A decade in the music industry is a long time. Sure, not as long as others, but it's certainly no easy task. Shlomi Aber, techno Dj and label owner, just celebrated 10 years of his label Be As One. To close the chapter of the first decade, he released his album Linear Equation, his first album in 8 years. We were fortunate enough to get the rundown on what went into the new release, and what it takes to build and maintain a lasting career.
Hi Shlomi, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us. First off, how and where are you?
I’m doing great, thanks for asking. Finally relaxing from a long day and packing to head off to London tomorrow for a BBC Radio One show with B.Traits, and directly after that Rotterdam (Toffler) and Antwerp (Ampere) for the weekend shows.
To get things going, let's talk about your childhood, and how it shaped you into the person you are today. What was it like? How were you even introduced to electronic music?
I was born and raised in a small town in the South of Israel, a lovely beach city called Ashkelon, however, it had no electronic culture and I had to do the weekend drives to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to get some proper techno action in the 90’s.
I started djing at the young age of 13 while promoting parties to gain money. I bought music equipment at 16 and by the age of 19 I was already playing often in Tel Aviv and managing the best vinyl shop in town, Krembo. It’s hard to say how I got introduced to electronic music since I’m not coming from a musical home, but I remember seating every Friday from 23:00 till 6:00 next to the radio as a young kid, listening to live streaming of the Tel Aviv clubs (especially a Friday show called “Set”), and dreaming of visiting those clubs one day ...
You've been in the game for quite a while, with tracks being supported by the biggest names in the scene, even deadmau5. In all your years of experience, what have been some hard lessons that you've learned, and carried with you throughout your career?
Yes, it’s always amazing to see how crossover music can be, I remember even listening to Tiesto playing some of my stuff and also Jeff Mills, as far apart as you can get.
The hard lesson I learned at the time is to relax and take things easier. I grew up in a very stressful society where everything is fast and now, going through the army etc.. , while in the past few years living in Europe I feel I’m a different person in that sense, more relaxed and tolerant. My old temper was getting in the way many times in my career.
The big news is that you've just released a new album, 'Linear Equation'. In today's scene, some consider albums to be a waste of time. Why was it important for you to release an album, and could you walk us through the creative process for it?
Unfortunately it’s pretty much true, since CDs are out of fashion , albums are pretty much becoming a collector’s thing, however I enjoyed working on it as it’s a personal thing, I was not expecting anything when producing it, but I’m very happy to see it well received and getting great feedback.
Let's compare your latest album, to your last one, 'Chicago Days, Detroit Nights'. What are some of the main differences, and some overlapping characteristics between the two? How has your production process both changed and stayed the same?
I think my groove is still there, the Shlomi Aber signature is well spotted on both albums, however, it is different. I can say that any of the tracks of the new album could easily be part of the old album and not be stranger to it, however, the ‘Chicago Days’ album was more open musically and more cross-genre while ‘Linear Equation’ is straightforward techno action.
Production wise I don't think there is a difference in the actual work, it’s the musical character that grew up and shaped it.
The album is also a celebration of 10 years for your label Be As One, which is quite a milestone. What does it mean to you to hit that decade mark? How has the label grown sonically over the years? Has the overall message stayed the same?
I’m always surprised we are already ten, eleven actually to be precise, the time went so fast and I feel the label has a real mark in the scene and will leave its stamp way after I will not be here. Some of the label’s tracks will stay forever. The thing is, I’m more motivated than ever so don't expect me to go anywhere anytime soon. There are so many great upcoming projects I can’t wait to announce.
Before we go, I have one last question. If you could give your 20-year-old self any advice, what would it be?
Be more open to changes. I’m so much into the music itself that I don't put too much effort into other things, social media for example… I’m a bit old school in that regard, I believe it does more bad than good to the music at the end of the day. Of course, it gains more popularity as a medium, but the quality is going down and the music has no real value anymore like it had in the old days.
Linear Equation by Shlomi Aber is available now.