For most people, Jimpster needs no introduction.
One of UK's house music brightest lights since the late 90's. He's one of the veteran exports that you can still hear almost everywhere around the world, 25 years into his career. Together with Tom Roberts, he founded the labels Freerange Records and Delusions of Grandeur, two labels that still aim to deliver undeniable deep & classic house cuts for the dance floor. A little less known but equally important is that he helped to break equally impressive acts such as Detroit Swindle, Tornado Wallace and Session Victim.
As a producer, he's still striving to produce the perfect house track which will stand the test of time and his blueprint seems very simple: to inject life, depth, soul, sincerity, and attitude. As he says: "That challenge is what keeps me focused and inspired 25 years on and I'm sure it will keep me on my toes for many years to come."
But after all, Jamie is perhaps most revered for his deft touch when it comes to remixing others. That's why we had a conversation about his third retrospective remixes compilation which highlights remixes from 2008 through to 2017. Names like Seal, Josh Wink, Sísý Ey, Manuel Tur, Kasper Bjørke, Kollektiv Turmstrasse quickly pop up on the tracklist. Quite a lot of options for a good walk down the memory lane.
Hey Jamie, thank you for taking the time and answering some questions. What have you been up to lately?
Apart from melting in this uncharacteristically hot heatwave, we’re having in the UK right now, I’ve been busy in the studio working on lots of new music - a couple of remixes on the go as well as new Jimpster material and some collaboration projects too. I’ve had some great gigs recently in Paris, Beirut, and Barcelona and just getting ready for a US tour which starts on Thursday. Looking forward to playing in Minneapolis and Austin for the first time as well as some nice parties in LA, San Francisco, Denver, and Brooklyn.
You’ve been active in the music business for quite some time now, what changed the most since you’ve started?
I think that the advent of social media has perhaps had the biggest impact on the way that musicians, producers and DJ’s work these days. It’s simply not enough to be able to make music and trust it's going to get picked up on anymore. Traditional music media is pretty much a thing of the past so labels and artists are reliant on getting premieres with the blogs and channels to gain exposure so PR is more important than ever.
This comes perfectly naturally to the younger generation of course but for us old guys it can sometimes feel like walking in quicksand but we just have to try and adapt and understand and embrace the new technology and marketing side of things.
Name an old record of yours that you still often come back to? What's special about it?
I don’t tend to play much of my own music in my DJ sets but there are certain places, like South Africa, where I feel the crowd would be a bit disappointed if they didn’t hear a few of my tracks. I’m more likely to play my recent or forthcoming stuff but there are a few favourites that I still enjoy playing and get a good reaction.
High Wire from my Porchlight & Rocking Chairs LP works great as the last tune or open air/daytime event as it has a deeper, more musical vibe which comes like a breath of fresh air after heavier or minimal tracks.
You’ve just released a remix retrospective compilation with remixes spanning from 2008 to 2017. Why did you decide to release it?
This is the third remix retrospective of mine and there have been a lot of well-received remixes over the last 10 years which I’m very proud of and feel that they sit well together as a compilation. It’s a digital only release which meant I could include a lot of my favourites (twenty-seven in total) and I wanted to give a little something extra in the form of a continuous mix as track twenty-eight. I couldn’t be happier with the response so far and had so many nice comments from DJ’s and press alike.
The compilation is impressive. After all these years which remix still stands out for you?
My remix of Freak Seven’s - We Bring The Music still stands out as it has aged pretty well and seems to work well whenever and wherever I play it.
How did you approach the mix? Did you record it in real-time or is it studio (daw) mix?
I put the mix together in Ableton Live. The idea was to present the tracks in a seamless and carefully blended way rather than as a showcase for my DJ skills. I don’t like to use any warping/time stretching features as this compromises the sound quality so it was a case of finding which tracks sat harmonically and rhythmically well together as well as putting the set together in a similar way as I would a live DJ mix, easing into things before hitting building the energy towards a peak and then winding down at the end.
Music production was always a big part of what you do. How does your studio setup look like these days? Are you more of a gear freak or do you spend more time on the computer?
I have a few key hardware elements in the studio but not really a gear freak and often happy working on tracks purely in the computer. I quite often start initial sketches for a track whilst I’m travelling to or from gigs and then once I’m home I’ll run certain elements through the Roland Space Echo and replace plug-in synths with my Fender Rhodes, Juno 106 or Voyetra Eight.
I’ve started using my TR808 drum machine a lot more recently, driving it through my Joe Meek Pro Channel for some extra crunch and compression and find tracks come together quicker when I’m using the hardware due printing the audio to not constantly being able to tweak things.
What inspires you at the moment while making music? Are you obsessing about anything particular right now? What exactly does it take to get Jimpster going?
I find the best way to get inspiration in the studio is having been away for a few days and playing some nice parties. When I'm back on Monday I’m usually fired up and ready to make fresh music and if the ideas aren’t flowing freely then I’ll spend some time sampling some old records or simply playing my Rhodes rather than stress about not having come up with a new track. As long as I’ve been productive in some way then that’s fine.
It might be searching for new music, putting together a fresh DJ mix or spending some time A&Ring music for Freerange or Delusions Of Grandeur, there’s always plenty to do and I try not to force myself into working on a track if I’m not in the mood.
With who would you collaborate in the studio in an instant - the sky is the limit?
I think it would be really interesting to collaborate with an artist totally outside of electronic or club music. It would be amazing to work with someone like Pat Metheny although I’d be in way too much awe to be able to come up with anything worthwhile!
Which party has really surprised you in the last year?
Spring Fiesta in Johannesburg was a memorable one for me. I’d been told by a few people that it was very intense but the energy level from the crowd and their knowledge and familiarity with my music surpassed my expectations. Getting such a warm response on the other side of the world is very inspiring!
Africa definitely still is one of the undiscovered territories. Summer is in full swing right now, where can we catch you during the second part of the summer?
Apart from the upcoming US tour, I’ll also be playing some great festivals in Japan, Germany, and Australia as well as club dates in Seoul, Paris, Berlin, and London.
I don’t play too often in my home city so it’s always great to get the chance to catch up with friends after being away for a while and also to see how the London scene is developing and what new venues are opening.
Thank you for answering those questions, have a great summer!
My pleasure! Thanks for the support!