VibeSquaD mastermind Aaron Holstein on life as a producer and family man
Aside from touring as a solo act under the VibeSquaD moniker, Aaron Holstein has found the perfect balance between his duties as a highly sought-after EDM producer and those of being a father. Following a successful stint on Bassnectar's VaVaVoom tour, Holstein has settled in for 2013 by touring with electro-jam rockers Lotus.
Based here in Denver, one of America's EDM hotbeds, Holstein creates music that straddles several genres, blurring the lines between breakbeats and bass without straying far from his hip-hop roots. Live, a VibeSquaD show can quickly go from Holstein setting the groove with a nice house tempo to an insane, raging, full-blown dance party.
Westword: Tell me what it's like being a touring DJ with a family to support and how you maintain a healthy relationship with them.
Aaron Holstein: Touring is a challenge, even when you're single. It's certainly a big challenge with a wife and two kids. Balance is key. I'm fortunate to have a great family who supports what I do, but, in turn, I work really hard to be present and helpful when I'm home. I try to make it to as many karate-belt testings, hockey games, piano recitals as possible. I take my kids to the skate park and tear it up with them; I make music with them. I drive carpool to school and activities. And I work really hard on music during the day while my kids are at school and my wife is at work. I try to make sure I don't travel too much and leave for too long. It's definitely challenging, but worth it.
To me, breakbeats were a natural evolution for dance music. Why have you enjoyed this realm so much?
I've always been a fan of funk, hip-hop, soul, etc. I really like backbeats. They create movement and motion and rhythmic "conversations" in the music that I resonate with. When I first heard breakbeat music, like Tipper and SOTEG, I was like, "That's my shit! Let me at this!"
Did it ever occur to you to move into the dubstep world, or drum-and-bass, or trance? Those are some very broad terms nowadays, and your music touches on all of them, but how do you maintain your integrity as an artist while making music you love?
I listen to tons of different music styles, and I borrow lots from different genres. It never feels right to copy a trendy style just to be more "in." I learn from styles and genres, and I like to hear them emerge and evolve, but I don't like to imitate. I just make music that I love and hope that others will like it, too.
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