Interview: Anil Aras

The Netherlands has never struggled to maintain a high quality output when it comes to genuine artists that  are producing an unadulterated product.

Everyone from San Proper, Joris Voorn, ANOTR, Speedy J, Martyn, Frits Wentink, Franky Rizardo, Tom Trago and Patrice Baumel rep’ the country on an international level.

One Dutch native who’s channelled his inspiration into standing alongside some of the top selectors in house music is Utrecht’s own Anil Aras.

Putting his music out on labels such as OFF Recordings, Hot Haus, SlapFunk and soon Kerri Chandler’s Madhouse imprint, Aras has already made a bold statement, and 2020 looks like it could be his biggest year to date.

You’re about to release your ‘The Lost Projects’ EP on Kerri Chandler’s Madhouse imprint, how did this one come together in the studio?

First of all I’m very happy to be able to release my music on Kerri Chandler’s label. Kerri has always been a huge inspiration and motivation to shape my sound over the years. The tracks on this EP are focused around basic house music ideas and influences, and lately I’ve been making different styles in electronic music. My hard drive crashed last year and I lost these so called ‘simple house projects’, hence the name of the EP. So I’m extra happy we still managed to put this EP on such a lovely label.

And how did it come to land on Madhouse?

Madhouse contacted me several times for a release and in the beginning I didn’t reply. Not because of the label, but I was going through a rough time as I really struggled to sign my music. The thoughts of ‘what to release where?’ and ‘what style to produce?’ got me thinking so much that I started to limit myself in my freedom and creativity, which is the worst thing for an artist.

When I was at Glastonbury Festival last year, I spoke to my good friend Brawther about this and he really opened my eyes. Because I was so lost in these thoughts, my tracks just sat there doing nothing but collecting dust. He got to me as a mentor and as soon as I got back home I replied immediately that I would love to release on Madhouse and these were the tracks we agreed on suiting the label the most.

Other labels in your catalogue include OFF Recordings, Hot Haus and SlapFunk, is there a label that you want to release on but haven’t had the chance yet?

At the moment I don’t want to focus too much on what labels, but more on what’s the most important to me: making music without any limitations or boundaries.

And can you share any info about what you might have coming soon?

I just finished two tracks for SlapFunk Records which will be released on a split EP. We’re still working on the other side to be decided, but I’ve really been looking forward to release some music again on the label where it all started for me. I’m also working on an EP as we speak for No Art and I’m in touch with three other labels. I can’t go too much into detail as we’re still chatting about the tracks.

How about as a DJ? What has you most excited?

Well, to please people that have been looking forward to the weekend is just something I really enjoy. I love being on stage, i’m very lucky I’m able do this with music. I still would be on stage if it wasn’t for the music. Standing in front of a group of people is something that comes very natural for me.

You’re from Utrecht in the Netherlands, what’s your favourite club to play in the city?

Unfortunately, there aren’t many clubs left in Utrecht where electronic music can really find it’s home. Utrecht is a student city, making it sometimes hard for underground clubs to survive. Club Basis is still doing a good job, so it’s definitely my favourite joint to play.

And what’s one club you’re dying to play in the future?

Not particularly a club, but I really want to meet different cultures and people all over the world. I love playing abroad, to see people enjoying your music on the other side of the world and connect with them on that special level is something I always love the most. Every time I get invited to play somewhere, I’m making new friends and sometimes they’re instant family to me. That’s what I love most about playing music.

Thanks for taking time out to chat to us, before we wrap things up, what’s one piece of advice you received that’s had a big impact on your career?

Don’t hold yourself back by your thoughts. I know a lot of people, and especially artists, can be harsh on themselves and always try to give the most. Stay true to yourself and at the same time never close your eyes to evolve and move forward.

Anil Aras’ The Lost Projects EP is out March 13th on Madhouse Records.