#99 - Joss
With an emphasis on ‘deep’ in terms of both house and techno, his DJ sets are driven by both melody and percussion. For EPM’s 99th mix in the series Joss brings together a hypnotic groove of soul and funk induced tech-house in a vinyl only set that mixes up Alex Smoke, Terrence Parker, Denis Sulta, Credit 00, Oniris, Enrico Sangiuliano, DJ Deep, Timmo, Visitor and some of his own productions. When we say dive in…we mean it!
Joss has turned his passion for wax into his own international brand — Artreform Records, a label specializing in vinyl editions. Four years later today, Artreform can boast more 25 vinyl releases in its catalogue. The imprint has put out original titles by Joss himself, as well as the singles from a number of globally recognized artists ranging from SCSI-9 and Robot Needs Oil up to Benno Blome, Frank Lober and IO.
Whether he is packing his DJ bag with records for a forthcoming set or checking out fresh demo submissions for Artreform, Joss always relies upon and trusts his already well-recognized taste. His sets and original productions are constantly dominated by highly energetic tech house, classic house with emphasize on the ‘deep’ variety, and some quite ingenious, adventurous techno.
The recent bright episodes of Joss’s career are a split release with the German producer Benno Blome out on the latter’s label, Sender Record and a successful run of releases on his very own imprint, Artreform.
Q&A with Joss
- How did you approach the mix? Was it a different process to how you would DJ in a club?
There is a striking difference between mixing tracks live and making a compilation in the studio, and the results are rather opposite. When you play live onstage, the overall feeling of the set and the track selection tends to be more eclectic, strong-built, and energetic, because you cater to the crowd. However, when preparing a compilation in the studio, you try to understand the possible impact of your music: how this mix might be working on a car stereo during a ride, at a small home party, or in one’s personal headphones. Therefore, you would rather favor more private vibe and intimate feelings.
- As a youth growing up in the then USSR what were you listening to?
Well, the cultural borders of the USSR were tightly closed, it was extremely difficult to get access and stay up-to-date with worldwide music, relevant info, and news. Records by such artists as Pink Floyd and Depeche Mode could be obtained only as poor copies sold via bootleggers and they usually cost at least 3 to 5 times more than the original Western releases. So as we were not spoiled by any spare cash and were always short on money, the common practice was to dub records on compact cassettes. After the Iron Curtain fell, the Berlin Wall collapsed and the Eastern borders opened up, the wealth of worldwide music and culture could be accessed with much ease. Media market was booming with numerous magazines, TV and radio shows, and the music scene exploded as well. As people started to listen to a lot of original foreign music, a number of vinyl shops that sell DJ stuff popped up in Ukraine and other ex-USSR countries. Pitch is one of the most venerable and important stores. We listened to many original BBC Radio 1 shows as well.
- Did things change dramatically in 1991 when Ukraine became independent from the Soviet Union?
Sure, yes they did. As I have mentioned it previously, independence vastly improved our cultural and media situation, everything changed dramatically. Gradually it became possible for a Ukrainian artist to establish his name both locally and on the worldwide scene.
- What were your first clubbing experiences like? What were the key clubs / venues in your early music education?
My first clubbing experience had taken place after a year and a half of listening to a weekly radio show about electronic and club music. This show has a special part devoted to Ukrainian producers and their stuff. They accepted one of my tracks for one of the episodes. Afterwards, they invited me to perform at an event in the club. It was my first experience as a DJ in the club.
- 5. Your Artreform label uses patterns from traditional Ukranian fabrics. How important is it for you to have an Ukranian identity in the image and sound of your music?
It was our main idea, to make an identity of this area's culture and to let Ukrainian artists collaborate with worldwide artists and add to the global culture. I think the energy of this identity is what boosts us. It is some kind of an eclectic mix and interplay between cultures and music visions. Moreover, when we launched we had enough local artists that made competitive stuff like iO (Mulen), Outstrip. We had and we do have a big desire to share their music with the worldwide community.
- How is the current situation in Ukraine now with Russia?
The current situation is very complex and uneasy. I think you should know about everything that is going on. Time will tell and put everything in its place. I think you and I would rather love to have a talk about music, not politics. So please let us talk about music, shall we? ;)
- Kyiv (Kiev) has incredible history and architecture. If someone came to visit you for the weekend, where would you take them?
It is a pleasure to hear that you like this 1535-years old historical part of Eastern Europe so much. ;) Sure, we would take a walk through the streets of the Old Town centre. First, to see The Golden Gates — once the main entrance to the capital of Kievan Rus' and the prominent part of the 11th-century fortifications system. Second, we would move on to Kyiv Pechers’k Lavra, a historic Orthodox Christian monastery founded in 1051, which gave its name to one of Kyiv districts where it is located. Then we would totally make a trip to the broad and picturesque Dnipro river and pay a visit to many more places of interest as well. Kyiv is also proclaimed and known as “the mother of all Russian cities” to highlight its historical importance and rich heritage. Nowadays Kyiv is an attractive tourist hotspot and a thriving megapolis, offering people with a huge variety of art galleries and creative spaces, cozy parks and buzzing bars in Podol district with tastefully curated jazz and electronic music scene and live performances. By the way, the Closer nightclub — one of the better known in Europe and around the world venues — is located in Podol district as well.
- Describe a perfect ‘non-music’ day?
Sometimes I schedule these days on Saturdays and Mondays, to spend time with my significant other and my nephews. Sometimes we would go into the forest and stay there for 1-2 days. Kyiv agglomeration boasts many special woodland areas.
- What’s next for Artreform and Joss?
From this year on, Artreform team puts more emphasis on and devotes itself to releasing more techno-oriented records and artists. Our upcoming 30th-anniversary release features classic techno master Buschwacka, it is slated for December 2017. Next, we will put out a record by the Ukrainian guys called Raru, complete with a remix by Kirik & Guy From Downstairs (Ro) — it will be the final house/tech house release in our catalog. Afterwards, we will welcome a German artist Fil Ou with a blasting single, including remixes by Daniel Stefanik of the Cocoon fame, Reboot, and Tom Klark. These days I am also very busy working on my own productions: some of them will see the light of day as an Artreform ARR029 release, some will go on pre-sale directly from Memory Remains, and a couple records will be released in December-February term as well. Undoubtedly, some new music will come to EPM headquarters as a promo pack too ;) Thank you for this very pleasant and nice chat. I hope it results in an interesting and entertaining interview. But for now, I suggest we should switch our gears and focus solely on the 99th EPM vinyl-only podcast, that was recorded with a selection of all-time favorite records only exclusively for EPM by yours faithfully. Enjoy!
EPM Podcast 99 Tracklist – Joss
- Alex Smoke - Porridge (Cocoon)
- Cab Drivers – Drive One (Cabinet Records)
- Unknown Artist - Who? (Jerelo)
- Terrence Parker - Alar the sound (Retro groove mix) (Abstract Theory)
- Manoo & Raoul ft. Ahmed Sosso - Toukan (Dixon edit) (Innervisions)
- Einzelkind - Free Savioni (Amnesia pearl mix) (Cocoon)
- Anna - Redemption (Terminal M)
- Joss - Sharp (Artreform)
- Enrico Sangiuliano - Moon Rocks (Drumcode)
- Joss - Smooth (Artreform)
- Oniris - Amazonia (Ovum)
- Denis Sulta - It’s Only Real (Numbers)
- Credit 00 - Wait a Minute (Chiwax)
- Obscure Shape & SHDW - Gefallene Engel (Rekids)
- DJ Deep - Surge (Steve Rachmad Remix) (Deeply Rooted)
- Rico Puestel - Neyst (Cocoon)
- Timmo - The Maze (Drumcode)
- Visitor - Stop the Music (Pariter)