Interviews / Authorized / Unauthorized
Fresh Music Freaks catches up with UK house producer AJ Moreno who has hit the mark again with another vocal-led, sun-drenched crossover house cut Why Don’t You Call.
For fans of AJ Moreno, his single Strangers – which featured an original song and exquisite vocals from Evalina and has clocked up a million streams on Spotify alone – will still be fresh in the memory. Released on Humble Angel Dance, it was AJ’s biggest track to date, and now he’s back on the label with another soaring crossover cut, Why Don’t You Call.
AJ’s music has always been unashamedly positive, and Why Don’t You Call is no exception. Juxtaposing the x.o.anne’s reflective lyrics with the kind of uplifting, open piano and banging beats we’ve come to expect, Why Don’t You Call is a party-ready house cut packed with energy and good vibes.
Thanks for talking to us AJ – how’s 2021 been for you so far? Better than last year we hope!
Thank you for having me guys, means a lot 🙂 2021 has been good, better than 2020 for sure lol! Things are finally looking better for the world really in terms of Covid, happy to be getting back to some normality!
How have you survived as an independent musician over the last 18 months or so?
It’s been hard, all my gigs were cancelled or postponed, we had to move house due to loss of income between myself and my partner. We have two kids under 4 so it’s been even more difficult, especially with the lockdowns and that. It feels like the last 2 years have been a movie! A crazy time to be alive for sure!
For us your music sits in a really sweet spot where it could be played on the radio, but also in clubs – has that always been the intention, to make music with widespread appeal?
Thank you! I think that’s what I try to do nowadays. I come from a ‘harder’ music background as I started my path in electronic music with Tech House. Over time I started getting into the vocal, more ‘Dance’ side of the music. House has always been a love of mine and I still love the harder more Techy stuff, I mean I still spin that stuff in my sets but now I’m experimenting with elements of both in my music and seeing what happens haha 🙂
I love the club scene and I love the lighter more mainstream side of House, I think these days my sets start off nice and light, then get progressively harder to borderline Techno lol!
What do you think defines an AJ Moreno record? How do you make your music stand out?
It’s a hard question to answer, there are certain things I have in mind that I want in every track I produce. I even have a little checklist that I refer to, I update this with every release lol! I think ultimately what I want to achieve is a ‘feeling’. I want to make people ‘feel’ the vibe of the music the way my favourite artists make me feel when I listen to certain songs. That’s how I define my music, it’s a feeling…hopefully lol! Music is subjective of course but that’s just how I go about it 🙂
You’ve got a knack for working with some really distinctive vocalists… how did you hook up with x.o.anne on Why Don’t You Call?
Cheers guys, they’re all awesome! Erm…I think I started seeing Anne’s IG pop up. Good old IG algorithm! I started checking her music out and seen she’d already done some amazing tracks. I hit her up eventually and she sent me a demo version of the song. The funny thing is we re-worked the song so much that the only thing left from the original demo was the topline lol! Anne and her co-writer Idrise Ward-El, were amazing to work with. They were always cool with my being picky and changing lyrics and rearranging the sections etc. My partner Sian is like my co-writer haha, she literally sat with me as we re-wrote all the lyrics and changed the story of the song. We struggled to get a strong hook, I remember we were in bed and she was determined to get the hook, I was shattered and just said: “Look, I’m tired let’s just call it a day.” She said, “That’s it!” I said “Great.” Then went to sleep lol! In the morning I had forgotten, but she wrote it down and it became the hook!
Did you actually have a chance to get in the studio together, or was it all done remotely ?
So most of it was done over zoom as Anne and Idrise were in LA. It was a laugh doing all those zoom recording sessions though, they’re fun guys to work with! When Anne came over to the UK, we finally got in the studio and finished the song, I still haven’t met Idrise in person yet, but soon come! 🙂
Have you ever been sitting around waiting for a call that never comes??
I dunno…probably! Like 5 years ago it was probably a call from all the A&R’s that I sent my music out to lol Was deffo waiting for a call for a looooooong time! I gave up and made those calls myself haha I used to try and blag my way into Record Label offices lol! I was hungry! I still am! To anyone aspiring to be anything, don’t wait for it, go and get it! The best advice I ever got 🙂
We loved your Put Em High cover from last year… are there any other classic tracks that you have in the crosshairs for the reboot treatment?
Cheers guys, I think our focus is original records at the minute, but you never know, could drop a cheeky one in the future. I definitely have unreleased covers haha, I’ve got a whole Hard drive full of them! But to be honest I’m enjoying the process of working with amazing singers and songwriters and creating something from nothing! As much as its fun to rework a song, nothing is better than creating something original and thats yours 🙂
What should we be looking out for from you in 2021 and beyond?
More and more music! More remixes and some collabs! Got a few nice collabs in the pipeline, I’m excited to drop them in the near future! And hopefully with the world opening up again, more gigs and live shows! I can’t wait to be DJ’ing properly again! I’ll give you guys a shout, you’ll have to come down 🙂 Check ya DMs. Thanks for having me guys, big love!