For people who don’t listen to much hip-hop, the idea of making beats might seem simplistic— energetic claps in “Get Low,” boom bap scratches in Nas. A backdrop.
But listen to the work of Aron Elvar, aka the Aron behind beatmachinearon, and you’ll find something different. Immediately, you know you’re listening to art, to a true composer and someone that, in the simplest sense, gets it. He is someone who understands sound, emotion, and has the unique ability to transfer it. His beats makes you feel, and if they don’t, you might be a fucking robot.
The escapist connection
“The music I like most is music that you can connect with, that you can feel emotion with,” Aron tells me. “I connect with music really deeply and my beats too. I have to feel it inside, which is, I don’t know…” He laughs a little, perhaps at his sincerity. “Whatever man, I like it. I like to feel something. I stand by that.”
Recognition is, of course, not synonymous with artistry, but that said, Aron might be the most popular Icelandic artist you’ve never heard of. A fair amount of his songs have 100,000+ plays. His Soundcloud has more than 25,000 followers. He just got sponsored to put out his first LP.
The attention was just a bonus though. “It just sort of went boom boom boom going up and I did think, you know, maybe I can do this. And yeah, I like that people like it, but really I just do this for me. Making beats is an escape for me from stuff like anxiety or depression.” He stops, then laughs again. “C’mon, I just make what feels right at the time, what flows, and I don’t release that often even though I have more like 2,000 beats done. If I want to, I put it online, but if I don’t, I don’t.”
Beats and Bill Evans
Don’t misunderstand though, Aron has anything but a “troubled artist” vibe. Rather, he’s a chill funny guy who has the rare combination of talent and work ethic. His music is weird. It’s eclectic. Aron’s signature touch is, without a doubt, melding samples you wouldn’t expect to hear in hip-hop.
Jazz is a particular favourite. “My Mom raised me on things like Etta James and Michael Jackson,” he tells me. “Bill Evans in my favorite. He just closes his eyes and plays and you’re like, man. I like using saxophone and trumpet and piano. It’s so pure.”
His track ‘mono1’ is a great starting point. The song begins with a Bill Evans monologue over a crooning trumpet sample. Then as a slow jumpy synth beat starts, a weirdly sexy Evans piano portion plays. It’s one of those songs that you have to stop and actively listen to. You could put it on as a background track, but then prepare to get distracted. Aron explains, “I remember afterwards I had this feeling like damn, I did this. I really made this. I love this.”
Right now, Aron’s concentrating on rapping. “I’ve been writing lyrics since before I started making beats, but I’m taking it seriously. I want to put stuff out,” he says. He talks about how inspired he is by how big Icelandic hip-hop is becoming, and all the new styles and acts coming out. “It has to be intimate though and genuine, from my heart and soul, and it has to feel natural and like it flows.” He concludes, “You just can’t try and be something you’re not. You have to follow your heart and don’t let anyone talk down to you or tell you what to do.” Then he smiles and laughs—again. “Look, just go all in and you’ll end up ballin’.”
Check out Aron’s music at soundcloud.com/beatmachinearon.