“Overall, I just wanted to tell a good story with music that conveys emotion and is creative and that’s what I always aim to do when I DJ.” – Jamie Stevens

From winning ARIA awards as a member of dance music trio Infusion, to having house and techno records released on the biggest labels in the world, Jamie Stevens is an icon of electronic music in Australia. Yet he remains one of the most friendly and genuine, down-to-earth people in the business, who just wants to make great music and ensure his listeners have an experience they will remember. A prolific producer and experienced DJ, he continues to impress after more than two decades in the industry.

It’s been another very productive year for Jamie, who keeps going from strength to strength as a source of enduring inspiration for many Australian electronic musicians. We’re very happy to have him as one of our first guests for the launch of Decoded Magazine Australia! I asked Jamie what he had been up to lately: “Thanks so much John. Very kind of you to say and it’s definitely an honour to be asked to be part of the Australian launch of Decoded. I’ve been busy coordinating studio production with teaching and helping my fiancé in getting our wedding organised. Been a crazy year, that’s for sure.”

This year Jamie has had releases on ICONYC, Beat & Path, UGENIUS Music, an EP on Replug, Perspectives Digital, Disco Faith Recordings, Lo-Fi-45, All Day I Dream, Einmusika Recordings and Clubsonica Records, covering the spectrum of house and melodic techno. He also had an unreleased song that was created with long-term production partner Adam Freeland, by the name of “After the Blood Moon”, featured as the opening track on Balance Presents Uone. I was curious as to how Jamie stayed in the zone and made available the time required to devote to so much production, and he was able to provide some insight:

“I haven’t sat down and thought about everything that’s come out over the past 12 months so when you list it like that, it certainly seems nuts! I think I’m pretty disciplined these days to just get into the studio and ‘get things done’. With production tutoring and having a family, I’ve made sure that my studio time is as productive as possible. Having a very understanding and supportive fiancé helps! I’ve been incredibly lucky to have felt very inspired over the past few years with very few creative lulls. Inspiration is something I try to manifest as much as I can when I’m in the studio working away, not letting those moments get away, and so I try to work a lot faster these days.”

Jamie has worked with and had steady involvement with lots of international labels, such as Bedrock Records, microCastle and Stripped Recordings. This year saw the release of “The Forgotten Dive”, an EP that he produced for Replug. Jamie was then featured as the first guest on the Replug Podcast. Jamie’s work is sought after by these respected labels, and he is highly regarded by his peers.

“The industry is fickle and I’m extremely aware of that, but I just think if, as cliched as it sounds, I’m honest with the music I make and follow my heart then all else follows”

Years ago, Jamie Stevens was a member of an ARIA award winning Australian band called Infusion. Now he is DJing and producing an array of underground house and techno music. It’s been an interesting transition to observe and he has certainly landed on his feet. I wanted to know how it happened and if there was ever a time when he wondered how things would work out:

“To be honest, those ‘transitions’ came very naturally with a few key moments helping move things forward, like collaboration with John Digweed and Nick Muir, having Wonder of You come out on microCastle, getting some solid gigs at Rainbow Festival and Argentina, and having a lot of support from amazing DJs. Plus, having a wonderful friendship with Mitch Alexander from microCastle, who has been a great help over the years with his excellent advice.”

“One thing about creating music is that you almost have no choice in the matter if it’s your true passion. I’ve always known that I’d be working in the field in some capacity and I’m incredibly fortunate that my own work since Infusion is still connecting with people, and I’m still being inspired. Working as a production tutor has helped me a lot, too. It’s made me deconstruct my methods and allowed me to understand the how and why of what I do and that has helped me move forward. The industry is fickle and I’m extremely aware of that, but I just think if, as cliched as it sounds, I’m honest with the music I make and follow my heart then all else follows. Plus, I got to understand the financial slash business side of the industry quite early on and that helped enormously.”

All Day I Dream released a beautiful collaboration between Jamie Stevens and young Joe Miller on their Summer Sampler earlier in the year. Following that the two of them recorded a set together for Electronic Groove, which is just stunning, and a set I’ve found myself coming back to now and then. Joe was born in England, but he grew up here in Australia, so of course we will claim him as our own! Jamie told me what it was like working with him, about some of the other collaborations he is working on, and who else he thinks is worth keeping an ear out for locally:

“I was fortunate enough to meet Joe after he contacted me for some production tutoring. I was struck with how creative he was and how unique his musical voice was. We got on very well, so I asked him later on if he’d be interested in creating something together. We’ve made quite a number of tunes together since then and can see ourselves delving into an album at some point. I truly think he is one of Australia’s, if not one of the world’s finest producers as well as one of the loveliest guys I’ve ever met. Musically we just click.”

“We played for about 3 hours recently at Vision Hound’s Lake People event with Lee Burridge, Hoj and Oona Dahl and it was enormously fun just playing eclectic, dubby, soundtracky electronica and house, so we’re certainly hoping to do more sets like this in future.”

“We have a plethora of talent here in Australia and I’m seeing that more and more with the students I have been tutoring. Right now, I’m doing some tunes with Paul Johnson aka Aves Volare, I’ve finished a couple of tracks with Luka Sambe which we’re hoping to get released soon and I have something on the go with Danny Bonnici. Also, a track is in the works with SHFT from India.”

“As far as other standout Aussie talent, like I said, there’s so much! Uone is killing it (read our interview here), John Baptiste, Zankee Gulati, Moontide, Sam Hopgood… so many. A lot of people showing a hell of a lot of promise, too, like Handsdown, JYDN, Stef Mac, Alex Lordanov, Paul Fakos… I know I’m forgetting a lot, but they are the ones coming to mind right now.”

I wanted to touch on Jamie’s days as part of the seminal electronic act, Infusion. Did he feel there would be a turnaround in the industry where we start seeing more live electronic bands headlining once again, or had the shift in the music become centred around the individual producer, rather than groups?

“I’m not sure there’s any crystal ball that will tell us that. There have been quite a few ‘groups’ that have taken to the stage, but I guess it’s still in the club area as opposed to headlining festivals. Groups like GHEIST, Bondi… I guess the last time there was a massive electronica act might be Moderat? Who knows where it will go!” Australia has gone through some turmoil over the last 10 years in all states, with various political groups point scoring with festivals, lockouts and a seeming attack once again on electronic music. Jamie explained how the Melbourne music industry reacted differently to other states, and created a much more positive outcome for party goers and promoters:

“Well, we had the lockout laws trialled here a number of years ago and the public were very vocal about how it affected the thriving nightlife, and it was ditched. Melbourne has a history of standing up for its arts and culture and I think the State Government has recognised that it’s part of the fabric of this city. We’re lucky to have, as governments go, a pretty progressive government. I mean, these days it’s pretty hard to put apartments up near established live venues. That’s at odds with other states as far as I know. It’s far from perfect and there are difficulties faced by promoters and venues, but I think Victoria does pretty well comparatively.”

“Overall, I just wanted to tell a good story with music that conveys emotion and is creative and that’s what I always aim to do when I DJ.”

Listening to Jamie Stevens’ exclusive DJ set for Decoded Magazine Australia will help you understand who he is as an artist at this point in time, and how he has grown as a musician. It features three exceptional and very exciting unreleased tracks of his own and ends with a new remix of his that will be out soon. Along with his own work, he told us about some of the other musicians and labels he featured, and what his approach was when choosing tracks for this set:

“I’ve simply included music that I’ve really connected with lately that I felt worked together as part of a bigger narrative. I love the feeling in all these tracks, most of them new, others not so much. I’ve been digging Atomnation for years now and I’ve included two tracks from that label. Mathias Schober and Love Over Entropy are simply brilliant producers and I’ve included a collaboration that they’ve recently released. A new remix from Joe Miller is on there as well as a few new ones from me. Overall, I just wanted to tell a good story with music that conveys emotion and is creative and that’s what I always aim to do when I DJ.”

“I have a remix coming out on ICONYC in December 2018 (this is the last track of my mix) plus an EP coming out in March, the details of which unfortunately I cannot divulge, but it’s pretty big. Those tracks are included in the mix, too. I’m also working on an original track for Out of Sorts, and Uone’s label Beat & Path.” Jamie has played at a variety of gigs this year, many in his home town of Melbourne, including the launch of Disco Faith Recordings and Balance Presents Uone. To conclude, he shared with us some of the memorable events he played sets at in 2018, and told us about other gigs he has coming up:

“Well most recently, I played a live set at CHI WOW WAH TOWN which was so much fun! It’s been a long time since I’ve played live in Australia, so it was great to play in front of that great crowd on a line-up that included Steve Bug, Andreas Henneberg and Jimi Jules. One of the other amazing gigs was when I played live in Noumea earlier this year. That was incredible! So much energy in that room in a beautiful part of the world. Very lucky.”

I’ll be playing with Jeremy Olander (interview here) at Piknic Électronik February 3rd.

Tracklisting

1. Inner River – Floe Flow [Atomnation]
2. Gary Holldman – My Trips [International Day Off)
3. Sam Hopgood – Setunga (Joe Miller Remix) [Brain Food Recordings]
4. Tunnelvisions – Khan’s Mantra [Atomnation]
5. Love Over Entropy and Mathias Schober – Atmoperc [Endless]
6. Eze Colombo – Assault Your Mind (MAM remix) [BC2]
7. Darren Emerson – BUB (Dubspeeka Remix) [Selador]
8. Hunter/Game – Second Floor [Just This]
9. Alexander Church – Inner Child [Configurations of Self]
10. Jamie Stevens – unreleased
11. Los Cabra – Pepiri Guazu (Pezzner Remix) [ZEHN Records]
12. Danny Bonicci and Thankyou City – The Golden Key (Luke Chable Remix) [unreleased]
13. Jamie Stevens – unreleased
14. Between Ourselves – Red Mist (Ruede Hagelstein Boost Cut) [Best Works]
15. Jamie Stevens – unreleased
16. Sebastian Markiewicz – Dragonfly [Compatible Music]
17. Las Von – Sauade (Jamie Stevens Remix) [ICONYC]


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