Over the last 5 years Audiojack have really cemented themselves as one of the most loved tech house duos in the world. With remixes and original productions on labels including Hot Creations, Get Physical, B-Pitch Control and more, they’ve also become a part of a handful of producers who consistently deliver dancefloor bombs with each release. In Australia over the new year’s period, we caught up with the Leeds natives for a quick chat…
1) Hey guys! Thanks heaps for taking the time to answer a few questions with us. We’ll kick things off with a trend we’ve noticed throughout your career. You tend to keep things real, ever since the beginning you mentioned you like to play for people who are a bit more clued in with music – which is really what the ‘underground’ is all about. Recently you’ve had some amazing success with your track ‘Vibrate’ being a club jam for the past 10 months night in night out. Did you know it was going to be a hit when you wrote it? How would you feel about your music becoming more commercially successful?
We’d have no problem if something we made crossed over and became a commercial success, but we don’t really make the type music which would likely end up there. Commercially successful music these days is about ticking boxes – choosing from proven keywords (baby, love, high, sky), simple choruses, big hooks etc. However if our music enticed some people who only know commercial music to delve deeper and discover something more meaningful and exciting rather than the aural brainwashing they subject themselves to by listening to the formulaic money making drivel spoon-fed by the mainstream media then for us that’s a pretty cool thing.
2) Sunday Social is your own party in your new hometown of Ibiza and you’ve dubbed it as a ‘house party’ vibe. Take us back to the best house party you’ve ever been to, how old were you, where was it and what made it your number one?
One that springs to mind happened during the hay day of the Leeds after party time circa 2008. We had played at Back to Basics in Leeds and had been invited to play at a house party that had developed quite a reputation in Leeds called Ketaloco. We arrived at a typical student house and the following 12 hours or so that ensued was nuts. There were about 600 people there spread over 4 floors and we played in the basement through a hole in the wall. People were doing the Ketolympics running up and down flights of stairs completing various tasks, there was a grubby old hole in the brickwork in the basement where if you were brave enough to climb through you’d find another room filled with mattresses red lighting and people laid around in various states of consciousness. It became so successful that they took the brand to London and started running events for years but we were lucky enough to experience the beginnings of the movement.
3) When you guys started out you would go to record stores and hand out your tracks asking if they would like to have a listen. Fast forward a few years to now, James mentioned to make it in the scene today “you’ve really got to put your heart and soul into it”. With the seemingly ever-changing world of the dance scene, what word of advice would you give a fresh-faced artist?
Up and coming artists often have a completely different mindset to established ones, and motives for making music differ massively from person to person. If your main motivation is money or fame you’re not likely to create from the heart but from the thinking head, and creativity doesn’t live there. Even up and coming artists who aren’t naturally money focused people can easily get caught up following trends, making music that they think people want to hear, rather than what they want to make. It’s easy to do when there are real life issues at stake such as putting food on the table and keeping a roof over your head. But you’ll only ever end up making a cheap copy of something which was once fresh, imitating not innovating. Develop your own sound and be true to yourself.
4) We see you’re playing Piknic Electronik on New Years Day. If you were going on a picnic, who would you take with you, what would you eat and what electronic soundtrack would you be playing?
Bill Murray, Carl Sagen, Bill Hicks and Morgan Freeman. We’d BBQ some chickens, listen to jazz and they’d discuss the theme ‘America in 2017’.
5) You’ve been partners for over a decade now, how have you found working and traveling together for such a long period of time?
Largely its great! We get to share travelling the world with one of our best friends, rarely have to eat alone, and share in a unique amazing life journey. We sometimes have disagreements of course, but the middle ground of our positions is often the best place to meet anyway.
6) You recently played at Kater Blau in Berlin which takes the listener on a 3 hour journey. How was your experience behind the decks and how do cities across the globe stack up in your ‘favourite spots to play’ list? What are some of your top places/venues to play in Australia?
Berlin needs to be experienced to be fully appreciated, it’s a super special place. As a DJ you often feel a lot of pressure from the crowd to fit into their expectations of a night. That’s rarely the same for everyone in the crowd, so no matter where you go you can’t please everyone. Berlin crowds are not like this, people are interested in the journey and you can feel comfortable playing what you want to play and they’ll have the patience to listen. Our favourite places to play in Australia on a regular basis have been clubs like Revs in Melbourne and Spice in Sydney. The festivals are ace too; Rainbow and Matreiya being some memorable ones. Then there’s the urban outdoor parties that have emerged like Days Like These and Piknik Electronik which are great. Australia’s scene has really blossomed since we started coming almost a decade ago and it’s inspirational to see people stand up and carry on in the face of the totalitarian situation the state has imposed on Sydney’s nightlife.
7) Congratulations on being asked to put together a mix for BBC Radio 1’s Essential Mix! What other milestones are out there that would really mean a lot to you both? Have you noticed your aspirations changing as the years have passed?
The Essential Mix had a lot of nostalgia attached for us as we grew up listening to it most weekends, dreaming of one day getting chance to mix it. Our aspirations these days are less based on reaching milestones, more on enjoying what we’re doing every day. If you can enjoy the journey rather than waiting to reach somewhere you’re gonna have a lot more fun, because the journey is long and the distant paradise at the top of the mountain, even if reached, is little more than a moments joy.
8) To wrap things up, you’ve mentioned meditation helped spark the idea behind ‘Turya’. Is meditating something you do a lot of? How has it helped not only your music, but life in general?
No, we’re not actually aren’t avid meditators even though we know how good it is for you. It’s one of those things we know we should do more though. The idea came when Jamie and his wife were doing a guided meditation and she suggested putting that type of vocal in a track. We then needed to write fitting music for the theme. We exercise a lot these days, so do plenty of stretching and we practice mindfulness too, which helps keep you calm and in control. Ibiza is a great place to enjoy the simple things in life. From a young age humans are fed an illusion of what is important. If you can remove all this baggage and take things back to basics you realize you’ve already reached the utopia you were seeking all along. Actually, the late great Bill Hicks said it perfectly…
“The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly colored, and it’s very loud, and it’s fun for a while. Many people have been on the ride a long time, and they begin to wonder, “Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?” And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and say, “Hey, don’t worry; don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.” And we … kill those people. “Shut him up! I’ve got a lot invested in this ride, shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry, look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real.” It’s just a ride. But we always kill the good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok … But it doesn’t matter, because it’s just a ride. And we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money. Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one. Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defences each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.”
Thursday 29th December: Beyond the Valley, VIC
Saturday 31st December: The Greenwood, Sydney
Saturday 31st December: Mister Crown, Wollongong
Sunday 1st January: Piknic Electronik, Melbourne
Interview by Stefanos Mak