Aabo, pronounced Aye-bow, is a multi-instrumentalist producer based in Oakland. Today he brings us a wavy, jazzy, R&B, progressive yet OG, soul filled track, starting our May off just right. “Just Because” feat BEREL starts out with softened and sped up female vocal samples in the production, laid over a bed of snaps, piano chords, clicks, snare drums and pulsing synths. These two seem to be a match made in heaven. BEREL brings a silky R&B vibe to the catchy hook,
“So do what you want to with me, I’ll take nothing from you. Just take what you want to from me. And if you do, I don’t need a thing in return from you”.
Staying modern in the synthetic chords yet classic on the piano, it’s clear both artists have studied the science of sound but kept their soul rooted in the rhythm.
EARMILK had the pleasure of picking Aabo’s brain on how him and BEREL linked up, what sounds he’s influenced by, future collaborations, Soulection and of course, Tupac.
BEREL and Aabo met while studying music at college in Humboldt County, CA. Aabo recalls the first time they jammed. “I was instantly attracted to his vocal abilities and soulful sound and he was drawn to my bass-playing and compositions. I recorded on a couple of his albums and played in his band for a bit. When I got serious about my music production, the chemistry with his voice and songwriting style came very naturally.”
Now living in Oakland, Aabo has been perfecting his craft at Hyde Street Studios in San Francisco. Describing inspiration he’s taken from the bay, he notes his workspace has been blessed by some of the best in game. “Historically the studio has had the likes of Tupac, Herbie Hancock, and The Grateful Dead through its doors, just to name a few. Making music within those walls is a seriously inspiring vibe.”
Harnessing a mutual love for Tupac, I had to ask what was his favorite cut. Undoubtedly one of the hardest questions to answer, he stated “Do For Love” and “I Get Around” as two of his treasures. Describing specific inspiration for this track he said, “Just Because” was largely influence by the LA based progressive music collective, Soulection. Aabo picks apart some of the musical inspiration within the production.
“The jazzy 16th-note chords are definitely something I hear Mr. Carmack and Jarreau Vandal do a lot. But I had to take it back to the original organic roots, like the sound was written; hence the outro with acoustic piano and bass guitar.”
BEREL tell us the raw muse behind his words. “Lyrically, ‘Just Because’ was a simple, flowing conversation. The writing process itself brought up a lot that both Aabo and I were going through with our girlfriends. The song depicts modern-day relationship challenges. This is a prime example of art imitating life.”
Aabo’s sound is a melodic mix of electronic and R&B, so it didn’t come as a surprise when he called out Anderson .Paak as a dream collaboration. Having an avid fan of .Paak for the past couple years and recently seeing him live at coachella, Aabo shows mad respect for the man.
“I have been listening to him for several years. He was still underground and I have watched him grind so hard to get where he is today. I am inspired by his journey and am proud to watch such an out-of-this-world talent reach such heights”
His less attainable dream collaboration? John Coltrane. “His music transcends on a spiritual level greater than almost any other artist to ever live. I’ve been hearing his sax playing ever since I was a baby and am forever inspired by him. Can you image in him collaborating with some of the producers today?”
The most attainable of all, is his collaboration coming next with Lafa Taylor. Aabo gave us a sneak peak on the musical synergy between the two for the upcoming project.
“I have learned so much from him over the years about producing, performing and music in general. We decided to make an album together and the end result is some seriously different shit for both of us. Its got a strong house vibe with a lot of R&B and hip-hop elements to it. Plus a lot of organic layers; horns, percussion, guitar, etc. We worked really hard on it and we are incredibly excited for it to infiltrate people's ears.”
Lafa Taylor & Aabo's forthcoming project will be titled FEEL. In addition to FEEL, Aabo has an EP scheduled for release with fellow producer, Tiger Fresh, as well as an additional solo EP and even more collaborations. Homie is comin' in real hot in 2016. Look out!