JES is still EDM’s #1 Vocalist
It’s not often in this industry that you come across someone like JES. Not only has she collaborated with the likes of Tiesto, Armin van Buuren, BT, Cosmic Gate, ATB, Ferry Corsten and more, but she also holds 3 Billboard #1 hits (“Imagination,” “As The Rush Comes” and “Every Other Way”), a Billboard Top 5 Dance Song of the Decade for her hit with Motorcycle, multiple IDMA nominations, and the list goes on. And let’s not forget her radio show “Unleash The Beat,” which recently hit its 100th episode and is now aired on over 50 radio stations worldwide.
Besides her many accolades JES shines with her vibrant personality, and to this date remains one of our favorite people to interview for her many words of wisdom and overall kindness. So it was quite the honor when we were given another chance to speak to the stunning triple threat following the release of her “High Glow” remix package that features Sunny Lax, Ciaran McAuley, Hamptons Chill.
Behind The Beat | JES Interview 2014
OTB: We last spoke over a year ago this month. What have you been up to since then?
JES: Wow has it been that long!? Time flies when you’re making music ☺. I don’t think I’ve had much time off since we spoke last, my radio show has just reached it’s 100th episode and we celebrated with a live-streamed show. My new studio in Los Angeles is up and running, which has been great because it’s really gotten the creativity flowing. There’s been a lot of traveling and touring and I’m writing a lot of new material. I started my own record label this year and hopefully you should see the first releases from that early next year. As ever I’m working on some collaborations, “High Glow” is out right now on Beatport and I have a fairly full release schedule until the end of the year with more new songs on the way.
OTB: Tell us about your new remix package for “High Glow.” It was originally released in 2007 with a famous remix by Tiesto. Why did you decide to revive “High Glow” and how were the remixers chosen?
JES: I always try to make sure that a song reaches as many people as possible. There are so many songs on my past albums that I would love to re-release. It’s a bit like having children and wanting to make sure they get the best opportunities! I always had a lot of support from the fans for “High Glow” but because it was a part of the “In Search Of Sunrise” release it didn’t get as much exposure as it would of if it had been released as a single. Recently I have had a lot of remix requests from producers asking if they could get the accappella, so I felt that was a sign and that it was time to dust it off. I always loved Sunny Lax’s remixes and when I was talking to Arny Bink (Black Hole Recordings) about it he mentioned that Sunny might be interested so it just all fell into place. While Sunny was working on the mix Ciaran McAuley had also approached us to do a remix for the song so it seemed like there was a connection there. We rounded out the package with a chill out mix from Hamptons Chill (aka Richard Robson), so it’s going to be a wonderful rebirth 😉
OTB: And it definitely has been! How did the original remix by Tiesto come about?
JES: I was living in Amsterdam while we were promoting my “Disconnect” album and Tiesto’s “Elements Of Life”. We had just done “Everything” for his album and he was looking for songs for his next “In Search Of Sunrise” and called me and I suddenly got very inspired! I didn’t have much of a studio so I was working on it while I was on the road. I recorded it in bathrooms and hotel rooms with my laptop. I have an acoustic guitar that goes with me everywhere and I wrote and recorded the original version of it with that. I worked with Richard Robson on the track to come up with some different sounds and then we handed it over to Tiesto to add his sound to it.
OTB: You mentioned in our last interview that there was an entire verse missing from your collab with BT & TyDi on “Tonight,” and you might do a down temp version in the future. Any chance that might come into fruition?
JES: It was a funny time when we were working on that song. I really loved the verse so I was understandably devastated that it didn’t get included, but at the time, I was traveling and they needed it right that minute so I wasn’t able to get it to them on time. It does work well with just a chorus. A down tempo version of “Tonight” sounds like a really great idea so I’ll make some calls and let you know when its done!
OTB: Your Facebook page says you live in both LA and New York, which are both hotspots for industry folks. What do you like most about each city? If an EDM artist were moving to the US, which one would you suggest?
JES: I’m a hardcore New Yorker.
It’s a tough town but I love the energy of that city. For me it just has something that nowhere else can quite live up to. It’s great for clubs and art and I find it really sets my creativity in motion. Los Angeles has it’s own qualities. I think if you’re looking to network and meet people it’s a little easier in LA and the cost of living is lower. There’s a lot more production happening in LA so it can be a great place to develop your career as well.
OTB: Has being a well-known vocalist been helpful or detrimental to your DJ career? What are some of the challenges you’ve faced making that transition?
JES: I will always be a singer and writer first, but being a DJ is so much fun. It hasn’t been an easy transition to get people to see you as both things but my fans are the best, and when you see the show with me singing and DJ’ing they instantly get it.
I’ve been through tough transitions before. When Motorcycle split up it was a long road to getting the fans to even know my name and not be billed as “JES from Motorcycle.” Even though I have a weekly radio show with over 100 episodes and I have DJ’d live for over 2 years some promoters are still surprised when I arrive at sound check with all my equipment to DJ. It’s all part of the challenge and the fun, and everyone knows I won’t stop till I’m on that list ☺.
OTB: While we’re on the topic, what’s your favorite DJ gear in and out of the studio?
JES: Ableton Live, Livid personalized DJ controller, Apogee Duet II.
OTB: What about your favorite DJ trick on the mixer?
JES: I like the gated reverbs and delays as well as the robot flanger and the beat repeater! I use Ableton live so I’m able to create my own FX, and I use the Livid controller to manipulate them in the mix.
OTB: And what are some of the tracks that you’re playing at the moment ?
JES: The SNBRN remix of “Unbreakable” featuring Sam Martin by Dirty South. It’s a great end of summer cut, sort of deep house, simple… frames the song well and its original.
“Feet On The Ground” by Nicky Romero and Anouk – makes me want to dance and put my hands in the air!
“Fix Me“ – Swanky Tunes featuring Raign.
And of course “High Glow” – Sunny Lax Remix. It’s uplifting and edgy!
OTB: Let’s move back to your vocalist career. What track are you most proud of having created?
JES: That’s a hard question! I really love a lot of the new material that I’ve been working on in my studio which isn’t out yet. Of my older songs I’m very proud of “Ghost”, “Every Other Way,” “Imagination,” and of course, “As The Rush Comes.” From my recent songs I was very proud of “Hard To Cure” (with ATB). I hoped that it would get a single release but it seems like maybe it won’t now which is sad. I really cherish all the songs. I work very hard on them before they’re released so they’re all very important to me.
OTB: We love them all! Now we’re going to do a short quick-fire. First question is, what was the first album you bought?
JES: Probably Tears For Fears’ “Songs From The Big Chair” or Madonna’s “Like A Virgin.”
JES: James Bay – “The Dark Of The Morning EP” and MO – “No Mythologies To Follow.”
OTB: Favorite karaoke song?
JES: Wild Horses (Rolling Stones), Into The Grove (Madonna), Benny and the Jets (Elton John).
OTB: Biggest pet peeve?
JES: When people don’t follow through on their commitments!
OTB: You’ve been in the dance music scene for a while now, but for those of us that are new, what do you want them to know about JES today?
JES: JES is a singer, songwriter, DJ and producer that has maintained a defining career in electronic music from the mid 2000’s onwards. As a solo artist and a collaborator with some of the biggest names in EDM JES has won various industry awards including the prestigious IDMA and achieved two Billboard #1’s as well as numerous Grammy nominations. Her song as a part of the group Motorcycle “As The Rush Comes” is perhaps one of the most recognized songs in the history of dance music. She has released 4 solo albums (Disconnect, Into The Dawn, High Glow & Unleash The Beat) and also has a weekly radio mixshow that has a developed into a quarterly digital mix album under the “Unleash The Beat” brand name. How’s that! Lol not always easy to write about yourself !
OTB: You did fantastic! Thanks for letting us get to know you a little more JES. So what’s in store for JES for the rest of 2014?
JES: “High Glow” is out now and I have a beautiful video which we shot in Hawaii coming out on the November 3rd. I have a remix package of my Sunlounger collaboration “Glitter and Gold” with Roger Shah out on November 10th and there’s also a really cool video for that coming too. I have a new song called “2 Souls” coming in December as well so it’s a pretty packed release schedule between now and the holidays and I will have a nice Christmas surprise for my fans.
Thank you so much Only The Beat for your continued support! Keep the Rush Coming…