J-Trick – Djs, Deorro, Demo Tapes and More!
Jamie (a.k.a. J-Trick) of Sydney, Australia- A name that has appeared time and time again in festival set track lists. Over the past 2 years, Jamie has shot up through the underground and onto the main stage. We have seen massive collaborations and heard his tracks played by more than a few major house/electro superstars.
‘Scream’ A collaboration with Henry Fong released on Musical Freedom. It’s just now hit the shelves and is only going to see more exposure in the coming months. ‘Rambo’, the collaboration with Deorro from earlier this year was also a sure-fire hit. Supported by Tiesto and Hardwell respectively, these two bomb-shells has been a favorite weapon of festival DJs around the globe. Fresh off the summer hype – J-Trick is without a doubt on track for super stardom!
I caught up with him at Volume in Seattle for a chance to sit down and really get an closer look behind the curtain:
OTB – How are you feeling?
Jamie – Dude I’m pumped, I can’t wait to get on. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this place, really looking forward to it. I got so much unreleased stuff so should be dope, I can’t wait to play.
OTB – Do you feel some of the underground vibes that they say come from Volume?
Jamie – Yeah, definitely man. Walking through the club, it’s definitely got that underground vibe to it. It’s exactly what I love so it’s going to be sick!
OTB – How long were you planning today’s set? Just to give people an idea of how long you go for a particular nightclub night.
Jamie –Usually I play for an hour and a half but I never plan my set. I’ve always got a selection of about 200 songs or so that I’ve been playing lately and I just interchange between them. I never really hand-pick my set or play a certified or specific set – like track by track, I never do that. So yeah but I’m always prepared with a lot of music but an hour and a half is the perfect set time for me. Smash it out, take people on a bit of a journey, you know? And that’s it, it’s what it’s all about.
OTB – So how do you feel about the Kaskade approach, the opposite approach where you plan every song, plan every transition and how long you’re going to take?
Jamie – I’ve got nothing against that, man. Obviously a lot of those big names have a lot of pyrotechnics and all that sort of stuff that’s attached. I don’t have a problem with that but to be honest, personally I prefer to just go live and just get a feel for the crowd and just play it by ear, you know?
OTB – I actually noticed in one of your earlier interviews you actually said that you prefer not to ever, yeah you never plan what you’re going to make you just kinda let it happen
Jamie – Yeah, I never know what I’m going to make next. Whatever I feel at the time, if it feels natural and I like it and I’m into it, then it’s going to happen but I never try to force something out, ever. It just never works with me, I tried it before and I just can’t work like that. I just try to keep it natural, keep it 100% real and that’s it.
OTB – A lot of the people that share your relatively/arguably mainstream sound, A lot of them actually do go into the studio and, you know, they go in there with the mindset ‘I’m going to make this kind of track, I’m going to make a banger, it’s going to be ready tonight.’ How do you feel about that kind of production style?
“I always know what genre I’m going to make but I don’t want to limit myself”
Jamie – Don’t get me wrong, I always have in mind what sort of genre I want to do. It’s just like, I never say like ‘alright I’m going to make a song that sounds like this song’ or something like that. For example, I never say ‘alright, I made this song a month ago, I’m going to make something like that again.’ I never take that approach. I always know what genre I’m going to make but I don’t want to limit myself, put it that way. I never try to limit myself, so as long as it’s not limiting, that’s it.
OTB – How about your DJ lifestyle? How much time, a day do you take to spin and mix and stuff like that/
Jamie – To be honest, a lot of the DJing I do now, a lot of the practice is what I do in the clubs. Back in the day, I used to spend a lot of time practicing on the decks and stuff but lately I’ve just been trying to focus on the production but it’s definitely something I want to get back into. I want to try and tighten up my DJing a little bit more so there’s definitely room for improvement and I hope to focus on that a lot more.
OTB – Recently out of your productions we heard a great Henry Fong [collab] and also a remix of back-2-life, do you have any thoughts on those and maybe some promotion?
Jamie – Yeah [‘Scream’ with Henry Fong] is actually a collab that’s coming out on Tiesto’s label on Monday. I can’t wait for that! That collab was one of my favorite ones to do. It was really 50-50 and it was like, working with him I learned so much and he did as well. It was just a great team effort on that one. I’m really happy with the way [it] turned out. And yeah, that back-2-life remix as well. I’m really excited for the back-2-life one to come out because I did it almost a year ago so for it to finally come out now is like, it’s really good. And [I’ve] been getting a lot of support for it so should be dope, [I’m] looking forward to it.
OTB – You’re on your US tour right now, this is the Rambo tour right? How’s that going so far?
Jamie –Oh dude, so far the response has been amazing, I’d have to say Yost in Cali or Drai’s so far have been the highlights, but every show’s brought the energy. It’s been amazing. The response for the Melbourne bounce over here is just unreal so yeah, it’s been the best experience and I can’t wait to come back hopefully soon, you know?
OTB – This is your first tour after you switched sounds, after you basically. you really refined your sound, I feel. The songs you’re coming out with, they’re definitely refined, anybody would argue that. How do you feel about your new sound and how it compares to your old sound when you were just getting popular?
Jamie – I think one of the biggest things on that point would be when I moved to Ableton, about a year ago. I learned so much man, I learned a lot of stuff that, to me, I feel made my sound more refined like you said. Deorro taught me a lot. Deorro was really my biggest inspiration and it’s so crazy because he’s one of my good friends as well, so. yeah, he really taught me how to refine my sound a lot and I think that’s one of the main things. Also, just finding a genre that I really love and sticking to it. I think that’s helping as well because I’m learning more about it and it’s allowing me to be more professional with it.
OTB – Deorro, IMO is a great person to look up to, he has such a clean sound but he’s American right?
Jamie – Yeah, to me he was the one who invented Melbourne Bounce. Melbourne used to be very underground, very minimal. As soon as Deorro came out with Big Fat, that’s when it got bouncy, that’s when it got fun. And then that’s when guys like Will Sparks, myself, Reece Low, Uberjak’d. All these guys in the scene, we all look up to Deorro. In my opinion, that’s how it happened.
OTB – Wow, that’s something you definitely don’t hear a lot.
Jamie – Yeah I saw it from the start, man. I’ve known Deorro since Tonic, since he was Tonic back in the day and that’s when all that shit started and I could see it.
OTB – Just because we touched on your Moombah background, I read in one of your other interviews that you were planning a Moombah gathering in Australia?
Jamie – That might have been a while ago. The last time I did Moombah was myabe like, a year and a half, 2 years ago. I’m well past that. Look, I still love it, don’t get me wrong, I kind of just transitioned out of it.
OTB – You said your music listening background is very hip-hop oriented?
Jamie – Yeah, yeah definitely. When I’m in my car the only thing I listen to is hip-hop and rap. Even on my phone, I can show you right now. I don’t have one dance song, not even my own. I don’t even have my own songs on my phone.
OTB – This is a producer question, do you frequently bounce songs and just put them on a CD and listen to them in your car just to monitor them?
Jamie – What I do, I just upload it to Soundcloud and I listen to it on my phone, I listen to it in my car. I’ve got the 4 checks, so obviously the studio monitors., iPhone [speaker], iPhone with the headphones and the car as well.
OTB – Those are definitely useful tools, because the car is it’s own little free isolation booth, then you have all the high end from the phone, it’s perfect.
Jamie – The thing is, when I’m in the car I like to listen to the radio a lot, because I hear the mastering there and I know how my car sounds. So when I hear my song in the car, I know what should be…you know what I mean? That’s the way I see it.
OTB – You don’t feel like the radio is like…Seems kind of low quality to me, like the music that’s coming through.
Jamie – Oh yeah, it’s low quality but that’s the whole point, man. Basically, every song on the radio is mastered professionally right? Even though it’s low quality, if your stuff sounds good on a low quality system or whatever, it’ll sound good. You just gotta train your ear to what works for you.
OTB – You learn your own preferences with monitoring, would you agree with that?
Jamie – Absolutely, there’s no right or wrong at all it’s whatever sounds good to you, just run with it.
OTB – Where do you see Melbourne bounce in 5 years?
Jamie – That’s a good question. I hope to see it still smashing it, I hope to see the big guys supporting it and I don’t see why not, I really hope that happens. It definitely needs to evolve. I can already see it now, all the big names are doing big-room breakdowns with Melbourne bounce drops. I kind of see it going in that direction.
OTB – It seems to me there’s a lot of trance influence like in the Kaizer track Neapolis recently, How do you feel about that sort of trancy or bassy sound?
Jamie – I’m not familiar with the track to be honest with you, man. But I’m open to hearing any sort of style. Dude, if it’s banging- it’s banging, it’s as simple as that. If people appreciate it, it should be good, should be big. As long as people are appreciating it, then it doesn’t really matter what style or genre it is.
OTB – As long as it’s banging?
Jamie – As long as it’s banging in some way, even deep house is banging. You can get banging deep house tracks, you can. As long as it’s banging in it’s own way, why not?
“As long as people are appreciating it, then it doesn’t really matter what style or genre it is.”
OTB – That’s something you stood by with your label, Club Cartel. You said you’re up for anything as long as it’s banging, as long as it’s a good tune?
Jamie – Absolutely, with my label that’s a perfect example. I just want to release stuff that people are excited about. No matter what it is, that’s it.
Jamie – Honestly, bring something that’s unique. It can be the same genre, it can be Melbourne bounce, it can be whatever but just add your own twist to it that’s going to blow people away. They’ll be like “wow, yeah this is Melbourne bounce but I haven’t heard that before” you know? Just bring something different.
OTB – Just something different? So just send it in and the people can be assured that it’ll be heard?
Jamie – Of course, man. We’re expanding big at the label at the moment, I brought on two more guys just to help me out. Obviously my workload is getting pretty big at the moment, but we want to give everyone an opportunity. It’s the whole reason I started the label in the first place. We’ll make sure everything gets heard, but again just bring something unique and I guarantee you, any label will pick it up.
OTB – You’ve had a lot of experience the last couple years, I’m sure you learned a lot of stuff on how to manage your label. Any new additions from your label?
Jamie – We’re starting up a podcast. We’ve got a new concept called ‘On The Rise’ which basically showcases 4 of the best up-and-coming artists every quarter of the year and released as an EP. So that’s a way to bring in new guys that are unheard of so that’s a new concept we have going on as well that I’m really excited about. If you guys want to get involved, just send us your music and that’s it.
OTB – So I see you’re a Tech N9ne fan, I’m also a pretty big Tech fan. On a personal note, his song ‘Caribou Lou’ is my favorite, what’s yours?
Jamie – I’ve gotta say ‘In The Air’ has got to be my favorite, I bump that shit every day – it’s the best.
OTB – What other hip-hop artists are your favorites since we’re on the topic?
Jamie – Tupac and Biggie are my equal favorites. I listen to all the OG shit, man, I love some of the new shit, like Kid Ink is one of my favorite artists at the moment but all the old school shit is where my heart’s at. That’s all the shit I listen to in my car, I just love it.
OTB – Before we get back into the promotional questions, I read up that you were at one point Uberjak’d’s roommate, how’s that going?
Jamie – Still roommates! It’s the best, we’re on the same page we’re doing the same thing all the time so it just works out.
OTB – So big up-and-comers, who do you see as really breaking through and changing the game? Maybe changing the Melbourne scene?
Jamie – Very good question, man. I see a new kid on the block, Tyrone Hapi. Definitely see him bursting onto the scene. Haber, Jason Risk all these guys are fucking killing it! Dirty Palm, working closely with him, he’s really good. He’s gonna be doing some massive stuff. All these young guns on my label, I can’t wait to show you guys what we have coming up. We have a lot of new stuff on my label as well. It’s going to be awesome, I can’t wait to help these guys break in a little bit.
OTB – Are you going to continue the Trickcast as well?
Jamie – Yeah, we have some massive plans for the Trickcast as well, I can’t say too much but it’s only going upwards and upwards.
OTB – You have a lot of competition out there, such as your roommate’s Ubercast.
Jamie – I don’t do it for the popularity at all. The Trickcast is my little hobby. I like to put it out, I get to drop my own new exclusive tune for the first time in there. It’s something I do for myself and if people like it, all the better. I have some big plans for it, I hope to make it a bit more professional.
OTB – So is your podcast a place you like to test your new material?
Jamie – Definitely, I love playing new stuff for the first time and hearing what people have to say. It’s dope, it’s a testing ground for a lot of stuff so it’s good.
OTB – You’re as scared as any producer out there of playing your own track and clearing the floor?
Jamie – Yeah I wouldn’t want to experience that. *laughs nervously* That’d be fucked up! Hopefully that never happens!
OTB – But you’ve taken that risk before? just mastered something up real quick.
Jamie – Obviously when I was starting up, the tracks weren’t even half the quality they are now so I was taking risks, but it’s generally been pretty good.
OTB – Just for some background, how much more work are you planning to do for Revealed and Hardwell?
Jamie – After Rambo I signed a publishing deal with Cloud 9 which handles all of Hardwell, all of Revealed and all of Musical Freedom. So I really hope that I can work more with them because we share the same publishing company so it’s a great way to get my foot in the door. Obviously I’m just looking for that follow-up to get my foot back in that door with them and hopefully continue the relationship because they are a great label to work with. Rambo was the foot in the door but it’s always about that follow-up, that consistency. Always gotta stay consistent, stay on top of the ball!
OTB – Any last words before we wrap up?