March 30 2019

Byron the Aquarius, Among the Greats

New York-Le Bain
Talking all that jazz with Atlanta house producer and piano prodigy, Byron The Aquarius, before he DJs Le Bain, on Saturday, March 30th.
LE BAIN: You said London jazzman Henry Wu and his project Yussef Kamaal has been one of your recent inspiration. Henry Wu is said to make jazz cool again in the UK. Can jazz become cool again here in US?

BYRON THE AQUARIUS: By me just being in London a lot and checking those sessions out, London has a huge community for the jazz thing and vibes, unity and creativity and much more appreciation for the sound. Many young people love it, it's about the youth that keeps the sound going... I feel like the US can hopefully be the same if we create unity and people work together, but who knows? I feel like that live sound will be coming back for sure in the jazz game through unity and creativity.

You’re a trained jazz musician, a pianist, before going into production and DJing. You compared DJing as painting. What kind of painter would you be?

DJing is like an art to me more than just a craft. I learn everyday like painting, creating that perfect canvas for the vibe and using the right tools when creating the art. If I was a painter I would be a Bob Ross [laughs] I'm just saying.

You were raised ‘in jazz’. You lived with your grandparents in your hometown, Birmingham, Alabama, in the middle of crates of records. Tell us more about you as a kid, discovering and digging those records. With music, was it love at first sight?

My grandparents introduced me to the whole jazz thing, had me getting lessons and lectures from the greats, Sun Ra band members and Tommy Stewart etc... Having legends push me and my creativity, to get outside that box, didn't really take time, it was more natural cause, I loved it to the heart. Music was in my blood, the love of it was a natural thing. 

"Being a music god creative."
You said ‘for my whole life I was around jazz greats’. Since then, you’ve been around hip hop and house greats. And you’ve become great yourself! Tell us about the latest thing you’ve learned about music.

I'm great but still always learning! I guess that's the humble Miles Davis in me of always wanting to learn and look for perfection! You can never learn an art. However hard you try, there's always more to accomplish through any art form or different ways to achieve that Super Saiyan [Laughs]... The thing that I really learn is to never let your ego fuck you, there's always someone better out there so you have to stay on your shit, stay learning, stay studying the greats in order to stay in the game in the long run... 

Looking at some of your favorite records, from Herbie Hancock, to Slum Village, 4 Hero, Gary Numan, Air… I don’t see any women in the list...

Hell yeah I have women in my favorites! Those are the Gods for real, I've got to show the love and respect, my favorites will be Grace Jones, Laurie Anderson, Patrice Rushen not really much to say but to keep it simple those are Gods of the performance style and inspire me everyday towards their creativity and love for this music. Love the OG's... There's many more but that's my favorite 3 that I've been listening to a lot.

How do you see Byron the Aquarius in the next 6 months?

I see myself getting better learning the music game, being a better person in my production and skills, traveling the world staying true to my sound and staying inspired and creative in my art... not staying in a box but being a Music God creative... I just let the universe guide that and I'm good! 

And in the next 6 years? 

Still loving this music and being me keeping it G toward creativity. Only the universe know that answer right there! I don't know I just try my best to enjoy these moments and life as a creative!

On Saturday, March 30th, Le Bain presents 
Byron The Aquarius & Toribio
10pm | The Standard, High Line