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words by: Eric Bonholtzer

When it comes to sheer love of their craft there are few musicians out there who can compare with Tommy Lee and DJ Aero, and the pair’s latest project, a foray into the ever-expanding world of electronic house and dance music, is indicative of why these artists are doing it for the music. Lee and Aero have performed numerous club and festival gigs over the past three years, and the duo continues to rock venue after venue in support of their Electro Mayhem Tour. “We aren’t doing this for the money,” Lee explains. “We’re doing this for the sheer love and passion for beats and dance music.” And that would certainly seem to be the case as Lee has experienced a great deal of success in his work as a drummer for Mötley Crüe and Rock Star Supernova, and DJ Aero is a prominent DJ in his own right. “I think that’s what makes it so legit and real,” Lee says. “We love what we do. I think that it just makes it real when you’re doing it for the right reasons.” The performing for the sheer love of performing mentality is echoed by Aero as he relates candidly that,“the money comes secondary on this project.” While both Lee and DJ Aero have always had an intense passion for dance music, neither man

began their career in the electronic scene. However, both have always been drawn to it, and even in Lee’s work with Mötley Crüe there has always been an element of that underlying attraction to electronic beats.“I’ve always loved it,” Lee says, “It’s been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember and every time I’ve done a drum solo I’ve always incorporated electronic sounds. I like electronic, you can hit harder and you can make crazy sounds.” Lee’s talent as a drummer helps explain why he has been so drawn to electronic music, particularly breakbeats, which have a rhythm that’s more similar to drum fills than the standard house rhythm. In addition, his experience helps create a unique flavor in his work with DJ Aero. “That’s one of our bonus points,” Lee elaborates. “I’m a drummer so if I’m effecting something and I add a quarter note, or half note or three quarter delay I can make it funkier. So as a drummer, every chance I get I’m trying to make it funkier, make it heavier, make it dirtier.” Lee’s distinctive flair compliments Aero’s solid turntable experience. A background in hip hop on Aero’s part helps to create a dynamic that allows the pair to draw from many different sources when they spin. Aero, who hails from

photos by: Drew Ressler

Victorville, California explains that before he moved into electronic music he began his DJ career in hip hop. “Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, that’s kind of really where it started,” DJ Aero relates.“Jam Master Jay, Run D.M.C. and all those bands with prominent DJs. I was fascinated with it and that’s really how I got into it.” When he first started mixing firsthand, however, Aero realized quickly just how complicated mastering a turntable can be. “I started doing hip hop because I wanted to scratch, and when I first started DJing I had no idea that you actually had to mix records,” the DJ elaborates. “I thought that they just scratched the records.” After a little practice, though, Aero began making a name for himself in the scene and, soon after, the turntablist became involved in a new kind of sound: dance music. “The rave scene started hitting big in 1989-1990, so I started going to LA raves and watching all the big DJs in LA and that’s what really got me into house music.” Even with a passion kindling within for electronic beats, Aero still kept grounded in his hip hop roots. “To be honest, hip hop kind of paid the bills. There weren’t a lot of house parties where I grew up, obviously, so you had to play whatever you could play to get paid and that’s kind of what I did.”

JAN. 2008 | SKINNIEMAGAZINE.COM 4 3

Skinnie Magazine January 2008  

MUSIC • SPORTS • LIFE

Skinnie Magazine January 2008  

MUSIC • SPORTS • LIFE

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