Jonas Blue was set for another monumentally busy year before coronavirus emerged and decided to throw the music industry into turmoil.
We sat down with Blue to chat all about how much of a challenge it's been for DJs and producers during the past year, his latest single and plans for his imprint.
In recent times Blue has opted for a more dance-orientated theme with the records he has produced, such as the huge anthem 'Ritual' alongside Tiësto and Rita Ora in 2019.
His latest record is a deliberate move back to the sound he started out exploring and it is this subtle change in direction which the 31-year-old has been excited about.
“It’s going back to my roots a bit with house music,” he commented. “It’s been a fun one to do that.
“Some of my collaborations I’ve put out have been quite dance focused like the one called ‘By Your Side’ I had with RAYE and also the ones with Tiësto and MK.”
Since Covid-19 dealt a hammer blow to the music industry it has presented artists with numerous challenges, one of which is their ability to promote tracks.
Before the pandemic it wouldn’t have seemed out of place for an artist like Blue to be travelling thousands of miles every weekend, playing shows across all corners of the globe.
The Essex-born artist explained how grateful he was to have built up a loyal fan base which has helped deal with the difficult times over the last 12 months.
“For the music that I make and not being able to tour and promote these tracks in the original way has had a bit of an effect on the tracks and the whole scene,” he added.
“I’m very fortunate in that I’ve been going for quite a few years now so I have my fan base from a lot of the previous years.
“It’s definitely been a bit of a challenge that’s for sure but I’d like to think we’re coming to the end of this now and hopefully we can kind of have some year where there’s definitely going to be a few gigs and things like that.”
Despite all the anxiety surrounding the current situation it hasn’t stopped the Electronic Nature head honcho from continuing to make music. When we spoke about this it was easy to identify the confidence in his voice which helps to reflect the appropriate and resilient attitude you need as a DJ/producer.
It was also refreshing to hear the humorous anecdote he gave when reflecting on the past few years.
“It hasn’t really affected my focus and being able to make music,” he commented. “I’ve always done it whether it be on the road or in the studio.
“It’s just nice to be in one place and not on a flight and having to charge my bluetooth headphones all the time.”
Like a lot of artists the pandemic has provided a welcome break for Blue and a chance to recharge his batteries.
Looking back Blue acknowledged just how hectic his schedule had become and that in one sense it was a blessing to suddenly be presented with all this down time.
“2019 was probably one of my busiest years I’ve ever done and there were definitely moments where I was burning out,” he added.
“If you could catch 20 or 30 minutes of sleep you’ll do it. It was definitely getting to a point after five years where it was taking a toll.”
Whilst it turned out to be a good thing for Blue when life was put on hold and tours were being postponed there were certain aspects which still proved quite challenging.
“When you’ve been on the road for so long actually adjusting to being in one place was quite difficult for me,” he commented.
“Waking up in the same bed everyday and having a structure seemed a bit odd because my structure was to finish the club or festival, get three to five hours of sleep and hop on a flight and go somewhere else.
“That was the mentality and that was how my body clock was for years. That was actually quite difficult for me when I was required to stay in one place.”
One of the things which Blue admitted has always been one of the biggest challenges when on the road is that necessity to always present as the life and soul of the party.
“You always have to be on,” he added. “You might have a day where you’re feeling a bit crap but you still have to perform in front of thousands of people and create the party.
“You’ve got to be very strong-headed to do this job and I’m definitely here, there and everywhere but it’s all the bits in between that make it quite difficult.”
Whilst he may have missed out on the opportunity to play out to thousands in a country on the other side of the world Blue has something equally exciting coming this summer.
When the news was announced they had been given a main stage slot at this festival Blue was over the moon.
“We actually have Creamfields announced in the UK this year as well,” he continued. “I’ve never played the festival before.
“We held out for a long time because we wanted the right show and right set time. That will be exciting because we have the main stage.”
Blue has worked with a number of prominent artists like MK and Grammy-award winner Tiësto in recent years. Intriguingly he recounts the most valuable experiences as being the times he has shared a studio with English singer/songwriter JP Cooper.
Whilst he holds huge respect for titans of the music industry like MK and Tiësto there is no denying Blue admires Cooper the most.
“I think JP Cooper is one of the most underrated artists in my opinion,” he explained.
“Every lyric that we write down is amazing to hear from JP. It just doesn’t even feel real.
“It’s this weird out of body experience because it’s the most organic thing when I write with him.”
Blue continues to profess his fondness for the Manchester-born vocalist by recounting the sumptuous way they go about constructing songs together, drawing comparisons with how some of the greats used to do it.
“We literally sit at a grand piano, I’ll play some chord progressions and JP will be there with his pen and paper,” he continued. “It’s written in the most organic way.
“That is the beautiful thing about that kind of songwriting. It’s done in the most classic and organic way with people who most inspire me.
“It is similar to how people like Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones would’ve done it at the very start.”
Blue was also bursting at the seams with enthusiasm when asked for a response on what the coming months hold for his imprint Electronic Nature. The peculiar thing about his imprint is that things started coming together when all the nightclubs and festivals were closed or postponed.
“It really started to come to life in the middle of the pandemic last year,” he added.
“It’s going to be exciting looking ahead when we hold Electronic Nature events and have a crew of people who we showcase at a festival.”
The biggest motivation for Blue as a label owner is being able to give back and nurture artists who are looking for that first big break.
He pointed to a brilliant example with his recent single 'Something Stupid' and admitted that it would be so much easier and safer if you always opted for an established artist. Blue confessed how he has always preferred to gamble and give upcoming talent an opportunity.
“On my latest single nobody has heard of AWA but I’ve been able to put her out there and you do take these massive risks,” he commented.
“If you have a massive established artist then maybe your track does different things and performs in different ways but it goes back to the very start when I found people like RAYE and JP Cooper.
“I still firmly believe that’s a great thing to do so I’m going to continue with it.”
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