Worcester Bred DJ/ Producer Talks About His Music Journey and Collab With Steve Aoki
Multi-talented DJ, Songwriter and Producer “Aukoustics“ has been making waves in the music industry since 2018 when he left his home town of Worcester, MA for Los Angeles in pursuit of his dream career as a music producer. Memorable for his intoxicating musical abilities and charisma, Aukoustics broke into the scene as a DJ with his remix of the classic Frank Sintara “Fly Me to the Moon” in June 2020 and has most recently gained over 500,000 monthly listeners on Spotify with single releases “Stars in Eyes”, “Wasted on You“ and “Missing U”. Aukoustics works across several genres, his sharp adaptability to the vastly changing landscape of the music business has kept Aukoustics ahead of the game, landing him several notable collaborations, especially his latest collaboration with Steve Aoki and Gattüso featuring MKLA for the making of a dance remix of the 91’ R.E.M. song “Losing My Religion”.
Boston Culture: Where did you grow up? What was that like?
Aukoustics: I grew up in Worcester, MA. I was never a fan of the really cold winters but Massachusetts will always be my home. I am proud to be from Massachusetts and the culture that exists here. We are very direct and honest here, and I feel like the criticism I received from my peers along the way helped me become who I am today.
Boston Culture: How did you develop your artist name?
Aukoustics: It’s actually a play on words from my last name. All of my songs start with an acoustic instrument. Whether it be a guitar or a piano, it all starts from an idea. That’s how I write and create my songs because if it sounds good on just one instrument, it’s going to sound amazing when it’s completely produced. But also, the first three letters of my last name are "Auk" and it sounds like "acoustic" so it’s a blend of the two together.
Boston Culture: Talk to us about your relationship with your team. How have they helped you challenge yourself?
Aukoustics: My team is amazing. My manager Ernest has always believed in me from day one. We met at Worcester Country Club years ago working as caddies, and have been working together on music ever since. When I first met him, I was actually a rapper but he noticed my ability to songwrite and produce, so he got me to explore that world. He also gave me a couch to sleep on when I first moved to LA. My other mentor is David Saint Fleur, aka Saint. He is the one that taught me how to make hit records. Everything I’ve learned about songwriting and production at the highest level comes from him. Both of them have challenged me and continue to challenge me to this day. Always expecting bigger and better from me, and I love that.
Boston Culture: What was the best advice you got early in your career?
Aukoustics: The best advice I got early on in my career was from Saint, he told me "You can’t expect anybody else to understand your vision." That really resonated with me because it’s true. As creatives, we expect people to understand our vision before we actually make it all happen. From my experience, the easiest way to get people to understand your vision is to do it yourself, then people will finally see the vision you brought to life.
Boston Culture: Walk us through the first time you ever made a song. What inspired you? What did you make it about? What goes through your mind when writing melodies?
Aukoustics: The very first time I ever made a song was when I was 10 years old while I was out fishing. I didn't know anything about songwriting but I was bored and just decided to write a song to sing to the fish. The name of the song was "Live Bait" and I’d imagined the sound of all these drums and guitars in my head, and I’d sing it whenever the fish weren't biting. I haven't thought about that song until this question actually, so it’s kind of funny looking back on the imagination I had and how I was building records in my head before I even knew how to make them.
Boston Culture: Top 3 favorite producers/artists?
Aukoustics: My favorite producer is hands down Max Martin. He’s responsible for all of the world's biggest hits, from The Backstreet Boys to The Weeknd and just everything he touches is a smash. I really look up to him. When it comes to artists, I love Coldplay, Chris Martin's voice and songwriting is so phenomenal, and I just feel something every single time I listen to a Coldplay song. Lastly, I love The Chainsmokers. They have masterfully brought dance music and pop music together and after going to a show in 2017, that was when I decided I wanted to pursue a career in dance music. Also need to throw Avicii in there too. His music is just genius.
Boston Culture : Walk us through your creative process in the studio. Do you like to listen to the beats first and write? Or are you more into a freestyle to try and get a nice flow?
Aukoustics: Every song is different. Sometimes the concept comes first and other times the chords will come first and others the melody. I am most often working with other amazing songwriters and producers, and we all just kind of see where the music takes us. It’s always the same in some regard because they all start with one live instrument and a vocal. If it can sound good like that, stripped down to its core, then it’ll sound amazing once it’s brought to life.
Boston Culture: What do you dislike about the art world/music industry?
Aukoustics: The thing I dislike the most about the music industry is that it can sometimes be a game of who is the hottest. There’s so much talent in the world that goes unrecognized because some never know what to do with the product or how to properly put it in front of the right people. It takes a lot more than just talent to make it in this industry and I hate that sometimes. I see so many amazingly talented artists that aren't getting the attention they deserve.
Boston Culture: Who or what are some of your biggest influences? Talk to us about your roots.
Aukoustics: My biggest influences start from when I was a young, listening to all different types of music. I was really into hip hop and pop music at the same time. I also grew up on rock music from my parents, and was listening to everything from Eminem and 50 Cent to One Direction and Justin Bieber. Some of my biggest influences though were from outside of music. I really looked up to people like Tiger Woods and Tom Brady and the mindset that they have to win at all costs. Their ability to deliver in the biggest moments and not let the pressure get to them when it mattered the most. I took that mindset and turned it into music.
Boston Culture: Talks to us about your younger mentality and what allowed you to stay focused on your goals.
Aukoustics: I was so hungry. I wanted this more than anybody else and nobody was going to stop me. If somebody told me that I wasn't good enough then that was my drug. I loved it. It made me want it even more. That is what fueled me to stay focused on my goals. I wanted to get it for myself and my family, but also to prove the people wrong who said I didn't have what it takes. To this day, me and my manager Ernest still joke about it, he’ll jokingly say "You're not a star!" because he knows it gets me going.
Boston Culture : What do you think of the music scene in the State? Are there any other Boston producers or artists you'd potentially like to collab with in the future?
Aukoustics: I think that Boston has a lot of talent. We have had some amazing people come out of here. Massachusetts is more known for its success in Hip Hop from people like Joyner Lucas and others. If I could collab with someone in the future I would want it to be someone from a completely other world than me, somebody like Aerosmith or something. That would be a crazy dream come true.
Boston Culture : Tell us about your goals for 2021. Where will you be by the end of the year?Let's start manifesting that now.
Aukoustics: My goal by the end of 2021 is to be well on my way to becoming one of the most popular DJ's in the world. Also, building my brand and doing shows to showcase all of the hard work I have put in in the studio over these last couple years. While also working with and collaborating with amazing artists and other creatives.
Boston Culture: Did the pandemic affect any of your plans? What do you miss the most about live performances?
Aukoustics: Yeah the pandemic really shifted my life around. There were a lot of things I had in the pipeline that fell through once the pandemic hit and then also it really changed the way that we create music. It became a virtual experience and that was a good thing and a bad thing at the same time.
Boston Culture : What brands should sponsor you?
Aukoustics: Impossible Foods, I'm vegan and would love some of that for the rest of my life. Just kidding, I think any brand that believes in something raw, vintage, and creative. That is what Aukoustics is. It is something that starts at something so simple and turns into something much bigger. I like to think of any brand that supports that brand ideal should sponsor me.
Boston Culture :Anything else we missed you want to tell your fans?
Aukoustics: This is just the beginning of my story. Also, be sure to listen to “Losing My Religion” which I co-produced with Steve Aoki, Gattüso, and MKLA out NOW!! It’s been one hell of a journey.