Mix & In Conversation: Aiden Francis
Updated: Jan 4
Ahead of his latest EP release 'Connection', we had a chat with the creator, Aiden Francis. Accompanying this interview, Aiden takes us through his new found sound with this fast-paced electro, club killer of a set.
For those reading who may not have heard of you before, tell us a bit about yourself?
Hey, I’m Aiden (Francis), I’m a producer & DJ based in Manchester. I started producing when I was about 14/15, mainly just messing about in FL Studio trying to see whatever I could make. But I properly got into it alongside DJing after listening to Daft Punk’s ‘Alive 2007’ album from their world tour between 2006/07. It honestly changed my life, the sheer scale of the show and its cultural significance still sticks with me today in everything I do.
Favourite labels: Ghostly International, Salt Mines, Running Back, Kalahari Oyster Cult, Holding Hands, Dansu Discs, Shall Not Fade, Lobster Theremin, Misplaced Recordings and Jerk It MCR. I could literally go on forever with my favourites but these are a select few!
My influences are mainly people that I listen to on the daily, people like Tycho, Daft Punk, Bicep, Mim Suleiman, Yumi Zouma, Men I Trust, Little Dragon, Roza Terenzi, Midland and even Radiohead.
‘Connection’ is your first EP in 3 years, what made you decide to take a hiatus and what did you learn?
Yeah, my first EP in quite a while! I decided to step back from releasing as I started to feel that the music I was making wasn’t really me. I made a few Tech House tunes during the time that style was really taking off, some tunes gained quite a few plays, and before you know it I was personally finding myself in this cycle of making really stale music and trying to make whatever was popular at the time. I just kind of had this feeling that I didn’t quite fit and wasn’t aligning with where I wanted to go or with the type of music I wanted to really make. So I stepped back from it in 2018 and started from ‘ground zero’ and worked on trying to figure out what my sound was. After a while I started to feel more at place with the stuff I was making. I still can’t stick to just making one style though, but maybe that's a good thing!
How do you go about making your tracks? What hardware and software do you use?
I currently use FL Studio (and have done since I was 14/15). But have recently started getting to know Ableton (lets see how that goes haha). My favourite plugin has got to be the Roland Cloud catalog, it’s got such a diverse range of sounds (big fan of the SH-01). My music used to be quite sample based, but using Roland Cloud since the start of last year really helped me get into using synth’s a lot more. Another honourable mention has got to be my Korg Minilogue, it’s not quite a plug-in but I use it in pretty much everything I make. It’s my baby.
What are your top 3 underrated DJ’s at the moment?
Top 3, that’s a hard one! I’d have to say:
● Fantastic Man (amazing productions)
● India Jordan (I saw them warm up for Jensen Interceptor before quarantine kicked in and they were amazing)
● VTSS (mainly because I’m a sucker for the heavy tunes)
Favourite DJ set to date and why?
Favourite DJ set that I have done has to be when I played the Fortress stage at Beatherder last year. Boiling weather and the crowd were up for it straight from the off. Best set I've watched has got to be The Black Madonna closing Homobloc at Mayfield Depot. That entire day event was so full of love, freedom and acceptance. It still sticks with me today.
What is your guilty pleasure song?
Oh man, I have so many guilty pleasures haha - I would have to say Wilson Phillips - Hold On. It’s a bop and I love it.
Manchester is well known for its great music scene, how have you seen this scene change over the last few years?
Absolutely love the scene here. I’m originally from Scarborough and moved here in 2015 for Uni and haven’t looked back. Regrettably, I didn’t go to many raves or events for the first year or so but in the following years after that I started to go to a lot more events around the city and have seen so many changes. The quite obvious change would be the growth of Warehouse Project. But alongside that, the queer raving scene in Manchester and Salford is really thriving too. Events such as High Hoops, Kiss Me Again and Homoelectric are some of the best and most energetic raves I’ve ever been too. The people are lovely, and there’s no pretense to it making it such a welcoming and inclusive experience allowing people to fully express themselves. I think the place that is seeing the most exciting growth is in Salford with venues like Hidden and The White Hotel, which are in the middle of an industrial estate just north of the city centre. Hidden being a former mill and The White Hotel being a former car garage. Covid-19 has put a halt to all of that at the moment, but I’m really excited to get back to those venues once things are back to normal.
How do you feel about ‘Save Our Scene’ and how has the current pandemic affected your life?
The ‘Save Our Scene’ fundraiser is a brilliant way to support the local scene during this pandemic. I think they have so far made up nearly 70% of their target of £15,000 which is amazing. I think it is initiatives like that that are really bringing the community together in worrying times. Personally, the pandemic hasn’t affected me too much. I work as a designer for a financial software company so the transition was just a case of taking my laptop home and cracking on as usual.
What’s keeping you sane during current life in quarantine?
Good question ahah. I’ve mainly just been working on music like usual. But when I need a break i’ve been catching up on tv shows on Netflix (American Horror Story mainly) and binging all of The Simpsons on Disney + (a very good investment).
Listen to the EP here: