Ari Rhodes is a Juno-nominated songwriter, composer, and producer based in Toronto, Canada. Originally from Rhodes, Greece, Ari began his career at the age of 14 as a house music DJ before moving to Canada to study audio production. Between his love for old analogue gear, obsessive editing skills, and, passion for collaborating with new and inspiring artists, Ari most likely will never grow up and get a real job.
What is the most important “tool” you need when creating, eg. (Garageband, google docs, your cell phone, Pro Tools, or a pad of paper?
Tool as in Tool, Tool? Hah, well, great equipment and toys do make a difference. I love vintage analog synths, effects, tube microphones, and instruments. They make music more tactile and engaging. And, I just really love the sound. Of course, a laptop, a stable DAW, and a soundcard are necessary to do the work–but all of these tools really mean nothing if your mind isn’t clear. So, I would say that my peace of mind and some good food are my most important tools for creating. You can be in a multi-million-dollar studio and still make something that sounds, well, mediocre if you are not in the right headspace.
What inspires you to create music?
I walk a lot in Toronto, so places and movement inspires me. I record hundreds of voice memos of ideas and sounds while I walk. Life inspires me. I grew up in a small tourist resort in Rhodes, Greece, which was one of the most popular tourist destinations for young British partiers in the 90s. The music and the clubs were unbelievable at that time. There was so much energy and it was really exciting and inspiring to 13-year-old me, sitting on a subwoofer, learning how to DJ. When I moved to Canada a few years later, I met many people and heard so many new styles of music. In that way, learning new things and hearing new sounds always inspires me to push myself creatively and to refine my craft. Most importantly, though, people inspire me.
Do you have any advice for upcoming songwriters and creators who are looking to break further into the creative scene?
The most important advice I’ve received is to work hard, do your thing well, and to not be afraid to do it all the way. People often want to jump on trends, and can be successful doing this for a while, but there is something differently fulfilling about making something unique, something new. It is hard. But, you have to allow yourself to be vulnerable, to let your imagination go, and to even encourage a little play in your practice. I guess, always look forward, work hard, and join S.A.C!