What was once old is now new again. While this sentiment frequently applies to fashion, we’ve heard this trend in the dance music world: Since 2015, ‘90s-esque deep house has undergone a revival – even reaching mainstream EDM status – and disco – now dubbed “new” or “future” funk – has been taking a similar trajectory.
Although this could easily be attributed to ongoing ‘90s nostalgia, affinity for the aughts has kicked in, causing listeners and producers to explore electro and tech house.
Among them, AYYBO offers a modern take coupled with a comprehensive creative vision encompassing cinematography and design.
Born Aaron Bonnema and living in Anaheim, CA, AYYBO strives to create a fully immersive, engaging experience with his music.
This not only varies from the DJ-in-a-dark-booth trope that persisted through the 2000s, but involves new technologies – mainly, TikTok at the moment.
The approach appears to be working: His debut “Hypnosis” saw over 1.4 million streams during its first month, got noticed by major dance music websites, and helped him grow his following.
AYYBO continues his streak, releasing “Move Like This” on Zeds Dead’s sublabel, Altered States, back in September and accompanying them on their Deadbeats tour. We had a chance to talk with him about this release and his innovative approach to making music:
Tech house experienced some popularity in the ‘90s through the early 2000s, but became more secondary to the melodic-driven progressive house in the years after. What draws you to tech house?
Hearing tech house live is what really got me into it. I got really obsessed over the basslines, which were mostly simple but effective in a live setting.
The feeling of the groove is something that hooked me, and [I’ve] been obsessed with the house ever since. There’s this dark feeling to a lot of tech house songs that I’m just in love with, it feels like forbidden fruit that is so tasty.
In considering the subgenre’s evolution, what do you think is the future of tech house?
I feel like it’ll be pretty much the same but with more sampling of older records than now.
There’s already plenty of remixes and samples of older tracks in tech house, but I think the labels will be pushing that more, since recycling good ideas tends to mostly go well. I also think minimal tech house will become more popular.
Tell us about your background: How did you get started with production?
I started making music around 2016 and learned almost everything off of YouTube. I also was in my high school’s drumline and knew a little bit of music theory, which definitely helped get me started.
You also think about visuals like cinematography and design as you’re making music. What’s your process for creating a track, and when do you begin to create visual elements?
Yeah definitely, painting a visual picture of the song helps me get to the finish line with a clearer direction. As far as creating a track, I tend to start with the drums and then the bassline.
Those two elements alone are already enough to finish a track since to me, that’s the meat of the idea. I usually will make the visuals after the track is finished but have an idea of what I want to do visually while making the track.
Tell us about your latest track, “Move Like This.” What was your vision for this track?
“Move Like This” started after I got into dancing, specifically pop and locking.
The whole direction was to make a song that has that pop and lock feel to it, as the vocal demands you to dance.
TikTok has also helped your success. How does it feel having a song of yours go viral?
It was definitely surreal and exciting at the same time. But I’ve felt the pressure that comes with it, so I’ve just kept my head down and been working harder than ever.
You’ve also been on tour more recently with Zeds Dead. What do you have planned for your sets?
Yes! Planned to play plenty of new unreleased and edits I’ve been working on. And going more towards a darker and deeper tech vibe.
Your career is rapidly rising. Whether new tracks or a full-length album, or other plans, what are your goals as an artist over the next few years?
My biggest goals are to work with the artists I look up to, diversify my sound, and dive into different genres, and to play a show in Ibiza. I also want to drop a full album in the next year or two that expands past house music.
Ivan Yaskey is a Philly-born EDM and synthpop enthusiast and interviewer who recently relocated to beautiful Boston, MA.