2014 has been a turning point for Aaron Triggs, the San Francisco-based producer known as Bleep Bloop. Thanks to an unexpected friendship with hip-hop legend DJ Shadow and a spot on Shadow's new label, Liquid Amber, Triggs is perfectly poised to unleash his talents on a worldwide audience. Having just released his finest work yet last week, the 10 Watt Lazers EP, Bleep Bloop sat down with EARMILK to discuss everything from grime music to Kurt Vonnegut. He also delivered an exclusive half-hour mix of new and unreleased material, check it out below.
EARMILK: You're the first to be signed to DJ Shadow's new label, Liquid Amber. How did the two of you first link up?
Aaron Triggs: It was at this festival called Emissions Festival, in California, thrown by my friend Camp Questionmark, and DJ Shadow was the headliner. So, you know, I'm just out in the crowd enjoying the music, and it's a tent set, he's blowing minds and doing his thing. And all of a sudden a tune comes on that I recognize, but I can't really put my finger on it, and then I realize it's my tune, from my last release. So that was pretty crazy, my friends were freaking out and jumping around. Afterwards I went backstage, and I just told him, "You played my tune." And he was very interested, just because of the sheer coincidence, and we got to talking, and just hit it off right there. I knew he was a Bay Area guy, but it turned out he lived north of the Golden Gate Bridge, which I also do, I mentioned where I live which is a small town called Healdsburg, and he was like "Oh I know Healdsburg I go there with my wife." We stayed in contact, he came to my house and made music with me, our tune "Blast Off." That was the first tune we made together, we've done a couple others.
EM: So do you feel like that moment was a huge turning point, almost like a serendipitous moment for you?
AT: Oh it was incredibly serendipitous. Sometimes I don't know – the universe is a random, swirling ball of stuff, and sometimes it just drops something in your lap. That was definitely one of those moments.
EM: He said that you're one of the reasons he started Liquid Amber in the first place; is that statement as intimidating as it is flattering?
AT: Actually, no, because of the way he is. He's so humble and down-to-earth, his ego is very in check. Obviously he knows he's a legend and he's created all this stuff, but he doesn't want to talk about that at all. I was nervous the first time he came over, but then I realized this is a real dude, this is just a friend.
EM: By the way, thanks for making us an exclusive mixtape. I'm looking forward to hearing it. Can you tell us a little about that? It's mostly your own stuff, right?
AT: Yeah I have a lot of unreleased music right now, so I'm happy for the opportunity to let people hear some of it without them getting the full tune. Since it's only a half hour, I figured I'd just show what I've got. So I used the songs from the new EP, and for the rest of it, I've been working on a bootleg series of rap tunes. So I've got one from Clipse, a Traxamillion remix, he's a Bay Area producer, a super instrumental figure in the Hyphy movement. And I've been really obsessed with grime music lately, I've always been really into rap, but I go through phases of what kind I want to listen to. Lately, it's been grime. So I've got this Wiley remix, that me, Doshy, and The Originalz – a few friends of mine – all did together. I've got a collaboration with G Jones on there, he's a good homie of mine, he's definitely on the come-up too. So, other than the tracks from the new EP, everything on the mixtape is unreleased.
EM: Thematically, your music is focused on space and science fiction. If your music was a sci-fi movie, which one would it be?
AT: Ooooo. You gotta give me a second, there are so many. . . ok here it is. It's kinda like Mission to Mars mixed with Splice, have you seen Splice? They create this weird mutant alien being and then fall in love with it, it's really surreal. So I guess it's Mission to Mars and Splice, and then also Kurt Vonnegut, he's a huge influence to me, pretty much as big as an influence can be.
EM: You just announced a show at Low End Theory in L.A. Do you know any of the local dudes out there?
AT: I've never met any of those guys, but I do have a lot of connections to them, we have mutual friends. For instance, my friend Patrick Sexx, formerly known as DNAE Beats - he was a producer for Gift of Gab, Mr. Lif, lots of great hip-hop acts – he's really good friends with all of them. So he's linked me with them, I've been sending them tunes and stuff like that.
EM: Besides that, what do you have in the way of upcoming shows?
AT: I'm doing Arcadia, CA, on a big-ass Void sound system for New Year's Eve, which should be really cool. Then in January I play Reno, with Dimond Saints. Later in the year I have plans to do Canada, we're gonna do Edmonton and try to link up more Canada dates along that line. There's a dubstep event in Denver, and a whole lot of other stuffs that kind of floating in the works right now. I don't have an agent right now, so sometimes the dates slow down a little bit. But it's been snowballing more and more, so I think it'll fill up pretty good.
EM: Do you see that changing soon, as far as having an agent?
AT: If a good one comes to me. I would love to have a good agent, it would really help me take my thing to the next level. I've had a good amount of offers, but it's never been right. I don't want to work with someone who's up-and-coming, I want someone who's made it already. Someone who can make up for the fact that they take 10% of my earnings.
EM: Any New Year's resolutions or upcoming goals for 2015?
AT: Yeah, I would really love to play all over the United States, and maybe do Europe next year, too. I've released stuff on Saturate Records, they're a German label, as well as Robox Neotech, another German label, so I was thinking I could go off those connections and do a little Europe thing. That would be really fun. Nothing's planned out yet, but it's a goal. I would also really love to work with some grime rappers, I'm tryin' to link up with some UK cats.
EARMILK: Interview + Exclusive Mix
- Liquid Amber
- '10 Watt Lazers' EP out now