Swiss DJ and producer, but mostly full time musician, Jimi Jules is set to release his debut album ‘Equinox‘ on Zukunft Recordings next Monday, October 10th. Debut album? Not quite! Jimi has already produced and arranged the one or the other album in his career, unfortunately they got lost somewhere on his hard-disc. ‘Fortunately‘, says Jimi.
Torture the Artist: Jimi your debut album ‘Equinox‘ is due next week. Was it your goal to create an album that – as the title suggest – works the same during the day and the night?
Jimi: No, I mean I don‘t even know what came over me when I did it. ‘Equinox‘ was the title I produced the fastest – basically in one flow. Altogether I produced around 100 demos and 35 tracks with diverse and confusing titles, some of them even spelled wrongly – maybe I should read more – and besides the fact that I produced it rather quickly I enjoyed ‘Equinox‘s vibe‘ and even the title, which is funny because I did not know what it meant. Later on I googled it of course and thought ‘that‘s it!‘. The track itself was also appealing to me since it is minimalistic and boring <laughs> but covers the emotions. By the way ‘Equinox‘ is also the name of an American fitness company, so I might get a membership for free now?!?
When I was younger I thought I would be a night person – probably like everyone else.
Torture the Artist: Are you more creative during the day or night and when was your album produced?
Jimi: When I was younger I thought I would be a night person – probably like everyone else – but in the meantime I can say that I love mornings. You know you get up in the morning and you still have the whole day in front of you – a somewhat 24 hours. So when I start working at eight in the morning I know that Sacha (editor‘s note: Kalabrese & Rumpelorchester) is not awake and I have at least another three hours. <laughs> Sometimes I just call Alex (editor‘s note: Alex Dallas). If you are a father, you cope with your life differently and you have a completely different rhythm. So the album was mainly produced during the day time.
Torture the Artist: For your album you worked together with different artists. While JAW is pretty much known in the scene and you had already done a track with Tobias Carshey on Objektivity, Anouk is the unknown one on your album. How did these collaborations happen and what unites you and the artists?
Jimi: I got to know Tobias in Zurich because of a good friend that time who took me to his concert. Tobias studied music just like I did (editor‘s note: Jimi Jules is a graduated Jazz musician) and he moves people with his music on an emotinal level. We are pretty close when it comes to music so it was clear that we had to do this collaboration. ‘Lost Love‘ was not my track. I did not write it in the first place, Tobias did. We just tried to make it fit in an electronic music context and therefore we had to re-arrange the whole track. Now even two versions exist: the album version and the single version. The collaboration with JAW was followed by a night when dOP had played Zukunft (editor‘s note: club Zukunft in Zurich). I told them about the album but JAW was not interested in the first place to do a track with me. Somehow he listened to my stuff later on and then called through telling me that he is totally into it and that he would love to do a track with me. So that was that. Well, Anouk. Let‘s keep it short: She is the woman of my dreams. I think that explains it all.
Torture the Artist: What was the trigger for you to do an album or was it a process that led to it?
Jimi: I always wanted to do an album and Alex as well as Kalabrese pushed me into this direction – they believed in me to take on this challenge. They always approached me with this issue and then I did a song for the album – ‘Lost Love‘ – in the end one thing led to another. It was that simple and that difficult at the same time.
Torture the Artist: A lot of artists withdraw themselves to a different city, country or even to loneliness to find inspiration and calm. Where did your album come into being?
Jimi: The album was completely produced in my own studio. We – family and friends – had three apartments outside of Zurich that time. The apartments were of temporary use. They were settled within a 70s building – rather trashy. But my studio was there! 15 of my friends and I lived there that time in what you would call a community just without the sexual demand. But even when we lived there together everyone was still for themselves. There was a huge variety of diverse people there like musicians, journalists, movie producers etc. Damn I miss these times, it was awesome.
I did not manage to get a lot of things done in terms of music when I lived in Berlin.
Torture the Artist: You are a resident at famous watergate club “official” in Berlin. What role do either Berlin or Watergate play for your music?
Jimi: Certainly both Berlin and Watergate influence my music to some point. For the album I sort of escaped to my studio that I consider an oasis. I have been a resident at Watergate for quite a while now und I also lived in Berlin for ¾ of a year. Funnily enough I did not manage to get a lot of things done in terms of music when I lived in Berlin. It was completely different when I just visited though. That is why I went back to Zurich to be honest, because every time I wanted to get things going in Berlin when I lived there things were procrastinated. Others were like: “Since you live here now, it will be fine if we do it tomorrow.“ And of course tomorrow never came. That was not really my cup of tea since I like being productive and do things right away. But to sum up I would say that Berlin‘s minimalism shaped my character – not only in terms of music.
It basically gives me a good feeling when people that I like and adore take their time to listen to my music.
Torture the Artist: Tracks such as ‘Moon‘ or the album version of ‘Lost Love‘ are already supported by artists like Dixon, Âme, Frankey & Sandrino or The Drifter. Did you toast with a glas of ‘Rotwii‘? (editor‘s note: Rotwii means red wine in Switzerland)
Jimi: Honestly I haven‘t had the time to think about it really. It is awesome when the Innervisions people play my music and I am thankful to receive such a positive feedback. It basically gives me a good feeling when people that I like and adore take their time to listen to my music. Personally it would have been honor enough to me if Alex and Kalabrese had listened to my music only since they are family. By the way Kalabrese was my album mentor.
Torture the Artist: What was your vice during the different stages of production?
Jimi: Don‘t be so negative! <laughs>
Torture the Artist: What positive feeling accompanied you?
Jimi: It was just awesome. The whole three months. I did not listen to any music during that time. I think I could die like this. You know just being in a studio and doing what I love – music. That made me whole.
Torture the Artist: And when will you be back in the studio?
Jimi: Hopefully soon. But I don‘t know how I will manage to find the time. I got family and now I have to clean up the apartment. <laughs>
Jimi Jules’ debut album ‘Equinox‘ was released on Zukunft Recordings on October 10th, 2016.
Interview by Holger Breuer