LessThan3: This has been a huge year for you. How have you been able to scale as you’ve grown?
Jake: I’m really starting to have to reprioritize my life in general because I’m touring so much. When im not touring it’s a lot easier for me to get in the studio and deal with normal life. The main thing for me is prioritizing studio work, because what happens with a lot of the guys I look up to is they start touring and stop making music, then they get done with six months of being on the road and they have no new music. People’s perception of whether you are being productive or not doesn’t factor in touring. That’s been the struggle for me—finding time to write new music.
LessThan3: Are you able to produce on the road?
It’s a discipline. You have to literally set aside time where you’re like, “I’m not gonna drink. Everyone is going to the afterparty, but I can’t go.” You have to find time to do your work. I wrote the Noisia Diplodocus remix
on the road. I picked up working that way by watching Sonny (Skrillex
). He’s always the dude that hangs out with everyone, and somehow he goes back home at 5am and starts working. He did the Levels remix
LessThan3: Do you generally have your sounds picked out and then go through the creative process of making the song, or do you engineer and arrange the song simultaneously?
Jake: I’m doing both. I don’t want to get categorized as one of those guys who does good sh*t but it sounds like he’s just using the same template for everything he does. My solution is I stopped using presets that I made. Every time I open a project, I start with a blank slate and build everything from the ground up. In that process you get better because you do things a little differently each time. If you’re using a template from another track, there isn’t any room for you to try and fine-tune your process. I try to change up the drums and sound design every time.
LessThan3: You switch genres a lot in your live performances. We saw you in San Diego and your set was extremely varied.
Jake: Over the last six months I’ve put out everything from dubstep to drum’n’bass, electro house and moombahton. The challenge is to try to figure out how to get the sets to flow because it can be hard to go from 110 to 140 to 128 to 174 in a short span of time and not lose the crowd. Having guys out there like Skrillex have really made that the norm, though. A few years ago people would have been like, “what are you doing?” People these days just appreciate music, regardless of the genre.
LessThan3: There are many artists we talk to who say genres aren’t really a thing.
A good example of that is Beatport
. I just put that tune out with Dillon [Francis]
, Dill The Noise
. It’s moombahton, I guess—I don’t even call it that. I’ve been calling it “midtempo” and Dillon has been calling it “jump-up.” Long story short, that got put in the electro house chart, and it’s not even electro house. There are also things I would consider tech house that are in the electro category, and on and on. The genre name is just a buzz word and doesn’t mean as much anymore. People go to shows now like it’s a concert—like they’re going to see a band.
I’m 31, so I’ve been around for a bit. The way it is now reminds me of how it used to be in the ’90s with Chemical Brothers and guys like that. The stuff they’re doing is just electronic music; there’s breakbeat, there’s house, there’s d’n’b. People expect to hear all kinds of sounds. Now when people go to see myself, or Skrillex or Zedd or Porter [Robinson], people just go to see the artist and that person’s sound.
LessThan3: Tell us about new stuff you’re working on
A lot of the stuff I’ve been working on recently came out very quickly like the Noisia remix, the Nero
remix for Must Be The Feeling
, and the track I did with Datsik
. I also just did a remix for Tornado
and Steve Aoki
—a dubstep remix of the vocal version. For that track, I did the whole remix, decided I didn’t like it, threw it away and started over. I’m doing a new EP for OWSLA
this year as well—it’s hopefully coming out in September. One of them is called Jump Your Body
and has a bit of a reggae vibe. I’m trying to get some reggae-style singers on it. I got the idea from Sonny after he did that track with Damien Marley. Its my favorite song he’s done. After being on the road with Knife Party
, it makes me want to do more house music, so expect some of that. They already have another EP basically done that no one has heard yet.
LessThan3: Tell us about working with OWSLA.
I’ve been friends with Sonny for a couple of years and Jon (12th Planet
) for like ten years. When I hang out with those guys, we just make music. That’s how the collaborations happen. We hang out, we get drunk, and all of a sudden Ableton is open and Sonny starts making a song. I’ve gotten in the room with a couple of different producers and we try to set up a time to make a song, but it seems a bit forced–the creativity level isn’t very high. The whole process is very fluid and organic when I work with Sonny and Jon.
LessThan3: If the world were ending in LessThan3 minutes, and you had an iPod with every song ever made on it, what would you listen to?
LessThan3: Describe your sound in LessThan3 words.
Jake: Push Boundaries.