If you don’t know about aya – aka Aya Sinclair, do now. She's taking the experimental club scene by storm, climbing up stages to perform as we’ve never seen before – just like at Unsound Festival 2021 – and running a show on NTS associated with her previous performer name, Loft. Without a fear of appearing too provocative, we found ourselves diving into her lust and explosive imagery. Her latest album i'm hole released the end of last month.
aya, welcome to METAL and congrats on the music video release for Emley Lights Us Moor. The track itself made feel in somewhat of an existential loop, while also being fresh yet introspective. With your debut album with Hyperdub, im hole, coming up, what sounds and sensations should we expect overall?
im hole is an album about ketamine depression and fucking by the light of Emley Moor mast [in West Yorkshire].
The record’s very first single is a collaboration with Iceboy Violet, with whom we are used to seeing you work with in the past. What role do they take on this new journey?
Iceboy Violet has been incredibly important in so many parts of the making of this record, from the initial conceptualising of the sonic terrain to fine picking through the lyrics. My shining light, my sweetheart, my angel.
Next you surprised fans with the sudden release of another track, OoB Prosthesis. This time it sounds much more aggressive. What made you release almost two opposite singles?
I don't think aggressive is really the right term, maybe my urgency is mistaken for anger? You would be hard pressed to find two pieces of music more similar on the record than these two, in my opinion.
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Heavy techno music is the core of your musical essence, yet we can recognise some experimental playfulness which seems to me a reminiscence towards John Cage’s own poetic sound. What led you to mix such complex elements?
It's tempting to read heavy techno music as a genre rather than as a tradition or approach to music making a plurality, 'heavy techno musics'. In that expanded definition we absolutely find playful experimentation! techno musics offer us the space to imagine other worlds with wildly different value systems, different political configurations. I can’t imagine a world without playful experimentation.
There’s this track I’m particularly keen of, still i taste the air, where you say, “But to look for cracks on his fresh coat of pink/ I'm sensing now there's a whole,” which reminds me almost of futurism’s phonetic poetry. How is your composing process like?
The lyrics on that piece are about returning to my old home in Manchester and trying to find even the smallest detail that remains from my time living there. The chords are made using a pitch feedback synthesis method I’ve been experimenting with in response to the field recording that forms the opening track, the sound of a gale rushing through a crack in the window frame. Something breathy and something like the east wind.
You’ve always been critical about how capitalism gave rise to the culture of mass consumption within the music industry both in terms of the materials used for physical copies and in terms of newcomer artists. What’s your contribution to lean towards a more sustainable way of consumption?
I don't think I’ve ever said that there are too many new artists intruding on the scene, that's exactly the kind of puritanical conservative logic that I’m very vocally critical of. I also think that sustainability is an inadequate response to the disastrous situation we're all in. Me releasing a book instead of an LP is pissing in the wind, ecologically speaking.
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Even though you recently moved to London, your approach to club music and the queer scene comes from your birthplace Manchester. What are the key elements that shaped your music style?
YCO, boygirl, Mutualism, P13, BFTT, Modern Love, Dilly, 2BReal, Clemency, Tom Boogizm, Hesska, Space Afrika, Henzo, The White Hotel, Orders @ Boomkat, Rob Thornber's Hands, Crono Hotmass, Everett, Nazar, Kiss Me Again... to name a few. It's all good stuff, isn’t it?
Finally, you’ve recently announced the dates of your tour. Any hint towards what to expect from your live shows?
I will jump up and down and run around a load and roll on the floor. Sweatmother will make the big projections flash on and off and I will have a bit of sheep on my chest. And at least 65% of the music will be good, which to be honest is a pretty good hit rate if you ask me.
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aya is touring

November 18th Space 28, London, UK
November 20th Simple Things @ Strange Brew Bristol, UK
November 25th Cobalt Studios, Newcastle, UK
November 27th The White Hotel, Manchester, UK
November 28th House Leeds, UK