This week we catch up with US producer Jeremy Rowlett who has been a regular name in our Hype Charts over the last two years. Jeremy first came to our attention when he appeared on Michael & Levan and Stiven Rivic’s Mistique Music in May of 2012. Paul Oakenfold, John OO Fleming, Markus Schulz and Max Graham have taken a liking to Jeremy’s cool blend of progressive house and trance and have featured the US producer in many of their sets. Jeremy has a new remix out this week on Suffused Music and we had a chance to chat with him just prior to its release, a transcription of the interview is below and we hope you enjoy it.
1. Hi Jeremy, thanks so much for joining us here! How old are you and how long have you been producing and DJing?
Jeremy: Hi Mitch! Thanks a lot for putting this interview together! Hope you’ve had a good holiday! I’m currently 26 years old. I am an Aries. I’ve been producing for about 9 years and Djing for about half that
.2. So you’re from Wilmar, Arkansas which is a very small town in the United States, how did you discover electronic music? Is it something you listened to growing up as a kid or did that come much later? Where do your musical roots lie?
Jeremy: I grew up listening to Blues, Gospel, R&B and Hip-hop. Guys like Al Green, Isaac Hayes, Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers. These genres I think influenced me the most musically before I even knew anything of electronic music. It definitely helped shape my natural rhythm. During the span of 2003 and 2004, while taking a technology class, a best friend and fellow classmate had gotten a family visitor from Germany for the holidays. While visiting he introduced him and my friend’s brother; whom was already into music production at the time, to Paul Oakenfold, Paul Van Dyk and several others. Over a weekend at his home, he showed me this music and I was instantly pulled into it without a doubt. I feel it was fate. Everything about it pleased my ears; depth and pure feeling of it. So, from this point on I did my research and slowly found my tastes sounds like Sasha & Digweed, Timo Maas, Nick Warren. Eventually, I discovered Markus Schulz through finding Digitally Imported. I think the tracks he was playing back then played a major role in my influence. Those tracks still stick with me. Around this time of discovery, I was already interested in music production and had found the Fruity Loops software from working in the technology class. But, I was interested in making hip-hop as I knew a lot more about it at the time. So, every day for almost two years I spent at least an hour on working with the software and applying my learned musical knowledge, producing my own original hip-hop beats. This lead me to producing and leasing several tracks for local hip-hop talent mix taps, albums, etc. But, my heart didn’t feel this music the way I did electronic music. At the end of the day, I always found myself listening to it. So, I turned my production ears to it. I studied the atmospheres, rhythms, chord progressions and movements; mimicking these sounds and eventually producing sounds of my own.
3. Do you have any formal training / education in regards to production or writing music? And are there any key people that helped you along the way or was everything pretty much self taught?
Jeremy: I wasn’t always keen on music until I was about 7 or 8 years old. This is when I was when I really was exposed to the genres and artists I mentioned growing up with. Later, I entered my school concert band in 6th grade. My instrument of choice was alto saxophone. Over a span of 7 years through this avenue, I learned composition and basic music theory. Along the way, I also managed to pick up and learn various other instruments such as piano, tenor and baritone saxophones and full drum kit. which later lead me to joining a local progressive metal band. That lasted for about 3 years. After high school, I attended the local university with a scholarship from being in band. This introduced me to marching band for the first time. My high school didn’t have a football team at the time so there was never a need for marching. This was a new experience for me but at the time I felt college wasn’t for me. My attitude towards that has changed and I do plan to go back.
I think that if it were not for my mothers faith in me to do well in this school activity and my director for having such faith in me and motivating me and my friend introducing me to this music long ago, I wouldn’t be doing this interview with you right now. I’m very much thankful and blessed for that because I feel the actual musical aspect of this business is far and few.
Most of what I know production wise was self taught through continuous practice. I have had various online friend producers share tips and give feedback and this has helped a great deal. An extra ear is always a plus to me.
4. What is the nearest large / metropolitan city to Wilmar? and was is the electronic music nightlife like there?
Jeremy: Little Rock; the capital of this state. I relocated there for the span of 2010 and 2011. Considering this is the south, the electronic music scene isn’t at all near the way it is in other places of the world. Most of club life there consists mainly of hiphop and top 40 Djs. But, sprinkled throughout the scene are really talented electronic Djs and while living there, I work with a lot of great local talents as well as promoters dealing with electronic music ranging from house, electro and yes, even dubstep and played various clubs and even with a group of friends started a weekly club night to stir up the scene and push the underground talent there out. I was no exception to this but with my musical background, I didn‘t feel as if I fit in as much but I‘d like to think I definitely exposed some ears while I was there through my productions and sets. The city has great potential to be a one of the top portals for up and coming artists looking for exposure in this region of the country; like its neighbor Memphis, Tennessee.
5. Looking back over your discography do any productions stand out for you? Which if any are your favorites and why?
Jeremy: Well, as the saying goes “you are your worst critic”. I’ve never been too over excited about my sounds, which is one reason why its constantly evolving and changing. I think it’s a good thing in the long run. I’m always looking for something better from my productions. I like remixing because it gives me the opportunity to develop new sound ideas and practice for my own work. I’ve already signed two original Eps for release this year in 2014 and there’s lots more to come. If I had to pick from my discography a favorite I’d have to pick Vanilla Skies. That was my first official original release and it received so much support and love from some of my favorite Djs and producers, which meant a great deal to me. The track only took a few days to make. It was inspired by some mixed emotions at the time. I’d like to think I put them to good use. It was definitely motivation to continue my work.
The other would have to be my remix for Stanisha’s Behind The Leaves on Ivan Nikusev’s OLD SQL Recordings. When I got the pack for it, I sat on it for a while. Wasn’t sure how to approach it. One day while at a friends house, I got bored. If I’m away from home I usually carry my work on my laptop to write melodies or anything I need for later when I’m back home in my studio. So, opened the project and rolled it around and within a couple of hours I had basically molded the sound to exactly what you hear. I immediately rushed home and finished it that night. That track gave me my first ever support from Paul Oakenfold which is a huge accomplishment for me in my career. I never expected when making that remix that someone that high up would notice it.
6. Who are some of your favourite up and coming producers? who do you think are the future stars of tomorrow?
Jeremy: Arcalis, Christopher Vassilakis, Andromeda, Holbrook & Skykeeper, Alter Future, Darkployers, Alan Cuevas. These guys are amazing producers and inspiring good friends and supporters. I’m quite sure 2014 will be amazing for them all.
7. What are your thoughts on the DJ Mag Top 100, is it relevant at all anymore?
Jeremy: In all honesty, I don’t think it’s ever been relevant. I don’t keep up with it and I never have. I’m a supporter of the underground; always have been. And, don’t get me wrong when I say that some of my favorite artists are on it but, I don’t think the numbers matter. Politics has never been my cup of tea simply because most of the time its never a fair outcome and it‘s always divided. So, why drag that mentality into music. Music should be bringing people together. That’s one reason for which it was created. The only thing that should be ripping people apart is awesome basslines and melodies!
8. Our readers are probably curious about your studio, can you give us a rundown of it and what are some of your favourite tools to use?
Jeremy: I use a Dell PC custom built by myself with high memory and processor and 40 inches of dual display for running the beautiful FL Studio 10. Haven’t upgraded to 11 yet but I will this year I think. One M-Audio Midi keyboard and two 8” NXG monitors. Some of my main plugins and vsts in FL are of course Sylenth1, Massive, Nexus, Vangaurd, PoiZone, Sakura to name a few.
9. Aside from progressive and trance what other styles do you work on in the studio? And are you influenced from other genres of music when you write club records?
Jeremy: Well, I’m a big fan of down tempo, ambient and trip-hop. In my transition from producing hip-hop to electronic music I discovered amazing groups like Massive Attack, Portishead, Unkle, Thievery Corporation, etc. I listened to a lot of OEM radio and very obscure sounds. I experimented in these sounds for a period and still today use some of the sounds picked up from that era of my life. These sounds still influence me. I’m also a big fan of metal and rock. Some of my favorite bands are Deftones, Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Placebo, Depeche Mode, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Ozzy, etc. The list is way too wide to mention here.
10. Record labels are a dime a dozen these days and the majority of people feel most of them are mediocre music factories. Which ones if any standout for you?
Jeremy: You’re absolutely right. They are a dime a dozen. I see so many popping up everywhere. I think throughout the years Mistique Music, Suffused Music, Coldharbour, Re*Brand, Afterglow, Saturate Audio, Stellar Fountain and Clinique Recordings are just a handful of consistent quality pushers.
11. When the writing or production process gets tough, what gets you through it?
Jeremy: Lots of coffee and a clear head. It’s hard finding time when you’re life is cluttered with other things, but I always remember that through the stress of everyday life, music is always my happy place. I make time for that and I almost always find inspiration through these things in my life; good or not so good.
12. Which producers consistently inspire you?
Jeremy: Basil O’Glue, Styller, Gai Barone, Solid Stone, Arcalis, Danilo Ercole, Tempo Giusto, Holbrook & SkyKeeper, Guy J, Cid Inc to name a few.
13. What was the first and last record you purchased?
Jeremy: I can’t exactly remember the first record I ever bought. But, the first actual CD album I ever owned was The Smiths ‘Rank’ live album. I still have it.
14. What artist or track would you love to remix?
Jeremy: I think if I could pick any artist to remix it would have to be Perry O’Niel. His work was a big influence when I started.
15. Jeremy Rowlett Current Favourites (you can list more than one per category if you like)
Food: The free kind. It’s a cross between sushi, pizza and soul food.
Drink: Arizona Green Tea
Drug: Don’t do them.
Animal: I love animals. I’m very fond of cats.
TV Show: Don’t watch much TV but Through The Warmhole definitely does it for me. Pretty much anything dealing with space exploration and mind bending science.
Movie: The Breakfast Club
Video Game: Not a big gamer but recently have been playing the Bioshock series.
Album: Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon
Track / Song: NA
Producer / Band: Deftones
Record Label: Saturate Audio
Nightclub: I don’t frequent them so I can’t really say.
DJ: Markus Schulz
16. If the final DJ/live set of your career was next week what would your last track be?
Jeremy: Envio – Time To Say Goodbye (Ozgur Can Remix)
Jeremy’s remix of Andrew Philippov ‘No Way To Escape’ is out now on Suffused Music, you can purchase the release: here