Jackathon queen Heidi has been chatting to DJ Mag about the launch of her new label — Jackathon Jams. The label has grown out of the Jackathon nights that she's been hosting since 2009, and has its roots in the acclaimed 'Jackathon' mix compilation she released in late 2010.
This jackin' mix featured Heidi's good friend Derrick Carter dropping some funky vocal ad libs, and tracks from other associates such as Soul Clap, Waifs & Strays, Solomun, DJ T, Darius Syrossian, Matt Tolfrey and Jamie Jones.
Eats Everything, Deniz Kurtel and Richy Ahmed provided some remixes of tracks from the comp, and earlier this year Heidi put out the first single proper on Jackathon Jams featuring Maya Jane Coles (deep tech wiggler 'Getting Freaky') and Miss Kittin (the electroid 'Girlz', with Kittin herself on detached irony-dripping vox).
“I couldn't have been happier with that first release,” Heidi enthuses. “It was supported by everyone from 2ManyDJs to Richie Hawtin, Erol Alkan to Loco Dice to Andrew Weatherall. Across the board.”
The second single comes from Alexis Raphael, with a remix by Marc Houle from Richie Hawtin's m_nus label (and now his own Items & Things imprint), and there's plenty more to follow. But what made Heidi want to start up her own label?
“Well, I've been doing the Jackathon nights for a few years, and I figured it was about time to give something more for the fans to grab hold of,” she says. “I guess it was also trying to find time to get stuff together and try and get it up off the ground. With the help of the team that run Get Physical Records, they helped me spawn my own sub-label.”
Heidi — perhaps best known for her stints in BBC Radio 1's In New DJs We Trust slots — explains that although the tracks have mainly come from DJ pals, the process hasn't been easy. “Trying to get busy DJs and producers to deliver music on time can be tricky, but so far, so good,” she says.
Apart from the music being on-point, Heidi says that she has to have a relationship with the artists appearing on the label.
“First off, I have to have a connection with the person,” she explains. “You could make a bomb that could be a huge hit, but if you're a self-centred dick — like we know some people in this industry can be — then I'm not interested.
My favourite quality in a person is a sense of humour. If they don't possess that attribute, then I couldn't care less. The music is of course an integral part of the process, too. I end up loving the music more because the person who made it has warmed my heart in some way.”
Heidi says this helps explain the relatively broad remit for the label. “I don't want to alienate buyers by putting out one sound over and over again,” she says. “I love many genres of music, and I want to showcase that with this label. It's a young label, but it feeds into the whole Jackathon thing by having the artists who release music on it play at the parties. To try and get a few of the new crew coming through. We can't hog all the fun.”
Jackathon Jams is going to have an explosive 2013, if half of what Heidi says is coming up comes to fruition. “I have Miami's Jesse Perez, Kim Ann Foxman, Ambivalent, Eats Everything and Jimmy Edgar in the works, hopefully, if things go as planned,” she reveals. “But that could change.
There are also some bigger names, but I can't say who they are just yet due to contractual stuff. It's just nice that people want to be involved with this project. I've worked really hard to create a sort of family vibe.”
Heidi describes herself as being “like the Littlest Hobo” in her DJ career thus far, popping in and out of crews, giving some love and then moving on. With Jackathon Jams and the accompanying club nights, it's her turn to bring everyone together “so that no-one feels left out. It's all made with pure love. I just want to see butts shaking on the dancefloor.
The DJs on Heidi's Jackathon Jams stamp show some love for the label
“I think the fact that you've got Heidi's energy spearheading the whole thing says it all, really. Alongside that, to me, variety is the key, and Heidi is able to do that better than anyone else. Bringing together such a mix of artists under one roof gives Jackathon its energy and special feel.”
“The tracks so far have been bangin', fresh, and dirty,” believes Maceo. “Representative of Heidi's sets, which are in-your-face jams and all forms of house. If Luke from 2 Live Crew started a house label, it would be like Jackathon.”
“Heidi's Jackathon series gives us the power to jack our bodies,” say the duo. “She gives us the power to do the snake, she gives us the key to the wiggly worm, she learns us how to walk our bodies!
“The parties are so dope that they bring nations and nations of all jackers together under one house. Cuz at Heidi's Jackathon, you may be black, you may be white, you may be Jew or Gentile. It makes no difference in her house and that is freeeesh!”
“The parties are all about the fun, the love! Just like the track I wrote for her for the first release, 'Girlzindahood, shaking like you should, hug and cry, something you'll never have'.
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