Jay Cosmic just dropped his thunderous new remix of “We Are Electric” (originally by DVBBS) that has already received support from EDM heavyweight Porter Robinson. His new song is up as a free download on Soundcloud, tagged as “velociraptor stomp” and sporting the directions “1. download 2. play LOUD”. I finally got a chance to ask him some questions and hear his thoughts on everything from music production to bacon sandwiches.
Where did it all begin?
I was surrounded by music from an early age, so I got an ear for it pretty quickly. I started off listening to mainly rock music (The Who, The Eagles, Dire Straits, Status Quo etc). I was in HMV with my Dad when I was about 11, and he thought I might like trance music, so he bought me a compliation. Turns out he was totally correct. When I was 12 I got into UK Hardcore (Basically trance at 170bpm but a lot harder). I absolutely loved it and would listen to it 24/7. The main attraction was the contrast of the euphoric breakdowns, followed by ridiculous build ups (lasting over a minute, which is a long time at that tempo!) then the soaring melodies or twisted sounds used in the chorus.It didn’t take long for me to decide that I also wanted the ability to give people goosebumps through music.
When was it that you first started producing and what inspired you to start making EDM?
I first started when I was about 13, obviously making UK Hardcore – I did this until I was about 16, when I moved down the tempo scale to Hands Up – I loved the even cheesier melodies, and the fact there was more space between the beats.
Then at about 17 I heard ‘BRUK ft Marie L – Keep Running’. Which is a hard, complex electro track, It just totally blew my mind and I knew I had to learn how to do that. I went and explored all kinds of music at 128bpm and just loved it all really.
But I generally try and stick to the concept that made me love electronic music in the first place: Goosebump giving breakdown, shocking drop.
As an artist from the UK, how do you view the UK rave scene in comparison to the US scene and it’s recent progression?
People here have generally been listening to dance music a lot longer, and therefore they know exactly what they like. If I asked someone if they were into ‘EDM’ – they’d probably think I was trying to sell them drugs. Most don’t know what it’s an abbreviation of. But this same person could well be a huge fan of underground dub/garage or whatever, which is still electronic dance music, but not classed as ‘EDM’. Whereas in the US I imagine a lot more people would know what I was talking about, but not as many would have an in depth knowledge or passion for a certain style/sub-genre due to the fact it’s a fairly new ‘thing’ in comparison with the UK, so their tastes haven’t been quite as moulded yet, which is cool, because it means people are open minded to anything under the umbrella term EDM.
Lately there have been instances where artists have been asked to step down because of the music they played. How do you feel about the role of the DJ as a crowd pleaser and entertainer?
Well, as you said ‘artists’ who’ve been asked to step down because of what they played, that isn’t cool. That’s like putting rules on creativity. I think that club djs should be crowd pleasers, and the DJs/artists on the huge stages should be more in the entertainer category.
Your first release on Sweetshop Records, “Jellyfish” is a fusion of all sorts of genres and influences. The drum and bass drop really surprised me. The majority of EDM has a reputation of predictable patterns and a consistent tempo. Do you think that stigma will persist into 2013?
Absolutely. I wouldn’t say it’s a stigma though, it’s just what dance music is, infact it’s probably part of the appeal for a lot of people. For starters, it has to be repetitive/consistent tempo for djs to mix it in the usual way… although I am looking forwards to the day when people just don’t bother putting DJ intro/outros on their tracks, it’s not like we don’t have the technology to be more creative with mixing.
What music have you been listening to lately? Are there any artists you would recommend?
Recently I’ve been listening to music made mainly by my friends and people I talk to, I love the way people in EDM are inspired by each others music and it’s a really big friendly competition. Joe Garston – I swear down, this guy’s music could be used as medicine. Listen to one track, and you will be in a good mood. Listen to five and your day is going to be full of happy tears and rainbows. Super feel good melodies along with splashings of complextro-esque bass. Konec - A combination of monster growls, 8bit leads and super epic chords. Bass music that actually takes you on a journey. Paris Blohm – Driving, anthemic progressive house with melodies emotive enough to raise the hair on your neck. Candyland – Awesome unique bass music with styles and influences from lots of other genres. Mikkas - Trance-infused hard, complex electro. Probably one of my favourite artists/sounds. Synchronice – These guys are the only ones recently to make my jaw head towards the floor at the drop. They have a really awesome combination of filthy bass and clean production, which results in bigroom sounding bass music.
Last I heard, you were concentrating on studio production and not taking much time off to sleep. When you’re in the zone, is there an easily prepared meal that you turn to?
Hahaha that is my life story, last week I did a few days working 9am-3am going almost flat out. I generally wait until I think I’m about to black out from starvation before I’ll move away from what I’m working on, but when I do it’s usually bacon sandwich time.