jordan / a conversation

Quality music purveyors _COSM bring us yet another gem this month: Jordan (Soul People Music, NYC), the Brooklyn DJ/producer pushing the boundaries of deep house and techno.  Here, he shares with us his reflections on his time in Thailand, his latest projects – and his work with the legendary Fred P.

Hey Jordan, welcome to Bangkok!  (Or maybe this is more of a goodbye, seeing as you’re off soon..)  What’s brought you here – and how have you enjoyed your stay so far?

Thanks! Yeah, I really enjoyed my stay – and am excited to play as a sort of end to my trip. I came out here to work on music, get away from New York, and most importantly spend time with someone special. I have a sort of love/hate relationship with New York so I hope I can go back and love it again!

Was this your first time here/to Asia?

This is my first time to Asia – and I love it. It’s so interesting to immerse myself into a new (and very much different) culture for such an extended period of time. I like to go places where there is a history that stretches far back into time. Going to Ayutthaya was great, seeing something that is so old I can barely fathom it. Don’t get me started on how beautiful the south is. I am very fortunate to have Thai friends to show me around!

So tell us – how did you first get into house and techno?  What was the defining moment?

When I was 14 or so, I heard Boards of Canada for the first time. It’s not really DJ music, but that was when I decided I wanted to be a DJ – and started fooling around with fruity loops and learning the basics. As far as proper house and techno, I was playing deep Drum and Bass while working at halcyon in NY. A friend and previous employee was hanging out in the shop and said ‘Ah ok, thats basically Deep House with a drum and bass beat.’ Thats what made me want to find out where the sounds I like came from. And then the Autonomic sound led me to the Techno side of things.

Since then, you moved out of Ohio, to NYC – and then, to the world.  What did you learn about yourself and music during each of these periods of your life?

My move to New York was completely random. I was going to take a bus trip around the country and write a book. You can get these tickets for like $300 and have an unlimited bus pass for 30 days. I was going to start from New York. I just never got on that bus and met some really great people who changed my life. I can’t really describe how New York changed me. I was 21 and just learning about who I am and what I want my life to be like. I am a completely different person after spending so much time in that city. I feel like it kind of raised me.

Sounds kind of cheesy but traveling has really shown me that everywhere and everyone is different, but completely the same. I guess that is what’s great about dance music and working as an artist too. You get to have a shared experience with people even if you don’t speak the same language or grow up in the same style. There is something very important there I think.

How is it that you eventually came to work with the great Fred P, a.k.a. Black Jazz Consortium?  What are you collaborating with him on at the moment?

I met him at halcyon when he did an in store. We stayed in touch after and I sent him music. I guess the friendship just happened from there. We have a project together and have been working on some tracks..

What is the most important thing you’ve learnt from him, in your opinion? He would always ask me two questions. Why are you doing this? And what are you trying to say? I still ask myself those all the time. I am lucky to have someone around who can check my intentions.

And what do you think is in store for you as an artist in the decades to come? I have no idea! I hope that I get to continue having fun and feeling the wonder of creating something. I just want to keep connecting with people.

Tell us a little about your latest productions.

Well I just started my record label Division Point Industries and released a record under Rolling Ones, which is a collab between me and Tin Man. Everyone turned the tracks down – but we thought they were awesome, so I started a label! I also had a record ‘What We have Forgotten’ on Fred’s label, Boards, that has come out recently. It’s my favourite record that I have done so far. I also have a V/A on Owen Jay’s Batti Batti, and a remix on Dusk Notes for Soramimi’s Rapture Insignia EP. She is an artist to keep an eye on. She and Cory James are two of my closest friends and collaborators in New York. Good stuff. 

Have you been producing while you’ve been in Thailand?  How has that been going?

I have been working here in Thailand. I’m making fun house music here, after making techno for a while – so that transition has been cool. Maybe that comes from being more relaxed and warmer than in Brooklyn, haha… I’m also trying to finish up collaboration stuff that was written over the winter with Fred and Tin Man. I’m so relaxed here, and that has been very good for my process.

Any tips for Thai producers looking to improve their music and sound – especially in the realm of house and techno?

I’m so lucky to have friends that I admire. Cory James, Soramimi, Natan H, and others, have been such an important part of my developing as an artist. Just be honest with your expression, and you will find other people who feel the same way. Getting your intentions straight in this music thing is more important than how you use compression or write a patch on your synth, in my opinion. Intention and honesty is what generates my music I think. Why are you doing music, and what are you trying to say?

I almost always run things past Cory before I make a decision – and sometimes he calls me out for stuff that I don’t realize that I am doing. I’m grateful to have a friend that can do that for me. Take the criticism!

What have you experienced of the underground electronic music scene in Bangkok?  Your reflections?

My first week in Bangkok I saw that Kirk Digiorgio was playing for _COSM. I went to Studio Lam to check it out and was really happy to see people loving good Techno in a small room on an AWESOME sound system. The space kind of reminds me of Bossa Nova Civic Club in BK.

Overall, I think that there is a lot of good stuff happening in Asia! It’s so cool that I can go anywhere in the world and there is that pocket of people who are into the same stuff as me.

We’re super excited about your upcoming performance at Studio Lam on 29 April.  What can we expect?

I’m excited too! I’m going to be playing a bunch of music that I have written here, and am happy that I get to share my experience. I’ll play a little house, a little techno, and we’ll have a laugh. The soundsystem at Studio Lam is amazing, can’t wait to test new stuff on it.

Is there anything else you want to do before you leave Thailand?    Yeah, I want to go record shopping. I was in Isaan when I first arrived here, and want to dig into some of the the folk music stuff, as well as see if there are any house/techno gems here in Thailand.

I also need more beach time.

Haha – don’t we all! 😀  

Well, thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us, Jordan.  We’re looking forward to seeing you again soon – this time from the dance floor of Studio Lam. 🙂  In the meantime – Happy Songkran!  
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