The broad spectrum of sub-genres stamped with the UK bass tag have been flourishing of late. Some material remains definitively underground and experimental in its output. Some provides old-school, iced-out 140BPM flavour. Other material, however, forms part of a new wave sound that veers through house via bassline into ‘no-one is quite sure what to call it but it’s certainly rowdy’ territory. It’s ignited a post-millennial generation of fans eager to engage with no-frills, floor-focussed tunes from the likes of Chris Lorenzo and Holy Goof.
Among those spearheading the movement is 22-year-old Brighton native Distinkt, aka Aidan Hill. With an EP on Lorenzo’s Sixty6Music label, millions of streams across only a smattering of tracks (his ‘Slim Shady’ edit has close to two million plays alone), and a tune with US rap icon The Game, he’s a newcomer with a legion of loyal fans. “I’ve caught a wave on social media which I am super thankful for,” he smiles. That’s not forgetting his forthcoming ‘Potion’ EP, set to drop this month on Diplo’s Mad Decent. “I was listening to Diplo when I was really young,” he says. “It made me really happy when they said they wanted to release some of my tracks on his label.”
Perhaps he was destined to become a musician, in one way or another. Aidan’s father is a luthier (a stringed instrument maker and repairer) and growing up, he was fascinated by his dad’s workshop. “I was always going in there when I was little, trying to see what was going on,” he recalls. When the family moved to Spain, he took up the drums after receiving a kit for his birthday. And as one of the only drummers in his village, his teens were spent in bands with people years older than him. “We’d team up and play at local bars,” he says. “I used to get €50 per gig as a bit of pocket money, but they used to catch me drinking beers behind the drum kit in our interludes and confiscate it!”
It was there in Spain he got his first taste of electronic music. Venturing into local internet cafés with his older sister, he often found himself tuning into whatever she was listening to. “I used to play BMX games while she was on MSN and listening to Pendulum,” he laughs. “That was the first time I heard d’n’b.” Years passed, and eventually he moved back to England to continue his studies, discovering the illegal rave scene in the process. “[It] blew my mind at the time, because everything was so ‘UK’ and so unique compared to my previous experiences.”
Today his tracks are distinctively UK rave-rooted, borrowing from grime, bassline, jackin’ house and more. But if his current passion for UK rap and hip hop is anything to go by, who knows what’s in store in the future. His ‘Potion’ EP is already a sonic departure from earlier releases: “I’ve been listening to a lot of AJ Tracey, Octavian, Skepta and my energy has definitely been drawn to it recently,” he says. “[Bristol-based artist] Jook has also inspired me a lot.”
Aidan may look to other artists for inspiration, but his fans are looking to him to provide their weekend soundtrack. Dance music fans can be fairly passive in their appreciation – think retweets and the occasional merchandise purchase. Aidan’s are quite the opposite, though, engaging with him across multiple platforms and sending continuous messages of praise. “It blows me away,” he says. “I’m always so grateful for everyone showing me love and supporting my music all over the world when I’ve worked hard on something.”
Distinkt's ‘Potion’ EP is out now on Mad Decent
Jasmine Kent-Smith is Mixmag's Staff Writer, follow her on Twitter
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