Going strong now for two years, Aathee Records is another label from Chicago pushing forward with a unique sound. Made up of three producers with three very distinct sounds and backgrounds, Nikhil Gidwaney (aka Hopscotch) gives us the background on this very forward thinking label.
Aathee: “Emotions”/”Aathee’s Diner” (Free Download)
Who are the members of Aathee and can you tell us a little background about yourselves?
Originally founded by myself and Joseph Ruggiero in 2016, we have now grown into a trio working and writing with Josh Hooten, who has become an integral part of our live performance as well as the label.
I personally came from more of a hip-hop/turntablist background before I fell into producing house and techno. Joseph [Happyghost] had been in the scene a while as a resident of Primary as well as working and releasing music with The Pool House. Josh Hooten comes from a trained musical background, he has his Masters in Classical Percussion and has preformed with the Civic Orchestra.
How did you and HappyGhost first meet and then decide on doing a label? Did Josh Hooten come later down the line when you started doing live sets?
In January on 2016 Joseph and myself were both invited by Unlisted Records to play at BPM in Mexico along with a very talented roster of Chicago DJs, and thats where we truly connected. Once we had returned to Chicago we started collaborating right away and even recorded a track on the first day. It wasn’t too long after we started making music that we were kicking around the idea starting our own label based on similar principals and goals in mind.
Before this Josh and Ghost had already been making music together for a while, and it was kind of crazy because Josh and I were friends before I had met Joe, but we were not really all connected to each other yet. Eventually we all started jamming, and it truly felt seamless. I believe the first track we recorded was “Everything” and we ended up releasing it off our second album, Kobe.
What does the symbol of the elephant mean to you and the label?
The elephant is a very intelligent, powerful and aware being, it symbolizes the constant motion of moving forward and resilience in the face of adversity. Since I was a child and first heard the story of Ganesh I was drawn to the animal. When I approached Joseph with the idea of the elephant being the symbol of the label he was in agreement.
Nikhil you’ve had a couple of different DJ identities before finally settling on Hopscotch. Weren’t you first doing World Music?
I used to perform as Th3rd World, and it was mostly hip-hop instrumental beats. I guess I had made the change to Hopscotch when I ventured into the realm of four on the floor music about seven years ago.
You and HappyGhost recently spent 2 months in Bali! Were you taking a break or continuing some connections?
Joseph had spent time in Bali last year for about three months of the whim of a calling he felt. He ended up meeting some amazing artists and eventually signed a few to Aathee Records. This past year I had returned with him to preform various gigs as well and to connect with our artists personally. It was an amazing experience and I would love to do it all over again.
We’re excited about this free EP download you’re blessing our readers with! Tell us about it!
We are very excited as well to share these sounds with you that have truly only been heard a select few up until this point and we could not think of a better way to release them. We had actually written these two tracks last October before we had ventured to Asia.
Inspiration came from simple chord progressions layered with a sub bass and vocals to carry the energy all the way through the album. We are very excited to share these sounds with you through 5 Mag and could not think of a better way to do it. The EP is available for free as a download, perfect for summertime and festival season.