Interview | Aagentah
Long time junglist and Unchained contributor at large, PlusGood, gets digging with some pointed questions for Danny Jones aka Aagentah.
Danny is the founder of undercurrent electronic music joint Rendah Magazine and deservedly climbing the ranks of leftfield with a unique run of releases on tastemaker labels such as SATURATE!, VALE and forthcoming on YUKU.
Danny is the first featured artist on Unchained’s free single release series – DETACHED.
First of all, how did you get linked with the Unchained Crew, and have you been to China or Hong Kong (if so, what are your thoughts)?
Hey man, thanks for reaching out for this. I’ve been following Unchained for some time now. I’m a big fan of their vision for the Drum & Bass scene and their left-field approach, so naturally, I sent something over to Lyndon a while back, and we decided to get it released – so here it is.
I haven’t been to China or Hong Kong, but it’s absolutely on my to-do list, and it’d be sick to link with the Unchained crew.
What was going on in your life while you started producing “Vanguard”?
So I made the track in January this year, the world was still turning back then (haha). I remember I’d just watched one of the Culprate’s masterclasses on dBs, and I wanted to transfer some of the skills into a new DnB track.
At this time, we’re almost seven months into the global pandemic, which has had an unprecedented impact on club culture. How are you staying motivated musically knowing that it may still be awhile before you can test your production in the club environment?
It’s such a shame to see how the pandemic has affected the nightlife sector here in the UK. I’m optimistic that in time it will find its feet again. Club culture has survived a lot since the ’70s, and I would hope that it can do the same now.
I won’t lie… this year has been a real turning point for me. More than ever I’m motivated to pursue my creative outlets. I’ve had a lot of extra time on my hands and it’s left no excuses for me to grow myself as an artist.
You have a really keen ability to build atmosphere in a track by using space. How did you arrive at this understanding when so many producers remain fixated on “the drop”?
Thank you. Throughout a track, I tend not to introduce too many new sounds for the sake of variation, rather I find that you can do a lot with the track’s core elements and still keep it interesting. The use of reverb and frequency modulation was a neat way to do this in ‘Vanguard’.
Your work seems pretty clearly influenced by movie scores, what are some of your favorite films and soundtracks?
Haha very much so. I’m a big Blade Runner fan, and the scores have been a monumental inspiration for me, both Vangelis’ and Hans Zimmers’.
THX1138, Logan’s Run… Any ’60s and ’70s Sci-Fi films have a place in my heart, and in turn, reflect through the music.
You’re based in Manchester, which is rightfully mythologized for it’s wide history of underground musical talent. How does the city influence your production?
Manchester’s always been a place for varied musical talent. All the artists that I know here are on the ball, everyone is pushing each other’s sound and it’s nothing but love – it’s a big influence. I’ve gotta mention Biome, Hypho, Rohaan. All these guys are coming straight out of Manchester and are truly killing it right now.
It seems like most of your tracks are under 4-minutes, which is a departure from the normal 170bpm formula. Is this a reflection of your DJing style or preference in live sets?
For me, keeping a track short is a nice format, especially in dance music. I won’t drag out a track if I feel it’s finished, especially for the sake of increasing the length. When it’s done, it’s done. I’ve made some soundscapes previously which have exceeded 20-30 minutes, maybe I’ll take some time to explore something similar to Aagentah’s sound.
Tell us a little about Rendah, how long have you been publishing, and where did the inspiration to start an online bass-music magazine come from?
During the day, I work as a Web Developer, and as a person, I’ve always looked for ways to bring my interests together, so developing Rendah Mag has been my way of fusing my different passions. We’ve been up and running for about 2 years now. Honestly, it’s been such a learning curve, but I’m mad grateful for the team we have. We have some huge plans for 2021, so it should be exciting!
When you hit a creative block, whether producing or writing, how do you go about getting unstuck?
What I’ve found works best is not to stress it. Download some crazy films and take the weekend off, inspiration always seems to find me through storytelling. If I want to keep productive, I’ll usually just work on my sound library, or making layer bus templates in Ableton for future use.
Finally, what are 5 tracks that never leave your crate?
Ahh don’t do this to me man (haha).
- Biome – Stagger
- Skew & Satirist – Optic Chasm
- Bleep Bloop – Leidenfrost
- Spor – In Rixa
- Ivy Lab – Salt Toffee
Not necessarily all tracks that I’d play out in a club, but I had to mention.
Download ‘Vanguard’ by Aagentah here
And check out his forthcoming release – From the Empire EP – on Yuku here