Disco Biscuits keyboardist Aron Magner has a new jazz trio entitled SPAGA. Their debut release is out now. Get to know our TALENT SCOUT Artist of the Week!
NAME: Aron Magner
HOMETOWN: Philadelphia, PA
MUSICAL TRAINING: The neighborhood piano teacher lived next door to me growing up, and I took lessons more than others. But it wasn’t until I was introduced to jazz by another teacher in my early teens that I committed as a lifer. I had several very influential teachers that provided me with not just knowledge, but the encouragement to be able to make music my profession. At the end of the day, I would say I'm more a “friend of jazz” and utilize that vocabulary in my own voice.
FIRST GIGS: Performing Arts Camp and High School parking lots. One of my teachers subbed out a gig to me once while I was in high school. For college, I opted to remain in Philadelphia to keep my musical contacts in the city. That’s where I met and formed The Disco Biscuits.
MUSICAL INFLUENCES: Keith Jarret, Bill Evans, Red Garland are a few of my biggest jazz piano influences. Led Zeppelin, The Who and Jimi Hendrix introduced me to the power of rock. Simon Posford and his Hallucinogen and Shpongle projects for demonstrating the electronic dance music can also be musical and cerebral. John Medeski and MMW for completely changing my understanding and approach to keyboard instruments. The Grateful Dead for aways being my constant. I got into The Dead at a very precocious age and have never lost my passion. In an amazing manifestation of a childhood dream, I’ve had the honor of playing with various members of The Dead over the past 5 years, most notably with Billy and The Kids (via drummer Bill Kreutzmann)
WHAT I’M LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW: Literally as I type this... Mellotron Variations. A seemingly esoteric album that just came out with just four Mellotron players. One of them from Pat Sansone from Wilco, and another is John Medeski. You can’t go wrong with anything involving Medeski. He changed my entire approach and understanding of keyboard instruments.
MY BIG BREAK: There was never a big break. Just a slow build. The Disco Biscuits traversed the country back and forth for over two decades cultivating a following who became loyal and sometimes rabid fans. Over time our following began to form not just a community, but a culture. The dedication our fanbase still has over two decades later has enabled us to sustain our career as well branch off into various side-projects. The side projects enable us as individuals to explore different parts of our musical personalities, but interestingly become feeder systems back into the world of The Disco Biscuits.
LATEST PROJECTS: I just released my first ’solo’ project entitled SPAGA. What started as a challenge my friends and musicians ended up reconnecting to my first instrument, the piano. As a result, it has also reconnected me with a former version of myself, which I am now again exploring. It is in the form of a (mainly) acoustic piano trio with sprinkles of synths so my full musical persona is present.
FAVORITE KEYBOARDS AND WHY? I’ve always loved my Roland JP-8000. It forever changed The Disco Biscuits and our approach to the “trance-fusion” style of electronic improvisational music. I owe that keyboard my career. Our collective sound changed overnight when that synth first graced our stage in 1998. Though many synths have been added (and some replaced) to my spaceship over the years, the one constant has been a Roland JP-8000. Ain't no supersaw like it!
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU? I'm just beginning to write another album for SPAGA so I can follow up the first one quickly.
ADVICE TO THE NEXT GENERATION: Play with everyone you can, especially those with currently better musical skills. Learn from the past, the internet is a brilliant tool. But mostly, begin to develop your own voice, even if its not fully present yet and will certainly evolve. Only you can be you.
For more information visit www.discobiscuits.com