Q&A with genre-hopping EDM producer AJ Moreno

Enthusiastic & daring is the direction of AJ Moreno’s latest single ‘Strangers’ featuring the soaring vocals of songstress Evalina. AJ is known to dabble between house, pop, and everything in between. Exceeding genre expectations, this talent has shared the stage with the likes of Dizzy Wright, KOAN Sound, Shift K3Y, Yasmin, Prospa, and DJ Colin Francis. ‘Strangers’ is an uplifting dance banger, bound to put you in better spirits no doubt.

We chatted with exciting talent AJ Moreno below.

Please describe your sound for us.

So say, you take out a blender, throw some ‘dance’ music in, add some ‘house’, ‘pop’, some ‘main room’, throw in some ‘UK underground’ flavours. Pour in a long glass and garnish with a little ‘tech house’ influence…sitting by a pool maybe too? Hopefully, that’s my sound if it were a drink 🙂 lol! If that makes no sense, it’s a little mix of some of those electronic genres, mainly house, dance and pop :D.

How did it all start for you?

I started DJ’ing at 13, started producing quite soon after as I come from a family of musicians and DJ’s, so I’d always be in the studio visiting my Uncles, etc. When they left, I’d jump on the computer and mess about with… at the time it was the reason. I learned my way around DAWs by just observing. I went through eJay! (Who remembers that!?) Reason> Fruityloops> Logic> Ableton and then stuck with Ableton. I was always into music from a young age, would rather listen to or dance to music than watch TV.

Which three artists would you say made you want to create your own music?

Calvin Harris, Quincy Jones, and, well at that time it was Michael Jackson. I was very influenced by the Off the Wall album, my parents had it on Vinyl. I remember my parents turned our garage into our own little private club, we had the decks in there, speakers hanging from the ceiling, some lighting haha it was dope! My dad would drop Grover Washington Jr, Kool & the Gang, George Benson. Mum would put on stuff like Janet Kay, Tom Brown, Carrol Thompson, and Rick James.

What is your go-to gear/equipment when creating?

Ableton is my baby! Ableton Push 2 (big up my boy, Lewis Thompson of Just Kiddin’ for putting me onto that), Komplete Kontrol keyboard. I think I use Serum and Arturia’s plugins the most.

Talk us through your latest single Strangers – how did it all come together? 

I was in a session with my friend Amira, I was just working chords while she was writing. As soon as she wrote the hook and I heard her sing over the chords, I knew I needed to produce the song! So a few weeks later, I finished the track, we were both happy with it. But I had releases scheduled in so it was left on the back burner to be released at a later date. Then about a year later, I re-opened the project and the production sounded a bit dated, I knew I could make it better now. So I started the whole production again from scratch. I felt I could really go in on the production as the topline and vocals had already been demo recorded, so it was a case of moulding the song around that. Once it was done, I called up Evalina to see if she would vocal it, she was feeling it and did. Her voice is unreal! She sent me voice notes of her singing it with a cold lol! It sounded fantastic, I was like “YES!!!! She is the one for this tune!” Haha she smashed it, big up Evs!

What are some of your key influences in your music? Whether it be the sound created by others, imagery, films or any kind of art form.

Calvin Harris and Paul Woolford are quite big influences on me. I literally love all their music and I’d love to work with them one day, that would be a life goal haha! I’m a massive fan of the cyberpunk genre (unfortunately, not the game Cyberpunk 2077) but I love the genre! That retro/futuristic vibe is life! The colours, the neon lighting mix of blues and pinks. I love shows like Altered Carbon, movies like Bladerunner, I listen to quite a bit of synthwave, I love cyberpunk art…tbh I’m a bit of a cyberpunk! ‘Strangers’ reflects my love of that I think. If I ever got the opportunity to make a music video for it, I already know how it’s going to look ;)!

What is one sub-genre you think doesn’t get the attention it deserves?

I’m not sure, to be honest, I’d have said a few years ago tech House, but these days some tech-house tracks are crossing over to mainstream lol. It’s pretty cool that a producer can make a tune that underground and have the average person enjoy it, hats off to them! 

Any new or upcoming artists on your radar?

He’s not new, but recently I’ve been listening to Kendrick Lemar’s cousin Baby Keem. I don’t listen to tonnes of Rap like I used to, but this guy stands out, loving his music.

What single night out has been the most memorable for you? As a performer? As an attendee?

Haha! Probably opening the BBC Music stage at Creamfields back in 2017! Honestly, that was where I think “it” started for me. Big thanks to Danny Howard and BBC Introducing for making that happen :).

What can we expect from you in the near future? Any upcoming projects in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

More music in the pipeline, been working with some dope artists overseas while in lockdown, so hopefully we’ll be dropping some of that this year :).

Famous last words?

Work hard, never quit! Haha! Thanks for having me guys, much love x.

Follow AJ Moreno:

Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Soundcloud / Spotify

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