By / Friday, May 16, 2014 / No comments /

Unleashing The Beat Interview With JES



jes brieden trance singer vocalist and dj

How are you doing and how has 2014 been treating you so far, highlight of the year so far?
Hi ThinkinEDM! 2014 has been a pretty busy and interesting year so far. Already I have made a smooth transition into a new working space in Los Angeles. The new studio has been really inspiring and I have been able to finish off many of the songs I had started writing last year. I'm finally getting onto a better schedule and making a more balanced situation for myself. Making music is so much fun but I’m trying not to work until 3 am every night J.

We are from South Africa, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear South Africa?
I actually performed in Johannesburg with Tiesto during his “Elements of Life” Tour so when I think of South Africa it brings back a flood of great memories from the tour and how much fun we had. The show was during the Rugby World Cup and I went on stage right after South Africa had won a game and the vibe was amazing. The show was absolutely wild the people were really excited.  We were all backstage hoping that they would win  and it was an incredible night after that!

JES is an Iconic name in the Trance industry; can you tell us more about the lady behind the name and how you get into music?
Thank you, that is so sweet. It’s been a long road to this point but I appreciate your introduction very much! I’ve been writing songs since I was about 5 and I did my first professional recording session in my early teens. After that experience music really became the focus of my life. It’s been a bumpy ride. The world of music has had more than it’s fair share of ups and downs and I’ve done a lot of different things from singing in hotels to doing reference vocals for big pop producers. Over the years it’s become a way of life for me and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I started collaborating with people early on in my career but it wasn’t until I moved from NYC to Los angles and took a job in a Hollywood recording studio that I ever heard a trance song. I started working with one of the other assistant engineers who was really into the rave scene. We started working on music together late at night after the studio had closed. One of the first songs we produced together got picked up by Paul Van Dykk for his “Politics Of Dancing” mix compilation album and that opened the door to a lot of other collaborations for me.

Many of us are shaped by our upbringing. Do you think your hobbies and activities while growing up may have influenced you to follow a musical direction?
My mother was involved in the theatre and musicals so I grew up around performers and went to rehearsals and shows from an early age. We were lucky enough to have a piano and other instruments in the house to experiment with. My parents encouraged me to be creative. We enjoyed art at home and I painted and sketched and even tried sculpture! My mother took me to many of the amazing museums and galleries in New York growing up and music was a big part of our life. We listened to the radio and my parents had a big collection of records and CD’s that I was fascinated with from an early age. Music was playing all day long so music and performing was a so much a part of my childhood and I continued doing it while I was growing up.

We read that: When you first got the chance to record a song in a professional studio and heard your voice playing back through those huge speakers you knew right then, this was what you were meant to do, Do you remember what you felt when you heard your voice playing back, prior to this did you know you were blessed with the voice of an angel and the ability to sing?
That story is true, I had answered an advert for a singer in “The Village Voice”. It was the first time I had heard one of my own songs recorded and mixed in a professional studio and it was a dream come true! I was mesmerized by the process of recording and production. I had never really heard what my voice sounded like before that session besides my own home recordings. I have always been very critical of my voice and how I sing and I’m constantly trying to improve it. I’m sure at the time, listening back to my voice I would have been thinking OMG JES, you can do better than that lol, but after that I wanted to learn all I could about he process and get back into the studio and do it again…and that’s what I did.

The lyrics to all your other tracks are extremely strong and moving, what gets you in the state of mind for writing a song, and where do you usually write your songs?
Thank you.  I’m often working on a few different songs at the same time so I usually have a big pool of ideas I’m drawing from. I try to keep a note of anything that crops up and I collect phrases or words that resonate with me and I think may become a good idea for a song. Most of them are just ideas that have a feeling. I try to come up with song ideas most days, even if I hear stranger say something cool I'll write down! Sometimes I wish there were more ways to say things in the English language or more words to describe things but that’s part of the challenge to be poetic. I try to let my instincts rule my decision making with lyrics. It can be quite surprising, often things that don’t seem so good on paper sing very well so you have to try them all out.

What elements of your career bring you the most stress?
Mostly interviews :) - only joking lol! Writing can be stressful at times if I have to meet deadlines. I try to maintain a my own standards with my material so if a song isn’t quite right for me I will keep working on it until I feel it’s perfect. Staying up to date with emails and the business side of music can be frustrating when you want to focus on the creativity, but it’s a very important part of getting the music out to the fans so you have to pay attention to it.

jes brieden as the rush comes vocalist

You recently did a track with Cold Blue and Dennis Shepherd 2 passionate and incredible producers, what was it like working with them?
They are great guys and I really like each of their work as producers. They both have a unique style but remain flexible with each other in a way that compliments their joint productions without diluting their integrity. They approached me with a track that was very dear to their hearts and I loved it. It had an edgy quality and felt like it had a new sound and was also classic trance. I’m always looking to connect with creative people so it happened to be really good time. After I heard it the first time I had an idea so we all decided to move ahead and work on it together.

Runaway is incredible. We are loving it, what inspired the song and how long did it take to write the song?
We went back and forth on it for a couple of months.  We actually all had a great Internet working relationship. Good communication is key when pushing ideas back and forth and the guys were very open-minded. Over the time we worked on everyone’s ideas so it was a lot of fun and I’m really happy with the end result, they’re both amazing producers. The lyrics to the song were inspired by a road trip I took to get away from life in LA. I was travelling through the desert towards Palm Springs and the idea for the chorus just started to form in my mind. The melody came much later once I had heard the idea for the track.

This interview would be incomplete if I didn’t ask you a few questions about a few of our favorite JES songs. (We tried to make it fun :)) 

As the Rush Comes is in every trance fans classic library. What do you love the most about the track?
I love the mystery and minimalism. I think it really captured a moment in time for Josh & Dave as well as dance music, EDM culture and Me. Somehow it managed to represent the freedom and possibility that EDM had made for itself and it’s become a kind of timeless song. Dash Berlin has an amazing new remix that I have been playing in my weekly mix show ( ) so it’s still growing and spreading to new fans and I’m still asked to play it at every show :).

What was the inspiration for Like a Waterfall with Solar stone?
I just heard the original mix on Pandora a couple of days ago and it took me back to the time when we were working on it. It was written to an ambient 10 minute track that Rich (Solarstone) sent me. It came from a very deep place in my heart after a sad breakup and it kind of changed my life at the time. I recorded it in my apartment and I probably worked on it for 6 months. It was really just pure expression, I had no preconceived ideas of what it would be or how dance music should sound. It was just an outpouring.

One thing you would change on The Light in Things if you had a chance?
I wish it would have been a single because people still don’t know it and I really love that song and it’s message!

One thing you dislike about Every Other Way with BT?
Oh that one is perfect :) it should have won a Grammy! That album (These Hopeful Machines) was nominated for a Grammy but it unfortunately didn’t win. It had a lot of great songs on it that started to make people understand the power of EDM. It really deserved something big to happen for it.

How long did it take to write NYC with Richard Durand?
It only took me a week or so to write and record that song. We were on a tight deadline, which helped us make some decisions quickly, and it also came a little easier because I was writing about my hometown :)

If you could sum up the single most important quality for an aspiring songwriter, what would it be?

You are extremely fashionable what fashion brand describes you and why?
I love Alexander McQueen. It’s raw and edgy and wild and I think that’s one of the most exhilarating places for fashion to be.

Besides your instruments, what are the top 5 things that you must have while on the road?
Earplugs, throat drops, Apple Computer/ipad, throat coat tea, and iPhone or some type of audio recording

alexander mcqueen jes singer producer new yorkIf we switched places and we were the artists and you were asking the questions, what is one question you would ask us? Why?
I would ask you this :). What would you like to see happening in EDM this year and what do you think we can do to help nurture the scene for all the amazing fans?

It has been a pleasure interviewing you, do you have any last words or messages for your fans out there?
Remember that the road is long so be positive, work hard, Keep Dancing and most important no matter how at times you feel overwhelmed, be grateful and never give up.
I’m eternally grateful for all your support and encouragement to me and I wish to send you the same energy back. Thank you all so much xo JES

You can stay up to date with everything that’s happening with me on my Facebook ( ), twitter (@official_jes) and my website ( ) so drop by and leave me a message. My weekly mix show ( )  is growing quickly so check that out if you get a moment, there’s a million ways to subscribe but you can get the latest details on the website. I recently launched a web store ( ) and a new newsletter that can be found on my website also that’s full of my recommendations and JES approved life hacks!

Thank you for doing this interview, We hope to catch you singing somewhere around the globe soon Layla and Yasmin x

It was wonderful to speak with Layla and Yasmin! I hope to see you before too long back in South Africa. 
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