By Edysmar Diaz-Cruz

“We are free in electronic music, that's what it's about. You can be what you are. You will be nurtured in electronic music.”

Aerotek may have been in the music industry for quite some time, but his music -- whether you’re experiencing it in the comfort of your home or in a crowd of thousands of people -- is refreshing. Formally known as Stefano Giangrandi, Aerotek considers himself an old school DJ and his passion for electronic certainly runs deep.

A master of aural storytelling, Aerotek is constantly honing his craft. As the chile-born, multi-genre electronic music artist opens up to Narrow Magazine, he hints at the release of new music while he reflects on the evolution of EDM and what drew him to it:

Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got started.

I heard electronic music for the first time in ‘98 -- and I was captivated. It was magic. I started producing my own music when I was about 13, maybe 14. And I started playing live when I was like 16. At first I started playing because I thought it would be a way to promote my music. But eventually, I realized that it was much more than just promoting music. It was a whole new art form, which I fell in love with.

What does Aerotek mean?

It’s a conjunction of two Greek words. “Aero” means air and “Tek” comes both Techne and Technolos. Techne means the world of ideas, of creativity. Technolos is technology. Air, technology, ideas. Music goes through the air. It felt appropriate, and people seem to love it.

You started in Chile. What brought you to the United States?

I’m going to start at the beginning of the story: I had been playing Chile for quite a while. Then I got a booking for Ultra Chile. It was amazing. For the first time, I was able to play in such a big festival, one of the festivals that I loved the most. I played my set. And when I finished, one of the producers of the event came over. And he wanted to talk to my manager. At the time, I didn't have a manager. So he went over to my dad and told him that he was very impressed by my music, and that he wanted to keep working with me. And he invited me to the States. This man is now my manager, and my friend.

What is the electronic dance music scene like in Chile? Over the years, EDM has been very popular in the States and especially in Europe, but I never really experienced South American EDM.

I'm very proud to say that I have been one of the most important recording musicians in Chile. And I have seen it grow, and I have helped nurture it as much as my fans have nurtured me. It's been quite a ride. I can tell you is that the scene is kept alive by a really strong core of supporters.

What’s your favorite restaurant?

Anything Colombian. If you go to Colombia and get Colombian food, then you go to a restaurant here in the States, you’re probably going to have the same dish. The spices are different. Some of the ingredients might be different. But most importantly, the people that make those experiences are different as well. The chef is different. The way it's cooked is different. And I think that's the main difference between Chile and the United States, the people creating your experience.

What about over time? Do you think the EDM industry has changed in general?

The music has changed drastically. When I was a kid, John Digweed was the number 1 DJ. He did old school house. The sound back then was very different from what it is now. What I've seen is a shift towards novelty. Without forgetting the roots of where we come from, house music is as big as ever. Trance music is still there. It seems like we added stuff like dubstep and electro. House was revisited and became future house, which is extremely interesting as well. And we have new people, new faces. Of course, Oliver Heldens wasn't around years ago. Martin Garrix, I don't think he was even born. And Marshmello didn't exist either.

A lot of people don’t really understand electronic music. What drew you to it and why do you enjoy it?

I enjoy electronic music because it’s different. When I first heard it, I remember the first thing that I thought was What the hell is this? What is it? How do they make this, I have never heard something so beautiful before. So strange and different. I think diversity is at the core of electronic music. Historically, electronic music has always been supported by the minorities -- the gay community, the goth community. All of the outcasts of society. They were very instrumental in the confirmation of electronic music.

The guys who are gamers, the guys who are loners, the guys who feel that they are different, those are my people.

Do you think these core supporters of EDM are still around? Or has the crowd changed?

Electronic music has effectively gone mainstream, which is not a bad thing. Some people say it's a bad thing. I think it's a marvelous thing. At the core, I still think that the same important people are there -- the misfits, the guys who dress funky. If you go to a festival or something, you're going to see raver girls dressed like elves, almost naked, and they don't care. And nobody cares. This is our world. Not theirs. Not the guys who are criticizing us. We are free in electronic music, that's what it's about. You can be what you are. You will be nurtured in electronic music.

dave kosciolek