Photo: Willis Glasspiegel (Jana Rush)
The story of Jana Rush has been told many times since the producer came back on the scene with 2017’s Pariah, but the music she has since released on Painful Enlightenment and Dark Humor through Planet Mu were looking forward and not backwards. Sonically, there may be echoes of her past as a (very) young house producer and her work with samples might occasionally call to mind her contemporaries from Chicago’s footwork scene, however Rush has carved out her own musical niche with intricate tracks that are impossible to categorise. Her mix for our Groove podcast pays homage to some footwork greats like DJ Rashad or Traxman, but is also chock-full of her own wild and adventurous productions.
You have started touring again. How has the experience been so far?
The 2022 tour was pretty long but it was dope and super rewarding. I met a lot of fellow creatives who were super down to earth. I felt very supported everywhere I went in Europe.
Your debut album had the rather descriptive title Pariah and when Painful Enlightenment was released, you made it very clear that the album was not to be understood as a footwork record. How would you characterise your relationship with that scene and footwork as a genre at this point?
I haven’t been to an event in a while. Yes, I have much love for the music and beats, but I also choose explore other realms in search of an advanced yet palatable rhythm outside of the basics.
Both on that album and on its follow-up Dark Humor, you collaborated with DJ Paypal. What does your working process look like?
PayPal and I pretty much do tracks in real time. We push record and lay down infinite beats!
Besides those official releases, you occasionally put out new tracks on your Soundcloud account. How do these pieces relate to the more conventionally released music? Are they sketches, spontaneous jams, or tracks that wouldn’t necessarily fit on an album?
The tracks are usually sketches or ideas I eek out without judgment and post. An artist has many ideas, yet when you are new, practice makes perfect. It’s not enough for me to hear beats in my head, but I must also learn how to articulate the idea in a digestible manner.
You generally seem to take an intuitive approach to producing and have said that you often make sketches outside the studio before fleshing them out into full tracks. What kind of gear or software are you using for that?
At the moment I’m using MPC LIVE and Ableton.
Samples, especially vocals, play an integral role in your music. Apart from the sonic aspects, are you also interested in the semantics of vocal samples – do you use them to convey a message?
Sometimes I’m pasting together words to mean things, however most of the time I’m searching for the melodic offerings at different tempos.
What was the idea behind your mix for our Groove podcast?
A wink and a shout to some old-skool footwork legends.
Last but not least: What are your plans for the future?
Future projects: remixes for Eomac and Animistic Beliefs, album number three, an NTS Residency for 2022, and lastly become the best live performer!
Stream: Jana Rush – Groove Podcast 346
01. Jana Rush – When Da Edible Hit
02. DJ Orange Julius – Built-up Aggressin
03. Boylan/DJ Manny – Inside Meee
04. DJ PayPal – Iws
05. DJ Orange Julius – Gas Paqs
06. DJ Flp – Kush Cloud
07. DJ Earl – Feeling Myself
08. Jana Rush – Game
09. DJ Rashad – Off Loud
10. DJ PayPal – 8 Bit
11. Mall Music – City Life
12. Arcane – Steppa
13. DJ PayPal – Kush
14. DJ Rashad – Niggas Smoke Loud
15. DJ Clent – Glitch
16. Unknown – Ebb
17. Jana Rush – Breathing Exercise 2004
18. Crzkny – Fuck off
19. Jana Rush/DJ Hank – Industrial Beat
20. DJ Clent – Dimepiece
21. Jana Rush – Let Us Pray
22. DJ PayPal – Time Wasting
23. Jana Rush – Fickle Mind
24. Boylan – Strictly Financial
25. Jana Rush – RAH
26. EQ Why – Work It
27. Heavee – Nintendo Wars
28. DJ Jalen/Hank – Roll Ah 7
29. DJ Hank/OJ – Sit Down
30. Traxman – Da Only Way to Be
31. Traxman – Human Nature
32. Traxman – Can’t Help It