Hello JES. It is an absolute honor to be interviewing you. Thank you for taking time out to do this interview. I have been a huge fan since forever…
How are you doing and can you tell us what are some of the lines to the last lyrics you wrote?
Hi Trance Hub, I’m doing great thank you. It’s so nice to be here with you. I love these new lyrics.
“In Your Eyes”
“Oh, the air, is lighter with you breath,
You change and make me run in circles,
I could melt,
Like a puddle on the floor,
Chasing a melody…”
“Hard To Cure”
“I will see the light someday,
Where there’s a will,
There’s a way,
It’s a sweet, surrender,
Cause there’s never a clean break,
And I will give more than I’ll take,
Reverse the spell,
Find a remedy,
Hard To Cure…”
Tell us a little more about who JES is when she’s not singing and touring?
JES has a lot of energy and likes to stay busy when she’s not touring or recording. You might find JES out horse riding or maybe skiing. She loves her friends and family very much and likes to spend quality time with them in her favorite city, New York. JES enjoys cooking healthy dishes and dining. Her favorite things to go out for are Sushi and wine tasting. She also likes to stay in shape, so she spends time in the gym and practising yoga. Her dreams are filled with foot massages, good books and long beach-front walks.
How easy was it to for you to break into the Trance industry and how has it changed from when you started out as opposed to today? Do you remember recording your first ever trance track?
I don’t think any genre of the music business is easy to break into. It can be fun at times, but it’s definitely hard work. I grew into the Trance world in an organic way and it wasn’t really a conscious decision on my part at that time. I always like to say that Trance found me. At the time that I started writing with Trance producers I was working mainly in the alt rock genre and I was playing shows around LA with my band. I was also working as an assistant engineer at a recording studio in Hollywood, and one of the engineers was a Trance producer. We started working on songs together late at night in studio downtime. One of the first tracks we made was picked up by Paul van Dyk for his ‘Politics Of Dancing’ mix compilation and that really kick started my career in Trance. I think it’s easier in some ways now with the advances in social media but it still requires an artist to make music that the fans really care about. In that respect I don’t think things have changed too much.
Producer, DJ, singer, songwriter, how did you become so talented in all of these aspects? Which aspect is your favorite?
I started working on producing music in my very first band. We had been together for a year or so when the keyboard player/producer left to work on his solo project. Rather than depend on other people I decided to learn how the recording equipment worked for myself. I quickly got the hang of it and I have been hooked ever since. I’m too much of a control freak to not have my hands on the making of this music as well as the writing and performing. DJ’ing came later when I got into EDM and Trance but it was a fairly natural progression for me. Some of it comes from a personal commitment to improve your craft a little bit every day. They all take a lot of focus and determination, but singing is my favorite discipline. It’s a wonderful experience to be able to make a sound and control it and make it beautiful.
Do you think your style of music/singing has changed over the years? Would you still call yourself the queen of Rocktronica?
I think my music and voice have both changed over the years but I would still call myself the queen of Rocktronica :) Recently I have been working on projects that have brought me back to my roots more and it’s been fun to work in that way again. It’s very refreshing to get back to the things that first sparked your passion for a genre. I think it has changed a lot over the years and my voice too! I would still call myself the queen of Rocktronika and I love that title. I think I may have strayed a bit, but with “As We Collide” I think that brought me back to my roots. I’ve been recording more of how I used to because I feel more attached to an edgy out of the box style so I’ve been doing more of my newer material by getting back to my roots. I think that’s what people liked in me in the first place!
‘Unleash The Beat Platinum’ has just been released how did you select the track list and what makes it different to other compilation albums out there?
The ‘Unleash The Beat’ mix comp albums have really grown out of my weekly 1-hour mix show (www.unleashthebeat.com). A lot of the songs on the album are tracks that I loved from the show or releases that I felt didn’t get the exposure they deserved. I try to select tracks that might be just slightly off the radar so it’s not just another long list of hits that everyone will be familiar with. I like to sequence the album to reflect a great night out, with all the peaks and valleys that will make it be something that you remember. I think it’s important to include a few exclusives as well. “Unleash The Beat Platinum” features the Dirty Chips remix of my Ferry Corsten Collaboration “In Your Eyes” which hasn’t been released before but had proved a big hit on my radio show and at my shows. I like to work on the mix until the flow is perfect for me, which often means I have to reselect the tracks a few times until I have just the right combination.
You are the first vocalist in the trance industry to release a compilation album, do you think you have started a trend and are a leader for other vocalists? What massage are you trying to send with your new radio show and compilation to other singers in EDM?
I think that all areas of culture have developed so much in the last few years that fans expect to be able to connect with you on more than one level. I try to impose a level of quality and aesthetic to anything that I’m involved in so that fans can rely on me to have put my heart into it 110 percent. I’m a naturally creative person and I enjoy finding new ways to express that creativity, but in the end I try to step back and judge it for myself as an artistic statement. If I can stand behind that and I believe in it I then it might be something others can believe in as well so I will look for a way to voice that. I try to follow my heart and not let any preconceptions stop me from trying to create new ideas, so if that makes me a pioneer then I guess I am. I found DJ’ing at my shows really helped me because I was able to pick my set more freely and make the show connect with what is happening in the room in the moment, and for me that’s what great shows are all about. We should all embrace new challenges as much as we can. That’s when things start to get interesting!
This interview would not be complete if I didn’t ask you about “As The Rush Comes”, a classic, a life-changing song. I’m also very sure you get asked this a lot but, what inspired the track? And listening back to it after all the years is there anything you would change about the track?
I was expecting a question about “As The Rush Comes”, but this is a really good one! When we recorded that track we had only known each other for a couple of days. It was really a song that was inspired by being inspired. I know there are a lot of rumors and theories as to what it was about, but we were just 3 crazy kids that had a wonderful connection and freedom with each other. I had a page with a bunch of lyrics on it and we recorded a couple of takes and that’s pretty much the vocal that’s on the record. I wanted to re-sing it while we were working on the track because I thought it was too simple but when I listen now it’s exactly as it’s supposed to be and I wouldn’t change a thing.
When writing a song what is your approach do you start with the melody or the lyrics which do you find works more and helps in the creative process? Furthermore, where do you draw your inspiration?
It can come either way but as often as not I start with a melody and an idea for a lyric. I like to do a stream of consciousness and see what comes out. Often that’s a good place to find a lyrical center. Sometimes I sit and play guitar or piano versions of the song. The different approaches can help you find new ideas for something that you might be struggling with. Anything that sparks the creativity is good. I look for ideas everywhere and try to have something handy to capture them with at all times (often my iPhone). It’s always inspiring hearing new music and singers, and books and movies can sometimes be a trigger to a great song. Muses can be a great source of inspiration and of course a little heartbreak usually brings out a great song!
It’s hard to pick a song of yours that is my favorite, so out of all your babies which one has the most meaning to you, and which one would you change and why?
I don’t think you can love any of your children more than the others! Each song has a special place in my life and they all come from a particular time and space I was in. Some of my favorites are, “Halfway Gone” (recorded in a hotel room in the UK!) and “See You Soon” (a ballad from the “Disconnect” album) but I also love “Hard To Cure” which is a brand new song from ATB’s recently released “Contact” Album. “Everything (Acoustic Mix)” from Tiesto’s “Elements of Life” album is a song that I always loved as well as “My Love.” I could go on! I wouldn’t really like to change anything that’s been released. By the time it comes out I’ve already driven myself crazy trying to get it just right and I wouldn’t release it if I didn’t love it.
You have had the opportunity to work with the best in the industry, you have achieved what most could only dream of what’s next for JES?
That’s a tough question! For me a great producer or collaborator is someone who brings out the best in me. I love to be inspired and find something new inside myself with collaborators. There’s also long list of people I would love to work with even outside of EDM as well but some are including Nigel Godrich (Radiohead), Dangermouse, Stuart Price as well as Dillon Francis, Calvin Harris and Axwell!
You are what we would call an Icon in the vocal trance scene, EDM, what have been some of the highlights of your journey.
You are very sweet, thank you! J. I always feel like I’m just me and always at the beginning! I’m always working on the next thing so I’m always immersed and it can be a while until I surface to see what’s happening out there lol. I have been so blessed to be on this journey and be a part of this family that reaches all over the world. I have been lucky enough to visit so many amazing places and meet so many incredible people and it’s been an honor to be able to share my music with them. Some of the most amazing experiences have been, performing at the Beijing Olympics, the Formula One Pit concert in Malaysia with Tiesto, Red Rocks Global Gathering and the Distant Heat Festival in the ancient city of Petra. The one thing that unites all these events is the amazing fans that come out and let the music into their hearts. I feel now more than ever that music is a two-way exchange, and I think that can only make it better.
What advice would you give to the “new generation” of singers?
I think the first and most important thing is to remember that life and music are both team sports. You need to locate yourself in a community (not necessarily physically) and engage with that because these are the people who will support you, so you have to support them. Learn how to listen to your instincts and your heart. Everyone will have an opinion about you and your music but it really has to feel right to you first. It’s going to be a difficult path so be prepared for rejections and some struggles and never, ever give up on what you believe in. Build a team around you of collaborators and supporters that compliment your natural talents and make sure that every day you are doing something to further your career. Work hard but be humble. Hone your craft and focus on being the best “you” that you can be. Lastly, never give up, ever…
Have you had any fans that have stories about how your music has changed their lives?
Yes, I always meet fans that say that to me and it is one of the greatest compliments an artist can get. I love to hear how the music has really gotten them through hard times in their life or I’ve been told so many times this song is when they had their first kiss or how it represents the most important time in their lives or how it inspired them to pursue music. So many couples have written me who have told me they met when my song was playing and it has become their song ;-) and also they have used it as their first dance at their wedding!
Everyone loves Indian food what’s your favorite Indian dish and can you cook it for us?
Oh and me too! I love korma and tandoori fish! I love Indian food because I love spicy exotic flavors and I definitely could cook some great Indian style fish and nice vegetable or shrimp korma for you!
MUSIC IS MY…
Savior, My Joy and My Life!
It has been a great pleasure. What can we expect from JES in 2014 and do you have any last words for your fans.
2014 has already been very busy for me! I had 3 songs released on ATB’s new album “Contact” which came out in January on Kontor Records. “Hard To Cure”, “Right Back To You” and “Together” are already getting a lot of fan support and I’m really happy with how they turned out. “Unleash The Beat Platinum” was released by Magik Muzik in February and has already charted well on Beatport. There’s an exclusive remix from it called “In Your Eyes” which is a collaboration I did with Ferry Corsten. Right now my BT and Fractal collaboration “Letting Go” has just been released by Armada, with great remixes from Antillas and Dankaan and LTN and has already proved a big hit on the Beatport Trance Chart. I’ll be performing in Miami at Miami Music Week. It’s always very last-minute but check out my website (www.officialjes.com) for details on where and when as it’s happening. I have a bunch of new songs in production and some very interesting collaborations coming up soon as well. You can stay up to date with all my news through my twitter (@official_JES) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/jespage). I’m starting to release some of my music on my own label and I’m in the process of organizing that. It’s very liberating because I’ll be able to sign music I like as well as my own. My weekly mix show has (www.unleashthebeat.com) has gone from strength to strength and it’s just getting a makeover so we I can re-launch it with a new format. I have a bunch of new songs and collaborations in production right now and I have also been designing some hot new T-Shirts for my new merch store – coming very soon!
And to my fans…thank you all so much for all your support over the years. Everyday I read you messages and letters to me and you cannot know how much strength and inspiration you give to me. I only hope I can give that back to you through the music always!
For more information:
Order Unleash The Beat Platinum Mix on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/unleash-the-beat-platinum-mix/id806115980