Photo: Press (Ganesa)
The history of what music journalist Simon Reynolds has once dubbed the “hardcore continuum” keeps unfolding. In recent years, certain strains of bass-driven music have been interwoven with a more straightforward tradition of dance music, techno. Labels like Livity Sound or regular club nights like Berlin’s Mother’s Finest have contributed much to facilitate new amalgamations, however blending bass music and techno isn’t exactly an idea only Europeans had. As the founder of Jelly Bean Farm, Ganesa has been working tirelessly to deepen the dialogue between dubstep, techno and other genres like footwork. As a DJ, the US American is just as versatile, as her contribution to the Groove podcast proves. Comprising material released on Jelly Bean Farm or by its alumni as well as some classics, it’s a wild ride throughout different styles and moods, firmly advancing towards a more exciting future.
You are based in Los Angeles, however your sound is deeply inspired by UK bass and dubstep. How did you get in touch with electronic music and when were you yourself introduced the sound of the hardcore continuum?
Having founded Jelly Bean Farm in Los Angeles back in 2016/2017 while the Los Angeles underground was my base I completely understand why the label and I are still associated with it. That and that I’ve probably flaked and have forgotten to change my status on a site maybe. However, I decided to take a breather from the city a while back. It was meant to be temporary but it felt so good that it stuck. I have a lot of love for Los Angeles and visit frequently! I just wanted to clear that up so there is no confusion. To answer your real question, I suppose I was exposed to the hardcore sound around 1993 at one of those abandoned house Detroit raves or maybe at the top level of St. Andrews hall in Detroit. I most certainly didn’t know what I was listening to was called or know where it was produced – we just called it all house or techno. I was really young and didn’t hang at record shops or know any DJs to explain it all to me throughly so the main thing I gathered back then was that I absolutely loved to dance to drum syncopation. Through the years I’ve woven in and out of favorite genres and spots to dance in different cities… Drum’n’bass nights, breaks, acid jazz, hip-hop and some old school house. In the mid to late 2000’s I was all about back-catalogue dance music because I was in a phase. Somehow the original dubstep wave came and went without ever being on my radar. It wasn’t until 2009 that I was inspired by new releases again. It was all music by these fresh producers and labels out of the UK making that first wave of bass music. This music really hit me personally because it was full of nods to a lot of my past and my favorite genres, and the added bonus was that it was my perfect BPM range. Another bonus of that specific crop was that it introduced me to dubstep retroactively through the reese-y dubstep sound engineering that poked its head in a lot of that music – and still does. Around 2012 it just got to the point that I loved what was coming out of the UK so much that it drove me to sell off most of my things and go to London to explore what was happening there with music firsthand. That was the first time I had been moved to truly be a part of something, or drawn in to any community. That move was also the first step toward realizing that I wanted to play DJ sets outside of my house.
Los Angeles still has a strong techno community but it is most internationally famous for its beat music scene – not so much, however, for being a hub for UK-inspired sounds. How would you characterise the Los Angeles scene when it comes to these particular styles?
When I think of the Los Angeles scene first I think of it in regard to nights. As for nights promoting UK sounds, Los Angeles has nights that cater to mainly one genre – dub-step nights, drum’n’bass nights and to be honest it’s a little bit like that in terms of all genres, UK-founded or not. There are a couple of regular nights with UK techno artists consistently on the same bill with other local techno artists and such. Maybe it’s all just my perspective but the genre-specific thing is still very typical over here. Obviously with exceptions, as I’m sure there must be some party going on multi-genre line-ups. As far as producers with a UK flavor there are plenty of deep dubstep producers in Los Angeles… one or two that have crossed over to my favorite BPM range and sound palette.
As a DJ, you move between bass music and techno – not an easy feat sometimes, since BPM and rhythms can differ drastically. What in your opinion does it take to be a good DJ working at that intersection of styles?
I think there are unique challenges for DJ’ing any genre and each person approaches them in their own creative way. When mixing bass music in general you really have to be open-minded and adventurous enough to mix tracks together that you may not normally think would work together. It helps to be adventurous and recognize connections that might not be apparent right away. You have to be careful and pay attention to the tunes themselves as the structure can vary a lot more in bass and UK techno tracks and the breakdowns and what follows them can be unpredictable. This can also be helpful to you as well. This all applies to mixing bass with techno together, and other genres. I would have to admit though that if someone handed me a thumb drive or a crate of records that I had to blindly play to a room full of people counting on me I’d much rather it be filled exclusively with straight techno, house, or electro. Don’t get me wrong, it would be very challenging but at least I’d know exactly what I was getting into.
You launched your label Jelly Bean Farm in 2017 with two digital compilations, named Enter and Exit respectively. What was your motivation to found Jelly Bean Farm?
Jelly Bean Farm was just a perfect storm of necessary variables finally coming together. That and an urge to add some levity and surrealness to what was coming off a bit aggressive or overly serious at the time. It was also a time when so many amazing unreleased tracks by newer producers were landing in my lap. I’d be playing them out to Los Angeles crowds that were die-hard dubstep, techno or footwork fans and I’d watch dancefloors still go off when I’d drop these tracks. I really wanted to push the sound more over here and try to get those producers exposure any way that I could. At that same time I had been stalking a Berlin-based visual artist named Ilan Katin on instagram that I simply knew that he could create my imaginary escapist world the way it was destined to be. I reached out to him and pitched the project and when he agreed it all clicked in. I reached out the producers through socials and in some cases had my partner Nathan (Squane) introduce me to them. My longtime best friend and music soulmate Lom (Rees) was also on board to take a silent partner type role and to help me out with things my attention span doesn’t handle very well, like setting up accounting spreadsheets. He does also join in on the fun as well, after all it was the first ever Squane x Rees collab “Little Orphan Android” that initially sparked me to create a label.
Both compilations featured mostly unknown producers, many of whom are based in the UK. How did you find those artists and what was important to you when compiling the music?
In creating the first compilation I owe a lot of gratitude to Nathan and his production skills. They got him added into a bass music group online where a lot of these producers were floating dubs around to trade and get feedback and such. Looking back a lot of the producers on that compilation were either from that group, introduced to me through someone in that group, were my personal friends or had reached out to me via Soundcloud or Facebook in the past to give me tunes to either play out or in radio mixes.
In the following years, producers like Mershak or Truska followed up on their contributions to the compilations with solo releases. Has it been your plan from the start to work long-term with the people featured on Enter and Exit?
I always want to establish friendships and long-term relationships in business and in life. So, the answer is very much yes – but in an open-minded and open-ended way. Maybe in a naive way when I began the compilation, I was expecting that more producers would be on board longer-term. But, I didn’t think about it too far ahead as I was always repeating the mantra “one foot in front of the other, Ganesa, one step at a time!” I like looking back at how it’s all unfolded very naturally. Sometimes producers move on and toward a new direction creatively or they level-up and want to release on a bigger label which is to be expected and I love to see it. Also, my tastes and creative direction for the label are steadily shifting as well. All of this is to be expected and is an exciting part of the process.
Next up is RNBWS, a Russian producer with ties to Moscow’s Propaganda club and a co-founder of Pkge, with his Autonomy EP. Inspired by his “deepening frustration with political stagnation in Russia,” it’s a stylistically rich release. How did the record come about and what’s your stance on hosting more or less explicitly political music on your label?
RNBWS and I had been exchanging music and little chats on socials for quite some time and I have really loved every single track I’ve heard by him. After years of this I wondered why I hadn’t reached out to him yet to ask if he’d be interested in doing a release. I did and lucky for me he was into it. After sending over music we agreed on a set. Most of the time before a release I communicate with a producer to get a sense of what their EP means to them. This helps me with art direction and what I relay to ilan. It wasn’t until that stage with Maxim I was let in on his inspiration so I conveyed it the best I could through the Jelly Bean Farm lens. I’m not sure Jelly Bean Farm is the project for explicit messages of any type really. I don’t have anything against relaying political messages in the slightest, as politics is always there shaping our lives. It’s just that once anything goes through the Jelly Bean Filter filter it gets abstracted and ends up symbolic in the end. That could change in the future, but as it stands the nature of this label mirrors the music and for me that is about deconstructing, twisting and mashing up inspirations old and new for each person that happens to come across it to perceive in their way.
What was the idea behind your contribution to the Groove podcast?
To be honest I don’t really have an idea before starting a mix. The first track must be decided on and once I really feel that first track is right it unfolds from there. This particular mix ended up being a pretty moody journey that should have you dancing around eventually. It contains a lot of amazing music by my favorite producers and labels that I’ve repped over the years. You’ll hear some Jelly Bean Farm releases & Jelly Bean Farm allumni. There are a lot of unreleased gems inside, and some older tracks that wanted to be in this mix.
Last but not least: Where can we see you behind the decks in the near future and what are your plans as a label owner?
As of now most likely I’ll be behind my decks at the home studio finding an outlet for all these feelings coming up with the current situation that I have yet to even begin processing. And, the label mantra remains the same, one foot in front of the other.
Stream: Ganesa – Groove Podcast 249
01. Henry Greenleaf – Rumble [Forthcoming Par Avion]
02. BL ME- Surate [Re]sources]
03. Tim Karbon – Drowned Argonaut [unreleased]
04. Dissident – Missed [unreleased]
05. RNBWS – Sex @ 5AM [Forthcoming Jelly Bean Farm]
06. Wun – Render [Jelly Bean Farm]
07. Awo Ojiji – Laura’s Lodge [Eternal Ocean]
08. Yilan- Suddenly I’m Falling [unreleased]
09. Debba – Craving [unreleased]
10. Henry Greenleaf – NOFM [unreleased]
11. Korzi Sound Freq [Jelly Bean Farm]
12. Lamont – Brain [Forthcoming Tectonic Recordings]
13. RNBWS – Inhale [unreleased]
14. Squane – Singular Oddity [Forthcoming Jelly Bean Farm]
15. Paleman – Wax Wasp [Forthcoming PLMN]
16. LTD Colours – Shelter [Forthcoming Glome Sound]
17. Krotone – Have You [Forthcoming Krotone]
18. Dom & Deykers – Fonts for the People 
19. A:Tonal (James Andrew) – Extasee [unreleased]
20. Nuvaman – Cardiac Arrest (Terreux VIP) [Circular Jaw]
21. Squane – Vesta [Jelly Bean Farm]
22. RNBWS – Forbidden Words [Forthcoming Jelly Bean Farm]
23. Aloka – Ecliptic [Steel City Dance Discs]
24. Pugilist – Quick Fix [unreleased]
25. Maelstrom – Arteries [Bromance Records]
26. Squane x Rees – Buzz Kill [Jelly Bean Farm]