Unleash The Beat | JES Interview
It’s always a rare treat when we get to dig deeper into the minds of the artists we love and respect. JES took some time out of her busy schedule to talk with us about her skills on the decks, her take on the future of Electronic dance music, and of course, her new album Unleash The Beat. With a reputation that proceeds itself, I’m sure you’re all quite familiar with her work, now take some time to get to know the real JES a little better.
OTB: Congratulations on your new Album Unleash The Beat and of course the new music video for you collaboration on the track Can’t Stop with Ronski Speed. How did you two end up working together on a track? And what is that creative process like when you’re working with a new producer for the first time?
JES: Ron (Ronski Speed) and I met in Malta at a show we did together and just hit it off. We got to hang out at the club, which was fun, and I really liked the set he played, it was very colorful and interesting. I hear a lot of Dj sets at my shows and Ron’s was one that stood out as being cool and different. We talked about doing something together and I was in production for my album “Unleash The Beat” so he sent me a few ideas he was working on. I already had the idea for the chorus and when I listened to the beats Ron sent one of them just jumped right out at me. I was working at my studio in Los Angeles and Ron was working in Germany, so we were sending ideas back and forth over the Internet. It becomes a very different process when you aren’t working in the same place or time zone. You get a much better sense of how people work when you’re actually in the same room together, so working via the internet can feel a little slower sometimes and you don’t always have that performance buzz of having an audience while you’re working. On the flip side it makes the scheduling much easier as we can all work around our own availabilities. You can check out “Can’t Stop” here
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OTB: The original track is lighter and more upbeat than some of the popular remixes. The EDM community seems to be the only place where remixing one of your peer’s tracks is not only acceptable, but encouraged, if not seen as an honor. As an EDM artist, I’m most curious to know how you feel about the remixed versions of your tracks?
JES: Actually I love it. I always look forward to hearing the new remixes, it’s amazing to be able to recreate the tracks in different ways and present them with complete alternative productions. Often it’s a particular remix that really catches people’s imagination and it’s always nice to have a well-rounded remix package that appeals to the many different genres in EDM. As a singer and songwriter I’m always trying to widen the reach of my songs. This is something that is quite different with instrumental tracks because great songs will more easily translate into different styles and formats and this is where having a range of different remixes really helps. You can check out my latest releases and some of my favorite remixes on my soundcloud page.
OTB: I recently stumbled across your new Podcast, is there any chance that we’ll see JES on tour behind the decks anytime the future?
JES: Of course! It’s funny that you asked because I have been DJ’ing at my shows for almost a year now. It’s really been a lot of fun and an eye-opening experience that adds a whole new dimension to what I’m doing on stage. Earlier this year I launched my “Unleash The Beat” mix show which has proved very popular and is now syndicated to over 30 countries world-wide. I had received so much good feedback about my podcasts that a mix show seemed to be the next logical step. I try to make sure that I have some exclusive content each month and I often include one of my famous Taxigirl mashups. DJ’ing at my shows has been very liberating. I like to do live mashups and change the tracks around a lot more, it makes the set much more interactive and brings me closer to the audience which is what it’s all about for me.
OTB: How much creative control do you have over your music videos? The Video for Can’t Stop seems to be saying to the world, JES is a party animal that literally cannot stop dancing, is that true?
JES: I work with the same creative team on many of my video and in those I have a lot of input from the development of the idea right through to the editing and final production. I think it’s important to collaborate as much as possible and I have always been interested in film and video making. It’s another way to add expression to the song so I like to be as involved as I can be. Much like music production it can be very hard work, but it’s also very rewarding. I am a very energetic person and I’m always on the go but I don’t know if I would call myself a party animal! My schedule doesn’t really have that much space for that type of lifestyle too often, and I have to protect my voice to be able to perform well night after night so usually I’m being dragged out of the club or festival early unfortunately. When I get time to relax I find that I like it a little too much, so I try to stay busy. I like to work and be creative most days and keep my attention focused and I’m always generally happier and excited when I have a project happening and something to concentrate on. You can check out my videos on my youtube channel, and my website.
OTB: What was the inspiration for the title of your new album, Unleash The Beat? Describe a few of your favorite tracks for us.
JES: The inspiration came from many different places, but mainly so many of my friends and fans were making mix compilations of my dance tracks that I thought maybe it was time I made one myself. It started out as a recent “best of” type mix album, but I also wanted to put some exclusive tracks on there so the fans get something extra when they buy it. I started on the new tracks and it kind of got a little out of hand and turned into a full-scale album production. I have to admit that I love collecting songs, and I was just starting to get into mixing so it felt like the right time complete the album as a mix cd and turn it into a journey for the listeners. I love all the tracks on the album, I had a short list of about 30 songs that I picked the final selection from so they’re all kind of favorites of mine. “Back To You” is my on the touring road song and is very special to me. It was great to get “Fascination” on there because I loved the song but I couldn’t get the right remix of it. So many producers had tried it and not been able to find the right treatment for it, so I was really pleased when we finally got the right version. You can check it out here.
You can even get a signed hard copy from my website (rare!)
OTB: Now, something I’ve been wanted to know for a long time now…what’s the meaning behind the tattoo on your right shoulder?!
JES: My tattoo gets a lot of attention! It’s actually an ancient design of a shield and it represents protection. I spent two years looking for something that I would be able to live with and I have to say I’m still very happy with it now. It’s really become apart of me the way I hoped it would and I wouldn’t be without it. At the time I thought it would be the first of many tattoo’s, but it’s been hard to find anything that compliments it in the right way, if anyone has any ideas you can drop me a line on my facebook page.
OTB: As a vocalist, what are some of the things that you do mentally and physically to for prepare a performance?
JES: I have a pretty strict exercise, meditation and diet regime that I try to stick to as much as possible. It’s not always easy and being on the road a lot has it’s own challenges. It can be hard to find healthy food when you get out of a show at 4am before a flight to the next city, but it works better for me to try to stay in shape mentally and physically throughout the year than to just focus on preparing to for specific events. Also my schedule changes so much that there would never be enough time to get ready, so I try to eat well and get some exercise everyday. Before a show I do my push ups, get my face nice and flushed and my arms pumped! I also sing and warm up. I go through my show a few times and do some vocal exercises that I have in my ipod that I have collected throughout the years.
OTB: What do you think is the most important thing this new EDM loving generation should be doing to make sure it’s still alive and thriving in the next 10 years?
JES: EDM is in a very interesting place right now and I’m sure we will face a lot of challenges over the coming years if we are to maintain and develop our growing community. The main focus for me has to be that we continue to make and support great music. As long as the music stays fresh and there is a path for the people who create the scene to travel on, I’m sure that it will continue to thrive. EDM was really the new rock and roll when it started, a rebellious sound that existed outside the mainstream. We have been a minority group for the longest time, but that’s changing very quickly now and I think it will be better for the community as a whole to open its arms to the developments and embrace the future. As long as the music continues to connect with the way the fans feel about their lives and experiences they will find a place for it in their hearts. It’s our responsibility to keep making great music and stay connected to the audience.
OTB: Finally, what is your first memory of electronic dance music? Can you pinpoint a moment where the love affair began?
JES: Before I was making EDM I was working in the more mainstream music industry, working on pop and rock music. While I used to go clubbing and I loved dance music it wasn’t a huge part of my life the way it is now. After I moved from NYC to LA to work on music in California I met artists working in the EDM arena and that’s really when I started to get involved and caught the bug. I guess once my first release (“Starchildren” on Paul Van Dyk’s “Politics of Dancing” compilation) was pressed onto vinyl I was really hooked. One of the things I love most about the EDM field is that you get to meet and collaborate with so many other creative people and it really helps me to stay enthusiastic and optimistic about music and life in general. Some of my most recent collaborations include “Flying Blind”, Cosmic Gate’s new single.
“In Your Eyes” with Ferry Corsten is on his new WKND album and will be a single release later in the year.
“Turn It Around” is a track I did with the amazing Robbie Rivera and of course “Can’t Stop” with my good friend Ronski Speed. Check them out!
OTB: You’ve been one of the most dominant female vocalists in the electronic music scene for quite sometime and have the all of the awards to prove it. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today, we are truly honored, and already looking forward to the next album, cheers!
Thank you so much. I’m in the studio now working on many more songs so I will keep you posted.
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