Ten Questions With Terry Gotham: Jae Jin [Indie Soul/R&B]

(This week, I’m honored to be bringing you one of the first looks at R&B/Soul singer Jae Jin. After earning a spot on House of Cards & being featured in the Huffington Post, he’s building a his fanbase & crowdfunding his debut album which is totally something you need to get in on. He’s also one of the best voices & musical talents of my generation, deserving your total attention. ) 1. With this release, what can people expect to hear from you? This release is a huge deal for me, because as an artist, this is the very first time, in all of its vulnerability, that I’ll be releasing original music and original songwriting. Writing has always been a passion of me (I even entered University as a prospective writing major) and my songwriting has gone through so much growth and fine-tuning, and continues to. My original music is also a reflection of my life, my love, and bits of the things I’ve been through. It is my hope that individuals will be able to not necessarily garner the same thoughts and feelings, but to just simply feel emotions that stem from their own lived experiences in life.

2. How did it feel when you were informed your song would be on House of Cards? Has anything come of it? House of Cards was a wonderful experience. It was very much grace and unmerited favor. I got brought on not just as an extra, but as a Principal Actor for an episode and had the opportunity to sing a Christian song by Hillsong for the church scene. I feel that the biggest thing that has come from it, is the impact it makes in viewers lives… an impact I didn’t intend nor could even plan. On a monthly basis, I am reached out to via social media and email by individuals who feel like they were so encouraged and moved by just that tiny scene. Some even talk about how they don’t believe or are spiritual, yet felt something or were moved emotionally. THAT is powerful! That has nothing to do with me or my talent. It has everything to do with music. Music can be so damn powerful!

3. How has your sound changed over the last couple of years? My sound has been evolving so damn much over the past few years, and even in the past few months it continues to evolve. I imagine that as an artist who continues to cultivate his craft and work to become better, that the evolving element will continue on. I think that the moment I’m not evolving or growing will be the moment I’m no longer alive.

4. Do you plan on adding more members to your band? Or are you satisfied with what you’ve got going right now? I don’t have a set band right now, but deep down, I know that my music will be brought to a whole other level once I form a band to properly bring my thoughts, ideas, and original music to its highest potential. I’m NEVER satisfied with anything I’ve got going on right now, besides maybe the fans. I’m DEFINITELY satisfied by the support and love that pours out to me. More than satisfied, I’d say I’m grateful and truly blessed.

5. What is the summer of 2015 looking like for Jae Jin? Touring? Collaborations? So summer 2015 will be pivotal. I’ve just launched a crowdfunding campaign through PledgeMusic to release my debut album. A majority of it is sitting in pre-production and I’m hoping that I’ll bring this album to fruition. I’ll be heading back out to the West Coast for a month starting in June to complete and finalize the album. I also continue to play out here in NYC and will aim to continue to do shows when I’m out West during the summer months.

6. What artists or tracks do you listen to on a daily or weekly basis? I’m CONSTANTLY listening to new music. But I’m also always listening to some of my favorite influences. It is funny how with many of my favorite influences, you can listen to the same song, and depending on where you are in your own life or how you feel, the song can speak in different ways. Again… the power of music.

7. Are there any artists that are coming up right now that really inspire you? I’d say that there’s definitely a handful of artists that I’m glad are recently enjoying the spotlight. A few that come to mind are Allen Stone and Alabama Shakes. Also, I’m also really into this British electronica trio called Years & Years. They won BBC Sound of 2015 among other awards this year, and I’m excited for their debut album Communion. But for every artist that seems to be in the spotlight, there are definitely a handful that I wish had an even bigger spotlight. I’m also really inspired by a singer/songwriter named Josh Garrels and also really a fan of this folk-rock band called Dawes.8. Do you feel you’ve been discriminated against or treated differently as an Asian soul/R&B singer? I’d say that the fact that I’m Asian definitely hurts me but also can help me at times. At the end of the day, music and soul knows no race. I also love breaking social constructs and stereotypes. Most times, when I get on stage, most people don’t really expect the music or sound that comes out of my mouth, and to me, there is a bit of satisfaction in that. You can even look at someone like Sam Smith. When you hear that voice on the radio, you don’t imagine that he looks the way he does. Not saying that it’s a bad look. It’s just really cool that regardless of looks, artists are breaking social constructs and also breaking the common typified personas of what an artist should or shouldn’t look like. It’s like oneself in life. You can’t change how you were born. You just own it and be confident in it. In my case, I can’t change what race I was born. I also can’t change the discrimination or the challenges that come with it. I will simply accept them and move forward boldly knowing that if I want something so passionately, not even challenges or obstacles will stand in the way.

9. Who are your musical idols? Any personal dream acts to open for? I’m not sure that I idolize any musicians or artists. I do have a fond respect for nearly all artists who create their own music. Of course, there aren’t too many artists and musicians who still create their own original content but they do exist. I would say that it would be amazing to sing in front of some of my biggest influences like Stevie Wonder and it’d be pretty amazing to one day open for current musicians I highly respect. These artists range across many genres as well. To list a few, Ray LaMontagne, John Mayer, Dawes, Allen Stone, Paolo Nutini, Sam Smith, John Legend, Gavin Degraw, Miguel… the list can honestly go on and on. One day when I’m sharing the stage with even one, I’ll be pretty ecstatic!

10. Any words to those who may be struggling with illness or a crisis in creation? We are all susceptible to darkness and hard times. But in darkness, we can remember what we believed and knew in light, and can push forward to another day. It does get better. It may not seem that way in the moment, but it does. And it’s beautiful. Life is simply a constant balance of holding on and letting go.

Ten Questions With Terry Gotham: Alex Funk

(Super honored to bring you this chat I had with rising star DJ Alex Funk. If you were at Bonnaroo last year, you know what I mean.)
1. Headed back to Bonnaroo this year? What’s on tap for 2015? I have no idea, but if they want me, I’ll be there with bells on! At Bonnaroo 2014 – as an unlisted act – I built a crowd of 200-300 people into a crowd of 5000 two nights in a row during the my set on Friday night and my set on Saturday night on the Kalliope Stage (both recordings on my SoundCloud). Skrillex showed up on Saturday after his SuperJam, liked the party and asked if he could jump on. I was drenched in sweat and dead after two insane hours, so Skrillex and Mija (OWSLA) took over and it was the surprise – now infamous – Secret Skrillex Morning Party. (Check a clip from his stupid good Bonnaroo set below)
This winter I’m really focused on the NYC after-hours scene and production, production, production – there’s no real DJ career without original music. Definitely Burning Man 2015, where I’ll have a curatorial role besides DJing at several camps.

2. Now that you’ve performed in a number of different cities in the USA, do you have preferences? Do you think one city “gets it right?” Phoenix, AZ (period). They are totally open-minded to new sounds while giving tons of respect to the history of dance music. You can hear talented local DJs like Sean Watson, DJ Ascension, Steve Hill, etc and big touring acts like Diplo, Dillon Francis, Zedd, etc…All the pieces are there.

Most local party scenes are big on “personalities”…this is nothing worse for the music. Inevitably,when the popular kids are in the DJ booth and it just becomes selfie sticks and bad bootlegs. If you want great music, ask the music nerd, not the popular kid. Phoenix respects and elevates artistic talent over personality appeal. That’s what makes it a great scene. 

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Ten Questions With Terry Gotham: Flexstyle

(So happy to be posting this! Flexstyle has been one of my favorite artists innovating in the dance music space for years now, and I’m honored he agreed to talk about his work & ridiculous new album, which I’ll be yammering about shortly.)

1. Tell us about your new album Perfect Getaway! What can your fans expect from the 15 track extravaganza? More than just 15 tracks, actually! There are 15 tracks officially on the digital album, but there are also a couple of bonus tracks included as well with some Oasis remix contest runners-up. Aside from that, this may be the most eclectic album I’ve ever released—certainly stays true to my name and mission of being flexible in the styles that I create! This album contains both original and remix work that I’ve completed over the last few years. It contains appearances by video game remix superstar and entertainer extraordinaire Ben Briggs, versatile EDM and VGM cohort Jamison Randall, my good friends Airdrift and dmGuillotine, and many more. In short, expect more of the same, but different! DnB, downtempo, trance, vocal synthpop, electro, progressive house, dubstep, trap, and breakbeats all make an appearance.

2. How did you join OCRemix and start doing VGM remixes? OverClocked ReMix is probably the main “home” I have as a musician, and I started participating over there in…I want to say about 2008? I got my first posted mix on the site in early 2010, I believe, after a couple of rejected mixes and a lot of participating in various competitions and events. That’s pretty much the best way to get posted over there, by the way, is to keep trying and keep participating in the community. I’ve always loved video game music, so it was only natural that I found the site and started participating. I think it was after seeing a writeup in a magazine that I actually first heard about it—might have been Computer Music or something like that. So, to properly answer your question, I don’t really remember exactly how it was I joined up, but it was definitely meant to be!
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Ten Questions With Terry Gotham: Menno de Jong

In anticipation of his upcoming massive event Dec. 12th at Slake, Menno de Jong & I had a brief conversation about my favorite topic: TRANCE!)

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1. Is Trance back now in 2014? Did it ever leave? No, it never left. People’s idea of what is popular changes with time but Trance has been around for 2 solid decades now. It may fluctuate between 140, tech, uplifting, prog and psy but it’s been one of the more consistent genres if you think about it, largely due to the very loyal fanbase!

2. Do you regret not being a label boss anymore? Intuition had some amazing gems on it. It was a golden era and a pleasure to work with guys like Jonas Steur and Airbase. Although I don’t own a label anymore I’ve been helping Black Hole Recordings out with the A&R for In Trance We Trust, where I’ve recently started to release my own music. All I can say is watch that space, some amazing artists are bringing their music to the label!

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Ten Questions With Terry Gotham: The Crystal Method

EDMTunes - The Crystal Method - Escape Music Festival

(I sat down with The Crystal Method at Escape Music Festival, held at the Beach Club on Governor’s Island. Their set was one of Saturday’s best, kicking the day into high gear. It was a proper, old school party, with amazing dance, techno, house & ridiculous live sets. This is a repost from EDMTunes, so hit them up and show them some love so they keep letting me do this stuff. Photos by Sarah Vale.)

1. How was your Summer 2014? Better than your Summer 2004? How about your Summer 1994?
Scott: That’s interesting, nobody’s ever asked us that question.
Ken: You know just this month, October actually, would be 20 years since our first release, our first 12″.
Scott: Is that when it came out? October 94? So summer of 94, was us just trying to create something that we thought would be cool & be the first release on this label called City of Angels. We were excited, and we’re still excited. So, much different time, 20 years ago to today. Summer of 94, there was a lot going on. So much stuff, Pearl Jam and Nirvana.
Ken: The LA rave scene was still happening.
Scott: Slightly yes. It was on its downturn then. We were living down in Orange County at the time.
Ken: The actual recording of Now Is The Time was done at the Bomb Shelter. Summer of 94.

2. For people who maybe only know what parties are like cities like Berlin or NYC or London, what is the club, dance music scene like in LA these days?
Ken: There are some big clubs like Exchange, Avalon, Create, also a cool smaller club called Sound. And then there’s a lot of other, more Indie kind of things going on. Little warehouses & there’s a Burner community…
Scott: There’s still the Beach parties, the Moon Tribe things?…they do something out of Malibu or Santa Monica. Anyways, the thing about LA is that it’s so spread out. There’s no public transportation that is fun & sexy & easy. So people are far away from each other, and there’s not that communal vibe you would sometimes find in a city like London or Berlin. But you definitely have pockets. Downtown is becoming a real hotspot for a lot of artists living. But the club scene is continuing to thrive & grow, and I think it’s not at a pace where you feel like it’s going to hit some sort of bubble. It doesn’t feel over-saturated, it’s still a very fun, organic scene.

3. Keep Hope Alive always been a personal favorite, and it was an anthem of positivity to millions of people. What was it like after Keep Hope Alive was chosen as the theme to Third Watch?
Ken: We were excited about it. It was the first time we had something like that, going out in such a big way. Every week they were playing the song, it was really featured and it was just a lot of fun. Whenever you hear your music being played for a lot of people, even though you’ve heard the song a million times before, it’s like Wow! This is pretty cool!
Scott: I was just on an airplane and I heard Trip Like I Do was in an episode of Fargo, the TV show Fargo.
Ken: In the stripper scene right?
Scott: In the stripper scene! And a character gets killed right in that scene.
Ken: We’re good at that!
Scott: A lot of people get killed in our scenes! And Keep Hope Alive was actually, weirdly, had the most deaths on camera at one point. It was in a Chow Yun-Fat movie called The Replacement Killers (sequence here). But I love that moment when the song was in that show, Fargo. It’s such a great show, it’s such a great movie. You’re just like, aw man, the Coen Brothers have heard our song. Or Billy Bob Thornton has heard our song. There’s a moment where you go, that thing that you made like, 18 years ago, 17 years ago, 20 years ago, whatever it is. And you’re just doing everything you can to create the coolest thing you can for you and for your audience. And then it finds this whole other audience. And then it lands somewhere like that, where you’re like, Shit, it’s a very cool moment. I knew it was in there before, but then seeing it…because it’s not like they give us any kind of approval or review of what the scene’s going to look like before. But, seeing it, having it in the middle of such a great production was just really cool.

4. Your self-titled album that was released after Scott’s critical surgery was loved by every person I spoke to about it. How did you keep the hard-hitting vibe of classic TCM intact while updating the sounds for the post-EDM generation?
Scott: I wish it was released this during the surgery, so you get all the sympathy, you know what I’m saying? Buy This Album, or he’ll never come out of it!
Ken: He’s barely hanging on! Well, it was, you know, a conscious effort. We DJ a lot so we’re always listening to new music. We like a lot of the new sounds but at the same time we always want to make a Crystal Method album. One that when people hear it, they’ll know it’s us. I think this album has been a really good combination of those two things.

5. I last saw you guys live at the short-lived Identity Festival when you played Camden, NJ (in that parking lot) on that crazy day in August 2011, with the storm. Did you guys get your gear out and everyone to safety before it got too wet when you cut your set short?
Scott: They covered all of our gear up. We barely made it in, we like, jumped into somebody’s bus.
Ken: Yup, that’s right.
Scott: It wasn’t our bus, it was somebody else’s bus. It might’ve been Morgan, our VJ’s. He was on a bus with a bunch of other people, and it just opened up. It came down that afternoon. That’s right, you could see Philadelphia over the river. It struck me how close everything is. That you could see Philadelphia in Jersey, is really wild. It takes the Giants hours and hours to Philadelphia, but just because of traffic.

DanceSafe - The Crystal Method - Escape Music Festival - EDMTunes

6. Along those lines, do you have any thoughts on harm reduction for promoters and event/festival producers that would want to book you or other safety-conscious acts in the future?
Ken: We prefer playing events that welcome harm reduction techniques and groups like DanceSafe & Electronic Music Alliance. They’re taking a real proactive stance. They’re not trying to promote drug use in any way, but they are saying they want people educated about these things that are out there. And I think the more education kids have, the safer they will be.

The Crystal Method - Amend The Rave Act

7. Some have claimed that your favorite synthesizer is the Clavia Nord Lead, is that true? Do you have any recommendations when it comes to hardware or plug-ins that you’re digging at the moment, or could not live without?
Scott: We loved the Nord Lead & the Nord Lead II. Over time if you were to examine it, it’s probably one that we use a lot. We love the Roland Jupiter 6, I think my favorite as far as the type of sounds you can get out of it. We’ve got a lot of lovely new stuff. Picked up this fun device, it’s fun, it’s a consumer model. But it has an ability to sample, and it kind of takes you back to one of those early synths.
Ken: Yeah, like the SK-1.
Scott: Plug-in’s wise, we use a lot of Sylenth, the Native Instruments stuff is awesome, FMA.
Ken: All the Arturia plug-ins are great.
Scott: The quality of them is so crazy. When we were making Vegas, there was no “In-the-box.” Everybody’s got so much power now, you can put all these effects & plug-ins across all of these different channels. It’s a completely different world. It is so crazily different, production-wise, from where we were 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago. There’s a lot of great stuff out there. We use the Wave stuff, as far as stuff on the EQ side. McDSP & SoundToys also create really great delays & strange stuff.

8. Who are you looking forward to collaborating with, and are there any places left in the world that you haven’t played at that you’d like to?
Scott: The collaboration thing is always a strange thing. Obviously there’s people that we really love and respect and would love to work with, but if the feeling isn’t mutual, then it’s not gonna be a great thing. Places we haven’t played yet….We haven’t played in St. Petersburg, we played a few cities in Russia. Would love to play South Africa, Morocco.
Ken: I’d love to play India!

9. What would be your favorite positive/cool thing in dance music that’s occurring right now, anywhere in the world? Something cool you’ve seen maybe outside of the states, as opposed to talking about something you dislike in the industry?
Ken: I think with SFX & Insomniac battling each other, I think the production value of all of these events is going through the roof. So sound & lights & visuals have just been super amazing at all these big festivals. And that’s cool.
Scott: On the music side of it, I’m always amazed at how much great stuff is coming out. There’s lots and lots and lots of music, saturating every layer of every genre. People can dump on dubstep or electrohouse. The puritans in the House world have the thing they like and that’s the great thing about it. We’re all just loving the entire scene. We have little pockets of people, cousins don’t always get along but they don’t have to hate on each other you know what I’m saying. You’re all cousins!
Ken: That’s right!
Scott: House cousin don’t hate on Breaks cousin. Sure you don’t look the same, maybe your Dad’s got a lazy eye & a limp, and that’s why you can only move at one tempo, but we’re beyond that. We’re all family. One of the things that come out of any culture, you find people who feel heavily affiliated closely, it’s “their” thing. Something they discovered on their own. So they take ownership of it, but then they start to worry about people coming into their territory. Fucking do what you do and love it. As long as you do everyone’s gonna be good.

10. If you could, what do you think of the evolution of American EDM over your two decade presence in the dance music community? You’re one of the only groups that survived, any thoughts as to what you can attribute that to? Where do we go from here?
Ken: Our longevity is from loving to work with each other and loving to make this music. The future, we don’t know. We’ve kind of ridden waves of popularity of this music. There was a big wave in the late 90’s, then came back down. Now it’s up high. We’re gonna be ok if it levels off or goes down.
Scott: We’re like squirrels, we’ve been saving some nuts for any kind of hibernation for a long winter.

Ten Questions With Terry Gotham: Scott Bond

(I think I squealed a little too loudly about how much I loved Scott Bond’s tracks & remixes because I’m super honored to present my interview with the Trance General, Scott Bond.)

1. What motivated you to start a new label called RΞBOOTΞD? Any specific experiences or feelings? Or just one too many big room tracks?
RΞBOOTΞD is about a return to the true, authentic nature of Trance music. I coined the name RΞBOOTΞD as I believe that it can best be defined as the act of starting over and rediscovery with the ultimate goal to surpass all perceived benchmarks or expectations. To me, authentic Trance music is very often mistaken for edm, house, big room, electro etc. and I want people to understand and appreciate that a distinction does clearly exist. Our releases will be positioned at the forefront of dance music culture and set clear, defined targets of where Trance, as a genre is at now and where it wants to be
Starting up a record label was a central part of the plan, it’s a brand for a track, a remix, an album, an event and a record label – but also a direction that we can all choose to follow. We demand consistently high standards by showcasing original artist material and content with a priority on total quality above quantity. So, in other words, we don’t want to release 1000’s of sub-standard tracks and ideally look to sign whatever packs and erupts the dance-floor with only one prerequisite, it has to be proper Trance music!

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