The time has come to officially declassify Bleep Bloop as “bass music.” Although that scene is where he came up in his career, his current work no longer reflects the sound or culture of it. That’s not to say he’s stepped away from loud, boisterous, bass-infused music—far from it. His sound design is more advanced than it’s ever been, and now, without restrictions or expectations, everything else about his music has been turned up several notches, too.
Today marks the release of Bleep Bloop’s new album, Prime. With a clear shift in sound and ethos, we sat down with Bleep Bloop, real name Aaron Triggs, to talk about the project, how he got here, and why he thinks it’s his best work to date.
For those who are expecting wonky beats and glitchy drops, consider this a fair warning. Triggs has traded in cheap thrills for more artistic integrity. And while the music sounds different, the goal is still to immerse the listener in his intense, soul-gripping sound. Whether that is in your headphones or on a dancefloor is up to you.
You can check out our conversation with Bleep Bloop below, along with the stream of his new album, Prime. Enjoy!
Bleep Bloop – Prime
Prime has an extreme, exciting feel to it. What were your intentions with the sound when you first started to write it?
My main intention when I set out to write this music was to make something where the compositions were on par with the sound design. When I listen back to my catalog, I hear a lot of music I am still proud of, but if I were to critique my work, I’d say I often sacrificed that musicality for impact and ear candy. With this record, I wanted something with musicality, sound design, composition, lyricism, and engineering, all at the same level or as close to that as I could achieve.
Your influences include Tom Waits, Fiona Apple, Johnny Cash, and others. What about their work moves you? How do they compare to your influences earlier in your career, and now?
All three of those are excellent songwriters. I love their voices and musical choices. With Cash, it comes down to his storytelling and the pure tone of his voice. With Waits and Apple, their singing is a significant factor in my love for them, but there is also the element of their production. Both of them create unique soundscapes for their musical worlds to live in. I’d like to think I’d do the same thing, albeit with synthesized sounds.
I’ve always been influenced by the three people you named. I also have many influences in the electronic music realm, such as Aphex Twin, Oneohtrix Point Never, and TNGHT – to name a few. Tons of my influences are non-musical as well. For example, I spend lots of time reading epic fantasy books that inspire my work. Generally, I have always looked at my influences the same way; they are the things that make me want to sit down and make music.
This is the second release in about a year that you’ve had on Dome of Doom. What about the label makes it such a good fit for your music?
Dome of Doom is a pleasure to work with. Their listener base is large and open-minded, and Wylie, the label owner, always supports whatever musical direction I want to pursue. I appreciate that we always get some good press coverage because I like the idea of marking the event in the public records with something official like this interview. In addition to that, it is super cool that Dome of Doom makes tapes. Physical media is on its way out, but it is fantastic to have something tangible after putting in countless work hours.
With many of your records carrying such a unique identity, I am curious how you identify Prime now that you’ve had some time to process through the release launch with Dome of Doom?
To me, Prime is my best work to date. I feel like I got pretty close to achieving my goal of matching the composition to the sound design. No regrets about this album, I’d say. I felt like I was able to shed a lot of the restrictive formats of “bass music” and try new things without worrying about how it would be perceived on the dancefloor because a lot of the music is not about dancing. I have always tried to take large steps forward with every release, but this one feels a bit like a leap instead of a step, which is, ideally, what I will be doing with every record going forward.
Is Prime a body of work you plan to perform live? If so, what would be the most ideal setting to perform for you (entirely unrestricted, anywhere in the world)?
I am not planning to perform Prime live. Honestly, I would love to, but I don’t have the time/energy/money to make it happen. I see the ideal performance as a live band-type thing. I’d love to do this with a drummer, a keyboard player, a multi-instrumentalist, and myself on computers and synths. But that takes a lot of rehearsal and resources I don’t have. As far as setting goes, I think the perfect setting for this type of thing would be a two-storied theater, with a dancefloor on the ground level and seats up above. Some people may want to dance to this thing, but others might want to sit down and become immersed in the sound.
You mention stepping away from DJ format music. Do you still enjoy DJing and performing in that format? What makes you want to take a break from it? Anything about it that you miss or wish you could create a different experience with while using the format of DJing?
I wasn’t enjoying DJing towards the end of when I was touring a lot. It was fun for years, but I just got tired of pressing play on songs while standing on a stage with lots of people staring at me, many recording the entire experience. Also, as a lifelong musician, I have never felt that playing the master of one of my own tunes was all that satisfying as a means of performance. And since I am primarily a producer, I will always play mostly original music.
I will say, however, that for dance music and club, DJing is the best format for delivering the music in the most enjoyable way for the audience. Nothing sounds/feels like a great master on a great sound system. That is the element of DJing that I do miss. The part where you see all the people dancing to your tunes and hear them at 100db.
What are your current goals in life, both inside and outside of music?
Inside of music, my goals have shifted. Before, the music was all about driving the live shows, but now I am just trying to explore new places musically, and if live performances come from, then great. Other goals I have are still related to music but less to the Bleep Bloop project. For example, I am learning to build synthesizers and other electronics and plan on eventually launching a synthesizer and musical electronics company with a friend. In addition, I am pursuing a degree at Berklee College of Music to broaden my musical scope and get some certification to match my practical experience. I was lucky enough to get my current teaching position because of my career as Bleep Bloop, but I want to be fully certified.
Outside of music, I mostly want to be healthy and happy with my loved ones. These are simple goals, but they are good ones. I also like to write fantasy stories and hope to one day complete a novel. I wrote a novella over the pandemic lockdown, and I really enjoyed the experience. Someday, I hope to find the time to do more writing.
What’s it been like teaching? What impressions and influence do you feel teaching has left on you?
I really enjoy teaching. I never meshed that well with formal education, so this came as a surprise to me. I had never really thought about it, but teaching is just discussing and practicing things, and I could discuss and practice sound design and music production forever. This has really rocked my whole existence. Teaching music is the first thing I’ve ever found in my life besides making music that I felt I could do full-time. It feels like quite a stroke of luck on my part.
Where would you like to see yourself in 20 years?
In 20 years, I’d like to be a tenured sound design/experimental composition/musical technology professor at a semirural university. I’d love to have a fully-fledged workshop where I build instruments and other musical tools right next to my recording/production studio. It all seems like a long way off, but it seems like an achievable goal.
What do you normally like to eat for breakfast?
I’m more of an enormous lunch kind of guy, but if I’m going to eat breakfast, I love a charcuterie board. Some hard cheese and salted meats on bread with pickles and olives on the side will always do me well.