At only 23 years old, Aaron Velasquez, aka Flamingosis, has been producing some of the most incredible electronic music in the game right now. He’s been at it for the past seven years now, curating the silkiest smooth jazz, nostalgic hip-hop beats, and uniquely refashioned remixes of popular artists like Kanye West and Rich Boy. His productions are expertly created with so much emotion that it literally gives me the good kind of chills that run right down my spine.
Velasquez actually grew up surrounded by family with eclectic taste in music and who also fostered an environment of creative innovation. Velasquez’s father and uncle were both five time world freestyle Frisbee champions and Flamingosis, the name Velasquez eventually adopted as his DJ and production alias, was actually the name of a unique freestyle Frisbee move that was created by his father. In an interview with Artistic Manifesto, Velasquez explains “I guess there’s a parallel between music and freestyle Frisbee. My dad would see a trick and would then try to master that trick and make it his own, so you could say that’s like my approach – I’ll hear a sample, take it and make my own thing.”
For a really long time, I thought Velasquez hailed from somewhere in California. I mean, he had to, right?! His sound is way too breezy to not be from a state where there are palm trees lining every block, every day is warm and sunny, and everybody has a laid-back, endless summer kind of vibe. But he currently resides in his hometown of Morristown, New Jersey. Go figure.
Today when you think about New Jersey’s presence in the music world, Jersey club is often considered one of the state’s main musical exports. It’s a super bombastic, hyperactive sound and if a producer has any decent skills in the studio, he or she could potentially produce a few relevant remixes and put themselves on the map pretty easily. When I asked him why he took the road less traveled, Velasquez admits that he “didn’t even know Jersey Club was a thing here ‘til a year ago.”
And it makes sense. His dad owns a solid record collection that spanned genres from funk to soul to rock to reggae, further compelling Velasquez to collect influences from alternative styles of music rather than the mainstream. In high school he mostly listened to hip-hop, R&B, jazz, and electronica from artists like Daft Punk, Common, and Mos Def. And as he graduated to his college years, he moved on to include expert beatmakers like J Dilla, Flying Lotus, and Mad Lib. So in his productions today, you can absolutely hear where he’s worked in the styles of his favorite influences.
Judging by his consistently impressive output, where quality and quantity have a direct correlation, Velasquez has no problem getting down to business when it’s time to create. Working with just a laptop and a midi controller, he currently has two avenues he takes when he constructs a song. “Sometimes I’ll hear a song I like and then [I’ll] take certain sections of that tune and build around it with my own production,” he explains. “The other process I have is make a drum loop and go through trial and error with a bunch of different samples until there is a sample that I think clicks with my drum loop.”
Even better, Velasquez now has a myriad of worldwide platforms through which he can release his productions, hone his craft, and network with other like-minded individuals. Rootnote Collective released Brother, his collaborative EP with A Sol Mechanic; Keats Collective is home to Flamingosis, his very first LP, and his latest, Kahunastyle; and he’s recently started collaborating with The Freq Show, which promises to showcase New Jersey’s finest producers.
Velasquez claims Kahunastyle, his latest full-length album, is his favorite album he’s made so far. “Expect Kahunastyle to be a very eclectic record,” he promises. “It has hip-hop, disco, funk, trap, footwork, and Jersey club influences.”
After Kahunastyle drops on 2/16 via Keats Collective, Flamingosis and Moon Bounce hit the road for a six-date winter tour spanning locations from Providence to Indianapolis. Expect Velasquez’s live performance to be just as transcendent and unique as his Flamingosis productions. “I usually start off the show with some beat boxing, and then I transition into my electronic set,” he explains. “I try to make my live sets really eclectic, too [and] throw in down-tempo stuff, hype and upbeat stuff, dancy stuff, [and] funk. Hopefully I’ll throw some live visuals into the mix soon as well.”
The hype surrounding the release of Kahunastyle has been vibrant and well-deserved. With Flamingosis, Velasquez has already successfully created a style of music that is so craveable that the time elapsed between releases never feels short enough. It’s been just over a year since Flamingosis has been released and with a ton of singles and a collaborative EP already under his belt since then, I asked Velasquez how he feels he’s evolved since then. “I think I have become more versatile. I have produced a wide range of tunes [of] different styles and BPMs, and that’s what I wanted to accomplish with this record.”