Jewel Kid was born in Malta and climbed on the music train way back when he was still illegal to enter clubs. A decade in and this journey has fast tracked from DJ to Producer with a one way ticket to success. He is the Winner of the Carl Cox Worldwide remix competition held by Beatport for “Best House Remix” and Awarded Best Dance Production at the Malta Music Awards 2011. Conductor of numerous tracks in Beatport’s Top 100 Charts, Weekly Radio Show syndicated globally and in 2011 founder of Alleanza Recordings. Like a bullet marking it’s target Jewel Kid shot releases with labels such as Suara, Waveform, Global Underground, Soma, Tronic, Break New soil and now his own Alleanza. These are few of the greats behind his name.
Still holding a great presence in Malta’s leading underground stations, he is the host every Saturday at Clique without skipping a beat. From different platforms around the world he has embraced the privilege of holding golden tickets and an international gig schedule playing in clubs such as Space (Ibiza), Le Bonk (Finland), Eazy (Brazil), Air (Holland), Thally Festival (Brazil), Sankeys (Ibiza), Australia, Tunisia, Kristal (Romania) & more.
The Journey is in full speed with a mind full of music and a hand full of dreams – his tireless commitment and versatile music will differ Jewel Kid from any other artist around. He has created a theatre of music for other masters to play and followers to join.
Thanks for taking time out to talk to us. The most obvious question to start with I guess is your name. Where or how did it come about?
Well my family has always been known in my country for our Jewellery Company and I was always the youngest amongst my family and friends, so it just came natural that when I started DJing I was referred to as the Jewel Kid.
You come from Malta. Are you living there still, if so could you tell us more about the clubbing scene?
I love my country and although I am constantly travelling in all these major cities, I still prefer to get back to our beloved island. The clubbing scene in Malta is quite good when you take in consideration the minuscule population we have. I feel like a very big percentage of the Maltese prefer to go out clubbing on the weekend than anything else and with a vast array of international artists coming in every week that always seems like the best solution for a great night out.
Being a small country has Malta influenced you and your music in anyway or did you find yourself flying abroad to get your fix for a clubbing weekend?
I think a good advantage I had growing up in Malta was that everyone knows everyone, it’s like one big family so it was much easier to get someone to give you a slot at his event, that alone did help a lot as an up and coming artist. But when my career as an international act started taking off and I was finding myself playing in Space Ibiza, or a 20,000 concert in Brazil, I started looking at this industry much differently, especially when you get to spend hours on a flight, dinner or hotel with some of the artists you grew up admiring. Long conversations with these people have made a big impact on both my music and the way I handle things now-a-days.
So its 8pm on Saturday evening and I have landed in Malta. I would like some food, drinks and a good party. Any particular places in Malta you would single out today for a newcomer to the country?
Then I would definitely tell you to head straight to St.Julians. It’s where 90% of bars and clubs are but funnily enough there are some really great restaurants. In fact one of my favourites could be found there which is called Terrazza – always my pick for a great outdoor lunch by the sea.
Has the nightlife changed much or evolved, since you started your musical adventure?
Drastically – you see I started back in 2001 when House and Techno was in the underground territory. When DJ Mag and Mixmag were the only portals into the international scene and Ibiza was talked about like some sort of El Dorado! Now I can easily say that there is no underground scene anymore because everything is in your face 24/7 due to this big flood of social media which rapidly exploited these genres with places and people that are high-jacking the sacred names of House and Techno that our pioneers worked so hard for. Of course this does have its positive side because it did open a lot of doors with millions of people in countries that 15 years ago never heard about these genres.
When you first began to produce, where did your influences come from and were there any particular artists or labels that have had a big impact on your productions & style?
I grew up listening to a very good balance of house and techno so it was only natural to try and fuse the two together when I first started making music. The sound I have been getting known for now definitely reflects that formula, a blend between the good days of Subliminal Records, Bush and Positiva.
You won a competition to remix a Carl Cox track. Would you consider this was a big turning point for you? Or have there been more defining moments?
It surely was a great high for me at that time especially for my confidence in the industry. The remix then reached the top of the charts and being one of the very first remix competitions that Beatport did, it was some sort of a big deal and did turn a lot of heads from labels that I was trying to seek attention from at that time.
For the coming year what have you lined up as an artist? Any albums, remixes or collaborations in the pipeline?
Well I’ve just released what Suara thinks is my best EP with them so far, honestly can’t wait to see the response of the public because we all do think that this could be a big impact on my career. We will also be releasing our first single on Alleanza very soon with a track from myself and also a remix for one of Eric Sneo’s tracks on Transmit Recordings which is owned by my good friend Boris, who will also be releasing an amazing single on Alleanza with The Junkies on remix duties.
You started up Alleanza Records towards the end of 2011. What has been your biggest challenge so far to get it where it is today and advice for anyone thinking of running a label properly? I hear a lot about releasing quality over quantity which to me should be a given but anything else a future label manager should take on board?
I honestly think that if you are an artist you definitely need to gather a team which you believe could pull the same rope as you. If you really want to stand out and definitely release quality over quantity you need a sharp manager, a visionary A&R, a first-class engineer and an art designer which understands your sound. It definitely does take a toll on you trying to build this jigsaw puzzle but once assembled your true art will start to flourish.
From following you, I have seen you briefly mention some of the things that are in store for 2014. Could you elaborate on that from an Alleanza perspective? Any festivals or showcases in store?
We are all very glad with the schedule of the first 6 months of 2014, with two big tours in the US and Australia and a great handful of Alleanza nights all around the globe.
Cool. So lets’ talk some toys as Im a bit of a geek this way and always keen to know what people use. So what is a must have in your studio to work with? Any particular VST’s, hardware or outboard gear you simply need?
By now everyone knows that my Genelec 1030A Monitors are my pride and joy! I’ve come to understand them in a way that I know exactly how my tracks will sound in a club which is a big struggle for most of the producers out there. I’m also a big fan of brands like Spectrasonics, Waves, Sounds Toys, Nugen, Native Instruments and of course Steinberg for the one and only Cubase.
So next question is similar but in regard to DJing. Whats you current setup and have you any plans to evolve it?
I have now been using SD cards with Rekordbox for quite a while which I honestly think is the most organised and fastest way possible for any one playing without a laptop, can’t really figure out why a lot of DJ’s use pen drives which is shockingly slow for transfers between Rekordbox when compared to SD cards like the Sandisk Extreme Pro. I have also been using RMX-1000 from its release date around a year and a half ago as I was always in search for a solid effects machine to compliment the Pioneer CDJ’s.
Thank you so much for your time and for your exclusive mix. We really appreciate it and look forward to more releases on Alleanza in the future. Finally, a question I always like to ask and it’s a simple one. What has been your biggest life lesson since you came into the electronic music industry?
Persistence is Key!
01// Wehbba – Red Shuffle (Dubspeeka Remix) [Evolution]
02// Matt Sassari – Get Nipon [Alleanza]
03// Jewel Kid – Raging Bull [Suara]
04// Boris – Music Is Medicine [Tronic]
05// Johann Smog – B2 [Alleanza]
06// Jewel Kid – My Reaction [Suara]
07// Boris – Hybrid [Sci Tec]
08// Jewel Kid – Armor [Suara]
09// Lowkey & Kardinal – Scaramouche [Organism
10// Gabriel D’Or & Bordoy – Amox [Alleanza]
11// Enrico Sangiuliano – Capernoited (Jewel Kid Rework) [Alleanza]
12// Gabriel D’Or & Bordoy – Eccles [Alleanza]