A slight mist from an aroma diffuser twirls its way through the dimly lit studio where synths are stacked neatly in stands nearly touching the ceiling. Pedals are tucked into a corner, drum pads and mics occupy another. An array of various instruments are packed in cases behind the drum set. There is a fond affection in Aaron Jerome’s voice as he recounts using the equipment on his past tours as the influential artist SBTRKT. The North London studio feels like a microcosm of his world: a cinematic setting which we’ve now spent hours within. After nearly six months of Zoom calls and in-studio conversations, today is the final time we’re speaking before ‘The Rat Road’, his first album in six years, is released.
Jerome is erudite and speaks with clarity. He flits between sarcastic quips, cynicism and earnest hopefulness while pondering philosophically on the future of the music industry. 20 years of experience tumbles out: at times, he’s racing to catch his thoughts. Initially, at the tail-end of last year, there was a certain caginess, but as the months passed, he let the veil fall. Notorious for spending the initial years of his fame and success enveloped in a cloak of anonymity - most famously a version of a tribal mask during performances - Jerome recognised that he was entering a new era. Now, he wants to tell his story.
And it starts with ‘The Rat Road’.