Could you tell us a bit about yourself? Where were you born and raised?
I spent most of my life in the Bay Area, California. I was raised in San Jose and then moved to the east bay right before high school. I hated it. It was such a drastic change in people and environment. I attended a very upscale middle school, and when my parents bought a house I had to move to a lower income part of the bay area. But over time I ended up being thankful for the move.
What did you like about growing up there?
Like Los Angeles, where i live now, the Bay Area is very diverse. I grew up during the flourishing Silicon Valley so there were a lot of different cultures and people.
What sparked your interest in music?
I was in the third grade when I started discovering music, one of the first Cd’s I heard and fell in love with was The Sign by Ace of Base, my favorite track from that album was the second one “Dont Turn Around.” I would also make a ton of mixtapes recording songs that I liked from the radio. My uncles were also a big part of my musical upbringing. They introduced me to Pink Floyd, Korn, No Doubt, [and] Bush.
When did you decide to pursue music professionally?
While in my senior year of high school, I started cutting my last class of the day to go work at a company that produced small metal parts for missiles and hi-tech military equipment. My uncle got me a job there. It was great at first because i started being able to buy myself musical gear, but it got old quick. It was such a slave job. After working there for around two years I decided to go to school for audio engineering because I got scared straight of being miserable at work everyday like most people. I loved music and couldn’t picture doing anything else with my life.
What type of music have you produced?
Started off recording Metal and Rock bands. I got really good at producing tight punchy drums because of it. Most of the genres I produce are EDM, Pop, and Hip Hop and all of the hybrids of those genres. I kind of want to attempt a country project though just to say that I have.
Are there any artists you’ve worked with that you’d like to mention?
Currently working on an EP for a new artist by the name of Junius. We’re creating some really interesting hybrid pop that I’m excited to share. Also some others that I cant wait to start new projects with Brooke Tomlinson, Danny Jay (Terry got Fired), Allison Victoria (AV Songs); my homeslices Jerry Lang, Noah Kickback, [and] Ozie Darkstaar. I could go on.
Do you have any upcoming shows or projects?
I havent DJ’d live in a while, I miss it. As far as projects I’m going to be working on an album of trailer music. Very epic orchestrated stuff with electronic elements. I don’t have a lot of experience in that space so i’m a little intimidated hehe. But we’re gonna rock it with all we got.
Where can people check out your music?
Everywhere. YouTube, Spotify, Itunes, Soundcloud…just type in “AJ AFTERPARTY.” I currently checked my Spotify plays and I have about 10k monthly listeners. I was totally shocked and excited about that. I also make some tutorials for music production on my YouTube as well so be sure to subscribe to that!
What are some of the trends you see going on in the music scene today?
The rise of the vocal sample warping and chopping. It seems like everyone is really jumping on that bandwagon. I remember the first time I heard that was in the song “Pon de Floor” by Major Lazer in 2009.
What do you enjoy most about being a producer?
Definitely, hands down and absolutely being my own boss. I don’t have to answer to anyone except my clients as well as being creative. My profession involves both things I love the most: music and technology.
Is there any advice you could share with aspiring producers? Is there anything you’d warn them about?
I would say to really just keep producing music, collaborate (with people better than you), watch tutorials or attend some sort of training. Just jump right in. To be successful at music, it needs to be your obsession. Secondly, learn the business side of the industry, have a business mentality and a strong work ethic. Skip out on the partying for now; you can party when your name is in lights. I’d warn them about people who try to get free production in return for “opportunities/exposure.” Don’t lift a finger unless you’re getting paid. The people who respect you will stick around and the people who want to use you for their personal gain will not. One thing that angers me the most is when artists say they have “no budget.” Aint nobody got time for that! Mention that to your mechanic when your car breaks down. See how well that goes haha.
Why do you think it’s important for people to follow their dreams?
It’s how you escape the matrix. To follow your dreams is to have a taste of freedom. It’s you choosing not to play by the rules. I really believe in the power of the mind and being able to manifest what you put your thoughts toward. Do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.
The role of men is changing in the 21st century. Want to keep up? Get the best stories from The Good Men Project delivered straight to your inbox, here.