Leeds lass, Laura Jones has her feet firmly rooted in the newness and adventure of life. In the past twelve months she’s released on Leftroom with the killer house grooves, ‘Intentions’ and ‘Love In Me’ and is the newest Visionquest signing this summer with the aptly titled, ‘Live A Little’ EP.
Miss Jones rapid success has seen her life change radically, swapping her niche as a trained singer and classically trained pianist to join a new guard of house and techno DJs, with future guest slots at world-renowned temples of rave - Berlin's Watergate for Visionquests super-hyped showcase, Geneva's Milk Klub and our Farringdon disco, next Saturday for the lip-licking airlondon takeover with Kate Simko and Anthea.
With kindred spirits Seth Troxler, Jamie Jones and Damian Lazarus pinning her down as the one to watch, we wasted no time in catching up with Laura to talk about her biggest challenges so far, why we’ll be hearing more of her vocals very soon and a hot new release coming out on Crosstown Rebels. Laura’s also slipped in a mix for your listening pleasure, it’s four to the floor house destined to bring the dancefloor to capacity.
Hi Laura, how’s your year been so far?
My year has been pretty amazing so far. I was made redundant in June which couldn’t have been better timed as I was planning to leave in a few months anyway due to things going so well for me musically. My life has changed pretty radically as a result and I’m finally doing what I love and believe in so things are all good right now.
What have been your biggest challenges?
I guess my biggest challenge has been having to learn to adapt to my eye disease. I found out back in 2008 that I’m slowly going blind due to a rare genetic eye disorder which led to everything music-related being put on the backburner for a good while so I’m consequently now having to almost learn to DJ all over again as I’m no longer able to rely on my eyes so much anymore and am having to learn to start feeling my way around the equipment and the DJ booth rather than relying on my eyes to do all the work.
Are you a self-taught music maker?
I am indeed. I bought Logic back in 2008 and have been teaching myself to produce since. I also go out with producer Gavin Herlihy so whenever I’m really stuck on anything, I can get his advice. I’ve still got so much to learn though and am still at the bottom rung of a very long ladder. Up until now I’ve only had the odd weekend and the odd hour here and there to work in the studio so it’s been a pretty long process. I’m hoping now that I’m full-time, things will start to speed up a little.
When did you first realize you made it as an artist?
I guess that has only come in the last few weeks since starting to fly around the world to play at various different parties. It’s funny as it’s so suddenly gone from something I just did as a hobby to my full-time career which is pretty scary in certain respects but also really exciting in others. I’m just trying to take each day as it comes at the moment though and not take any of it for granted.
What was the moment that made you feel most proud so far?
I guess it would have actually had to be the weekend just gone where I played in Tunisia. As I stepped down into the DJ booth, I got a massive cheer from the crowd and people were shouting my name and asking for pictures. I just thought to myself, wow I am actually touching people as far away as North Africa with my music. It was a really special feeling.
In the past twelve months you’ve released on major labels, Leftroom and Visionquest. Did you feel any pressure knowing they were going to be such high-profile projects?
To be honest, I never anticipated any of them doing as well as they have. They are 3 of the first 4 tracks that I finished just over 18 months ago and so with still being pretty new to production, I thought it would take me a lot longer than it has. I think when they’re your own tracks, you’re always hypercritical as there’s always a million and one other things you could’ve done with them. You often get the feeling a track’s never quite finished as a result.
What’s the best advice the Leftroom & Visionquest folk have given you on your musical journey this year?
The best advice I got was from Ryan and Seth when we were all over in Ibiza recently and they told me to not over-think things and just get on with it. They meant that with regards to both my production and my djing. I’ve always had a habit of over-analysing everything and it’s not productive at all. We’re all human, we’re not perfect, we make mistakes so don’t think, just do.
Did you approach each release with sort of a specific sound or vibe in mind?
This is an area where I haven’t actually thought too hard about it and it seems to have paid off so far. Up until now, I’ve just sat down in the studio with a totally open mind and just seen what comes out. I’ve not had the time to sit down and rationally work out what it is that I want to be making the last few years. I think now I have time on my side I’ll have a bit more time to think about things but I’m keen to not think too hard as that’s when it all starts to go wrong. I like such a huge array of electronic music and I’m quite keen to make a variety of stuff too so we shall see what the future brings.
You’re a trained singer, as well as classically trained pianist. Do you write words as well as music and will they be making an appearance on future tracks?
I am. I’ve actually started writing my own lyrics and using my own vocals in my latest few tracks, tracks that will be forming part of my forthcoming EP on Visionquest. It’s definitely something you’re going to be hearing a lot more of in future releases.
Whose vocal style do you truly admire and if you could collaborate on a track who would it be with?
I really admire all sorts of vocal styles from Arthur Russell and Nina Simone right through to Amy Winehouse, Kate Bush, Tracy Chapman & Jamie Woon. The list goes on. If I could collaborate with someone on a track, it would have had to be Arthur Russell if he was still alive or Stevie Wonder.
Are there any other sounds that you would like to explore but haven’t gotten to yet?
Yeah, so many. I’m keen to make a real variety of music throughout the next few years. Hopefully timeless music that isn’t just part of a trend but lasts the test of time. I’m keen to start experimenting a little more now I’m going to have the time to and make some more downbeat and stripped back stuff.
What are your top three guilty pleasures?
Right now I’m struggling to think of anything questionable that I listen to. When I was younger though, it was a whole different story. I was pretty fickle when it came to music and went through pretty much about every musical phase going and my trance, commercial garage and r n b phases aren’t ones I’m so proud of!
If you weren’t in music what would do you think you’d be doing..?
Ever since graduating in 2005, I knew that it was music that I wanted to be pursuing so it’s not really something I’ve thought about in recent years. Another real passion of mine is jewellery so I guess I’d like to be some sort of jewellery buyer or designer. Maybe I’ll even dabble in that at some point. Who knows.
It’s your fabric debut next month. What have you got in store for us alongside Kate Simko and Anthea..? We heard Kate will be remixing Love In Me in November...nice!
It is and I cannot wait! fabric is one of my favourite clubs and it’s such a privilege to be playing there for the first time. With regards to what to expect, I play a real variety of stuff from deep house through to techno and nu-disco so something for everyone. And yeah Kate is working on ‘Love In Me’ while we speak along with Maceo Plex and Eats Everything so a really strong and exciting package all around.
And finally, what have you got in store for the rest of the year and 2011, both in music and away from the discos…
There’s not going to be a huge amount besides the discos as I’m playing somewhere in the world every weekend for the rest of the year. I’ve got some really exciting gigs coming up, obviously fabric in a few weeks as well as at Harry Klein, Studio 80 and Watergate and with regards to production, I have the Love In Me remixes coming out as well as a remix of a new track of Alex Arnout’s. I’m also working on finishing my EPs for Visionquest and Leftroom and also working on a track for Damian Lazarus to be released on a split Crosstown Rebels release in 2012. Exciting times!