Album Interview: Jazzuelle - Circles
We chatted to Jazzuelle about his latest release 'Circle's out now on Germany's Get Physical Records.
Jazzuelle is a Cape Town born, Joburg based producer who has been in the industry for more than a decade. A participant of the Red Bull Music Academy Bass Camp, he has performed at top international festivals such as Glastonburgy and Sonar. Having shared the stage with the likes of M.A.N.D.Y, DJ T & Stimming, remixed WHOMADEWHO and with releases on Fred Everything’s Lazy Days and Atjazz his sound is being heard both locally and abroad. With his album ‘Circles’ out now on Germany’s Get Physical Records he is taking his sonic explorations to the next level. We chatted to him about the concept behind the album, finding a balance between listening and the dance floor, the evolution of his sound and his production process.
When did you start working on Circles and what is the concept behind the LP?
I started working on the LP about a year and a half ago. I'd conceptualised something very different initially but I think there was a conflict of opinions at some stage with the label and how this should be and I started over with a new concept. That concept did not work as well because I think by that time my inspiration reservoir had been mostly depleted and then something amazing happened... it all just came back.
And yes, the news of my girlfriend being pregnant at that time impacted me so much and I think that saved the album and us. The news of the baby brought out a fire in me that had been dormant for a while and everything I do now is driven by and for my family. So Circles began about me and where my place is in the world and the scene but it ended up being about finding myself with my family and moving forward and not in Circles...
How do you manage the balance between making an interesting listening album and something that also works on the dance floor?
I don't really conceptualize people dancing when writing a record, I am just painting a story on a canvas and the interpretation is up to you. I never set out to be a star or doing this for fame, I love what I do and write music to tell a story. I am a storyteller and music is my outlet. If by any chance the song has dancefloor appeal then so be it, but it is not what I think about when I am in the studio. In fact, the last thing. 12 years in the business and I have realized and learned that you cannot please everyone, just do what you love and do it in the best way you can. If what you do resonates with people then it does, if it does not, it does not.
How would you describe the evolution of your sound since the release of Undercurrents?
I am not entirely aware like I said my music is like art, open to interpretation. But I've recently been drawn to performing with a band and extending my music as a live platform and performing at theaters, that's where I see the Jazzuelle brand. I don't think I can be limited to DJ sets anymore, and so I want to learn more about making my performances more live and get into that. I really love jazz and electronic music, so I see my brand fusing these elements in the near future but also maintaining my deep house signature sound.
The LP is being released by Germany’s Get Physical. Did they give input while you were making the album or were you given free reign?
I think it was more of a team effort on most occasions but I honestly prefer being left alone in a bubble to work. I am still coachable, and humble enough to listen to input you know. But personally the Aquarius in me loves solitude when I have to deal with art. Art is my escape and it is a personal journey and so I prefer being left at peace... So in the end I broke free and did this my way...
What was the production process like? Did you use hardware, samples, software or a bit of everything?
Well most of it was software as most of my work is software based and It's always been that way, the collaboration with Card On Spokes aka Shane Cooper was a mixture, he played live double bass, guitar and the Moog on that one. I think LUMA also had a live element on their part as well but I’m not sure as I was not there with them when they recorded their parts. So it was a combination of hardware and software, but I am a software junkie for now. But like I said I want to elevate to live altogether so I will be investing in a lot of hardware soon.
Your release features a variety of artists. What was the collaborative process like? Did you approach them with your concepts and they added their own ideas or did you sit in studio together?
Everything on the album was done on the net, except “Blood Moon” with my friend Da Capo, I mostly had Skype meetings or Facebook conversations and we sent each other parts and that's how the album mostly formed
How will you be promoting the LP?
Well, needless to say, the LP itself is one of the most hyped and anticipated deep house albums this year, so most of the hard work has been done. The promotion for the LP has been ongoing before the release date, in the form of interviews here and internationally, with some of the features still coming in internationally. I’ve also had the radio premiere on 5fm with Kid Fonque and Tamara Dey singing live and the feedback was amazing. I will be doing a lot more radio interviews as well of course. I had a lot of pressure from fans all over the country who wanted to know the release date for the LP. Apart from that I will be going on tour from next week on the 23rd. The tour will be for a few months now in winter and then it will resume in summer and end in early December. The album will also be released by House Afrika Records here in South Africa on CD so that will make sure the album is released nationwide and in most stores.