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DJ interview

 TOMMY LEE & DJ AERO: ELECTRO MAYHEM

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written by Kristofer Upjohn

DJ Aero and Tommy Lee (yes, THAT Tommy Lee) are busy breaking the mold and turning heads in the music industry. Aero's muscular, hard-hitting electronica, influenced my multiple genres, is the perfect match for hard rock icon Tommy Lee. Each artist brings his own unique musical history to bear in a collaborative effort destined to rock the roofs off any dance hall brave enough to house the fierce energy created by this nuclear duo, Electro Mayhem!

DJ Aero and Tommy Lee both took a few moments to enlighten us about their efforts to alter the future of music as we know it....

Kris: Why the move from rock to electronic-based music?

Tommy Lee: There's really no move from one to the other, they are one! Electronic music's been in my blood forever, I'm just now exploring it. I'm a drummer and I have been attracted to beats for as long as I can remember.

How did you first get turned on to today's electronica scene?

TL: Since 2000, when I was working with Aero on my solo project, Methods Of Mayhem, I had the chance to work with some great DJs: Mixmaster Mike, Aero, Qbert, and so on. Also, DJing and drumming with Erick Morillo and Adam Freeland has been an epic time!

DJ Aero, how did you get hooked up with Tommy Lee?

DJ Aero: I sent a video demo to him at the time he was starting Methods Of Mayhem, in 1999.

Are you surprised to find yourself working with a hard rock icon?

DA: I am not surprised, just lucky.

DJ Aero, tell us a little about how your musical career has led you to this point artistically.

DA: I have always been fascinated with the four elements of hip-hop: graffiti, breakdancing, rapping, and of course, DJing. I picked-up DJing the quickest, and that has been my passion ever since.

Tommy, how do you think your rock fans will react to this new direction and how do you think electronic fans will react to your entrance into their realm?

TL: Well, during every Motley Crue show, I always do a drum solo where I've been incorporating electronic sounds and beats for years now, so it may be no surprise to them. I hope the electronic fans welcome me... I have a lot to contribute to this yummy sport!

Tell me in a nutshell about Electro Mayhem.

DA: It's something we've been workin' for since 2000! Seven years of work and play led us to booking a full-on U.S. and Canadian tour, finally! What a fuckin' blast we're havin'!

How does this represent an evolution in your musical career?

TL: I love throwing curveballs at people! I think that is what truly makes for an interesting artist. You never know what's next. ;)

DA: This is something that I have been into since 1991 with all of the big raves in Los Angeles, so this represents a different avenue for me creatively than producing hip-hop.

Is there a lot of genre diversity in this new endeavor or is it very focused stylistically?

TL: We're pretty much focused in the dirty, electro-house, breaks world!

DA: We play stuff that we love and which gets us excited. Lately, the electro-house is what's poppin'.

Would each of you tell me what you the best traits are that your partner brings to the table?

TL: Aero brings a lot! He's a great person to begin with; a smart tech-head. [laughs] Aero loves the beats, and he loves life! From workin' together since 2000, we compliment each other amazingly. We know what each other is gonna do next without looking or talking about it! We just do it.

DA: Tommy takes VJing and playing live, seriously. I think our ability to get in front of different crowds sets us apart from others. We have to switch it up constantly to stay fresh.

In what ways do your tastes and artistic ideas dovetail?

TL: Well, my taste in music is all over the place, thank God! I love it all... well, not country music! [laughs]

DA: Same thing for me. It would be crazy to block-out new sounds and rhythms as a DJ group.

How much personality adjustment was there between the two of you?

TL: We got on right away, that's why we're still together! We get each other.

DA: We have been through so many different types of shows – whether it be Methods Of Mayhem to this DJ tour – that we both feed-off of positive vibes.

Do you envision this as a long-term collaboration?

TL: Absofuckinlutely!

DA: No doubt we will be rocking for a long time.

Did this collaboration surprise anybody when first announced? What kind of reactions did you get, both positive and negative (assuming there were any detractors of the idea of you two working together).

TL: Naw, it's been meant to be.

DA: Agreed.

Artists are frequently asked their influences. I like to change it up a little and ask what influences you have outside this music genre, musical or non-musical, that fans might find surprising. DJ Aero?

DA: I think Stanley Kubrick comes to mind. “A Clockwork Orange” is so wacky that it doesn't seem like it was made in the !970's. I think that's how electro and dance music is.

I'm sure you believe, despite what its detractors think, that electronic music is a legitimate art form. DJ Aero, how would you argue this point with those who write it off as meaningless fluff?

DA: I say that they probably have no idea what it takes to make a great electronic album. The technology involved is insane. Just because you have a computer doesn't mean you can make something that invokes passion and inspires people to rock-out.

DJ Aero, what do you think has led electro to its recent surge in popularity? Do you think it rivals trance and house in popularity?

DA: I think that the tempo and raw sound of electro house is more acceptable to new fans.

Is electro here to stay?

TL: Yeah! I see and hear it blazing into all sorts of places, like TV commercials. Hip-hop is using electro sounds like crazy, so is some industrial rock, etc!

DA: Exactly.

What do you think makes your project unique?

TL: I think that there are two of us that share the love of the same. If you've seen us play, you'd see the synchronicity, it's crazy. Aero does the beat-mapping and I do all of the effects, video and percussion! I don't really know of a team quite like ours.

DA: Same thing Tommy said. We have so much fun doing this that it should be illegal.

Why should people take this seriously? (I ask not to belittle but because there will be those who refuse to take this project seriously.)

TL: There will always be haters. Shit, I know this! And the great part is that's fine. I could give a flyin' fuck! ‘Cause I'm here for the people who wanna feel, hear and see something new!

DA: If you like to dance, then come check us out. If you are an aspiring cell-tographer, then you should stay home and watch TV.

We vote for checking them out! See tour dates at:
http://www.electromayhem.com

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