. It’s a highly intoxicating combination of smooth deep house transitions and a seamless track selection that locks you in and beams you towards an euphoria filled road to conclusion.

Welcome Ralf, good having you here! What’s been keeping you busy as of late and how did you transition into this new decade?

Thank you for having me! Lately I’ve been busy doing very little in the South Of Spain, fleeing the Berlin Winter and recharging my batteries for the decade to come. I transitioned into 2020 with some great food, surrounded by friends and loved ones.

Following the release of your 2018 ‘The Sound Path’ album on Permanent Vacation, how do you reflect on the process of making and releasing the long player now. 

Writing and releasing the album was a really personal and rewarding process and happened very naturally. Permanent Vacation trusted my vision and supported me every step along the way. But honestly, when I have finished a piece of work, I tend not to reflect on it too much, rather just go on and start something new! One great thing that happened was being able to tour all over the world in support of the album and organize some of my own parties all over the place, so that was very fulfilling.

You recently graced Correspondant’s annual V.A. compilation with a collaboration track alongside TERR. Looking at your catalog, you haven’t released a lot of collab tracks over the years. Tell us a little about the experience of working with Daniela, and are there any other collabs we need to be on the lookout for?

One of the parties I did for the album release was at Nitsa Barcelona, where I played with Benjamin Fröhlich, who is running Permanent Vacation. I met Daniela backstage and we clicked right away. Later on, she visited me in my studio for a coffee and I was playing her a loop that I had made, just drums and a bassline. She sat down at the keyboard and came up with the main melody of the track just like that. I kept humming it for days. After that, we kept on sending the track back and forth and kept working on it until we were happy with the result. Everything came together very naturally. When finally Correspondant / Jennifer Cardini decided to release it I was over the moon!

I read that finding a certain flow and empty headspace is vital to get your creative juices flowing. Having moved studio early 2019, how did that transition go and how have things developed a year down the road?

I think I’ve never felt better in a studio. I had to leave my old place very suddenly at the end of 2018 and was super lucky to find this new space just above a rather well known club here in Berlin.. There are quite a few great artists in the building such as Johannes Albert, Sebastian Voigt or Joris Biesmanns, plus working in a place that also holds a club creates a special energy from the get go.

Aside from your collab with TERR, we’ve mainly seen remix releases from you last year. Was that a conscious decision? Following the release of your album, and in today’s increasingly demanding atmosphere, do you feel any particular urge to disconnect and regroup?  

It just happened organically – with every remix that I made, I got more and more requests and I just started saying yes to some of them. I only set myself two rules: I had to have an idea where to take the original upon first hearing it. It had to inspire me right away. And I would only allow myself three tries to get the remix done. If nothing happened by the third attempt, I would have to turn it down. This would take the pressure from myself of having to deliver, and it would be a fair way of not making the label wait too long for the finished product – or being in the dark of whether or not I would get something done at all.

Luckily, most of them were done within an afternoon or two, so the method worked for me. It also felt great to have something to build on and to work in a more focussed and restrained manner instead of always starting with a blank page every time. Each remix was a different learning experience and I took something away for me with every single one of them.

Your latest remix for RSS Disco just got released via their Hamburg-based Mireia Records. Tell us a bit about your contribution and connection to the German trio of party starters.

I’ve been following their music and mixes closely for a long time, butI I really first met them in person at the annual Grizzlynation here in Berlin maybe 3 years ago. They played Leonard Cohen’s “Who By Fire” sometime during their set and my heart was won. We kept in touch ever since and I didn’t have to think twice when they asked me for the remix. The track itself came together pretty quickly in one afternoon, as all good tracks do. They also invited me to play with them at Hamburg, where I lived for a long time before moving to Berlin. Definitely in my top 3 parties of 2019!

Tell us about this mix you’ve cooked up for us. Inspiration behind its selection, atmosphere, special bits in there you would like to mention, etc.?

I tried to condense a full clubnight into a little over one hour, showing what I play at the moment, from Ambient to peak time to Italo, throwing some of my own unreleased tracks and music by friends in along the way.

What does 2020 hold in store for you – anything in particular we need to be looking out for? 

Done with the remixes – finally releasing some of my own music again! Nothing less than a double EP on Innervisions in March, plus reviving my Aleph Music imprint for a couple of EPs later in the year. Buzzing.

Aera: Facebook // Soundcloud // Instagram // Discogs
Photo credit: Navina Khatib 

Grab your copy of Aera’s recent remix for RSS Disco HERE.