#67 - Jordan Peak
Whilst Luke Williams took us back to the junglist massive with his new Tap Throw alias, UK techno and house producer Jordan Peak takes the EPM Podcast on a deep house journey ahead of this weekend’s Claydrum Indoor 15 show. Building from house rhythms into a techno and rave crescendo, Jordan takes us from SGNY to Sagats & Madi Grein, his own re-edit of DJ Q presents The Jellyheads and Head High’s remix of Martyn to Dave Clarke, A Sagittariun, K’ Alexi. By the time we get to the closing track of NJoi’s classic ‘Rhythm Zone’ he has teased and pulled us into his own dancefloor vortex.
Jordan Peak is one of the most interesting and versatile new acts to emerge from the British scene in years. His music deftly straddles the line between house and techno, and his ability to fuse old school values with the fresh sounds of now, as ably shown in this mix, have resulted in a swift rise which has been as rapid as it has been unsurprising.
Pete Tong was an early fan of Jordan’s music, back in 2011, naming Jordan and Robert James as the two ‘Introducing’ names to watch that year on his BBC Radio 1 show. Since then, the accolades have continued with Jordan receiving a nomination in the ‘Best British Breakthrough DJ’ at DJ Magazine’s 2012 Best of British Awards. More praise followed from his peers as Jordan was name-checked by DJ Sneak as one of his favourite new acts in the house scene and Paul Woolford declared that he ‘has the touch’.
Jordan works closely with the One Records (UK) and Robsoul (FR) label crews as well as his own Rogue Society imprint, releasing some of his best known work with them and spinning at the label nights at their Birmingham and Paris homes, as well as around the world. His CV is further bolstered by records and remixes on luminaries like Morris Audio, air london, Klasse Recordings and Saved, as well as 2020 Vision and Silver Network.
Q&A with Jordan Peak
1. If we were to suggest this mix was ‘a bit of a builder’ would you agree?
Yeah totally. You often hear DJs say it but its hard to squash the programming of a 2-3 hour live DJ set into an hour long podcast but I tried to fit as much content in as possible with the kinds of tones and textures I like to play. From deeper shades of house right through to some stomping techno and finishing on an all out, balls to the wall, rave monster closer with the Njoi track also adding some breakbeats into the mix here and there which I’ve been doing more and more recently in my sets.
2. What were your first experiences of dance music? Did you gradually succumb to its charms or was there a road to Damascus like moment?
I was exposed to it from a really early age. My dad used to have lots of dance music compilations from the likes of Ministry of Sound and Kiss etc when they were full of the early us house guys like Todd Terry, Armand van Helden, Masters at Work and MK. He would always have them on in his car and I got the bug really early. I had decks and a mixer in my bedroom and was trying to learn to mix at 13 when all my friends at school were into Limp Bizkit, Papa Roach, Sum 41 & Linkin Park.
3. Do you see yourself as a predominantly house or techno artist?
I'd say I’m a house guy that likes to play techno and a techno fan that dabbles in house. I've predominantly put out house records but have recently got more into making techno as my production skills have grown and musical taste has developed over the past years. In short I like, make and play both.
4. Did you become part of a local club scene from the moment you discovered this music?
Not really. I was 13 so there’s not many dance music clubs around for teenagers are there. I had to wait till I was 16 before I first played out at an under 18s night, organised by a friend. I had to ask for a milk crate to reach the decks, sometimes I still do – I’m only 5'5".
It was funny, all the other guys were playing drum & bass and happy hardcore records and the dancefloor was packed, my hours set came and my selection of US house and garage and UK 2step cleared the floor. As soon as I finished playing and the next DJ brought the bpm back up to the 170's the party was in full swing again.
5. What would you do on a non music day?
A lot of my days are 'non music days'. I don't really listen to much house or techno at home anymore apart from when searching for records or making it. I love to exercise, I lift weights 2-3 times a week and also go jogging or to the local park to do sprints. I like to play videogames, watch movies, see friends, meditate. Normal stuff really.
6. If you decided to play an ‘Alternative Set’ what would you go for?
Tough one. I really like a lot of different music, you should see my playlists on spotify (everything in between from James Brown to Elvis Presley, from 50 Cent to the White Stripes). My first ever paying DJ gig was at a really mainstream music orientated club, the type where soap actors do meet & greets etc. I had to play so much different stuff that I'm used to programming sets of all kinds of music and I’ve also done a few weddings for people where the age range and music taste of the guests is all over the place. So you really learn how to read a crowd and get a sense of programming from doing those sort of sets. I have a real love for hip hop, funk and soul so I guess they would predominantly feature.
7. You have been bigged up by some major players in the scene like DJ Sneak, Paul Woolford and Pete Tong but which new producers have been catching your eye?
Check out a couple of producers who go buy the name of Adject. Two really nice and talented lads from London who make amazing house & techno and have stuff coming out on my label Rogue Society.
8. You have now travelled the world DJing but where is the strangest place you have played?
I don't really have a strange place but I do have a strange accident that happened while playing. About 3 or 4 years ago I was playing at Cargo in London and this woman came up to initially ask for a request but mid-sentace noticed that I was playing vinyl. She stopped talking for a second and then said "your not really playing records are you? No one plays records these days". I tried to explain to her that I was really playing and not "miming" but she still didn't believe me and to try and prove that I was lying she reached over and started to scratch the record back and forth that was playing over the soundsystem at the time! I was in total shock and couldn't believe it.
9. What are your production plans for 2015?
To be honest I've had a bit of a break from making music for the past 7 or 8 months apart from the odd session as I've been having issues with anxiety and as it has progressed has developed into depression as well. I had the busiest year of my career in 2014 with gigs & traveling, especially during the summer period, one time involved travelling between 4 countries for 2 separate gigs in the same day.
I know the reputation of DJs is of hedonistic party animals & substance abuse but that's really not me. I like to have fun and let my hair down but I really pride myself on my health and fitness and exercise 4-5 times a week and eat a very balanced diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, various sources of protein and lots of carbs and the odd treat here and there but I just burned my self out both physically and mentally. I suffer from a genetic disease called cystic fibrosis which affects the lungs and the digestive system so my love of exercise really helps with the condition. I have to take a lot of medication daily for it (total medication time a day is an hour and a half and if you add an hour of exercise that’s 2 and a half hours a day).
I found it really hard to switch off when I was home and wasn't getting much sleep during the weeks and because of the nature of the job I was only getting 2-3 hours at the weekends. Finally it all caught up to me and while out seeing a friend for lunch during the week I experienced the worst panic attack of my life where I thought "I was going to die". My heart was beating so fast, I started sweating buckets, felt dizzy, confused, I couldn't breathe and didn't know what was going on with me. I'd had minor episodes of rushes of adrenaline now and again before where I felt "really charged" but this hit me totally out of the blue. I drove home to see my parents and asked them to take me to the hospital as I thought this is the end. When I got there they said everything was ok and my heart rate was a little high but nothing to worry about and what I was experiencing was a bad panic attack.
I felt silly and ashamed and for the next few months and struggled to cope with my thoughts and emotions. I just didn't feel in control of my own body and after months of searching for reasons why I was feeling this way maybe due to vitamin or nutritional imbalances I finally accepted that the problem was just all in my head. I’ve been going to therapy for a while, started meditating daily also studying and converting to Buddhism and have been taking anti depressants to try and get my brain chemicals back in balance. I'm still not 100% but feel like I’m getting back on track and I’m on the right path.
I felt so ashamed of myself for being "mentally ill" as everything in my life was perfect. I had the job I'd always wanted, the best family & friends in the world but still didn't feel happy. Truth be told before all of this I actually didn't believe in depression as I was always a happy, confident, outgoing person but going through this hard stage in my life has made me appreciate all of this so much more. I tried to work on music during this time but everytime I sat in my studio I just felt so empty and even though music has always been my biggest passion it just didn't bring me joy anymore.
I'm known for being quite prolific with my output but I’ve only made 3 remixes and one track during this whole experience. Now I’m starting to get better. I’m working on music and finding it fun again, something it hasn't been for a long time.
10. What are your top 10 record labels of all time?
In no particular order. Strictly Rhythm, Def Jam, Motown, Apple, Underground Resistance, Trax, Rawkus, Cajual, Soma, Ovum, Osgut Ton.
Jordan Peak - EPM Podcast #67 Tracklist:
01 SGNY - In My Mind (Swag’s Mind The Gap Beats) [Odori] 2002
02 Sagats & Madi Grein - To Love Town [Housewax] 2014
03 Flow - Breedon Explore [Beat Code] 2007
04 Roman IV - Cairo [Playhouse] 2008
05 Kuba Sojka - Voice Of Soul [Matrix Records] 2009
06 Tim Fuller - Naked (Dub) [Manali Records] 2006
07 Berkson & What - Seraphim [Modelmaker] 2014
08 DJ Q presents The Jellyheads - At Last (Jordan Peak Edit) [Doubledown Recordings] 2004
09 Jordan Peak - Holding On (Instrumental) [Instinkt Records] 2015
10 Martyn - Vancouver (Head High Remix)  2014
11 Rebeval - Chantage [L.I.E.S.] 2015
12 Mr KS - Groove On (Point G Remix) [Music Is Love] 2015
13 Dave Clarke - Wisdom To The Wise (Red 2) (Marcel Dettmann Remix) [Boysnoize Records] 2013
14 Abstract Matters - Neighbours [Cynosure] 2014
15 K’ Alexi - I’ll Track You [K Klassik] 2014
16 A Sagittariun - The Lathe Of Heaven [Elastic Dreams] 2014
17 NJoi - Rhythm Zone [RCA] 1991