Tom: Hi Aurora, it’s great to finally get to sit down and have a chat with you. Your Spectral night in London seems to be going from strength to strength from what I see, which is brilliant!
First things first, to you what is Spectral and why did you set it up?
Starting my own night seemed like a very distant dream despite having had ideas floating in my head for a while. It all fell into place really nicely because Rye Wax approached me and asked if I’d be interested in putting a night on and it was the encouragement I needed to get a fully formed idea together and put one on.
I’ve been going out in London to big clubs pretty much every weekend for the past couple of years and at this point, I’m looking for something more personal and intimate. I saw a lot of friends I really admired creating spaces for themselves and felt inspired! It’s also a chance to warm up and play the weirder side of my record collection that I might not get as much of a chance to experiment with in other club sets and book amazing selectors who fit the same vibe.
Was there any ethos behind Spectral or any atmosphere you wanted to create with the night?
I didn’t feel like there were enough spaces where I felt I could express myself comfortably on both sides of the decks so wanted to create that for myself and also for my friends/anyone else who comes down. At the moment, the focus is on booking rising DJs from different pockets of the UK – so far I’ve had people from Bristol, Leeds and Glasgow. They’re people I’m really excited about who I know are going to be making big movements in the near future.
Tom: From my exposure to your selection, you seem to be a big fan of that forward thinking ‘UK Techno’ sound and are great at pushing it in your sets, creating sets that are always interesting and great to listen to.
Who would you say you have been influenced by when developing your own taste/sound?
That’s a hard question. Resom, Call Super, Bake and Gwenan come to mind as four strong reference points. DJs that lock you into a zone and make you forget about time and when they finish playing, there’s an energy release and you feel yourself lift out of the spell. That physical reaction that DJing can have on people is definitely something that I aspire to.
What do you try and create in terms of sound and atmosphere with your sets?
I started DJing by playing ambient and making mixes to upload to Soundcloud but as time has gone on and I’ve started learning how to beatmatch, my sets have become a lot less chill than they were. I mostly play ambient, house and techno/minimal techno but I also really like to slot tech house in between that as well. It’s such a derided genre and I only realised more recently that I like it a lot more than I thought. You can find some amazing records if you dig deep. I have a huge soft spot for it, which is maybe not something people would expect.
The common thread that weaves through my sets is emotion. The ideal selection for me is a track that’s both emotional and banging. I get really excited when I find a track that has a monstrous 4×4 but has all these melodic elements playing around it.
Who would you say are the DJ’s and producers out there at the moment who you really admire?
A huge inspiration for me has been Call Super. Listening to him on the radio and mixes really made me realise that I love DJing that educates me and shows me something new. I listened to his FACT mix a lot and still do – listening to that changed the way I thought about selections and how they can be pieced together. I love the way that his sets combine really weird, freaky sounds with super melodic and emotional ones. I’d say that reflects in his productions also, he has a really strong vision with both. If you hear a forthcoming Call Super track on the radio, you don’t even need to catch an ID to know it’s him.
Talking of the producer side, at the moment I’m feeling really inspired by two upcoming ones – Bergsonist and Chekov. They both make techno that’s strange and playful and at times dark. They make me want to open Ableton up and start making my own music but I’m definitely not ready for that yet.
Finally, what are your future plans with Spectral?
At the moment it’s still really in the baby stages. To be honest, when I threw the first one I had no plans at all and thought it would be a one off but the reaction was overwhelming and so many people were telling me I should do another so I have. I would hopefully like to do it quarterly and definitely have a few DJs in mind for if it starts to build up more.
A big thank to Aurora for letting us here at Mantissa pick her brain, be sure to keep an eye on Aurora and any upcoming nights from Spectral at Rye Wax!