Dave Aju Q&A

dave ajuYour third album is called Black Frames. Can you tell us about the idea behind the title?

There are a few different ideas and meanings behind the title, but on the literal tip I used some black photo frames that were on the walls of my former home studio for the core sounds, and as a whole it’s a somewhat darker more bold statement of where I’m at, musically and personally.

The album touches upon a number of styles. I was wondering who your main influences were in creating it?

The frames were surrounding some classic 60/70s album artwork so those were the immediate inspiration, but beyond that I’m influenced by a variety of music- around that time I was digging into stuff like William Onyeabor, The Dirtbombs, Taylor Mcferrin, Jack White, Shock G, Madlib, Mo Kolours, Paranoid London, Chateau Flight, and Moodymann.


Lyrically you touch upon a number of subjects. Can you tell about what you feel most passionately about – Law strikes me as a powerful message.

“Law” was inspired by the increasingly intense police state situations taking place around the world in cities like Istanbul, Sao Paolo, and Kiev, and the mindless ignorance that allows them to continue. In the States there’s the Oscar Grant story that’s especially close to home – there’s a great Forrest Whittaker film out about it; so the song is about abused power of so-called order, somewhere between ‘Fuck The Police’ and who watches the Watchmen? In general I prefer to go a bit deeper and more meaningful with lyrics on albums.. I mean, surface and fun party-oriented vocals can be great too, but something a bit more personal and expressive takes more balls and resonates longer.

Can you talk us through producing one of the tracks on the album and how you create such a distinctive sound?

Well the frames literally provided the framework for each track, so the basic rhythm structures and arrangements are laid out using handmade kits and sound banks per piece as I like each one to have a unique palette and not reuse the same sounds, even within an album, then either some vocals or melodic textures to bring it to the next level, whichever comes more naturally.

Black Frames is due to be released on Circus Company. How did your relationship with the label come about?

They’re basically good friends turned adopted family for me.. We met years ago back in SF while Sety was visiting and studying there, and we had so much in common musically and otherwise, it would have been damn silly not to start working together, despite being from ‘different cultures’.

Where can people get to hear you play Live/DJ over the summer?

dave sonarI’ll be debuting an all-new live set based on the Black Frames material coming up at Sonar on Sunday June 15 for the Circus Company Piknic Electronik with the whole label family, and then another dope fam jam at Watergate in Berlin on June 21 for the official album release party and at Fuse in Brussels on June 28; In July I’ll be hitting the States for a rooftop party at Output NYC then back home to SF for the Sunset Campout; looking forward!

Twitter @theedaveaju

dave 3

Share this post: