B2B Interview: Ace Aura And Pixel Terror’s Take On Dubstep’s Evolution

When dubstep producers Ace Aura (Eric Joshua Seall) and Pixel Terror (Bentley Moses)  put their heads together, out-of-the-box ideas come to life.

After a two-year hiatus since initiating a collaboration, the artists put their creative genius to work as they regrouped for the long-anticipated release of their single “Arcadia“.

The fresh cut defies the odds in a time where music trends come and go faster than a mid-summer afternoon thunderstorm, but navigating change is familiar territory for the two artists.

Both are on the hunt for new directions as Ace Aura contemplates exploring new sounds and Pixel Terror adapts to becoming a solo project after operating as a duo for seven years.

The two artists share a candid conversation about finding inspiration amidst change as they tune in with EDM Maniac from their homes:

Ace Aura: Bentley, how did it feel to go back and finish a two-year-old idea? Because I realized that a lot of what we made still held up two years later, and that doesn’t usually happen.

Pixel Terror:  Yeah, I feel like there’s something about it that’s just timelessly fun and I think that’s something Ahrya (now producing as Afinity Music), my former partner and I generally strived for.

I feel like it’s easy to get dialed into a certain style sometimes versus taking the time to really ask “Is this something that’s going to stand the test of time?”

I feel like I’ve become more aware of that. Going back, it was cool to see some of the things we did and realize it still sounds cool. What did you think?

Ace Aura: Yeah I feel pretty similar. I think what made it sound good two years later is that we kept it simple and we didn’t try to cater to some kind of trend, so we barely had to make any changes.

It’s weird to release songs that are that old– three years ago, my songs that were two years old would have sounded like garbage! So it’s interesting that at this point in 2023  two-year-old songs are still releasable. 

Pixel Terror: I wonder if that says something about where music is at right now, like maybe it hasn’t evolved as much lately.

Personally, I’m at a little bit of a creative block in terms of trying not to make my music super “Tear-out-y” because Tear-Out is a trending style in Dubstep right now.

My question to you is where do you see yourself and your project going in the next three-to-five years as a musician?

Ace Aura: I want to focus on going more multi-genre. Most of the stuff I’ve been working on behind the scenes is still dubstep but it’s different from the other stuff I’ve released.

I think the current state of dubstep is getting more boring to me. I feel like things were constantly shifting up until like 2015-2016, and ever since then, it feels like it’s stagnated a bit.

I’ve also been feeling a  bit stuck, and what better way to get unstuck than to just make different stuff, regardless of what’s trendy?

Pixel Terror: True that!  Well I’d love to hear some of that.

Ace Aura: You know I actually haven’t been sending music out to people much lately because I have a weird way of making new tracks. I make a lot of “drafts” and I later pick out which ones I want to continue with.

Pixel Terror: Oh yeah, I look at it like this. If you’re a comedian, you can do a hundred open mics to get your best material. Then, you take the best acts and put them into a headline night, and maybe you do 30-50 headline nights, and then you take all the best jokes from those, and that’s your Netflix special.

I work very similarly in terms of laying out lots of different ideas and refining them.

But anyways, I want Pixel Terror to evolve into a live performance similar to Dabin or Illeium. I’ve been working on my vocals for a few years, and I  think using my own vocals is going to be a way to evolve the Pixel Terror fingerprint.

I also want to bring in some more live instrumentation. But I definitely want to do it in a way that’s different than what other artists are doing with that. 

Ace Aura: Yeah finding something that anchors your sound together across different genres–that’s one of my concerns about expanding my style of music to other genres.

I find I’ve kind of cemented myself in the melodic dubstep world, and I find myself wondering how I can grow out from here and still sound like Ace Aura.

Pixel Terror: I think it’s actually an advantage that you have a specific sound. I could see you doing something like what Seven Lions has done.

He has a unique sound but also, a Seven Lions set has so many different kinds of electronic music in it and that’s what makes the music really dope. It’s definitely working for some people. 

Pixel Terror: I got one more question! What’s the dopest new production technique you’ve learned lately?

Ace Aura: So KOAN Sound has a really good Patreon that I think not enough people know about, they have tons of techniques on there. They are some of the best producers out there that don’t get nearly the attention they deserve…but anyways, I’ve been learning how to do a lot of cool new effects with their techniques and putting them in my new stuff! 

Pixel Terror: That’s what’s up!

Listen to “Arcadia” below:

Images provided by Rukes Photography, @timjamesvisuals, @blackcraftcult, and @ashwathphoto

Written by
Federica Brandi

Hi! I'm Federica, I'm a writer, world traveler, and above all, I'm a dance music lover. The communities, culture, history and free expression I've encountered through raving and the world of EDM inspire me to explore the scene far and wide and to share all the stories I encounter along the way. If you see me at a show come say hi and trade kandi!

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