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In Conversation: Jasper James

In Conversation: Jasper James

Andrew Kemp | Features & Interviews

Easily one of the hottest DJs on the circuit today, Glasgow’s Jasper James has been wreaking havoc on dancefloors with increasing fervour over the last year or so, earning himself an ever-growing reputation with performances across Europe and an impressive residency at Brixton’s Phonox. Ahead of two shows at The Warehouse Project in Manchester this Autumn and a spot at the Slip Launch party in Leeds on Sunday 2nd December, we caught up with the in-demand Scot to quiz him on his buying habits, his musical heritage and the laws of the land at DJs’ private parties. 

Hi Jasper, it was a big one to end July as you played your Phonox farewell party after what must have been a really fun residency. How did it go?
Yeah, it was amazing, I’ve been pretty fortunate with every Saturday getting better and better. It wasn’t my final farewell party though as I took a little break in August to do more touring, but after September we are finishing the residency. The last 5 shows are going to be a bit special, with some guests dropping in over the month.

You came out of the rich Glasgow music scene, which whilst being internationally renowned still seems quite community-oriented, with big names like the Optimo guys, Harri & Domenic, Jackmaster etc all clearly heavily invested in the city. What is it about Glasgow that elicits such pride in local DJs and producers?
Glasgow has so many talented people within the creative industries. For me places like Sub Club have played a massive part in educating me musically. I went to the Sub Club religiously from a young age using my fake I.D., even though everyone knew who I was because my dad was the resident.

In an interview with Fabric last year you suggested that you have moved away from vinyl when playing out, so do you think the focus on buying and collecting digitally has changed or shaped your sound at all?
I haven’t completely stopped buying records but I tend not to play them out as much. Nowadays I tend to record in my vinyl so I have the digital file. I wouldn’t say it makes much difference in shaping my sound by buying digitally. There’s loads more music that I have to sift through.

Jasper James

As a Rinse resident you’ve had the chance to explore sections of your music collection that you might not get to play out in clubs; do you ever feel restricted by expectations, convention etc when playing out?
If I’m honest no not really, although I try not to be self indulgent with my selection and I always try to play to the crowd and their energy levels accordingly but keeping it within my own musical taste.

I can imagine you get asked about your father’s influence on your career on a fairly regular basis, but do you think that the younger generation of Glaswegian DJs are teaching the older dogs new tricks?
For me, I’m constantly learning something new from other DJs. I think it’s healthy to observe and take on new tricks, wherever you are and whoever you are. There’s so much to learn.

You’ve obviously spent a lot of time stood next to Jackmaster behind the decks - how difficult is it to get the headphones off him when he’s in full swing?
No matter how much I’m on the road I always manage to squeeze in an afters when I can with Jack. Usually it’s at our flat in Glasgow with all the core troops. It tends to be a  bit of a free for all musically; there are a couple of unwritten rules, which are 1) there are no rules; and 2) people make them up when they want to…

Does being a touring DJ mean that you don’t get to have many private parties just with mates? With so many DJ pals I can imagine people would have to queue for some time to put on a record at one of your own shindigs…
I love both. Nothing better than playing in a dark sweaty room with low ceilings to a couple hundred people at floor level, reeking of B.O. and bad breath, but at the same time playing in a big f**k off warehouse to a few thousand people is an equal buzz.

Jasper James

You’ve got some “big f**k off warehouse” shows booked for the coming months, including the opening party at The Warehouse Project in Manchester before returning to play alongside Heidi. Do you prefer playing these kind of events or more intimate affairs?
For me it will always be Glasgow at the Sub Club. Nothing tops that place in my opinion.

Finally, it’s always nice to end on a tune. Best track to come from your hometown this year?
I haven’t made it yet : )

You can catch Jasper James play in Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester over the coming months.

Interview by Andrew Kemp
Photos courtesy of Grade Management

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In Conversation: Jasper James

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