Images and video courtesy of Big Funk Photography
I interviewed Jared Aaronson, a student at College of Charleston who is creating a sound all his own as a local DJ/producer under the name Collective Disparity and who is redefining what it means to have a full plate on his hands.
I sat down with him to discuss how he got his start, where he is now, and where he plans to go on his musical journey. Originally getting his start as simply a music fan, Jared nostalgically remembered Napster, saying, “I’ve been downloading music since you could download music.” From there, he became a contributor for Freshcutbeats.com under the username Minustheblunt, which inspired him to split off to pursue his own DJing and producing.
With the help of Ableton Live and Trackster, Jared is creating a unique and revolutionized sound wave that incorporates live beatbox looping and synthesizers and cannot be grouped into any specific genre. Producing a “consciously uplifting musical experience," Jared gave us some insight into where he stands locally and his preferences for venues, audiences, and musical material. “I used to play whatever, wherever anyone would listen,” however, “I came to realize I don’t like to play in a bar scenario where everything is fueled on alcohol.” Getting away from that atmosphere (of which he says, “to each his own”), he changed the name to Collective Disparity and reformed the message behind the music. “I want my music to make a difference, make people happier,” he said, smiling. “It is one of the best forms of healing.” A cancer survivor himself, Jared plays shows for charities to help raise money locally for various causes. He has played at many local venues, including the Music Farm, the Hollings Cancer Center at MUSC, his friend’s kindergarten class, Creative Mornings CHS, the fundraiser for abused pit bull Caitlyn, and, of course, good old-fashioned house parties.
I asked Aaronson about his musical influences and received a unique answer. “My favorite artists are the ones where you can hear the influences of other artists in them. Our generation, we’re the most stimulated musically there’s ever been.” I then began to understand the meaning behind the name Collective Disparity. “As an artist, I’m collecting all styles I listen to, and I’m not them so I’m different than them,” meaning he pulls from all over, learning and collaborating (or collecting) along the way to evolve his sound and create something new and organic and different (disparate). “I really love to produce,” he said with a pensive smirk, “which is kind of separate from DJing, but I’m trying to merge those two together and just get into some live productions, which is just improv based on nothing.” Eloquently put, it is obvious that Jared is trying to revolutionize his sound to match his vision for it, as any good artist does. To accompany each release, he uses the artwork of mandalas (“circle” in Sanskrit), which are geometric figures representing the universe and completeness, because the music is also circular. Pairing each release with a new mandala, he mostly loves the look of them, and it works out because the music is all loop-based. Born in London and raised in Connecticut, Jared reminisced about how his musical taste has changed in the past few years. “When I moved down, here my taste in music was a lot more ignorant.” But he has grown a lot as a person, and his music reflects that.
I then asked him about his main musical influences, his immediate response being Random Rab, Thievery Corporation, Phish, and Anthony Thogmartin of Papadosio (specifically his project EarthCry, which raises money for environmentalism). His respect for these artists is apparent. “I sent [Random Rab] one of the tracks I was working on, and he was nice enough to give me some feedback and some advice, which I can actually apply to everything I make.” A close friend of mine, Jared is a surprisingly modest and humble guy considering all he has accomplished at such a young age.
Jared has been releasing experimental “summer sessions” on Soundcloud (an online audio distribution website that plays in 76 different countries) almost every day, and if might I say, each one is truly better than the last! What’s even cooler is that his music features local vocalists and instrumentalists as much as possible. A member of the Chucktown Trippintones, CofC’s own a cappella group, Jared seeks to “try and incorporate anyone who’s down.” He continued, “I am lucky enough to have some really good voices at my disposal.” As if going to college, belonging to an a cappella group, and producing music isn’t enough, Jared was also an intern at the Music Farm, in addition to recently beginning an internship at the Hollings Cancer Center for fundraising and event planning, all while working two jobs—bartending at Tasty Thai and working at the new gem store on King Street, Cornerstone Minerals. And he accomplished all of this by the age of 21.
Aaronson doesn’t do it just for the love of music, but also to help other people and to project love into a crowd. “I want to play for people who are listening,” Jared told me, and we definitely are. Best enjoyed in headphones or cruising around in the car, get tranced out with some Collective Disparity and stay tuned for a possible spring tour in 2016!