WWD : Thanks for joining us Jesse! You’ve been travelling all over the place recently, are you back in Berlin now? What has the schedule been like this week?
Hello. Thanks for having me! Yes, I am back in Berlin and happily working in my studio. This week has been very easy compared to the last two. In the scope of ten days I had travelled to Denver, Houston, New York and then to Paris and the South of France. It was a lot of fun. The culture shock was the best part of it. So this week I am preparing for some upcoming live shows this month. The first will be a special one off collaboration at Sonar with Mathew Jonson. We have been working on music together lately. The second live show will be a solo live set at Tresor’s Globus club here in Berlin, for an ISNISNT label night. It’s a lot of work, but really exciting!
WWD : Talk to us about ‘Haus Arrest’, has it been long in the pipeline? Where did you put the release together?
Haus Arrest was written at the end of last year and the beginning of this year all recorded here in Berlin. It has taken a while to get out. Everyone is complaining about the state of vinyl productions delays and that situation hasn’t helped speed things up in this case, but thats life. There will be a nice payoff when I get the record later this month. I chose a duel coloured vinyl- yellow and purple for the pressing. I think it will look killer. The sleeve design is also special. I am the creepy cover model under house arrest. On the back is a collage of various friends I have altered in sick ways. I can’t wait for it to be unleashed onto the world… In terms of music, I wanted this release to be a bit more hard edged, but still sophisticated, funky and melodic.
WWD : It’s the third release on your label ISNISNT. You created the imprint with a distinct philosophy behind it as an outlet, can you tell us a bit about that?
I envisioned the label to be a resource for me to release interesting dance tracks with a visual element that complimented the music’s personality. I had been working with the same record label for nearly 10 years and found their aesthetic to be limiting. The music needed a surreal humorous visual to match. So eventually releasing my music on my own made the most sense. I think my reasons are the same as anyone else who decides to start a label today. You want an outlet that brings freedom to your ideas. And with the digitization of so much, making good looking records with quality materials that you can enjoy sitting in your record collection seems especially important.
WWD : Where do you plan to take the label over the coming months? Do you envisage releasing productions from other artists or are you intent on keeping it solely for your work and collaborations?
Slowly but surely! So far ISNISNT has been solely for my productions, but later this year I will release tracks from other friends in the form of a compilation. Before that will be another EP by me and this will include a remix by a fellow named Redrackem. So yes the label is opening up a little. I am planning to release a few digital only releases just to get more out in between records.
WWD : Are you still finding your feet as a label head? Did you learn a lot label-wise from your time spent working with m-nus?
Sure. Minus had a good business sense and they seemed to be at the front of the industry in a lot of ways. I was mostly on the creative side of things and not aware of the labels daily mechanics. Part of why started ISNISNT was to learn about that side of things. It really is a lot of work. I really don’t know a whole lot about running a label. I know I should be more consistent and release more often, but thats not possible at the moment. I’m not in a rush and would like to keep the releases special.
WWD : On a personal note, what goals are you driving towards right now? Where does your focus lie?
Good question… I would have to say staying healthy, happy and creative. Touring and playing in nightclubs for a living is fun, but draining and rough on the body. I am in my late thirties and have been doing this for a living for nearly 10 years, I can say it take a lot of work to get the balance right.
WWD : As we mentioned already you do a vast amount of travelling, recently for example you were in France, Italy & back in The United States. Is the travelling/mixing with other cultures an aspect of the DJ life you enjoy or it more of a necessity to share your art?
Absolutely. It is such a privilege to be able to make something you love your work. Then add the travel and the discovery element. I think I am ruined for any other type of work. I love being in a variety of places and situations rapidly. Its very inspiring.
WWD : Will Berlin stay your home for the foreseeable future? How have things in your life changed since you relocated there?
Yes I think I will be in Berlin for a while. I can’t think of another place that suites me the same at the moment. I fantasize of returning to New York but I know that it wouldn’t be right full time. It’s far too busy, expensive and difficult compared to Berlin. This city has a creativity and open attitude that is unlike other places. Plus there is still space for people to do their thing with out sacrificing everything to be there. Berlin has slowed me down a bit compared to when I lived in New York. The rhythm is more calm when you stay out of the clubs.
WWD : Before we let you go, what are the big dates on the horizon for you? Any ISNISNT party dates coming up?