Hit the Decks! It's Byron the Aquarius

Birmingham, AL-based musical renaissance man Byron the Aquarius was a student of music from day one.

"I started as a musician playing piano -- studied from the Sun Ra teachers Doc Adams, Jothan Callins, Tommy Stewert," he says. "I studied jazz and classical music, writing music, then after that the producing shit came naturally. I always loved the vinyl that my parents put me on, from Funkadelic, Maggot Brain, Black Sabbath, Larry Heard, Herbie Hancock.

For the DJing, that came later on in my music career. Skipped college, going to Atlanta dance parties, rocking with Kai Alce & DJ Kemet. When I saw how those DJs made the crowds move in the Atlanta basements, getting hot and sweaty, I was like, 'Damn, Djing is something I've got to tap into.

For me, having that music brain naturally and the rhythm, knowing how to match rocking swinging rhythms, playing music just was natural for me. Understanding the history of black culture in the music dance scene from Detroit, Chicago, NYC etc, really made me as an African American appreciate the music more, knowing people like me influenced the world we live in.

For taking it serious, shit, that started from day one when I was born into the cosmic world. I knew rhythm and sound, and that translated to me working with greats being in the studio with Jeff Mills, Theo Parrish, Kyle Hall, Amp Fiddler all the Gods and Legends. It all came to existence through hard work and love of the craft."

Byron doesn't like to nail down his sound.

"Thats really funny," he says. "I'm like Miles Davis, fuck a genre. I am the sound and future. I will say I'm an Afro Futurist Space Creator. I've been really just tapping into synthesizers like the Prophet 5, Juno 106, MPC 2000xl, Juno Alpha, just sound designing and creating texture to the music world. I'm trying to inspire and create hieroglyphics for the universe.

I don't think too deep on creation these days. One thing I learned as being an artist, is that you will have lame people trying to tell you who you should fucking be cause of there syndrome of being stuck in a box of who the next artist creator should sound like. I tell artists to create and be you, paint that canvas that shows who you are as an artist. That's what the future will love you for when they see the realness and rawness in you from it all.

As for gear:

"I'm really using it all," he says. "For my studio monitors: Barefoot 2's, I went from the Adams to the Barefoots. When I went to L.A. working with studio engineer of Kim Burell (Elton John's keyboardist) I saw them always and other studios using Barefoots ATC.

I was like, 'yo I got to grab some of these and treat my space.' Using them keeps me where I can create any dope mix right in the mix of my home and sound designing or even for DJ sets I can hear the whole translation of a mixdown. It really helps on the perspective of knowing when you just have too much in your music, keeping the frequency simple then using 10 hi hats lol.

For synthesizers and drum machines, I'm a Roland head. Lots, of OG Roland gear. Juno 106, Juno 60, Juno alpha, Moog lil Phatty Voyager Grandmother, Roland 707 606 MPC 2000XL S900 AKAI. For making my drums have that bang in my mixes lots of sequential Dave Smith 4 LIFE, or it can even be some VST Trillian LinnPlug, Universal Audio Keyscape Spectratronics. I use whatever is around me as being a producer and painting my sound on a canvas it's all just creation for me. Love getting inspiration from it all when it comes to starting some music, that's pretty much my process."

Looking ahead, Byron has plenty planned for the second half of 2024.

"Working on skating/streetwear fashion brand, sound designing films, working on some really cool shit with Carl Craig that I will be able to share more about soon," he says. "Creating some dope line ups for my Upcoming Label Talk Noi$e Records & touring a little to inspire myself to come back to the studio, and make new shit."