Joeski has been stamping his perso- nality on house and techno for three decades now. The Brooklyn-born, Queens-raised producer and DJ has been a vital part of New York’s electronic scene since the 90s, and his influence can now be felt globally. A case in point is his latest EP on Poker Flat Recordings – two tracks of vibing, dancefloor primed tech house.
‘Drift Within’ locks into a hypnotic groove a thick sub bass underpinning the synth stabs, rolling percussion and tripped out vocals.
‘Wordplay’ bumps like a classic NYC jam from the beginning – crisp snares and hats mingle with a roaming bass- line, classy arpeggiated synth lines and cut up vocals that build to a huge drop.
Let’s start with the inevitable question… how are you dealing with the impact of coronavirus and how is it affecting you personally?
Like all DJs, the pandemic severely impacted my travel schedule. I had plans to tour all over Asia and Australia that got postponed. As far as my production goes, I live in the studio with the pandemic or without. I was expecting my creative process to be impacted since I haven’t been on the road, but if anything I have been more inspired.
How do you think the industry will change as a result, if at all?
To be honest I have spent a lot of time wondering about this as well. I am just hoping that this amazing industry bounces back as it was before the pandemic.
When and how did you get your interest in electronic music?
When I was 13 years old, my older sister was dating a disco DJ who had a really good underground music collection. He was so in love with her and wanted to get on her good side that he invited me over to check out his turntables. From then on, I was hooked and tried to go to his house every day to play records. By the time I was 17 I was already playing clubs in New York City.
How did you decide to get into production?
During my DJ career in the late ’90s, I started noticing that a lot of producers were getting booked as DJs because they were making successful records. Being that I love DJing so much, I felt like it was the natural next step in my career to keep moving forward.
How do you assess the trajectory you have had as an artist? Have there been any particular defining moments on your journey?
The first peak in my career happened in the mid ’90s during the NYC rave scene. Then, the industry completely changed when music went digital and a new generation of kids came up in the business. At that point, I basically had to start from scratch again building a new audience. I feel like I am now at my second peak in my career and I am so proud of that. The hardest thing for an artist to do is reinvent oneself.
A lot of producers are very successful in sticking fairly rigidly to one sound, but with your records you can never really tell what you’re going to get from one release to the next, except that they will broadly be ‘house’. What makes you want to experiment so much?
I love all subgenres of this music and it inspires me to experiment in other areas. I love that my audience never knows what they are going to get, but they know that it will be dope.
Drift Within is a very dope, very deep record and we really love it. For us it sounds kinda spacey, cosmic even. Were you doing a lot of stargazing when you made this one?
I have always loved the deep, spacey, trippy side of this music. I can’t say I was stargazing because I don’t have windows in my studio LOL, but Timothy Leery’s voice definitely put me in that headspace.
You’ve released several times with Poker Flat over the years… why do you think they’ve had such longevity as a label?
I have been a big fan of Steve Bug’s music throughout so many years, so I feel it is a perfect fit to consistently release on his label.
Could you recommend a set or release that you are especially proud of, and that we can see on your Soundcloud or on YouTube?
I did a series of ten Into The Deep podcasts on Soundcloud and Mixcloud that I experiment with deeper sounds.
What can you tell us about the scene of your city? What would you improve?
Well unfortunately at the moment there is no scene in NYC as we are on lockdown. Once life gets back to normal, I hope that the house music scene continues to thrive like it was in Brooklyn and now starting to appear back in Manhattan again.
Finally, what can you tell us about your future projects we should be looking out for?
I just moved my recording studio and I will be taking my Maya Sessions podcast to a live stream on a weekly basis. I will be showcasing a lot of unreleased Joeski material and up-and-coming Maya projects. Look out for it on all of my social media platforms!