Aman Ellis, otherwise known by his DJ name AIMES, made his mark on the international electronic music scene in 2017 by releasing some killer original tracks of his own on vinyl, as well as some well-received vinyl and digital releases from signed artists on his own Brooklyn-based Wonder Stories label. We caught up with him recently to learn more about his origins, what he’s playing, what inspires him, and what we can expect in 2018. Get to know AIMES, below.
Congratulations on a great 2017! We first came across your music with the release of Grandiose Visions – also your first vinyl release on your own record label, Wonder Stories. How has the popularity and success of this track impacted your year?
This release was well received and seemed to grab some attention. It proved that we could successfully do vinyl releases. So moving forward we’re starting to focus on releasing more vinyl, with fewer releases that are heavily curated.
When you were creating Grandiose Visions, what setting were you envisioning this track being played?
I wasn’t really envisioning a setting, more so just a piece of music that took the listener on a journey and evolved. Ideally, if I ever get around to it, my tunes would lend themselves to a live set of some sort.
Wonder Stories now has 20-plus releases. What are your plans for the label in 2018?
Yep, we’re pretty astounded by all the support so we’re just going to continue putting out music that we like and believe in. We’ve got stuff lined up from DJ Rocca, DJ Fett Burger, Joe Morris, Max Essa, Coyote, Man 2.0, Dawn Again & Rothmans, Timothy J. Fairplay, Emile Strunz, Macaulay, Alejandro Paz, and more.
Have you gigged in Europe before? Do you have plans to tour Europe? Is an international club night in Amsterdam or Berlin on the horizon for Wonder Stories?
Not yet but I’ll be out there this spring and I’ve been chatting with some people about setting up a label showcase/record release party in Amsterdam and London.
You’re a self-described fan and producer of “spacey disco” with synth-pop sensibilities. As we come to the end of the year and reflect on the particular artists and tracks that stood out, what were the tracks you heard that made their way into your DJ library rotation (or your home playlist) that were unforgettable in 2017?
The new Bottin record is great, Jon Gurd – Invisible Hymn, Dawn Again & Rothmans have been on a tear this year (we’ve got a record coming from them in 2018), any Pete Callard track or Man2.0 track can’t do you wrong, The Beat Broker – New Aged, Timothy ‘Heretic’ Clerkin – Recursive, Timothy J. Fairplay had a year of great releases as well, Pardon Moi – Inside the Outside, DBFC – AUTONOMIC (their whole album really). I’ve been playing the Macaulay EP on Wonder Stories a lot and it’s been getting great reactions.
If I go digging for vinyl that AIMES would be proud to see in my gig bag, what records would I buy?
The new Wonder Stories release of course. Also, classic disco and italo records never go out of style.
When signing or collaborating with artists to release on your label, what are you looking for? What labels do you look to now for inspiration that do it right?
There’s a sense of quality that comes from someone making music for a while that is immediately noticeable. So, I can usually tell within a few seconds of listening whether something will work on the label. I look for stuff that is made well, mixed well, is interesting to listen to, has a groove, is danceable, and most importantly… is different. I listen to all demos and have a soft spot in my heart for up and coming producers.
In terms of labels that do it right, Roam has had a killer year. Their sound is different from ours but I think we have a similar ethos. Other labels I admire are Clandestino, Det Sync, Slow Motion / Wrong Era, NEIN, Star Creature, Rothmans, Tusk Wax, HÖGA NORD REKORDS, Throne of Blood.
What were the circumstances/influences that drove you to put down the guitar and pick up a synthesizer and immerse yourself in the world of electronic music?
Really just the sonic characteristics of the synthesizer. I felt like I had fleshed out all the weird sounds out of the guitar that I was going to get and the synth really opened things up in terms of a new sonic pallet.
What classic dance track would you like to revive in the club?
It’s not quite classic yet, but Dusty Kid’s ‘A Raver’s Diary’ was such a huge album for me and still sounds quite fresh today. Some of the tracks kind of reminds me of the Mex-Tech stuff people like Mijo and Macaulay are doing.
Thanks for your time! Have a wonderful holiday, and we look forward to more AIMES in 2018!
Words by Tyler Besse