London native Jesse Rose has a lot of credits to his name – co-creator of fidget alongside Switch, owner of labels Play It Down, Made To Play and Front Room Recordings, acclaimed DJ with residencies at top clubs like Avalon and, of course, producer for groups such as Chiddy Bang as well as his own material, including personal favorite “Take It To The Club”. Now there’s one more line to add to the resume, creator of ‘Made For The Night’, a compilation concept that not only includes a mix, artist album and mini documentary for every installment, but is supplemented with events in cities from Edinburgh to Frankfurt. The new L.A. resident took some time with danideahl.com to talk about what makes “Made For The Night” a unique venture as well as chat family, guilty pleasures and…riddles?
Dani: So Jesse, I saw a bunch of riddles on your Twitter recently.
Jesse Rose: I should have been working. I mean, Tuesday was hard with what had happened to Mehdi and stuff, so…I was just trying to get people’s mind off of certain things.
D: Were you close with him?
D: It was quite a shock wasn’t it?
J: It was pretty crazy. My other mate as well was with him, Simon, who’s in hospital at the moment, so, not a great week.
D: No, not at all. Well, I wanted to start out light hearted but…
J: Let’s start with death and move from there.
D: I was going to say since you have all those riddles on your Twitter, I‘ve got one for you to think about while we’re doing this interview. What kind of coat can only be put on when wet?
J: What kind of coat…? Ok.
D: Alright? Just think about that while we talk. So what was your reason for recently moving to L.A.?
J: I’ve been coming here and playing for the last five years. Then my mate Switch moved over a couple of years ago and I was coming over to work with him quite often. Every time I came over I just had a great time hanging around, being in the sun, and meeting loads to different types of people. It’s just really a good home. It was the same when I moved to Berlin. It wasn’t a work move – it was really more about a life move.
D: So how’s it working for you?
J: Amazing. I always get sad when I have to go back on tour. I live up in the hills, it’s green, I go the beach once a week. Yeah, it’s working out pretty good.
D: You have a new compilation concept coming out called ‘Made For The Night’. It’s one CD that’s a mix, and then one that’s exclusively your material. Is that correct?
J: Yeah the whole vibe of ‘Made For The Night’ is to do more of a profile on artists. So I’m starting this series with myself, because it kind of makes sense, and it’s two CDs. One CD is a current compilation mix that’s got some of my favorite records from the last year, some brand new stuff and some old stuff. The second CD is a best of my remixes, production, people that have remixed me, and edits. To go with that we’ve got a ten-minute documentary, done by a really cool guy from France called Jules Audrey. So hopefully what you get with ‘Made For The Night’ is a full understanding of the artist. Normally you’re just being sold just a compilation, or best of, and I hope that this is everything in one.
D: Have you shot your mini-documentary yet?
J: I have. That should be finished next week and I’m really, really happy with it. There are a lot of documentaries that are trying to be like, “I’m the biggest DJ in the world!” and this documentary is just me traveling around, but shot really beautifully. It’s just about getting the vibe of what I do rather than trying to be like, “I’m the best!” There’s one bit where it’s talking about me waking up, and not knowing where I am. It happens quite often where I’ll be in, say, Japan, and I’ll think that I’m at home and for a minute it’ll be odd.
D: “Made For The Night” is also going to encompass events, right?
J: Yeah. We’ve been doing Made to Play shows and Play it Down shows around the world. I decided that I’m going to make new residencies and change a few of the clubs we’re been working with. The night basically gives me the opportunity to choose lots of different DJs, from all different spectrums. It makes sense in the way that I DJ as well because Made to Play is like highlight records in my set, and Play it Down is like records I play throughout my set. Now I can play a really big range with this. It’s not a label night – it’s my night. It’s me curating nights around the world. So, if I’ve got two rooms, I can have techno and house stuff in one room, and in the other I can have people like Flying Lotus or James Blake. I’m just into so much different music. These nights are about festival lineups in clubs, but without doing big cheesy DJs.
D: It reminds of a more grownup version of raves.
J: Yeah, it’s kind of like the snobby version of a rave.
D: Given the variety of the new night, is anything off limits for you to play?
J: To be honest with you, there are records that I really love, like The Tylers first album or certain drum and bass albums. I’ll always play one or two of those records at the end of my set, just to leave people with something…a couple of my favorite records at the moment.
D: So, what are your favorite records at the moment?
J: Put me in the corner on that one. Weirdly this week, my two favorite records are house records. One is Axel Boman’s new record on Play it Down called, “Paris 2006.” I also just produced two tracks for the Chitty Bang album and I mastered three for that. So, probably one of the Chitty records.
D: What is your setup when you produce?
J: It’s really simple to be honest. It’s a pair of Adams monitors, which are pretty expensive, a laptop, and a midi-controller. Both me and Switch have always kept our studios really small. I work in Logic, and if you know Logic, and you get your head in that, you make everything in one place without really needing to integrate loads of stuff that you don’t really know how to use.
D: Going back to the mix portion of ‘Made For The Night’, how much musical freedom did you give yourself?
J: For me, there are no rules because it’s mine, my compilation. I guess when you’re doing a compilation you’re trying to put across what you play in a four hour set into sixty minutes or eighty minutes. And when you play a four-hour set, you play classics and you play old records and you play brand new records. So I guess you’re just squishing that into a shorter mix that is thought about. It’s not just a part of your set that you recorded, and put online. Just to put the records together and choose the tracks takes kind of a while to get it done.
D: I know personally, when I make mixes, I’m temporarily tired of them by the time I’m done.
J: Yeah. I have to say it’s pretty much the same as when you’re doing an artist album. The beginning of it is super exciting because you’re just getting ideas and flicking through loads of different things. By the time you’re mixing it, you pretty much get to the point where you hope you don’t have to listen to it again. But of course you have to listen to it. I’ve listened to it now twenty times, thirty times, because I’m always going through it going thinking, ‘Could that mix be different? Should I move the track from here to here? Am I going to use the live mix version or am I going to do it on the computer?’ I always like doing my mixes live. So far I’ve got two versions. I’ve got a live version, and a version done on computer.
D: What do you think about artists that are now doing their mixes exclusively on programs like Ableton and Mix Meister?
J: I think it’s absolutely fine. I stopped playing records about a year ago, and now I’m playing CDs and I’m playing off sticks. I’ve never had a problem with people playing off of anything. To be honest, it’s very rare that I get to a club and I’m fully happy with what I hear with the DJ just in terms of just being someone who wants to go and dance to music so, if people play good records, I don’t really care if they play off their iPod.
D: So, you’re more of the mindset that it’s more about the content of the set, and less about the technical ability?
J: Unless you’re in the DMC, yeah. If you’re in DMC you’ve got to have some technical ability. Being a slightly older DJ, even though I’m only 33, I come from that school of just only having records to play. I know how to mix, I’ve mixed for years. So, for me, I don’t really feel like I need to go to a club to prove to everyone how I mix. I think I need to go to a club and put a great selection of records together and build something up. To be honest, my mom had a go at mixing, and she got it in half an hour.
D: Do your parents come to see your gigs?
J: Yeah, they both do, yeah.
D: What do they think about it?
J: My dad’s a musician. Well, he’s passed away, but before he passed away he was a musician. Often he listened to my records and offered his vibe on it. My mom was a singer back the day. So, for them, they’re totally behind it, and they totally get it.
D: If they both have musical backgrounds, did it ever occur to you to collaborate and have one of your parents guest on a track?
J: Yeah. Unfortunately, before my dad passed away, myself and some others were due to produce his album, so it was a pretty sad thing. My mom, she’s a good singer and everything, but she’s just doing other things now. She’s a psychotherapist. My mom’s actually got a radio show on the BBC.
D: No she doesn’t.
J: Yeah, she does. She’s smashing it. She does a mad show on the BBC.
D: That’s amazing. My parents come to larger shows and my mom will say to her friends, “oh yeah, my daughter spins” and they have no idea what that means. She likes to use the lingo.
J: I think the most embarrassing thing my dad did once, was he met me in a pretty snazzy West End restaurant and he’d just bought a copy of IDJ or DJ where I was on the cover. He walked in, and he says to the waiter, “Do you know where this guy is? I’m meeting my son.” Pretty good thing, with my face on the cover of the magazine, and I was like, “Ahhh, noooo…” I guess it was really sweet in hindsight.
D: So, have you thought about the riddle at all?
J: Is it nail varnish?
D: Damn! That’s a good answer. Yeah, I guess that would work. The answer is paint, but… You get a little golf clap for that one. Love it.
Find Jesse Rose online at http://www.jesserose.net and watch for his new project, ‘Made For The Night’