From one-to-watch to a leader of the pack, Julian Jordan’s rapid ascent through the dance music world has been something to behold. It’s no surprise given the fresh quality of his productions, which always surprise and delight in equal measures. Not beholden to tired formulas or following the latest trend, he instead paves his own way with innovative rhythms, atypical riffs, and endlessly inventive production.
Julian Jordan spoke to us at Amsterdam Dance Event 2018 about his creative process when he is in the studio and loads more. Read our chat below.
T.H.E – How’s it going? What have you been up to?
Julian Jordan – A lot actually. ADE is always great. I feel good, I feel really inspired already. I’m full of energy man, I’m ready to go.
T.H.E – You started off obviously as an upcoming artist but now you are quite established in the scene. How has the agenda for the Amsterdam Dance Event changed for you over the years?
Julian Jordan – I think this is my busiest year yet. My party every year is “Julian Jordan & Friends” and every year, it is getting better & better and I think this year is going to be the best one yet. So every year is getting busier and every year is better, with better meetings, better people around me, better everything so I guess ADE is kind of like looking back on your year. It’s like the New Year’s Eve, where you look back on the last year and you move to a new period in your life and every time it is busier, you can look back on a more successful year and more successful years to come so this year as well. I’m really happy with where I am right now and I think that’s why this is the best one yet.
T.H.E – You touched on a very important point – your showcase Julian Jordan & Friends. It has evolved over the years. It has become better so what we want to understand is – what the main goal is for you with the showcase and how it helps you understand which kind of artists you want to add to the lineup?
Julian Jordan – I always think about that. The thing is Julian Jordan & Friends; the whole party name says it all. Its like “And Friends” so all these people on the lineup are actually really good friends of me. It’s just like a family kind of night or a night out with friends, like you do at home. Like you just hang out with friends, then go out to have a good time and I think that’s what this night is about as well. These people are friends but they are also good colleagues. Additionally, they are talented and amazing Producers/DJ’s so I am really happy with the lineup this year because it’s super personal but it’s also a great lineup and I can’t wait to just have the party and show the crowd what I have been up to because there’s a lot of people coming like family, friends not just from all over the Netherlands but also from all over the world. It will be amazing to show them what I have been up to.
T.H.E – Coming to your latest single “Never Tired Of You” which was released on Garrix’s label – we love the vibe that it kind of represents but more importantly it does signal a shift in your sound compared to when you started off. Did you always imagine that you will be evolving your sounds as you progress?
Julian Jordan – Well actually, I think that’s fair to say for every artist. I guess every artist is evolving each day. I can’t say that I would like the same kind of music I did when I was 15 but I think it’s fair to say that every artist you see if you look back on what they put out, everything is so different. And I think that’s pretty cool because an artist is evolving just like a regular person is evolving, you know. A lot of people are not working in the same job for years. A lot of people also want to live in a different house than they have been doing for a lot of years or they want to have different people around. It’s like the same thing, always wanting to evolve and always wanting to try something else and I’m always like that. I like to try new stuff, to see what I am capable of and I don’t think I would ever be limited to just one thing. I just can be doing a lot more and that’s what I like about music. That it has no rules, you can just create whatever you want and I love artists that are creative and just want to think outside of the box so yeah, that is actually what I want to do. I always expected myself to be a producer of multiple genres because I always made different kinds of music from the beginning. I was working on so many different styles and although I don’t think it’s really smart to put out stuff that is like super different, as long as it’s different compared to what you’ve been doing recently, that works. As long as it’s your own thing and you’re proud of it, I think that’s the only thing that matters.
T.H.E – How do you know what to make, like when you’re getting into the studio, right? I mean there are multiple sounds that are working, there are multiple sounds that people are consuming right now. So what is the thought process you deploy which helps you understand what to make?
Julian Jordan – Um…it’s a creative process so it doesn’t really have a start and an end. Sometimes, you start with something different like you start with something that you weren’t planning to do and then all of a sudden, it turns out to be this crazy EDM track.
As an example, I was starting on a techno track for fun and I made a like a loop or like a rhythm and all of a sudden, that becomes “Never Tired Of You”. It’s super interesting, it’s really interesting because that’s the creative process, you know. You never know when you’re starting something which might prove to be the end thing. I never look back on the process, I just make something and all of a sudden there’s this product but I never think about where it started. It could just be like 3 hours of just messing around with sounds or I don’t even know what and then there’s this track. It’s always like that so I can’t say I have this thing, that I know what I want to make. It’s like something different every day.
Sometimes, I go into the studio and I have an idea and I know that this melody has to be at this kind of sound, but sometimes it’s about getting there without like any explanation.
T.H.E – Is the process of finishing a track, ever dictated by what the label would like or what the fans would like?
Julian Jordan – I always try to play my music for the crowd before I put it out there because I think that’s a really big important step of A&R. I think the crowd reaction is really important because, in the end, you’re a DJ, you have to entertain people and I think that’s really important – to keep your fan base happy but also show them what you are capable of. I think the right way to do that is to find a balance between experimenting but to also give them something they are happy with.
T.H.E – In terms of building a brand as a DJ, how important do you think has social media become in today’s day and age and what kind of steps or what kind of initiatives you take to ensure you’re always at the top of your game?
Julian Jordan – Oh… its super important I guess. It’s not only about music anymore and the positive thing about that is that you can really build a career and build a vision for you as an artist on social media so you can exactly show what you like, you can really build a style for yourself and ensure that it really connects with your music, I think that’s much better than to just have the music there. Just have everything in one place and everything in one style is super important.
Of course, there is also a negatives side to it, because I think that music is the most important thing. It definitely starts with music but if you want to make your music stronger, you have to really think about how you are going to market yourself and how do you want to define yourself for the crowd. How you want people to look at you as a person or as an artist, so it’s really important.
About the steps to do that…I don’t know, my biggest tip for everyone that’s an aspiring producer or DJ is – fake it ‘til you make it, you know. It’s super cliché but it is true. You have to make yourself look bigger than you actually are and make people believe that you are already there and then if you make them believe that, then you will get there. That’s it.
T.H.E – 2018 is almost coming to a close so how has the year been for you. What can we expect from you in the next few months in terms of releases or touring etc.?
Julian Jordan – Next week, I am going to Thailand which I am super excited about. I just started with a new agency and I am super excited about that because we are going to do a lot of nice shows and touring is going to be crazy. I know shows are going to be crazy and I just can’t wait to see everyone around the world that comes to my shows. Also music wise, there are a lot of nice tracks that are coming up so we have a lot of work in the pipeline. I got a great collaboration with Martin Garrix too. Yes, too much exciting stuff to talk about.
T.H.E – When is the collaboration with Garrix coming out?
Julian Jordan – We don’t have a date yet, we just it finished it 2 days ago so really happy with that.
T.H.E – Is the track name and everything finalized, can you give us a hint?
Julian Jordan – It’s not finalized yet, I can only tell is there is a really interesting instrument in it that we both really like.
T.H.E – Lastly, which 3 artists would you like to collaborate with whom you haven’t collaborated with before?
Julian Jordan – Diplo, Pharrell Williams, and The Gorillaz.