As you all know, we here at Raves.com
interview the best of the best DJ's in the world: big-name or still
getting there, we find fabulous DJ's all over. Then there is the
tough decision to pick a select few to highlight for our up-and-coming
DJ interviews. This month our attention was fixed on a DJ from Canada
named DJ Jaspa. Interestingly, Jaspa got his start in the music
business as a hip hop artist with his Canadian group Plaiskool.
Now you can find him DJ'ing all over Canada and even here in Sunny
Los Angeles at the posh Standard Hotel. It seems DJ Jaspa has begun
to carve a name for himself in this dog-eat-dog world of music.
Playing a mix of progressive house, trance and ambient tracks, his
new album, A Long Time Coming, is a great representation of what
a night out dancing to his music might sound like. DJ Jaspa, AKA
Jason Hogg, utilized a lot of different styles and musical talent
in his latest LP. From guitar by Ian Moar to the ethreal vocals
of singer Solenne Posson, A Long Time Coming is a chillout,
mellow CD that kicks in around track 5 to a more traditional club
anthem sound. A Long Time Coming is a great CD to have
to pump you up for your night out on the town, yet is versitle enough
to chill out to after a hard night of dancing. I suggest you all
get your hands on this mix, you can get more information about his
CD and how to snag yourself a copy at www.djjaspa.com.
I had the pleasure of interviewing this Canadian DJ to see what
he had to say about his new album, his thriving music career, and
his outlook on the future, which is looking very promising.
How long have you been spinning?
DJing for about 4 years, producing music for about 12.
What are your musicial influences?
Andy Hunter, Tiesto, PVD, Thrillseeker, Darren Tate, DJ Scott
Project, John 00 Fleming, Thomas Datt, Nu NRG, Armin Van Buuren,
Gabriel & Dresden, Blank and Jones. Man I could go on for ages,
I guess the DJ pioneers that continue to break down the barriers
and open the doors in the electronic realm for artists like myself.
Electronic music is becoming more and more socially acceptable and
the market continues to grow, obviously in some areas more than
How did you get started?
Well, it started about 12 years ago when I was a hip hop dancer
In a rap group, from there my friends and I formed our own hip hop
group. My buddy Tony and I co-produced all the music with a producer
by the name of Bryan Harder and away we went. I actually didn't
start getting into electronic music or Trance until about 7 years
ago and was introduced to the world of DJing through a good friend
of mine, Zorastra. He loaned me his tables a bunch of records, showed
me what to do and I haven't looked back since, thanks bro.
What was the 1st record you ever bought?
Hmmm, let me think about that one, oh yeah, Elvis Presley's greatest
Hits when I was a kid, hahaha. I wonder where it is, oh well, not
sure if Blue Suede shoes will quite mix into Tiesto's Adagio Strings
but, ya never know. Oh you mean DJ record, I see, that would be
Cristallo by Cirillo.
What/Where was your 1st gig?
I can't actually recall my first real gig but I can remember the
first time I ever spun in public like it was yesterday. My buddy
Zorastra was opening for DJ Sakin in Vancouver, I had just learned
to spin and he let me play in the club. I was so nervous but realized
right there and then, that was the life for me, nothing but music
Do you currently have any residencies?
I am currently working on a number of places right now and hope
to nail them down by the beginning of the New Year. The last few
months I have been spending a lot of my time promoting and marketing
the CD. It's a long haul when you're an indie artist, but I have
met so many people who have assisted and are willing to support
indie artists. I thank you all for your support, you rock.
Do you currently have any albums out?
I just released my debut CD album A long time coming a few months
ago under my production house, disBEAT Entertainment. I also assisted
in producing some beats for a worship CD for a local church here
Are you in the studio now, do we have anything to look forward
to in the near future, maybe some collaboration with someone else?
I am actually working on a new CD right now with singer/songwriter Tracy Moar in Vancouver. Tracy was involved on my album and I am really excited about this project. Tracy is an incredible singer and we are doing something completely different than what either of us are use to. It is a co-written CD and I will make sure that we fire of a copy to you guys right away once it is completed. We hope to release it by the summertime of 2005. I will also be doing some remixes and producing some local singers and DJ's in the New Year. I think 2005 is gonna be a good year.
What do you think about all this mainstream electronic music
on the radio, TV and in movies these days? Do you think it is good
for the scene or are you 100% against it selling out?
That's a tough question; I mean where do you draw the line right?
Are you in it for the money or are you doing it for the love of
the music and the art? I think any exposure is good exposure as
long as you do not compromise yourself as an artist and a person.
If you feel that you are doing the right thing then do it. I myself
have had my music played all over the place, on radio, tv even on
an X-Box game, yet I have chosen the venues and channels where I
want to be heard. I don't necessarily want to be the best DJ in
the world, but I want to make a living at it and stay true to the
form and enjoy the life of music. Okay so yes and no, as I said,
it's a bit of a tough question.
What type of music do you listen to when you are not spinning?
Hmmm, well I use to be a hip Hop junkie, now its progressive Trance and House. My mind is continually working every waking hour about music. New ideas, concepts, I find that when I listen to Trance my mind opens up, I think clearer, I'm at peace, happy, it's an emotional connection. There are certain sounds, melodies, beats that send goose bumps all over my body and make my hair stand on end. That's the way I want people to feel when they hear my music, if I can do that to one person or a thousand, I am then able to connect to that individual. So because I am constantly thinking about music, I surround myself with things that inspire me and Trance does that. I also like Jazz, big band, some classical music and I guess Hip Hop, R & B and ambient.
Have you ever worked on a Movie Soundtrack?
Not yet but I do have my music registered with a number of licensing
companies who are out and about doing what they do best. I recently
licensed a number of tracks to an X-Box Game, that was pretty exciting.
I would actually like to do some scores and soundtracks for some
movies or tv shows, that would be way too much fun. That's the thing
about electronic music; it is in such high demand when it comes
to the entertainment aspects of the business, mind boggling.
What are your thoughts on the scene right now locally?
Well Vancouver has a great music scene in general. The club scene
is catered more toward Top 40, hip hop and R & B. There are a few
venues around town that are more electronic music focused yet the
opportunities are somewhat limited. However we do have some fairly
large rave promoters in town that put on some pretty big parties.
We have had the likes of Marco V, Armin Van Buuren, Tiesto, Paul
Oakenfold, Blank and Jones and many others. The scene has been up
and down over the years, so we'll have to see where it goes from
Do any favorite moments in your career come to mind?
I must say the day I finished my CD and actually put into my stereo and listened to it for the first time from beginning to end was an amazing moment. The emotional relief that it was completed was something I will never forget. My first in studio live radio interview. When I got the call about the licensing deal with the X-Box game. My first television performance and interview. The first time my CD hit the #1 spot on a number of University Radio Stations across the country. DJing with my buddy Matthew 1626 and then donating all the money we made to charity. The day I witnessed first hand somebody so overcome with emotion after listening to one of my songs that they cried. Man there are so many things that have happened, maybe I should just say, every moment that passes and I am able to do what I love is a favorite moment. As long as I am able to continue doing what I do, I will enjoy every second as if it were the last.
How has your creativity changed over the last 12 years? Do
you tend to stay with your own styles/ideas or do you allow the
mainstream to influence you and your work?
I gotta say that I try to define my own style and not conform to
the regular standards of the music industry. Yet I also understand
that people have the tendency to be more partial to things they
can relate to or are familiar with. I try to form an emotional connection
to my audiences through the music and whether I am spinning or producing,
if it makes me feel good, I know that that is a pretty good start.
I listen to a lot of electronic music yet I try not to allow it
to influence me too much. I don't want to sound like or compare
myself to anyone else; I just wanna be me and have my own style.
What is your current Goal as a DJ?
That has the tendency to change over time for I can definitely
say it has changed over the last six months. I guess to make sure
that everything I do is 200% to the best of my ability. Always provide
an environment that is fun, uplifting, positive and always try to
emotionally connect to my audiences. To give back to my community
in whatever way possible through the various resources I have available.
Nail down some residencies across North America, possibly setup
a tour over the next 6 months and promote the CD. Ask me that question
again this time next year. I'd love to see how I answer it, hahaha.
Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
The all important question of where do I see myself heading. Well,
I love to travel, so I see myself traveling the globe and hopefully
working with some of the people who have made such a huge impact
on my life musically. Maybe living somewhere in Europe, since I
am from the UK, that wouldn't be too far of a stretch. Assisting
others in opening the doors that have been opened for me and maybe
my own indie label, definitely something I have thought about. Spinning
at some of the largest parties and festivals across the world and
maybe even taking my music into a completely different realm. Setting
up a DJ and music production school for youth. I think that's enough
to work towards for now and I truly believe that I can get there.
After all, if I don't believe it, how can I expect anyone else to
or be focused enough to get there?
What would you be doing right now if you never bought that
1st record and became a DJ?
Well I would still be producing music; maybe I would be spending more time on developing other artists instead of myself. I would still definitely be involved in music though, I always seem to come back to it in one way or another, I have done that my whole life.
What, in your opinion, is the greatest aspect of being a DJ?
For me I would have to say its being up in front of people and leading them on a musical journey. As a DJ you really have the ability to set the mood, the environment, how fast or slow you wanna take people, their emotional state, it's amazing. You feel like a conductor of an orchestra and when you connect with people and they feel your groove, you're in a zone. You can really say a lot with music and the music you play is an extension of you. I believe that is why in Europe, you have such big festivals and parties and the Tiesto's and PVD's of the world draw thousands of people. It's all about the moment, the thrill, the connection and the music, everyone becomes one. Now that's a pretty great aspect of being a DJ.
-- Interview by Annalee Stone