Aidan Ochre, an 18 year old artist from upstate New York, is a prime example of the new generation of indie artists- artists whose careers are in and of the internet, from independently producing their songs, to posting their tracks on Soundcloud, to finding groups of like-minded artists through social media. Ochre’s music can best be described as indie-alternative-pop, with many drawing a comparison to Rex Orange County. Ochre is more than that, though. His music is vulnerable, diverse, and real. With tracks like “Forever”, which ponders the longevity of love, to “Lonely”, a testament to what it means to feel alone, Ochre is upfront about his feelings and views. Ochre’s newest single, “Tease”, is no exception. “Tease” features an energetic guitar riff under lyrics discussing the frustration of being lead on, creating a catchy tune that is perfect for your next dance party. We sat down with Ochre ahead of the release of “Tease” to get a sense of what goes into creative process.
What’s the origin of your artist name?
Well, my first name is Aidan, so that is true, and then Ochre- on Soundcloud, I used to just go by AB because those are my initials, and then I was like, well that sounds stupid, there’s probably tons of ABs out there, and then I was just messing around, I was like, what would be a cool artist name? Because I wanted to keep it somewhat similar to my own name. Then I was brainstorming colors to say instead of “Brown”; I was trying to do something that was synonymous with Brown, like khaki-brown or coffee brown, weird stuff like that. One time in high school, me and my friend just came up with Ochre; it’s not even brown, it’s a somewhat orange-ish color that has a brown tint to it. I was like, Aidan Ochre. Sounds kinda cool. I was just gonna do Ochre at one point, but then it was already taken so I was like, alright, I’ll just throw my first name on it. Aidan Ochre. That’s how it happened.
What drew you to music?
I’ve been singing and playing guitar in my room for a long time, just for fun, and then I got really into the band The Internet, and got really into Steve Lacy via The Internet, because he’s their guitarist. That was when he only had stuff out on Soundcloud. I discovered that he only made beats on his phone and I was like fuck, I have Garageband on my computer. I can probably do the same thing! So I had an interface that allowed me to plug my guitar into my computer and play through it, and I also have a microphone, so I was like alright, I’m gonna mess around with this and see what happens. So then I started making music and it was fun.
What were some of the first artists you listened to?
A lot of it was from my sister, definitely. I just remember that my sister and my brother when I was younger, for Christmas, they made me CDs, and I would listen to those. There was weird stuff- there was a lot of pop, like one had Disturbia by Rihanna on it and Lady Gaga. I remember the first band I really got into was Vampire Weekend, and that was from my sister. I got a lot of my music from my sister.
Where are you from?
I am from Wellsville, New York, which is like an hour, give or take, south of Rochester.
How has that contributed to your interest in music?
Wellsville is a very small town, there’s only 7,000 people in the population. I really didn’t like growing up there because I was bored a lot, so a lot of the time I wouldn’t do anything on the weekends; I’d just stay in my room and work on music after I got out of work. I think that forced me to be put in a position where I wanted to show my music to people but I didn’t know who to show it to, so I started posting stuff on Soundcloud. My music was mostly being listened to by people on the internet, which I think helped me develop as an artist because then I started discovering other artists, who were these internet, Soundcloud people, and became friends with them at some point.
Has that changed your style?
I don’t know if it changed my style. My style- I don’t really know how I would describe it. People have compared me to Steve Lacy and Rex Orange County and stuff like that, and I guess I could see that. I definitely draw influence from those people. But my style is I make whatever I want, depends on how I’m feeling.
What’s your songwriting process like?
For that, I usually sit down with my guitar and start free-styling, and coming up with chord progressions and melody ideas. If something sounds kinda cool I go to my phone and get on the voice memos app and record a rough version of me just improvising over chord progressions and then seeing where it takes me. If something really sticks with me, then I’ll go in Garageband- or, I used to, but I use Logic now- I’ll go into the DAW and start to put something together. Usually, it always starts with a beat, essentially. I never write before I create the beat, so the instrumental always comes first for me. It makes more sense to craft a song around the sound of the song, rather than craft the sound around the lyrics, that’s how I think.
You produce your own stuff. You first used Garageband, but what are the things you use now?
I only use Logic now, which is basically Garageband but the industry-standard version. I still have a lot to learn, because I’m not a great producer. I’ve only been producing for about a year, maybe two years? I don’t know. But I definitely want to get better at it. There’s still a lot I need to learn about the program, because it’s pretty dense and there’s a lot of things you can do with it.
Who or what are you inspired by?
Definitely other artists. I’m inspired by the way people craft melodies, and the way people use chords- I’m really into chords, just like nice, jazz-sounding chords, like very full chords, that’s something that I definitely draw a lot of inspiration from. Usually it’s like, I’ll hear a song like damn, this is so fucking good, I want to make something this good, and then I just run back to my room and start jamming out and see what happens.
Have you ever done any live shows?
Not where I was the show. I’ve done open mics and I’ve performed for small groups, but I’ve never had a show where it’s like, Aidan Ochre is performing at this venue, but that would be cool. I want to start doing those here. I want to play some house shows and stuff, I just kinda like, gotta do it.
Is it a matter of figuring out logistically how to do it, or something else?
I think one thing is I want to practice before I go out and do a show. There’s definitely logistical issues, such as I don’t know if I really want to play by myself, or if I want to play with accompaniment, and I don’t know who’d accompany me. I want to figure all that stuff out, but I think soon I’m just gonna have to fucking do it. Just gonna make myself do it.
What are your favorites artists/songs at the moment?
I know the song I’ve been listening to all day is the new song by Toro y Moi, it’s called “Freelance”, it’s fucking really fun. Other than that, I’ve been listening to a lot of this artist UMI, she’s really cool, I really like her style. Also this song by Dianna Lopez. It’s called “So I Don’t Feel Useless, and that song is really tight.
What’s your favorite song you’ve made?
Probably something that hasn’t been released yet. So, we’ll see.
On to your new single, “Tease”, how would you describe it?
It’s kind of more indie-rock-pop-ish. It’s got a very pop-y drum pattern, and fun, fast-paced chords. It’s catchy. I like it, I think it’s fun! I hope other people think it’s also fun. I don’t know how similar it is to some of my other songs; it’s a little different, but not in a bad way.
Is there a story behind “Tease”?
Not really. I was just in my room during the summer, and I came up with a chord progression, I was like, ooh, this is fun! And then I just sat down at my computer and starting playing the drum beat, and then once I came up with the beat, I was like, okay, let’s go from here. So then I played the chord progression over that, and then realized it needed a hook, so I came up with that, and then it needed a bridge, and it just kind of came together very fast. I did it within the span of two hours. That’s really fast for me to make a song, and I was like yeah, this song is a lot of fun. Then I added bass and everything, all that. The song itself wasn’t done for maybe another month because I started working on other things and kind of forgot about it, and then went back to it a couple of times and and changed some things. I sent it off to get mixed and mastered by someone else, and then it came back and now it’s ready!
Any plans of what’s next?
Just keep making songs. Something I’d like to do is release a project rather than just singles, I think that would be cool, but that might take me some time. I just need to buckle down and start making songs on a regular basis, because I think one of my biggest problems is I’m kind of sporadic in my writing process. I try to do everything in one sitting, because if I don’t I’m less likely to come back to it.
If people want to start listening to your music, which song should they start with?
Listen to the new one! If they don’t want to listen to that, “Gemini” is the most popular song, but listen to the new song, “Tease”!
“Tease” is available on Spotify, iTunes/Apple Music, and Soundcloud. Follow Aidan on Twitter @aidanochre and Instagram @aidanochre.