A few DJs, despite having fame and success and praise from Industry veterans, stay grounded and humble. However, there is an even smaller segment of artists who talk about their work with the same passion and love as they did when they first started out, and this same passion and enthusiasm shows in their work. This young man belongs to that small section.
His music has the adroitness of legends and he’s only in his early 20’s. It comes from having a clear vision and direction and executing it with full gusto. He knew that a progressive rise to success wasn’t his formula – it was about creating an impact with his music and making sure his name resonated amongst his peers and listeners alike.
His earliest release “Jo Johnson” was given a spin at DC-10 in Ibiza by Hot Creations boss Jamie Jones and the rest they say, is history. Eventually, he became a staple on the label, and he’s shared the console with guys like Sebo K, Audiojack, Nick Curly, to name a few. His long established Koala nights went off for two seasons on the White Isle with a series of highly successful boat parties, which clearly showed that he was here to stay.
His energy and exuberance, coupled with a mantra of staying true to his loud, ‘phat’ beats, is what makes him such a talented artist. 2015 sees him travelling a fair bit, and playing at the legendary Exit Festival in Serbia. In between his busy schedule, he took the time out for us and gave us an insight as to what he’s been up to, what he thinks about the Ibiza lifestyle, and what he’s most looking forward to over the summer. I give you – wAFF.
- I trust you’re having a great day! Which part of the world are you at the moment? I assume you’re gearing up for another heavy summer season?
At the moment I’m back at home in London, which is really nice. The weather is wicked at the moment and I’ve just had a mental 2 weeks with Ibiza openings and We Are Festival, which was recently just on in the UK, which was amazing fun with the crew. So being home now doing nothing is pretty nice. 😀
This summer is looking pretty wild for me but I’m choosing to live and stay in London for the summer instead of Ibiza this year to focus better on music and other things and just goto Ibiza when i chose to for holidays or gigs. I’ll be there all the time as soon as Paradise starts 3rd of July so it will be like I’m living there but I get to come back home to London whenever it starts getting a bit too crazy….which it will…. it always does ha. But I’ve got some amazing festivals coming up and some really exciting things just happening with me for this year so yeah, its going to be pretty good.
- While I’m writing these questions, I’m listening to your latest release on Hot Creations – ‘Shabby’ off your Fat Gash EP. It has me chair dancing at the very minimum. Production wise, how have you changed things up, yet kept in sync with the Hot Creations style?
Well I don’t really try keep it a Hot Creations style I just make music and then whenever something is created that I feel Hot Creations will like I just send it to usually Jamie and most of the time it gets signed. If I try to make music for a specific sound or label or whatever it doesn’t work it just blocks me, so I just have to be in the moment and let whatever happen, happen! But I am constantly trying to produce new material that’s unique and different. It just keeps things interesting for everyone else and for me.
- Speaking of Hot Creations, how did you get in touch with Jamie and get signed onto the label?
I just made a shit load of tunes through the years when I first started producing and just wanted to wait for the right time when I felt my productions were strong enough to send out as I wanted to make an impact and not gradually become recognised. So when I made ‘Jo Johnson’ I sent it to Richy Ahmed as I knew him already briefly from Ibiza and he said he loved it. I remember going to DC10 one time when I was on holiday with a load of mates, and as soon as I entered the terrace and found a good spot to dance in, Jo Johnson suddenly started mixing in, and it was a crazy crazy moment of just thinking…”How is this playing, why is Jamie Jones playing my tune?” as I only literally just sent it to Richy, and yeah I realised that something was going to come of it. Then pretty soon after that I got offered the record deal to release Jo Johnson along with Rainbows and Jeyda, and yeah it just all spiraled on from there.
- When you first started releasing your music on Hot Creations, did you think you’d become a staple?
No I’ve never thought anything, I’ve just always gone with the present moment and enjoyed whatever came to me. For me it was just a great platform to release my music, I never expected to have a new world of close friends and family created from Hot creations at all, I don’t remember thinking that anyways. It just happened really fast and Jamie, Richy & Lee have really supported me all the way and still do, which is amazing. So it’s great to be given that exposure that Hot Creations have to help me with my music.
- Let me pick your brain for just a second here – when it comes to production what software have you been most comfortable with? Have you ever changed between software for different tracks you’re composing?
Well since the very beginning the software I started with was Rob Papen Subboombass, Predator & Albino, Also Native Instruments FM8. They got me going and got me excited about software. Now I use tons more, like Minimoog, Lush 101, Minimonsta plus so many more. But I don’t have a favourite, each one has different styles and settings so it just depends what music I’m making to what I think I would use. I’m actually a bit bored of it now though, I’m just about to buy my first bit of hardware as I need something new to inspire me. I sometimes find it hard to find the motivation and inspiration when I’m travelling a lot, and constantly in clubs or playing music to be even arsed to make music, which bothers me quite a lot. So I need something new… I just don’t know what yet so I’m going to spend a bit of time now buying and trying new stuff to see what I think and what I can get out of hardware.
- Now where Hot Creations focuses on a more tech-house vibe, you’ve got releases coming up on Drumcode, which is a complete techno label. When you’re creating an original for genre-specific labels how does the creative process unfold?
Well I’ve always been a big techno fan, I used to make techno before anything else really so I do produce so much techno I’ve just never focused on releasing it until recently. I love my house and tech house / deep house, its great and I’ll always love it. Sometimes with my gigs I want to play techno and it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I feel at a lot of the gigs I get I can’t get away with Techno, but I want people to know that side of me too and just to release some of my techno music, which are some of my favourites.. So I messaged Adam Beyer as I’d seen him play my music before and thought hopefully he would take an interest, and he did straight away and we had something planned and organised pretty quickly for Drumcode. We went through some ups and downs with the release as I lost all my music through my mac just formatting, so I’ve actually lost pretty much the last years productions which was heart breaking because I had so much great music ready, so I had to re-create what I lost and remake new material but now we have 3 tracks all ready and sorted for a release this year at some point. I can’t wait, and I think its going to be very surprising and unexpected for a lot of people seeing wAFF on Drumcode but it’s one of my best yet I think, and very different to what everyone else has heard but definitely still me!
- 2014 was typically a huge year for you. If you had to highlight some of the best and the most bizarre moments – they would be..
Ahh this question… ha I find it really hard to answer this question well because I don’t remember anything ha! It’s all just one big pile of fun squashed into 1 big feeling… with blurred vision ha! But I’d say our Paradise Boiler Room take over last year and the owner of Cirque Du Soleil’s villa in Ibiza. Wow that was just unreal. It was very special, and I just had the best time there with all my friends. The villa was just completely crazy, you got handed a map when you entered the villa, as it was so big. There were ‘healing; areas, a load of different food stalls of different cultures, as much drink as possible, a full sized Stonehenge temple, their were people doing art in the woods, loads of different entertainment, opera at the end and so much more but it was just one of my best times of last year definitely! Also Paradise all summer was just mint, every week was really good fun. Everything was just ace so it’s hard to say what was the best because it just all was ha!
- So in Ibiza do you think the culture is a combination of the weird and the wonderful? Do you embrace weird and wonderful?
I wouldn’t say the culture is weird but it’s definitely wonderful. I think everyone who goes there makes it weird ha. Of course I love wonderful and Ibiza is such a beautiful special place full of wonderful things to do even away from the music, it’s one of my favourite places in the world. But I fully embrace weird I love it. The weirder that things are, the more interested I am… unless it’s like, proper proper weird when its too weird, then not as much… or maybe I am?? Fuck knows… basically yeah I love weird :D!
You can be the best producer in the world and be completely shite at DJ’ing and vice versa
- I’ve read that being a good DJ doesn’t mean that you’re a good producer and vice-versa. Do you think it’s essential to have both these skills in order to be successful? Do you think you’re a better producer or a better DJ?
Nah, that’s bollocks, you can be the best producer in the world and be completely shite at DJ’ing and vice versa, some people are just better at certain things than others. And no you don’t need to have both skills to be successful, I know a lot of people that don’t even make music and are really big DJ’s and some other people that get other people to make their music for them and their also really big DJ’s. Some people just really want to be DJ’s, especially at the moment because its becoming so popular and huge, more than it ever has been so people just want to be part of it and I don’t blame them, it’s great. So if you’re a good DJ but you can’t make music and get someone else to help you get your ideas created and make music for you, okay it can be seen as cheating or whatever, but it can make your life what you want and it can make you successful so I don’t see it as a negative. Some of my favourite DJ’s don’t produce their own music, but they’re the best when they play and they probably wouldn’t of got where they were for having someone else’s help…so yeah I don’t think you need both skills to become successful. It definitely helps if you make your own music; I think everyone should make their own music just for the good of themselves. I think it’s healing and very good for your energy to be creative. If you’re good and a good DJ and producer then I do think your more respected and appreciated. As for me, I honestly don’t know what I’m better with, I couldn’t say, I’d have to leave that to you to decide. : )
- If you were playing a peak-time set and just for shits and giggles you had to throw in a more ‘commercial’ party tune, which one would it be and why?
Hmm… either Dominica – Gotta Let You Go as I’ve just had some wicked memories from this tune (just seen Bicep’s done an edit of it actually which sound better for the club) or… Zig & Zag – Them Girls, its just a bad ass tune, I’ve always loved it. Whoever is reading this play it now, it’s well good ha!
- So the Summer is nearly upon us.. from where I’m sitting it’s bloody hot already – where’s the one place you’re most looking forward to playing?
Exit Festival in Serbia! I’ve never played there and I’ve been asked to close the dance arena after Simian Mobile Disco & Kimm Ann Foxman, which is such an honour so I’m so excited and quite nervous too, which is new as I never really get nervous for gigs.
- The best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten from your mentors?
Stay true – don’t give up.
- So with your heavy schedule, will you have time to head into the studio and work on some new material? Is there anything a little more experimental you’re working on?
Well, I don’t have a studio so I make all my music on my laptop with headphones always so I can do it whenever I can be arsed to really ha. But I’ve just been asked to collaborate with Masters At Work, which I’m really excited for. I’d really like to do an experimental hip hop album but I can’t see that happening for ages if I’m honest. I’m going to be making music with Eats Everything, Patrick Topping, Cuartero (again) and Argy sometime soon, but I’m constantly working on a lot of new music.
- If you had to pick a female DJ to go B2B with, who would it be and why?
Nina Kravitz – because when I play techno I think we’d play mint together plus she’s fit as fuck!
- If you had to describe your music in 5 words it would be..
Big, Vocal, Loud, Groovy, Fat.
- Lastly the one country you’d love to tour in the near future?
USA – and that’s just been sorted so…BuZZzing ; )