So a few weeks ago in our roundup of Decadence 2015, one of the things that we chose to highlight about the experience was their inclusion of a silent disco floor. It’s such a unique feature to have in a festival setting in the way that it gives participants the opportunity to choose their own soundtrack, and the silent disco at Decadence this past year was no exception in that regard. On both successive nights, the setup featured three producers laying down sets on their own respective channels; and the provided headphones lit up in a different color depending on which station each partier selected. On the 31st however, we noticed that the majority of the floor had the same color on all of their headphones, pretty much for the duration of one specific set time. And as people would leave the silent disco and new party goers filtered in, their headphones would inevitably light up with the same color as the people that they just replaced. For those in attendance, the reason for this was obvious, but for those who missed it, we’ll lay it out for you: the reason for this phenomenon is because Denver-based producer Aviva was bringing the HEAT on that particular station. Check out these rage faces directly below for confirmation.
A lot of people were seemingly surprised at the notion that a girl (WHAT?) could whip a crowd into as much of a frenzy as she did that night. Which is understandable. Electronic music has long been a genre dominated by male DJ’s and producers, both in terms of sheer numbers and mainstream popularity. When you consider the female influence within this particular genre, the first thoughts tend to be vocals on various tracks (outside of Matthew Koma, when was the last you heard a male vocalist on an electronic music track?). The actual producers tend to get inexplicably marginalized to the point of obscurity due to their gender. But ever since we were first introduced to Aviva’s brand of twisted dark house bangers back at Global Dance Festival last year, we knew that she’s here to smash that stereotype, and to do so with a knowing smile.
Born and raised in Colorado, Aviva got into music at a very early age, albeit via a self-described "terrible" instrument in the clarinet. Luckily for us, she was exposed to a VERY different style of instrumentation fairly early on as well, when she happened to hear Dr. Dre's "The Next Episode" come over the speakers in her mother's car around age 7 (big props to Aviva's mom for bumping real hip hop!). After that initial encounter with the West Coast hip hop style, she fell in love with the production style, and quickly accumulated a variety of different hip hop artists into her favorites list (with Dre and DJ Mustard being tops on that list as of now). As she progressed through life, so did her musical repertoire: moving from hip hop, to jam/"livetronica" acts like STS9, to heavier bass music from the likes of Pretty Lights/Bassnectar, finally to house/club music, the latter being most in line with the production style that she has become known for.
However, even as a lifelong music fan, she wasn't always entirely sure that she wanted to MAKE music, it was only after realizing her love for providing the soundtrack to parties that she had arrived at that juncture. Everybody knows that one person who just has to control the iPod at parties (some would actually prefer that to socializing), and Aviva is definitely that person. But she came to the conclusion that if she learned to DJ, then no one would ever try to take control of the proverbial iPod ever again. And fortunately, they haven't. It's been hers ever since.
After a few years of strictly DJing, Aviva took the next logical step to further her musical growth/career and decided to make the jump to producing her own tunes: diving right into Ableton in the process. Although she describes the learning curve as one of the steepest that she's even encountered, she credits the experience with not only confirming her existing work ethic, but helping to strengthen it as well.
This is a trait that will prove to be incredibly useful while working within the electronic genre, especially considering how music is released compared to everyone else. Instead of releasing a full album every few years or so, you can much more effectively build your brand and following by releasing a new song every three weeks instead. The increased accessibility to the music allowed by the internet almost makes this approach essential. So consistency is key, and to be consistent, you need work ethic. Which is something that Aviva possesses in abundance.
Another trait she has is that she is extremely confident in her own ability to innovate. She cites Skrillex and his tireless devotion to experimentation as part of the inspiration to this aspect of her personality (although she acknowledges the virtually limitless potential of many producers out there as well). As long as everyone who is making music seeks to be different and try new things, the growth potential for electronic/bass/dance music knows almost no bounds, and as long as music is able to evoke that one emotion that is seemingly beyond our comprehension, producers like her are going to continue striving to capture it.
We love profiling artists from Colorado for a multitude of reasons, two of which are: the perspective with which they view the definition of culture, both as a concept and how it applies to Colorado, and also the kind and humble nature that they exude despite their success, something that is a common trait amongst most of the people who call Colorado home. Aviva is no exception to either.
Her definition of culture is that it is a tradition that we as a people create, and thrive off of. It propels us to try new things, and keeps us coming back to those things once the novelty has worn off. In terms of dance music, this concept applies perfectly. Stemming from rave culture, the scene itself drew in many outsiders based off of (sometimes morbid) curiosity, and kept them coming back due to the unique idea of culture that it represented. At these shows there are no strangers, only friends you haven't met yet. You can dress up in a ridiculous outfit and no one cares. They're all just there to let loose and have a good time like everyone else. We preach it all the time: unity.
And it is this unity that Aviva shares with her fans that might be her favorite aspect of everything. She wants to be accessible. She will stick around after a set and shake anyone and everyone's hand, give anyone and everyone a hug, learn your name, and just hang out. Positivity and friendliness are an important part of who she is both as an artist, and a person. People who don't exude positivity tend to hamper their success by doing so. If you're mean to your competition, then it probably means you're scared or insecure. And if you're mean to your fans, well, you might not fizzle out eventually so much as implode completely. Aviva understands that it is her fans who make her who she is, and not the other way around.
That picture of the silent disco from earlier? Scroll up and look at it again really quickly please. Notice the predominantly red colored headphone sets in that photo? That means that all but two people were tuned in to Aviva's set (RED SQUAD). And while that is just a sample of the dance floor in it's entirety, we can assure you that it is in fact an accurate representation of the whole scene.
Her talent and vision are very, very real. And the stigmatization of women in electronic music? True, it's something she deals with daily. She has to prove herself more so than a lot of her fellow producers because she is female, a challenge which she embraces wholeheartedly. She knows exactly what she can bring to the decks, and is more than capable of proving herself to anyone who would want to test her mettle. It's her stage and no one else's when she's on it, so much so that Global knows not to even bother with gogo dancers or anything else when she plays a set. She wants the spotlight, and wouldn't have it any other way.
She has a couple of live sets coming up that we're stoked to tell you about as well. First up is our own Apres Ski SIA Pre-Party at Jackson's Lodo on Wednesday, January 27th. The second one is a date opening for Peking Duk at Larimer Lounge on Friday January 29th. We know she's got some HEATERS on deck for both sets, so come on out and see what Aviva is all about! Information for both events as well as a link to Aviva's music is listed below.
Photo Credit: Chelby Jackson