An island native turned Hamptonian, Aarian Lassalle, known as Jack Union in the music biz’, is the mastermind behind the boards beats and sounds of your favorite Hampton artists and Virginia locals. Her Campus got a look into his world as a rising independent producer.
HC: First things first, lets start with the famous Hampton intro:
AL: Aarian Lassalle aka Jack Union. Graduate Student Masters in Counseling for Higher Education with a concentration in College Development. Undergrad Marketing Major
HC: As a producer, what would you consider to be your most important role to the artists you work with?
AL: Creation. Going from a concept to completed project. From making an instrumental, to developing lyrics, to making sure the song is going in the direction you want it to because sometimes you lose direction. Just making sure that junk knock forreal! That’s my job.
HC: What prominent figures have you worked with in the music industry?
AL: More recently, I’ve worked with Rick Geez, who’s Pusha T’s dj, some people out of Pharrell Williams’ team. I haven’t worked with him personally but we have talked through FaceTime while he was on tour. Pharrell Williams’ mother I’ve worked with a lot. She’s nice with it. She’s all about education and runs his non-profit, which is what I work with. Its all about kids’ education and development and not forgetting the music. But I just got a plug to work with Wiz Khalifa’s dj soon.
HC: How did that experience change or influence your craft and career?
AL: When I sat down afterwards, my first initial thought was, “Man, that just happened!” I’m all about development. I love experiencing new sounds, and working with new people. On the production end, you can get inside the creation. Little tricks of the trade I see from tricks they do with their 808s to tricks for editing vocals. I take from it what I need to take from it.
Inside his DuBois Hall Graduate Assistant suite, is where Lassalle becomes Jack Union. The entire room is dedicated to music: equipped with all the professional gear one would need to make the next hit. His work station is a panoramic view of music making starting with its focal point, a mounted computer screen surrounded by vinyls. Next, there is his Mac Book Pro with Logic, Union’s beat making program of choice on the screen, a keyboard to the right, followed by a microphone and speakers that could make the whole first floor shake. Lastly plastered on his wall is an old “Stop” sign, where its ritual for every artist he works with to sign it.
HC: Are there any on campus artists, songwriters or other producers you have worked with in the past or ones you are currently working with?
AL: Absolutely. Nikko Styles (rapper, Atlanta), MoThoro (rapper, LA), Chef Jimmy (rapper, Chicago), Tyler Gold Chain$ (producer, Jersey) Frankie Bandz (rapper, Ohio) Eli Kumor (former Hamptonian, rapper, NC), Jaims (rapper, Jersey). But I work with cats from my hometown all the time.
HC: Where do you see your music career taking you?
AL: I don’t know! Its hard, the [music] game is wild. You can be here one day and gone the next. I’m open to anything because 5 years ago I didn’t see myself here. I see myself still doing it, going deeper into the industry and deeper in the game.. So its hard to say.
HC: As more artists come about that are skilled in music producing and engineering do you see your place as a producer becoming in jeopardy?
AL: I mean if you’re dope you’re dope. You feel me? If you have a sound that nobody else can replicate and people really love, people are gonna come back. I’m a one-stop shop. I can produce a project from top to bottom, including mixing and engineering. I can even help with marketing. I feel like having that skill sets me apart from other producers. Which is a great tool to have. It gives me a better advantage.
HC: Have you ever experimented behind the mic, like rapping or singing?
AL: Absolutely. I actually have a song in the vault that I’m on the hook of. People now are in a dispute. I’m trying to see who’s going to get the verse; I’m still shopping around.
Union gave HC an exclusive look into his Spotify playlists to share what he feels are the latest bangers, and what he can’t stop playing right now through his speakers. His rotation included Drake’s latest album Views, which- of course- as a producer, he gives a lot of credit to 40, Drake’s longtime producer. He especially gives kudos to 40’s work on Fire and Desire. Travis Scott ‘s latest album drop Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight is also getting lots of plays.
HC: Where can we find your beats or samples of your work?
AL: SoundCloud mainly. But if you support artists on campus then you’ve probably already heard my work. I like to do snippets of stuff on Instagram too.
HC: What would you consider to be unique about your sound that sets you apart from other producers?
AL: I view sounds like colors. For example, if MetroBoomin’ is a color and Timbaland is a color, I don’t want to make a color anywhere near there’s! I may use elements of their colors but never duplicate. But I would describe my sound as a 40 meets 808 Mafia. It’s a big line to cross but
HC: Who are your top 3 major influences in the music business and why?
AL: 40, He’s my favorite producers off top. I always say I’m not a Drake fan I’m a 40 fan (laughs). I listen to Drake by default. On the business side, he’s my mentor and an HU alum Joshua Head. He’s a gospel artist but he conducts his business well. Jay Z & DJ Khaled they’re moguls I bang with how they operate their businesses.
HC: What can we expect to hear from you in the near future?
AL: Good music. I do it ‘cus I love it. Maybe a hit or two sprinkled in there, hopefully. I do have an instrumental project I’m dropping soon its unnamed but you can expect that this fall on my SoundCloud.
HC: Social media? Shout outs? Special Thanks?
AL: Shoutout to the whole AMPD Team, DJ Camo, Nikko Styles, Scoop, Moss, everybody who’s on campus doing their thing: Mo, Chef, and Frank, my homie Law. Special Thanks: to the fans, to everybody who supports and to everybody who doesn’t.
Social Media: IG & Twitter @its.jackunion, Soundcloud= Jack Union,