Amid a personal struggle between health issues and realizing his own creative vision, artist Aaron Trumm has worked relentlessly over the past 25 years to see his musical ideas come to life.
Beginning in the early ‘90s, Trumm studied at UNM under the guidance of music department faculty member Manny Rettinger. At UNM, Trumm worked at Rettinger’s UBIK Studio as a production assistant, and with KNME as an in-house audio engineer. In his free time Trumm would fix up UNM’s basement studio, known then as the “elephant boneyard,” and record his first two solo albums.
In line with his unconventional production style, Trumm often created music with a technique known as “analogue pause-loop taping.” This process allowed him to extract the beat out of a song and add his own instrumentation/vocals over it. The unique sound defined Trumm’s start-up label NQuit (”Never” Quit) Music, a local venture that he still operates to this day.
“When I was starting out, the internet was still barely a thing,” he said. “I distributed my albums to various outlets and music stations by hand. I received some airplay, but in general the process was much more arduous back then.”
Around this time, Trumm began to immerse himself in the world of poetry. He formed a slam poetry team and started reciting his work nationally. He placed 10th in the National Poetry Slam in 2002, crediting his rhythmic presentation and flow to his background in hip-hop.
After working around Albuquerque and gaining a local following, Trumm was accepted into Stanford’s graduate program and pursued a master’s degree in music science and technology in 2005. His growing insight on music production allowed Trumm to more efficiently mix and master his solo act, along with his rising techno-house project Third Option.
Trumm was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as a child, but it was only four years ago that the condition became a serious threat to his life. The disorder ruptured his lungs and quickly deteriorated his ability to breathe naturally. After enduring a long and difficult treatment process, the condition culminated in 2013 when Trumm underwent lung transplant surgery at Stanford Medical Center.
“It all happened really quickly,” he said. “I remember performing here at Tractor Bar and, all of a sudden, I couldn’t breathe. No one could really tell the severity of the situation. I could barely finish the show. It all was downhill from there.”
After three years of downtime, Trumm has since made a full recovery and now, equipped with two new lungs, has gone back to producing music full time. His newest album “Livin’ is Bling,” a reference to his post-surgery rehabilitation, is aiming for a March release.
“It’s a positive hip-hop record. I needed to rebuild my sound after everything that had happened in the last three, four years. Thematically, the album reflects on that. It celebrates life,” he said.
The album marks a return of various collaborators from Trumm’s previous works, including fellow producer, composer and business partner Sebastian Dorin.
“I’ve come to know Aaron as a ridiculously talented songwriter, performer, and producer,” Dorin said. “If music could blow things up, we’d all be dead from one of Aaron’s concoctions long time ago... but we would’ve enjoyed it.”
Aaron Trumm’s music can be heard at http://aarontrumm.nquit.com/ and http://thirdoptionmusic.com/.
Audrin Baghaie is a culture reporter for the Daily Lobo. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @DailyLobo.