Six years ago, Laura Jones found herself coming down frequently to our Farringdon disco to check out the sounds of her favourite DJs. Six years on, we’re the ones watching Laura as she makes the transition from her debut fabric performance for airlondon in Room Three late last year to Room One next Saturday, 10th March. Enjoying close times with outrageous house cats, Crosstown Rebels and Visionquest, Laura and Leftroom go back a long way with her debut ‘Intentions’ EP melting dancefloors worldwide and so her upcoming main room set wrapping up with Leftroom boss, Matt Tolfrey makes for a perfect match.
Soon to take the crown for Leftrooms first ever mix CD series, entitled ‘Leftroom Presents’- we spoke to Laura about what it means to champion the series, her remix of classic soulful house track, Hollis P Monroe 'I'm Lonely' with some fresh remix tips, talk on challenges this year and her 10 inspirational tracks.
In her own words, “this was quite a challenge picking these as I’ve been inspired by so much music over the years that it’s really hard trying to condense it down in to a top 10. Consequently, this is 10 of tracks that have definitely inspired me along the way but not THE top 10 of all time. They’re all definitely up there however.”
Hi Laura, we last spoke to you in September ahead of your fabric debut in Room Three. It’s always good to hear feedback from the night- how was it for you?
My gig in Room Three was definitely one of my favourite so far. Kate Simko, Anthea and I had a really great crowd in there right up until the end and I really enjoyed playing the closing set as I was able to spice it up a little and play a bit of everything.
Next week, we welcome you back to the Room One fold alongside Craig Richards, Matt Tolfrey and Martin Buttrich (live). How you feeling about the night?
I literally cannot wait. It’s been a big aspiration of mine ever since realizing I wanted to become a DJ. At the time I was going to fabric regularly to see my favourite DJs. Five or six years on, I’m fortunate enough to be stepping up to the plate myself so it’s a very exciting time for me.
Have you had time to reflect on the past killer year of success. Get some time out and headspace?
You know, I really haven’t. It’s been such a whirlwind few months and my feet have barely touched the ground. People keep asking me how It feels and to be honest, I’ve been so busy traveling each and every weekend that I’ve been concentrating on doing it rather than thinking about things too hard.
We’re digging your new remix of Hollis P Monroe 'I'm Lonely' on Noir Music. Can you tell us how the project came together?
Thank you. The original is one of my all-time favourite house tracks so it was a real honour to work on it. I love Stickman Records, the label on which it was originally released and both Noir and Hollis have been a real pleasure to work with. It seems to be getting a pretty decent reaction too so smiles all around.
What remix tips and techniques can you share with those itching to know?
Generally, when it comes to remixes, I’ll pick out my favourite parts which I can imagine working in something of my own. I’ll use these as a basis and start to build my own beats and elements around them. Of course, this varies with each and every remix as it will very much depend on the elements that I like from the original. One thing I’ve certainly learnt so far is less is more, don’t try to add too many of your own elements if there is enough of the original to work with and vice versa. Also if it’s already pretty perfect as it is, as is the case with I’m Lonely, it’s sometimes better to go down a totally different route. It’s always good to bring something new to a track that it doesn’t already have.
So you’ve got hotly-tipped releases on the way on Crosstown Rebels and Visionquest once again. You must have a great relationship with these guys now - can you tell us what makes it tick so smoothly?
Yeah they’re all good friends of mine. Damian has been a friend since the start and Seth and Ryan I met around 4 or 5 years ago and have come to meet Lee and Shaun since. I think once you’ve done something that catches the attention of someone, it’s much easier to keep it and I guess that’s what happened in the case of the Visionquest guys. Crosstown has always been a label I’ve respected and loved so releasing something on it has always been one of my goals.
We’re psyched to hear about Leftrooms first mix CD series entitled ‘Leftroom Presents...’ How does it feel to be asked by Matt Tolfrey to champion the series? You guys have a solid music history together..
It’s a real honour to be asked to do the first one. It’s been quite a learning curve compiling the tracklist for it as I’m into such a huge array of music it’s been quite a challenge deciding the direction in which to take it but I’ve got there in the end. It’s also been really cool having the freedom to commission my own remixers as exclusive tracks on the mix.
It’s hard to predict but what do you see as the biggest challenges you’ll have to face this year?
Actually this one’s not so hard to predict for me. The biggest challenge I have to face is without a doubt my eye disease. It’s something that is getting slowly worse and as I lose my sight, I have to find ways to continually adapt to my surroundings and to the tasks at hand. There’s a big question mark over how things are going to pan out so it’s very much about taking each day as it comes and staying as positive as I possibly can.
Have you considered developing a live show, we can really see the magic in this..
It’s definitely something I’d like to do eventually but I want to concentrate on being a DJ for the moment. I also am getting barely any time to spend in the studio as it is so I need to get a few more artist EPs finished and under my belt first before moving on to learn a live set from scratch.
Your schedule this year must be jam-packed. What parties and friends are you really looking forward to hanging out with along the way?
I’m really looking forward to WMC next month. Last time I went was in 2007 and I was just there to party. It’s crazy to think I’m back there five years on and playing three parties. Exciting times! I’ll be playing at the Leftroom vs Culprit party and I’m still to meet the Droog guys which will be cool. I also can’t wait to hang out with the Ryan, Seth, Lee and Shaun as I don’t get to see as much of them as I’d like to these days as we’re all so busy. I also can’t wait to go to Movement for the first time and also to play at Garden Festival in Croatia as it’s something I’ve been trying to make for a few years. Burning Man’s another one but I’m still needing to get tickets for that so we shall see how that one pans out.
Finally, what are the three things you can't live without on the road travelling disco to disco?
My eye mask for catching a few winks on the plane, my LaCie USB Cookey for any impromptu tune swaps and my mini torch as I’m pretty blind in the dark these days.
Laura's Ten Inspirational Tracks
Arthur Russell – ‘Arms Around You’
Arthur Russell is pretty much my favourite artist of all time. This is one of his best and it’s something I put on regularly in my studio before sitting down to produce my own stuff.
Ricardo Villalobos – ‘Dexter
I remember the first time I ever heard this, I couldn’t stop listening to it. Thought it was the best thing ever and hearing Ricardo play it himself the couple of times have actually been two of the highlights of my whole clubbing career.
Angelo Badalamenti – ‘Laura Palmer’s Theme’
My family always used to watch Twin Peaks whilst I was growing up and so the whole soundtrack played a huge part in the early years. This was the standout for me and is the reason why Go by Moby is such a favourite.
LoSoul – ‘Cut So Sweet'
This played a big part in my first Ibiza season. Many a blissful memory come to mind whenever I hear this track. Damian put it on a mix compilation that he did for his Stink parties in London around 2005 and it pretty much dominated the car stereo the entire summer.
Souls Of Mischief – ’93 Til Infinity'
This was something I came across on an Another Late Night compilation when living in Madrid in 2003. I’ve always been in to hip-hop and this was something I hadn’t ever come across so I found the whole mix to be pretty educational.
The Rolling Stones – ‘Gimme Shelter’
It’s funny, growing up my parents were really in to the Beatles but I always preferred the Rolling Stones so much so that this is possibly my favourite non-dance record of all time.
Aphex Twin – ‘Iz-Uz’
Aphex Twin is another of my favourite producers; his melodies get me every time.
Q. Lazzarus & Garvey – ‘Goodbye, Horses’
A lot of my inspiration over the years has come from films or TV and this was one I came across when watching Silence Of The Lambs as a child. I remember being super young and watching it with my older sisters, sitting there with my hands over my eyes because it was so scary but I could hear the music and it was so good I was willing to sit through the fear.
Consequence – ‘From A Distance ft ASC’
I discovered this track randomly one day when listening to some dubstep from dbridge and Instra:mental. It’s the side of dubstep that I’m really in to and melodically is along the lines of what I aspire to make over the coming years.
Michael Nyman – ‘Big My Secret’
I started playing classical piano when I was 4 years old so I’ve always been drawn to the ivory keys. This score’s always been a particular favourite and one I used to play myself.