Aaron Litschke on techno, Alexei Moon Casselle, and the Record Room

Categories: CD Release
Photo by Christina Stearns
EDM and techno aren't contemplated as often as they should be. There is an underground following that runs deep and steadfast, even here in the Cities, that hasn't been tapped. As local DJ Aaron Litschke gets ready to release his newest EP, Drowning, which is a balance of past and present -- the songs embrace and calm, all the while titillating and corrode -- he contemplates the paths that he's taken to get to the final result.

Gimme Noise spoke with Aaron before his EP drops on Friday to get a better view on his passion, and why he doesn't care if people don't "get" techno.

Can you describe to me the genre of music that you perform?

I play Hard Techno. I think a lot of people think that anything that has a 4/4 beat is "techno." Techno like rock music contains all different sub-genres: soft-rock, hard rock, and so on. Like rock, there are a ton of styles that fall under the techno umbrella.

How did you get into spinning? Was it something that interested you as a kid?

I was a kid when I started to DJ; I was 14 years-old and going to a lot of parties and raves. My best friend and someone that I looked up to, and still do, Aaron Hart, was starting to show me some things on his turntables, and I was hooked. I got two shitty belt-driven Gemini turntables and practiced from the time I got home from school to the time I went to bed. At that time in my life, I was living in Cannon Falls, a great but small town with not much to do all of the time, so DJing became my outlet and kept me from getting bored.

You mentioned Cannon Falls. Where did you go to high school?

I graduated from the Arts High School in Golden Valley in 1999, where I went for music. I went to school with some amazing talented cats that are a big part of the Minneapolis hip-hop scene, such as Alexei Moon of Kill the Vultures, John Samels of Paper Tiger, and Stef aka P.O.S -- who went to Hopkins High School, but was over at our school a lot to kick it. There are a lot more really talented musicians. This is just a few; I could go on and on.

Do you consider yourself a composer?

When I think of a composer, I think of Beethoven -- someone who writes sheet music. I write techno using a program called Ableton. It's different than writing sheet music, but it's still writing music. I should note that Ableton allows you to write any kind of music you want: hip-hop, soul, rock, country -- anything. The door is wide open these days with what you can do with music. So to answer your question, I kind of consider myself a "composer" in some sense of the word.

With techno, since there are no lyrics, how do you know where to put the highs and lows on a piece?

There's structure in music and depending on the style of music, you'll add different layers to fill out your music.

Photo by Christina Stearns
James Hammer and Aaron Litschke
You worked with James Hammer on the new EP, Drowning. How did he contribute to the pieces?

James and I wrote the EP in his studio, and we had never worked together, and both had a different style in writing. It took a few drinks to get the ball rolling, but I think we complement each other's writing style very well. James is a great producer who has a lot more releases under his belt on some major labels like Relief Records and Naked Lunch, to name a few, so I was a little worried that I wouldn't have a lot to offer. It turned out that Drowning was half written by us both and also a blast to write. It was great to see how someone else writes a track or looks at music in general. James and I will most definitely keep collaborating together.


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