By: Harrison Giza
New Jersey has had a long-running relationship with talented musicians. Springsteen, Prince, and of the soon to be adored Aaron Velasquez. Going by the name Flamingosis, Velasquez has been somewhat of a mini-Madlib. He samples music, but puts new life into pre-worn tracks. In fact, he can even make Busta Rhymes flow twice as good.
I have been a fan of Flamingosis since I discovered Keats Collective. On my first listen, I recognized the amount of precision and passion he puts into each track he makes, hooked in by his quick switching of funk and clap-stomp jazz hop. His “Run The Trap Guest Mix” is the length of a Phish tune and bangs with enough sonic gravity to keep a house party bumping for what seems like an electronic lifetime.
You see, the song above, is more than original. It is drunken rebuttal of tour-de-force mixing, the what-the-fuck-is-this power few artists have. And for a DJ, that means a lot. Flamingosis is already putting together a resume for a cult fan base (15,000 followers on Soundcloud). He can make elevator music so good you wish you could stay in the elevator forever. He can summon swirls of acoustic guitar, 70’s background singer screech, jazz bass lines, and make it work at with a wave of his hand.
I originally wrote to Keats Collective, which lead to a few scattered emails, touring, and finally got in contact with Aaron. We spoke a small amount, but it was quality conversation. The man already knows what he wants in his future, believes in the importance of his influences, and makes music that people love. What else does he need to do?
HG: When do you know that you’ve found a good, workable sample?
AV: I usually have a good gut feeling when I hear a sample that I like. I can’t really explain it too well, but I just know when I find something good. If the tune has a lot of open space, is funky, or has a certain mellow quality to it, then I’ll probably sample it.
HG: Who are your biggest influences? Have you always been interested in sample-based work?
AV: My biggest influences are probably Flying Lotus, J Dilla and Madlib. I also look up to Knxwledge and Mndsgn as well (they are NJ natives). There are also countless other producers that I love that I can’t name off the top of my head at the moment. I’ve been into sample based work from the beginning, but will definitely branch out and make more original compositions and not be so heavy on the sampling in the future.
HG: Describe your perfect breakfast.
AV: I usually make eggs with ketchup, two toasted english muffins and OJ. That’s my go-to breakfast. Poutine is also my favorite food currently (poutine is french fries with gravy and mozzarella if ya don’t know, it’s bangin’). I fell in love with that dish when I was up in Montreal. I wouldn’t mind having it for breakfast sometimes, even if it’s a super heavy meal (laughs).
HG: I love your “Look At Me Now” remix. Tell me how you came to make it.
AV: Thanks! I was just messing with a Ronnie Laws sample one day and had heard the original track for “Look At Me Now” by Busta, Lil Wayne and Chris Brown early that morning. I then had the epiphany that I could mix both of those tracks together, and It worked out pretty well. Busta’s vocals were super hard to synchronize with the instrumental though. He really went HAM on that tune.
HG: What is your relationship with YUNG BAE like? How did you two meet?
AV: YUNG BAE is a supreme homie. We have actually never met in real life (laughs) but I guess that’s a pretty normal thing within the Soundcloud beat making community. I think he just hit me up one day and was like “wanna make some heat, bruh?” and I was like “Yeah bruh”. So we ended up making some heat.
HG: How do you decide on the album art for your tracks?
AV: My album artwork usually reflects the origin of my inspiration. For example, the “Flamingosis” album is a picture of my father playing frisbee. The name Flamingosis comes from a freestyle frisbee move that my father created, so that artwork reflects the origin of Flamingosis. Andrew Walker is the graphic designer who makes most of my artwork and brings my conceptual ideas to life. He’s awesome, you should check out his stuff: http://andrewalker.tumblr.com/
HG:What can we expect from your upcoming album release? It drops in January, right?
AV: Yes! Expect a new release on Keats Collective very soon during early January.
HG:”Fall in Love With Me” is pure “two in the goddamn morning” bliss. Where were you when you made that?
AV: Thanks mang! It was probably two or three in the morning when I made that track with YUNG BAE. I was in my living room when I made that, half asleep (laughs).
Tell me about your dad… the ORIGINAL Flamingosis.
AV: He is a legend in the frisbee world. Both him and my uncle are five time world frisbee freestyle champions together, and were recently inducted into the frisbee hall of fame. They were both able to follow their dreams, travel the world, and do what they love, which was playing freestyle disc. I guess I’m just trying to do the same thing, but with music instead.
HG: Are their any current rappers you would want to spit over your beats?
AV: There are a few rappers that I have worked with, Like Apollo Main, DeadCrow and Hannibal Antar. It would also be cool to reach out to Chance The Rapper and have him spit on one of my beats sometime. I really think that could happen. In the meantime, I’m just preoccupied with cranking out a lot of material for people to groove to.
HG: What can we expect from you in the future? Do you have a set idea of where you want to be a year from now?
AV: Expect a bunch of new music, new collabs, a new album, a Winter Music Tour and a bunch of other new ish very soon. I also see myself traveling all over the world less than a year from now, trying all sorts of different Poutine dishes!
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