Some of Jamie Odell AKA Jimpster’s latest offerings have been raising roofs across the globe, with his underground hit ‘Dangly Panther’ and the deep and dubby remix of Osunlade’s ‘Momma’s Groove.' The man from Essex is a music machine - as well as producing a prolific collection of quality house music and finding the time for touring as a DJ, he co-runs Freerange Records and tours as part of The Bays (an incredible and improvisational live act combining a plethora of studio gear with live drums, and a theremin that had me mesmerized the last time I saw them). We caught up with him to find out a little more about his musical history and the legacy he is leaving behind.
What do you value in music?
Depends what I'm listening to, where I am and what kind level ofintoxication I'm at, I suppose. Overall, I value groove and soul or, in other words, the X factor that makes a track something special. When it comes to dance music, I really admire people like Moodymann or Carl Craig for the way they get so much atmosphere and a certain vibe to their tracks, even if it might be just a kick and hi-hat playing. It has a lot of attitude and it's so hard to achieve.
How has your upbringing and surrounding culture influenced your sound? What were your earliest influences?
I had a very musical upbringing, with both parents being professional musicians (drums and vocals). I was tagging along with my dad going into proper studios from the age of 10 or 11, so that was my first exposure to recording and production. Through these trips, I taught myself how to start programming synths and sequencers on spare bits of kit lying around while my dad was recording. I was big into breakdancing at the time so, like most other producers my age, was absorbed by the Streetsounds Electro compilations but also a lot of soul, jazz and funk that my parents were into.
How do you approach your various projects, such as your label Freerange records and The Bays? Do you take them all at different angles or does a single drive/knowledge/passion run through them all?
I guess my musical background and upbringing influences all the different projects I'm involved with, and each different angle of these projects inspires the other. Playing live with The Bays for 6 years really influenced my solo productions, by seeing first hand how a crowd can respond to certain arrangements, sonics and melodic and harmonic parts. Improvising live on stage with no safety net alongside an amazing group of musicians is so different to DJing on your own playing records, but there are certain similarities and definitely ways in which one can inspire the other. I guess ultimately, I'm exercising my own personal taste and musical knowledge through DJing, The Bays, my productions and running the label, in the hope that other people find the music as exciting and rewarding as I do.
How does the music industry and club land these days compare to when you were starting out as a producer and DJ?
When it comes to clubs and parties, things seem to be a little less spontaneous than how U remember stuff back in the early 90's, when the whole scene was first emerging and I was just starting out releasing records and Djing. In the past couple of years, it's safe to say that the digital revolution has started to make a big impact on the way independent labels are operating - but I still feel really optimistic about it all, as the clubs will always be here and DJs will always need good tracks to play for the crowds.
How would you describe your sound to the uninitiated?
Freerange can best be described as house music with an emphasis on deep but keeping it as varied as possible. Coming from the old school, I love all kinds of dance music as long as its got a bit of depth, warmth and soul to it - so this is hopefully reflected in the music I make, play out, and also try and sign for Freerange. It seems that the circle of producers that are making the most exciting music in my opinion right now are equally adept at making beautiful Detroit-influenced techno as they are sub 110bpm looped-up disco house. In my sets, I try and cover the whole spectrum depending on the crowd, set time etc.
And finally, what can the more initiated amongst us expect from your set on Saturday?
Well, I'm opening Room One for the first time, as I normally play Room Three, so I have a nice 3 hour set to warm up the room and set the vibe for Mark Farina. The legendary Room One sound means you can play the real deep and interesting stuff, and it still sounds fat and full of energy. Plus the Fabric crowd is always open minded and looking to hear the fresh stuff. It's a really nice set time to play so I'm looking forward to playing a lot of stuff I might not usually get a chance to play, as well as dropping lots of upfront Freerange and Jimpster remixes.