Updated: Sep 20, 2022
Aviad, 16 year old producer, has been an emerging power in underground hip-hop. In a space where sample-based production is quite popular, he manages to do it with his own magic touch. He is growing quickly, gaining a solid audience on Tik Tok and collaborating with many rising rappers like DiZ, Young Wabo, and Kwame Adu; and he has even more exciting collaborations ahead! In early May, our founder Annabelle sat down with Aviad for an interview.
TGS: Do you want to start by introducing yourself?
A: I’m Aviad, I'm a 16 year old producer and I'm from Boston.
TGS: How would you describe the music that you make?
A: I think what I'm doing right now is going in a different direction than what's out already. My sound is kind of more abstract, a lot of sample based [music]. That's where I started. That’s where I'm heading to a different kind of lane of sample-based production, which is more fusing different genres and I like to add hyper pop elements into my samples, but yeah, just doing whatever sounds cool to me, especially with the use of samples, that's my signature thing.
TGS: Your use of samples is so great. I remember hearing the BELIEVE album, every sample on there is just so beautiful and it's so well done. Also there's that one track that's a little hyperpop-y and I really love it, how you definitely like to fuse those different elements of different genres and stuff together. Do you have any producers that genre blend in a way that inspires you? Are there any producers whose style you kind of look up to in that way?
A: I would say Monte Booker is my number one inspiration right now, just because of how he’s taking what's happening in hip hop and adding his own twist on it. He has his own unique fills and he has his own swing and all these different sounds that he's using that everybody then takes because he sells them for like $20. I, myself, use Monte Booker’s sounds because they're so unique and good. He's setting the waves for everybody in hip hop at least I would say.
And I look up to him for sure. I would say Dylan Brady, the producer for 100 gecs, it's a big contrast I know, from Monte Booker, but I think what he does, especially using analog synthesisers, is just so interesting and a lot of people to clown on Money Machine, but I think recently they released all the stems so you can see all of the work that went into their production and the amount of layers. He does all of this stuff completely analog I think I mentioned, which is also incredible because, you need a certain amount of precision, but with what he's doing, it needs to sound kind of unnatural - there's a lot of distortion, but just being able to create such unique sounds is something I look up to in general and I think Monte Booker and Dylan Brady both are able to do that.
TGS: Yeah. I definitely agree and I think something else they both have in common is because their sound is so unique when they're releasing music, they're really good at world-building, 100 gecs and Monte Booker both, it feels when you're listening to their music, especially a project, you're entering into this little world that they've built. And I want to know, what does Aviad’s world look like? When you're creating a project or even just a song, if I were to open the door to Aviad’s world, what would I see?
A: That's a really interesting question. I think where it starts a lot of the time is using ambient sounds I know in TREE OF LIFE, I have these bird sounds that kind of flutter around. And then in LILACS I have a similar kind of thing, and I have rainforest atmosphere. I think the real sounds that you can put into the beats like that make a big difference and that was actually something I learned from Kennybeats. He does these breakdowns and he did this thing about this song Magic with Slowthai, which is a very simple beat, it’s just an 808 and a clap. But what makes it have the atmosphere is these cricket chirping sounds and the dogs woofing that you can't - you can barely even hear them, but they create that kind of atmosphere. So I would say for BELIEVE, the main inspiration - I just got back from being at camp for two months. I didn't have my phone there. I didn't have any electronics. It was just me with my friends, in the middle of New Hampshire, just having a good time, not really worrying about what was going out or what was going on, back at home or anything. And so that kind of freedom, which I experienced there - and I'm actually going back again during a time, which a lot of things are going to be happening for my music, I'm going back for two months with no phone or anything - but creating that kind of world with birds chirping and everything is something I wanted to do with BELIEVE, at least.
TGS: Yeah, that really comes through it definitely, especially on tracks like TREE OF LIFE, you hear those ambient sounds and you're like, “oh, I literally feel like I'm in the trees and I'm seeing the birds and I'm seeing the sun come through the leaves,” it totally comes through, that's really cool.
A: About TREE OF LIFE in those sounds something interesting was that I had actually, I thought I finished that song before I went to camp and I had this little MP3 player that I would listen to my stuff on and I would also load other songs on just so that I could have them and I was sitting on a hammock, actually in a tree outside and I was hearing the birds chirping around and I was like, “I gotta note that down because when I get home, I can put that in.”
TGS: That's so smart. Does the world around you inspire you a lot like that? When you're out and about do you, see things and hear things, how do you draw inspiration from your environment?
A: I would say camp was the main time when that was happening. I haven't gotten inspired by what's happening outside that much, because in Boston, it's pretty dreary a lot of the time. I kind of want to use the music as an escape when I'm in school. So I wouldn't say I'm that inspired, other than that experience, which had a big impact on me.
TGS: That just makes it extra special so that's really cool. So how do you balance making your music with the rest of the things that 16 year olds have to do: school and building out the rest of your life as you do when you're in your teens, how do you balance school and your music?
A: I would say that a lot of my music production comes at a time when it usually shouldn't, I'll be having the most free time that I possibly could and then, I'll be in testing season and I'll be like, “oh my God, I have to start making beats because I have all these ideas in my head right now.” So I think it's, it's been really tricky to balance that. And I think it is important. The education that I'm getting at my school, I'm actually really happy with what we're learning. Especially in the humanities, the English and history curriculum are probably the most interesting things that I've ever learnt. So actually right now, I would say I actually enjoy going to school. So it doesn't bother me that much, having to balance the two things. But sometimes it becomes a struggle for me.
TGS: And do you see yourself fully going into music after you're done with high school? Or do you also see yourself, going to college and pursuing a degree? Or what do you see yourself doing?
A: It's so far in advance, but I would say I definitely want to be able to have a sustainable source of income. And the thing about the music industry right now is it's just so incredibly hard to make money, off of most of the stuff that I'm doing, especially with production, it won't be that much for a song. And then I'll be getting 50/50 splits of that, at least in the lane where I am right now. Maybe if I expanded by the time I'm 18 to that level, then it could be valuable. But right now, I wouldn't even consider doing music full time.
TGS: It's definitely tough to make money off of music out here, especially as a small artist and as a producer, but you're going to get there for sure. And speaking of expansion, I feel like you've just been growing so much, I've seen your monthly listeners skyrocket and you've been collaborating with so many amazing artists and on BELIEVE, you've got people like Young Wabo in there. You've got DiZ on there, you know, as a future legend yourself, you're also linking up with other future legends and that must be pretty cool. And, yeah I'd love to hear more about who you're working with now, and who you want to be collaborating with in the future and where you're at with all your peers in this hip hop world.
A: Yeah, I would say DiZ, what he's doing is actually genuinely really interesting, very experimental. I really enjoyed his last album. Um, Young Wabo is also pretty great. I like his song with Kwame. Kwame is - Jeanine is such a beautiful song, [as well as] TREE OF LIFE, STARS IN THE SKY, and then we had two other songs. He's just incredible, I'm so blessed to be able to work with him. And the way that came about is just completely by chance. Zay, actually it was two he heard my beat, he followed me on Instagram and then he kept following me. And then eventually, he posted something with Kwame. I really liked what he was doing. So I followed Kwame, he followed me back and then it just bloom from there. I think the ability to make connections to the internet right now, it's so special, to be able to make everything that I've made just from this room where I'm sitting right now, you couldn't be able to do that in any other generation before this one. I don't know that didn't answer the question.
Photo: The iconic linkup with Aviad, Annabelle, and DiZ in Boston!
TGS: No, but, it's so true though. It's kinda the same for me, everything that I've been able to do was from my bedroom. And so it's cool to just know that, especially if you're good at connecting with people online, you can go really, really far with it. And so it's really cool. And yeah who are you also looking to collaborate with in the future? What's the dream collab, the dream AVIAD album is going to have who on it?
A: The dream Aviad album probably has different [artists] from who I want to have production credits with. One of my favorite artists of all time, finally got a production credit with him. Can't say too much until this summer, but that's really exciting. I definitely want to branch out work with more hyper pop artists, 8485 is my favorite right now. I have a list but that's just off the top of my head, 8485. Phixel was on my last album, they're really talented. Handsome Pryce is also an amazing person and amazing artist. They were on I FOUND LIGHT. JamalThaDon also, it's not very well known but I did a five song EP with him and that was like a really special project, I want to keep working with him. Jay Hollywood is also going to be on my next album. We did a really good song together, I think he's really special. We were actually born one day apart from each other, which is also pretty cool. I'm sorry if I missed anyone, if you're [reading] this, I don't mean it, that was just off the top of my head.
TGS: I'm sure they understand and you definitely work with a lot of people. I want to know, what are you listening to right now? Just in general, what's been on rotation?
A: Most listened to right now is quinn's drive-by lullabies. Probably one of my favorite albums from 2021. It's such a fascinating album. It deals with such interesting themes that I'd never seen explored in this way. It's kind of like hyper pop, but then there's also sample based abstract rap, from paris, with love is definitely my favorite song and something that's really cool about what she does is the variation in volume. So [when] I was first listening to this album, I was on a train home. It was a few months ago. It starts with The World Is Ending Soon! and it's a very quiet song, so you have to turn your volume all the way up. And then the next one is just this huge explosion of sound. I almost jumped out of my seat. I never heard anything like that before. So I just think she just does what she thinks sounds cool and I just love that. Pusha T - It’s Almost Dry, I thought that was a pretty good album. learn 2 swim - redveil [is] also amazing. I got the chance to meet him a few months ago. That was pretty incredible. He followed me on Twitter and I saw that he was performing at Northeastern University, which is pretty close to where I live. So I just DMed to him, I was like, “Do you think I could come even though I'm not a college student?” and he hooked me up with two guests passes so that was pretty fun. A lot of Blonde by Frank Ocean. I was pretty depressed like a month ago. Because the Internet - Childish Gambino. If I'm talking about my favorite albums of all time, ISHEREAL by IDK is number one. Which is like a really interesting choice to a lot of people, but I just think the themes that he struggles with in there, and also the way that everything continues into the next song, that had a huge influence on me. It was just such a subtle thing that makes a huge difference. Donda, I thought was incredible. Every song, basically every song, is doing something interesting. So yeah, pretty much that's what I'm listening to right now.
TGS: Fire, I think his ISHEREAL is very underrated. I've actually seeing barely anyone talk about it. When I see people talk about it, I see so many people saying that it wasn't that good, but I remember listening to it for the first time and being like this shit is incredible. And I think he's also - I agree - I think he's talking about thoughts that a lot of us deal with and I haven't seen expressed that much in music, so I love that album too. I'd love to know how you got started? What inspired you to start producing in the first place?
A: So I started playing the piano when I was five. Then I continued doing lessons until I was about 12, then in the middle of that, I started playing the violin when I was 10 and I still do that. I'm in the school orchestra and that's actually been really fun. That's also had a big impact on my music. In DESTINED, in the second half, a lot of people wouldn't even know this, but for the drill part, I sampled - I think this might be the first time I've ever said this - but I sampled, Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. I really chopped it up so that it would fit to a drill beat. That was what we were playing in the orchestra and I just thought this one part, whenever I would play it, I'd be like “ this could be a drill beat.” So, when I went home, I would work on that. During quarantine, I just needed something to do. And so I got FL studio. It was actually because I had watched these Genius Deconstructed videos, it’s like what they do with the Verified series, where the writer breaks down the lyrics, but it's the producer breaking down the beat. And so I'd been watching a lot of those and I saw that they were primarily using FL studio, so I saved up and I bought it. The other thing was quarantine gave me so much time to like work on my music that most people definitely wouldn’t be able to have. So that was pretty special.
TGS: That's dope. Are you from Boston originally?
A: Yes. I’ve been in Boston my whole life.
TGS: So I've heard a lot of things about the Boston music scene. I've heard that there's not much of a music scene, especially for hip hop. I recently went to my first ever house show in Boston and it was a cute vibe. It's definitely like Boston has its own atmosphere around underground music. What's your experience been with the Boston music scene? Are you working with that many local Boston artists besides DiZ?
A: I think that the Boston hip hop scene is honestly not that great right now. And I think that the main people who are doing it really well are Van Buren Records. I don't know if you're familiar, but I think what they're doing is actually pretty groundbreaking, especially with their instrumentals. What DiZ is doing is also great, but yeah, I don't even know what the reason is behind it, but I think we're just kind of far behind. It also might just be that I'm 16, so I don't really get the chance to go to that many local shows and things, but that's just how I feel when I'm not working with people at least.
TGS: Yeah. I mean, that's mainly what I heard is that there's not much presence of a hip hop scene there at all, but then again, that's kind of exciting because it leaves a door open for people like you and DiZ and Van Buren Records to pioneer a new wave of people who are gonna make Boston, really known, for hip hop. So that's exciting. Cool. Well, that's pretty much all the questions I had, unless there's anything else you would like the people to know anything, anything coming out soon that we should know about or anything that?
A: No, too soon :) Well, this was very fun and it was nice to finally actually meet you face to face.
TGS: You're doing really amazing work and I'm such a huge fan. And I listen to your shit every single day. And I put everyone onto you as often as I can.