Who said white men can’t crunk? Eerie-based Aaron Holstein is a knob-twiddling argument to the contrary. Better known as VibeSquad, Holstein has been not-so-quietly churning out crunkadelic, bass-heavy beats in his hole-in-the-wall home studio for over a decade now. The VibeSquad tribe is mushrooming too. Ever since laptop artists like Bassnectar and The Glitch Mob invaded Jamlandia, more and more opportunities have been popping up for similarly inspired producers to follow suit. Holstein headlines day two of Reunified Field: A Sonic Bloom Pre-Party this Saturday, May 1 at Cervantes.

First music-related memory?

Rockin’ out to early ’70s radio w/ any older kids that would let me stand around.
1st 45 single: “Rapper’s Delight” by Sugarhill Gang
1st LP: Foreigner’s “Double Vision” – I knew all of the words to “Hot Blooded” – except I thought it went, “Hot blooded, check at the sea!”

Biggest influences growing up?

So many, different influences were stronger during different stages certain things were pivotal: early 80s electro-break dance music, hip-hop, new wave, reggae, the funk, psychedelic rock, jazz, so many electronic styles. It’s all an influence.

Music educated or self-taught?

Both- I went to music school, studied jazz, played almost a million guitar notes. I also taught myself computer music and recording engineering & other stuff..

Virgin exposure to electronic music?

In 6th grade it was all just music to me. I was in a break dance crew with my friend Paul. We were into Hashim’s *Al*-*Naafiysh* (The Soul), “Atomic Dog” George Clinton, “Jam on It” Nucleus.. “Tour de France” Kraftwerk..

In high school (1985ish), I got back into electronic music via industrial music (Skinny Puppy, Front 242, Ministry, etc.) and new wave (The Cure, Depeche Mode, New Order, etc.)

I got excited again about electronic music around 1995. My friend Tucker showed me how to use a synthesizer and sampler and sequencer around that time. He also played jungle for me, Goldie’s “Timeless” and come to think of it, a couple of years later (’97ish) it was the same friend who played me Daft Punk’s “Homework” and turned me on to Ninja Tune, Aphex Twin, and other a bunch of other stuff….thanks Tuck!

Point at which you first decided to pursue DJing/producing?

I played guitar and bass semi-professionally starting in the early 90s and it became my full time thing on and off for the next 15 years. In 1995, I started making hip-hop tracks on a borrowed Akai MPC60. I first started meddling with computer music in ’98-’99.

First DJ gig?

I used to spin records between sets at band gigs in the late 90s, but that’s not really comparable to what I do now.

First real VibeSquaD laptop set of original music was at Symbiosis 2006 in CA.

Best gigs ever?

I played in Ashland, OR in April ’07 late night after a big Bassnectar/Zilla show at a place called the Inner Child. It was the 1st time that the VibeSquad mother ship really landed. Benny’s “bag end” sound system is the bomb. And folks were in full effect that night- it was the 1st time a bunch of my friends really got to hear what I was doing–there have been loads of favorite one’s since…


A gig where the power was going on and off, the sound system was intermittent, and half of my set was gobbled up by the previous act.

Lessons learned?

Make music strictly from the heart.

All-time fave producers?

Bill Bless, Tipper, Si Begg, my Glitch Mob homies & so many more every day :: definitely feeling a lot of the dubstep coming out now.

Anything else?

Music is medicine. I make mine with the intention to help people feel good. Really extremely good. That’s really my only goal- to share sonic vibrations created with a very pure intention: spreading joy (crunkadelic style).