Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you should have heard of Jesse Futerman (soundcloud) by now. The Toronto-based (soon to be Montreal) musician has been making waves with EPs on Omena Records and more recently, Church. These releases marked a bit of a turning point for Jesse as the majority of his output prior to this was more hip-hop and jazz focused, although, that same aesthetic is not lost on his newer material. With his productions ranging primarily within the aforementioned genres, you may be a little bit surprised to find that his DJ sets are often more boogie, soul and disco inspired. Up until recently you would have been able to hear some of that selection on his radio show, Body Electric on TRP (Toronto Radio Project), but fear not as his show should be returning in the near future on n10.as radio.
Getting his start at a young age, Jesse began improvising on the piano when he was just six years old. With no formal training, he realized he had a pretty good ear for music and even started putting songs together in his head. His discovery of Madlib led to digging for a lot of sample sources and from there he ended up really enjoying the records themselves, becoming something of a jazz aficionado in the process (not your dad’s jazz, though). By the time he was sixteen, he had already caught the ear of one of the biggest radio DJs on the planet in Gilles Peterson, who ended up playing his music on BBC Radio One. That further inspired him to make music and is likely a big part of the reason why we’ve got the opportunity to get to know him a little bit better today.
Hey Jesse, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed! Hot off the press is your recent “My Favourite Merchant” EP on Church. Can you tell us a little bit about how that came about?
I forget exactly how I got connected with Church. The label manager, Seb W, ended up fancying an old track of mine called “a tribute to horace” on Soundcloud. He later ended up releasing it on the recent Volumes comp. Slowly but surely we spoke about making an EP. I ended up meeting a very magical woman in Mtl whom I fell in love with. Whenever I made music in the past it was when I was sad or frustrated. Since meeting this special lass, my times in the studio were filled with happiness and love. She works behind the counter at a sick bbq in Mtl, thus, she is “my favorite merchant”! The EP is a tribute to her, as well as our relationship. She is my gem :)
Up until recently you ran a radio show called Body Electric on TRP (Toronto Radio Project) which has unfortunately had to cease operations for the time being. What did that show mean to you and how bummed are you that the station had to close up shop?
Oy vey, it hurts. It hurts bad. I miss TRP so much. Body Electric was so important to me because I could finally play all my records that I cannot play at the club. I remember being so amped to see listeners in the chatroom, asking me for Track Id’s. Was magic. When I move to MTL, Body Electric will return on N10!
Credit : vince malik
You grew up listening to and making hip-hop and jazz records and managed to catch the ears of some important people throughout the years. Of late though, it seems you’ve been more focused on tracks that work well on the dancefloor. How did that transition come about?
I can thank Kevin Mcphee for that one, along with some negative feelings working in hip hop haha. Kevin Mcphee came to my house many years ago and schooled me on house, showed me blending and got me interested in moving to 4/4. This was right before my song life is a gamble was released on local talk.
Has your approach to production changed at all or are you still doing things in relatively the same way? What kind of gear are you working with?
It hasn’t changed that much. My sample sources are still very “hip-hop”, sampling a lot of soul and jazz for my 4/4 beats. I kind of define myself as a hip hop producer working in house music haha. I got my moog lil phatty when i was in my mid teens. I had a great deal of problems putting in my music. I made a variety of hip hop eps where I never got to use it once. After listening to a lot of boogie and funk over the years, I started to be drawn closer to my synth. I finally feel like after all these years we love and understand each other. Sometimes she (lil phatty) can be a bit too loud, but the more time I spend with her the more subtle and smooth I feel she’s becoming.
With your transition into a more house-oriented sphere it’s likely that you’ve started listening to a lot more house records as well. Who are some of your current favourite artists or labels?
I really look up to artists like Adam Feingold and the temple boys. They have been melting my face these days. On the more soul-y side, I really adore Kerri Chandler, Karizma, Lay-Far, Project Pablo, Max Graef and Byron the Aquarius. I also adore Funkineven, I think his new album is amazing. I cannot forget about Riohv, hes always impressing me with his demos.
Credit : vince malik
You’ve been a lot more active in the Toronto scene as a DJ over the past year or so, playing various clubs and events and even made your way over to Montreal. Do you enjoy watching people get down to your musical selection and how receptive would you say the crowds are of your slightly more out there boogie, soul and disco sets?
Its insane. The way people react to boogie is nuts. House crowds usually lose it because its thumping 4/4, but it has that dash of soul, gospel and sometimes light yazz! Couple weeks back I had a bunch of new faces show up to my event. They requested drake and vibes kartel. A minute after one of the dancers requested drake I dropped “feel alright” by kimiko. All the girls who asked for request lost their minds to the funky synth. Moving their arms in tandem withthe modulating synth, it was brilliant!
We know you’re a big fan of the sauna. What else do you like to do when you’re not focusing on music?
I play a lot with my nephews, I love them dearly. I try to be a good son to my parents who are super amazing. I love films and am a huge gamer for better or for worse. I play a lot of online games with friends, its good fun, but many tell me to stop haha.
Tell us a little bit about the mix you’ve recorded for us.
A mixture of things I truly love. From Pharoah to boogie to brazilian, it features all sorts of spices. Also a new track from me that will be out in the summer!!!!
Finally, can we get a little bit of insight into what you’ve got planned next? Any upcoming releases/collaborations we should keep an ear out for?
Ah yes, a follow up to my church EP :) On coastal haze! A remix for Dirt Crew’s Harry Wolfman out on wax in the coming months and another piece of wax with my good pal Dan Only!
Interview : Igor
Pictures : vince malik (http://cargocollective.com/vvncmmlk)