At 20-years-old, most of us would be happy with scraping it halfway through a Uni degree on the right side of our overdraft. Things have worked out a little differently for Aeris Roves: before turning 21, the South Yorkshire-born singer-songwriter had joined Billie Eilish on tour, held his own shows in cities across Europe, and dropped an acclaimed debut mixtape, Moon By Island Gardens.
Across 11 angelic tracks, the project sees the newcomer delivering both light acoustic tracks and laid-back R&B, mixing stirring melodies with intricate percussion and electronic sounds.
Just after the release of his latest single, May’s soulful “Don’t Ask”, we caught up with Roves to find out more about the new track, how he developed his own distinctive sound and what he’s got in store for us next.
Taking it back to the beginning – how did you start out in music?
It started by spending time in the school studio. I would produce an instrumental, then sing over it. I also played guitar, so I was writing things acoustically for a while too.
What’s inspired your sound since then?
A few different artists have influenced me. I have my main ones, like Frank Ocean and Bob Marley; then I have more obscure ones like The Drifters and Chronixx. I listen to so many different genres – from straight pop to dancehall, folk and classical. I try not to limit myself when it comes to hearing and understanding different genres.
We heard you joined Billie Eilish on tour last year. How was that experience?
How so? What did you learn from her?
There’s so much to learn from Billie – from the way she interacts with her fans, to the way she puts on a show. Everything about the whole dynamic is honest and considerate. I have a lot of respect for her whole team; it’s a family affair and it shows. They exude so much love and I took so much from the experience.
How else have you evolved as an artist since the release of your debut Moon By Island Gardens mixtape last year?
I feel like my sound is just building on TMBIG. I’m still trying to find the sound I had in my head when we started that project.
What else have you been influenced by lately?
I’m always writing about my life experiences. I just analyse my emotions and find ways to communicate them, in the hope that people are able to relate. Even if they don’t, I guess it’s still therapeutic for me. I’ve been listening to a lot of the early Bob Marley work – “Natty Dread”, for example, has been on constant rotation. I’ve heard some early Queen too. I was even listening to some Paul Simon recently.
So you’ve just released your latest track, “Don’t Ask” – can you tell us what inspired the song?
“Don’t Ask” is a reflection of a pinnacle emotion. For me, that’s when I reach a point where I feel a change is needed. I was venting.
Is this the first drop from a bigger project? If so, what can we expect next?
There should be bigger projects on the way!