Photo: Press (Jimi Jules)
Jimi Jules’s rise has been slow but steady. Cutting his teeth in his native Switzerland’s club scene, the DJ did land a hit with the Oliver $ collaboration “Pushing On” early on his career, but did not take that opportunity to become a house music careerist or rest on his laurels. Instead, he honed his craft and released a slew of records that combined a deeply rooted musical sensibility with a knack for creating anthemic atmospheres. Releases on Zurich’s Zukunft label were followed by a stint at Berlin’s Watergate. Currently preparing the release of his sophomore album +, he is now firmly connected with Innervisions and has apparently managed to bring out label co-founder Dixon’s qualities as a … singer? There’s plenty to look forward to, it seems, in 2022 – which is why Jimi Jules’s mix for our Groove podcast lets a messy year end on a high note.
First off, how have the last two years been for you?
I focused on things that are very important to me, that’s why I spent most of the time with Anouk and my kids beside working in the studio during the day.
You have been back on the road, playing shows internationally in the past few months, but obviously have been playing less DJ gigs than before in total. Has this changed the way that you approach DJing or even your work in the studio now?
I was one of the lucky guys because Switzerland was only closed for a „more or less“ short period of time. Of course there were some restrictions but all in all I had a lot of fun, playing for smaller crowds and in venues I used to play back in the days, when I started DJing.
Your new single “My City On Fire,” was executively produced by Innervisions co-founder Dixon. What did your working process look like?
Everything according the album started in Basel, a few hours before Steffen and I played all night long at Nordstern in Basel last year. We were talking about possible options for my demos, the first Idea was to release a bunch of EPs on Innervisions but everything took another turn and we ended up writing back and forth, trying to get as much out of the tunes as possible and combining an album. For most of the tunes he gave me feedback and tips and inputs how to push them to the next level but there are also a few ones he worked on arrangements, sounds and he even did a vocal for me. So I guess It’s appropriate to call him a singer now. (laughs)
„My City On Fire” is the first track off of your upcoming second album, +, due for release in spring 2022. What themes informed the record?
Most of the tunes I wrote during the last two years are more or less related to COVID-19, so my perspective of the pandemic, what I was thinking, seeing and feeling and how people reacted to certain new laws or how the world became an other place, kind of like an apocalyptic universe. Do you know what I mean? It shows a new path of living and using the future and its new tools as an opportunity to do things much better than in the past. We have to learn and it’s definitely better, together, forever.
Your debut LP Equiknox featured a variety of acoustic and electric instruments, most of which you played yourself. How did you produce the music for +?
I always wanted to make a “club” album, so I tried to push my boundaries, use more synthesizers and noises instead of acoustic instruments and get everything out of the arrangements. But honestly it wasn’t done on purpose, I just went around my studio and did a few hundred demos and drafts and in the end we picked what made sense. Once again I realised how strong Steffen is in selecting and creating concepts.
It has already been revealed that Trevor Jackson was responsible for the artwork. How did you end up collaborating on this project?
I’ve been a big fan of Trevor’s for a long time. So when we talked about the artwork and Steffen suggested Trevor, it was love at first sight. We contacted him, sent the music and he made a proposal for the artwork that we liked from the beginning. Moreover, the workflow and human energy of the collaboration was relaxed, which seems like a good sign for a successful collaboration.
What was the idea behind your mix for our Groove podcast?
Doing a mix for Groove has been on my bucket list for a long time, so it was nice to get the request. Honestly, I was just looking for songs I enjoyed playing this year, tracks that inspired me and timeless ones that have been with me in my sets for a while.
Last but not least: What are your plans for the future?
Looks like breakfast is ready, and Rampa is waiting for me in the restaurant, so let’s start with some funky eggs …. Sent from my iPhone
Stream: Jimi Jules – Groove Podcast 322
01. MMM (Errorsmith & Fidel) – The Interview
02. Uffe – Immortal
03. Unknown – Unknown
04. DEA – Mahfudzot (I:Cube Remix)
05. Terr – Wings Of Time (Tornado Wallace Remix)
06. Martin Herrs – Humalogy
07. Dimension 23 – I.M.O.K. R.U.O.K. (Or:la Remix)
08. Impérieux – I Dreamed Of You Last Night, Twice
09. Moktar – Silk
10. TOKiMONSTA, Channel Tres – Naked (Nosaj Thing Remix)
11. Marcel Dettmann, Norman Nodge – The Call (Jimi Jules Yeah, Check It Out Update)
12. John Tejada, Dntel – Treetops
13. Jimi Jules – Burning
14. Saâda Bonaire – More Women