Aimlo has made a name for himself as a local DJ, thanks to gigs at the Ace Hotel, Bar, the Coachella Valley Art Scene and, most recently, the Purple Room.
Now Aimlo is looking to make a name for himself as a producer—with his own record label.
Aimlo, aka Anthony Araiza, sat down with the Independent and talked about his 15 years of experience as a DJ before a recent show at the Purple Room.
“I was in second- or third-grade and going to family parties and seeing a DJ play those—and I was asking my parents every birthday and every Christmas for turntables,” Aimlo said. “Finally, when I was 15, my mom bought me some turntables and a mixer.”
He laughed when asked about the quality of his first DJ turntables: Were they any good?
“Not the ones she got me! She got me super cheap ones—plastic, super-lightweight, belt-driven turntables,” Aimlo said. “She didn’t know, and I think she went somewhere in L.A. and asked for a DJ setup, and they gave her these crappy turntables. Even though it was new, it looked like a beat-up mixer.”
There was plenty of inspiration to be found at that time. “Back then, there was this show on MTV2 called Amp. It used to come on after midnight, and it was all what you’d call EDM today. Of course, there were all the hip-hop guys … like Jazzy Jeff and Kid Capri.”
Aimlo doesn’t do much with vinyl these days, he said. He’s not a collector like DJ Day—with whom he often plays at the Ace Hotel’s ¡Reunión! show on Thursdays—and he’s not into searching for specific records.
“I never got into trying to find original samples of classic hip-hop tracks, and when I moved to Los Angeles, I sold a lot of my vinyl at the time to Amoeba Music, because I was broke,” Aimlo said. “I sold crates of really good records for chump change, too, and it didn’t even make a difference.”
Changes in technology, Aimlo said, have led to both pros and cons for DJs.
“Now all you need is your laptop, where you have thousands and thousands of songs, which is awesome,” he said. “But now it makes it easier for entry-level DJs to get gigs when they’re not really ready to get the gigs, which is one of the cons. I think it’s cooler that DJing is a lot easier, and it’s a lot more accessible to people, but I didn’t DJ at a gig until probably four or five years after I got my turntables. I see a lot of younger kids these days get a controller, a laptop and something really entry-level, and they’re out looking for gigs a month after they got their equipment.
“I don’t see it at clubs too often, but I see it at bars. … It’s just entry level stuff, and they only last a gig or two because they’re not very good DJs.”
Aimlo said that while some local DJs respect and help each other, others are decidedly unfriendly.
“Me and DJ Day have healthy competition,” he said. “We try to one-up each other—not all the time, but it’s an unspoken, healthy competition. If you’re not within a certain circle, I think a lot of DJs out here are into unhealthy competition. No one wants to support each other or each other’s circle, and we don’t go to each other’s gigs. We’re all guilty of it—and even I’m guilty of it. I see the desert getting bigger and nightlife growing, but I don’t think it’s where it needs to be yet for there to be an abundance of gigs.”
Aimlo has been focused on getting his new record label off the ground; he hopes to have it ready to go sometime in April.
“It’s called We Got Sol. I was born and raised here, so I want it to be more of a local thing,” he said. “I’m open to getting people outside of the desert, but for now, I just want to focus on my music, and if I hear anything I like, I’ll put it on there. I want it to be electronic music, down-tempo, house and techno, but it’s sort of hard to describe the vibe I want to go for. I have to hear it to know if I like it. … The day job has been holding me back. It’ll come—and I’m doing it official, with a business license. Everything is going to be legit, on the books.”
Aimlo wasn’t afraid to discuss local DJs he admires.
“DJ Journee is an amazing DJ and has awesome style,” he said. “Pedro Le Bass does everything well, but he’s probably one of the better house DJs I know. I also like a lot of the old-school guys from Indio, like DJ Pee Wee.”
For more information, visit dj-aimlo.com.