Interview with Southside Chicago based Producer/DJ AFTR
AFTR (Alone for the Ride) Producer/DJ from Chicago’s south side. AFTR started as a local DJ in the late 90s as DRAC spinning House, Retro New Wave/Industrial. In 2015 he joins Source1 to create AAR (Attack All Robots) b2b team. Focusing on bringing a unique sound to the crowd at undergrounds and festivals. After taking a short break from the Dj scene he came back reinventing his style as AFTR, producing Techno and Tech House.
AFTR also has a residency on Chitown Techno Radio called Tech(No Sleep) Thursday, past shows can be found on his SoundCloud page a monthly residency at EXIT and have also had guest spots on CueBass-FM (Germany), Influx Radio (UK), BP&J PodCast (Chicago), Bringing The Club To You and EDM Revamped.
When did you first discover your love for music?
Hmmm. I don’t know. I think I’ve always had a love for music. I remember waking up on Sunday mornings to my mother dancing to a disco. I remember my dad listening to tropical music, and those moments brought me a lot of joy.
What made you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in music?
When my youngest son was 12 years, he decided he wanted to learn how to use Ableton. So we learned together. Once I began learning, I didn’t actually consider it to be a career option until I submitted my first EP and it got signed.
When did you know that you were going to make music a career?
Maybe 2 years ago when I finally sat down and finished my first EP. I didn’t think it was going to get signed, and when it did, that’s when I started to take my music career seriously.
How did you become a DJ?
One of my friend’s mothers bought him a pair of Technics when we were 14 and we learned how to play on vinyl.
Tell us a little bit about your styles and to what do you accredit your sense of style?
When I started producing, before my AFTR project, my style was more House influenced. I was heavily influenced by underground producers such as Vince Melo, Ed Nine, and Paul Johnson.
When I began to produce as AFTR, which is my current project, I fell into a dark/techno sound. This sound is more influenced by Adam Beyer, 999999999, and the deeper progressive productions of Deadmau5 & his I_o project. When I do Tech House as a side project I find myself to be influenced by producers like Will Clarke and Chris Lake.
And why techno and not House? I enjoy both, but I decided to go the techno route over the house route with my AFTR projects because I was ready to go with something different. Chicago is the city of house music and I wanted to try a new approach instead of doing what has already been done here.
Tell us about that project?
I’m ready to be rediscovered as a newer version of myself. One of my old aliases was DRAC, and I used to be known for playing Old School House, FreeStyle, Chicago House, New Wave, and Industrial. So, I knew it was time for a change, and I came up with “Alone For The Ride” as my new dark/techno project.
And tell us about May your new EP coming out on Wake Up! Music.
This is my EP side project of funky Tech House/ with a little Techno influence.
We also see that you are constantly creating. Tell us what else you have going on.
Mostly just new music and more new music. I am always working on multiple tracks and collaborations at once.
Would you prefer to be independent or signed to a major label?
At the moment independent. Perhaps some day I would consider being signed to a major label if I felt it were the perfect fit and offered me greater opportunities to expand internationally.
How do you feel about the present state of the music industry?
I love it. There’s so much new music, and so many young, talented and new producers.
What musical influences did you listen to growing up that helped to mold you into the artist you are today?
I grew up listening to Chicago House. But, there was a ton of Alternative and Industrial music that I grew up on that absolutely influences the Techno music I produce today.
What do you like spinning the most?
What do you think your “biggest break” or “greatest opportunity” has been so far in your musical career?
I think so far it has been being able to be signed to so many great labels. I am hoping that I have a great opportunity / big break in my near future because I have been anticipating something of the sort since I began producing.
What are your greatest challenges as an artist, and what is your greatest attribute when it comes to your work ethic in the studio?
I think one of my personal challenges is getting the first 4×4 moving. Once I get that perfect kick and drum, the rest begins to flow, which is a huge attribute. It doesn’t stop until I have a full structure.
Who would you want to work with on a project? And why?
I would love to work with Julian Jewel. I really love and respect his style and the way he structures his productions.
What impression would you like listeners to be left with after hearing your music? What will people be able to say about you as an artist?
I would like to leave a feeling of joy or positive energy behind once they hear one of my productions. Whichever form that may be. I’m hoping people will be able to say I have good intentions, even when my music is dark.
If you had the opportunity to change something about the music industry what would it be?
At the moment I am pretty excited about the state of the music industry as a whole and think that we are collectively moving in the right direction.
Do you have other interests or talents you would like to share with us?
I’m an automotive technician and I like to build engines.
How do you like to enjoy your relaxation time away from the music?
I love spending time with my kids.
What image do you think your music conveys and why did you choose this type of image for your music?
I think my image is that of a real – down to earth guy making techno music. I enjoy my image to come off natural and easy to relate to because that’s who I am in the world. I think people look for that more than you think.
What projects do you have in the making currently and what are your plans for the near future?
Right now, I am finishing up a couple of different techno tracks that are collaborative with some respected Chicago producers.
Tell us about working with Pepper Gomez and Wake Up! Music on your coming release?
She is a great label owner and a fantastic vocalist. She has been making the process extremely easy and fun. I really have enjoyed being a part of this with her.
What made you choose Wake Up! Music as your label?
I heard great things about this label. It has many great artists signed to it, and I wanted to be a part.
What is your ultimate goal at the end of your career?
My goal was to have at least one track out in the world. Since I’ve reached that, I would love it if one of my tracks got big enough to feel internationally recognized on a higher level.
What suggestions do you have for other artists like yourself?
Keep on keeping on, keep trying, keep practicing. Keep working to get better.
How can potential fans find you?
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Founder & Editor-In-Chief of Muzique Magazine Alfred Munoz, is an American Army Veteran, Entrepreneur, and Real Estate Advisor with over 20 years of experience in the Music Industry, Leadership, Management, and Branding.