Written by Fatima Hasan
Kaleb Mere, otherwise known as AOWL, produces music with a dark aesthetic that draws on classic meditative styles as well as the aggressive and wonky sounds of riddim. Undoubtedly, AOWL’s tracks are innovative and he is playing an integral role in today’s continuously unfolding sound of dubstep. He is a Colorado native and also part of the Mile High Sound Movement, a Denver-based collective that emphasizes the exposure of up-and-coming Colorado artists.
Where are you from? What is the music scene like near your hometown?
“I am originally from a place in Texas called Orangefield, almost as South/East as you can get. The music scene in my hometown was 80% country music and the rest a little bit of rock, Cajun music, and hip hop.”
How did you come up with the stage name AOWL? Were there any other stage names that you considered or used in the past?
“I came up with AOWL after being in the mountains one night on a little camping trip. I was sitting around a fire around 2am, and this huge snowy owl landed in a tree not even 15 ft from me. We made this strange connection and I just went from there. An alternative name would have been something to do with my last name, so I was going to go with Cashmere but that was already taken…”
What initially sparked your interest in becoming a music producer? Did you ever have a “backup” plan in case producing didn’t work out the way you wanted?
“My interest came from just listening to music, I stumbled upon dubstep in ’08-’09ish back when I lived in Texas, and I was like, ‘yes this is what I’m going to do.’ I come from a musical background, I’ve been in 3 or 4 bands as a drummer and they never worked out so this was just perfect for me. I don’t have a backup, that’s already setting yourself up for failure. If you give everything you got you won’t need a backup.”
Tell us about the first track you produced.
“I believe I was 17 when I made my first track, I made it on a pair of cheap gaming Turtle Beaches. It was called ‘Squeaky Attack’. It was some extremely cheesy wobbles mixed with squeaky toys… but back then I was having so much fun, and I thought it sounded amazing!”
When/where was your first performance as AOWL? How was it?
“My first show was at a bar called The Woodcellar in Evergreen, Colorado, like 2 hours into the mountains. I played for 10 minutes in between a hip-hop group called HR People on some little speakers off to the side. Unforgettable experience.”
What was the best advice you’ve ever received? Did you listen to it?
“Best advice: stay true to the music you make, do it because you love it. I feel I do follow that, I put my all into each song I make.”
What’s the best time you’ve had without spending money?
“Easy one, binge watching tv shows with my wife in our comfy bed and snacking, never a bad time.”
Do you have a favorite phrase/word?
“Not a favorite, but I quote a lot of Austin Powers… a lot. Oh, and I say ‘what?’ all the time.”
How do you measure success?
“When I am doing what I love everyday, which is making and playing my music for as many people as I possibly can before my time is up. The day I can wake up, have my wife beside me, happy as ever, spend the day doing what I want, and not have any worries, is what I measure as success.”
Do you believe in any conspiracy theories / urban legends?
“Don’t get me started. Yes, Aliens are real. Sasquatch is real. DIA conspiracy is real and terrifying. Make sure you are prepared just in case of a zombie apocalypse because you never know.”
What was the last thing you Googled?
“Pomade vs. Wax, my hair is getting pretty long and being in the Army your hair can’t grow past your eyebrows… so, I’ve been slicking it to the side lately and I’ve never really used hair product.”
How would you describe your music?
“I would describe it from my point of view as what I was feeling at the time of writing, I can connect with the emotions that I put into it. Now from an outside point of view, I would say the description of my music is totally left up to the individual listening to it. It allows for someone to connect to it in a different or even same way that I do. Therefore, the description for my music is endless.”
Favorite thing to do with your time when you aren’t making music/performing at shows? What do you do to rejuvenate your creativity?
“I just like to take that time and relax, play a few video games or watch some TV, go out and adventure just kinda let go of focusing on music it really helps just revive my flow.”
Anything you’re currently working on / anticipating that you’d like to share?
“As far as dubstep, I have a few originals, a collab with one of my really good friends Al Ross, possibly 2 other collabs, and few remixes. My side projects: I’m working with a rapper named SLEEPISFORMORTALS, I’m producing a few songs for him, really excited about that. The last thing I’ve been working on is a full length album titled ‘LI’ which is the Roman numerals for 51. And it features all sorts of music from slow ambient, minimal techno, and beats. I’ve been slowly working on this for a little over a year. Probably looking at 2020 for release!”
Upcoming performances you’re excited for?
“Nothing yet, I’m in South Korea currently for the military, might try and find a dope underground Korean rap show. I’ve watched a few videos and they look like an insane amount of fun.”
Fun fact about you that many of your fans may not know?
“When I’m making high energy stuff I like to jump all around my studio and freak out.”
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