One of Australia’s finest, Jad & The is a truly prolific and inspiring producer. You may know him from the sampled disco goodness on Toy Tonics, jazzy-house on SlothBoogie, or electro-tinged outings on Haws. Either way, with more than 15 releases to his name, it’s clear that Jad is an artist who knows how to stay ahead of the game and sound fresh every time. More importantly, to do all this while maintaining an unmistakable signature sound. While he’s not working on new lush EPs, Jad runs his label Beats of No Nation with friends Luen and Dom Bird, home to many stellar releases from himself and others. Today, he’s bestowed us with almost an hour and a half of recent favourites, as well as having a chat to us about music, Berlin, the art of djing, and the not-so complicated secret to his perfect hair..
Hey Jad, lovely to have you on the mixed by series. How’s everything going these days?
Mate very well Euro summer is finally here. It took awhile to kick in but it’s hit with a vengeance. Reminding me of home, been plenty of evening storms just like where I’m from (in Australia).
Not too long ago, you were a member of Australian indie-disco band Mitzi (definitely worth a listen for those who haven’t), how did you end up making electronic / house music? What was the transition like, or were they simultaneous projects from the start?
To be honest it was very natural. Mitzi tried to do live house music in a way. Especially live. We looked to band’s like Chk Chk Chk for inspiration and even though what was recorded and released as songs had more of the traditional song structure (verse, chorus, verse, chorus etc..), when we did things live we focused more about jamming extended grooves. We attempted to be some kind of electronic dance band and had some good moments. Sad it had to come to an end. But I guess that gave me more time to develop my own sound and productions. But who knows I’m still very close to the rest of the Mitzi guys (Dom is my partner in the label I run). We could do a reunion tour John Farnham style (if you aren’t Australian you’ll need to google him).
How does the solo producer life compare to the band life? How was going from being in an indie electronic band in Australia to being a producer/dj in Berlin?
Its black and white I suppose. I don’t miss the hard times – carrying around 2 giant synthesizers around airports, gear breaking mid set… touring life as an emerging band is very tough. But the feeling of playing to a large and receptive crowd with a bunch of your best mates is hard to beat. I’ve had some special moments DJing (Vida Festival in Barcelona comes to mind) but in reality most people can DJ, it’s not that hard. I try to play as much vinyl as I can these days just so it’s not so easy and more challenging (and it feels way better). Berlin is also hugely different to my old lifestyle. I’d literally surf everyday and then try and write music and then DJ on the weekends. Life was good, but almost too good. I needed to challenge myself. Hence the move to Berlin. I still miss the surf and beach. That’s definitely the hardest thing. I’m probably one of the few people in Berlin who has more than one surfboard in their room. Luckily Portugal is pretty accessible so I still manage to get my saltwater fix. But Berlin is so inspiring and there’s a gig to inspire you every night of the week. If only we could have both!
How much do you feel that a producer’s djing and selection has to represent their musical output? I can definitely tell this is a Jad & The mix. But do you ever play curveball sets, or would you like to?
I’ve never really planned a DJ set in my life. So I usually just play off a feeling. I’m also into a wide array of music. My attention span is usually too short I think 2 hours of house or techno or disco is too much. I like to jump between genres. There’s no rules you can play electro into disco into house into techno…. Sometimes it can sound a little disjointed or erratic but if it works it can be amazing. If its a challenge to mix it’s usually more fun too. In saying this this mix I tried not to jump around too much I had a ‘rough’ kind of plan. Put a bunch of my favourite Canadian artists in there too….
Care to share a special moment from your djing or general nightlife experiences with us? Something that’s been stuck with you since or maybe even changed the way you approach or feel about what you do.
I saw Theo Parrish and Marcellus Pittman play a couple of years ago in Berlin. They were playing amazing music, but what really stood out was how much they were playing this music for themselves. There was one moment where Theo was like having this outer body experience and he was closed eyed blissing out to this song. He was enjoying the music more than any of the dancers and he wasn’t going to play a track because the crowd loved it, but because he loved it. Not enough DJs play like that in my opinion and the guys that do are in the underground. Anyone can play banger into banger into banger and get a crowd dancing.
There’s definitely a shifting perception regarding the legitimacy of different musical formats. Streaming and digital formats have become a much more ‘acceptable’ way to release music, while vinyl, though still booming, doesn’t quite feel as mandatory as it once was. How do you feel about that, and how has it affected the way you run Beats of No Nation?
I’d release on vinyl every release if I could. But we have to be mindful of cost. I’m also much more aware of the environment and let’s face it vinyl is quite detrimental. Hopefully soon we can develop a more environmentally friendly vinyl alternative. We’ve done a number of digital only releases through Beats Of No Nation and it still feels as good, the whole point is to share music we love. The turn around releasing vinyl can be frustrating as well.
How about a couple lighter questions. Do you Shazam at the club? And what’s your take on a djs responsibility to ID or not ID tracks he plays?
I’m not too fussed on that. I’ve shazam’d plenty of times but not in the club (but mainly because I never think about it) and if I’m djing and someone asks me “what’s this track?” I will tell them. We should be sharing great music. There’s already enough shit music on the top 40 charts not to share the good stuff.
How about guilty pleasures, what have you been secretly listening to recently? And while we’re at it, what have you been listening to generally recently?
Always a lot of jazz. TBH very into the Canadian scene right now so much good shit coming from there as heard in my mix. Guilty pleasures…. Hmmmm I keep trying to listen to modern hip hop but it always fails me. Bring back those early Pete Rock or Marley Marl cuts I’m a sucker for that shit. Some pretty great 80’s music from Australia which feels a little guilty to listen to.
Any hair care tips for those of us who are jealous of your hair game?
Lol, keep growing and think big, think thick.
And to wrap things up, what’s next for Jad? Short-term or long-term, what’s on your mind?
Been a little lazy studio wise. So need to get refocused on that and get my next releases together. I have a little track coming soonish on Banoffee Pies VA, something a little different… Looking forward to that. Plenty of European summer gigs and planning on returning to Australia to do another tour their over Euro winter. Hopefully plenty more music is coming…..but it’s something that’s better when it’s not rushed or forced in my experience.