“I’ve put a lot of work into DJing this year,” says a chuffed Jamie Jones on news of his most recent Best Of British victory. “I’ve really spent time on it at, for example, DC10. It’s difficult there, because you play to a lot of new people each week, but also to a core of people who go there every Monday. You have to put extra effort in to find fresh stuff and it’s quite an intense atmosphere, playing to those more clued-up crowds.”
Surely that challenge is one Jones relishes, given how often he’s faced it this year. Aside from sets at Ibiza’s most talked-about club, the Hot Creations co-chief has held label parties on top of hotels in Barcelona, has played poolside at WMC, in chalets in the Austrian Alps, in pop-up cities in the Nevada Desert (Burning Man) and in dusty warehouses in Manchester, as well as myriad other clubs in Mexico, Brazil, Italy… you name it. In fact, if there’s been a more ubiquitous DJ this year, we’re struggling to work out whom.
“There have been some great moments back-to-back with Seth this year, but also on my own at Glastonbury, which is always brilliant, at Burning Man, at Parklife Festival…” he tails off, before coming back with a telling second thought which offers an interesting insight. “It’s not rocket science, but there is a certain way to do things. You have to find a way to entertain yourself and your crowds. I have broad tastes, but I'm upfront with what I like, so I try to bring that to my sets, but I also aim to get people dancing. It’s about finding the perfect balance between the two.”
Right in the middle of the year came Jones’ long overdue entry into the Fabric mix series. His effort, number 59, was a brightly-coloured journey through house, disco and electro old and new, but house, disco and electro which always dealt in a certain vocal, melodic or emotional openness. What it is not, though, is a snapshot of what to expect from Welshman Jones on any given Saturday night. Of that he is quite clear…
“I believe that mix CDs should be something retrospective,” he articulates. “If you come hear me in a club, it won’t be that music. I’ve played a lot of those records out over the years, for sure, but the energy I portray on the dancefloor is not the same as the one I work on for listening in the car or at home. Rather than a trippy dancefloor thing, [‘Fabric 59’ is] more of a listening and musical experience.” How, then, do those rules change for a regular old on-the-fly DJ set?
“A DJ set is a story. It starts from the time I arrive at the club and start socialising and drinking or whatever. Everything that happens during the night affects it. When I play, I try to soundtrack the experience I’ve had, or am having, and I try to make it as entertaining as I can, keeping a balance between energy levels and musical interest.”
He’s certainly done that, with regular vinyl shopping trips taking up Jones’ time between studio sessions, DJ gigs and label work.
“I spend as much time as I can looking for new music, and I still buy vinyl which I then have to rip, because I don’t carry them about with me,” he says, before going on to talk of the very modern demands on a 360° musical tour de force (ie multiple label boss, A&R, DJ, producer, remixer, collaborator), as is Jones now.
“I have a tight schedule and a lot of projects on the go, but luckily I have a few good people around me. I do have to schedule my time well, though, like listening to promos at one time, writing at others.”
Of course, writing involves work as himself, as Hot Natured with Lee Foss and as a remixer of everyone from P.Diddy and Guy Gerber to Azari & III. There’s one thing that ties together the many musical arms of Jamie Jones, though, and that’s his masterful basslines. Whether they’re his own or the carefully selected gems of others, it’s the way he threads them together so irresistibly which has kept him firmly atop the pile.
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The Other Nominees
|Ben UFO||Maya Jane Coles||Loefah||Giles Smith|