Artist Interviews

John Roman! – DC Exclusive Interview!

This guy has been smashing it up! John Roman should become a household name in the years to come as one of the biggest and most skillful producers that have come out of nowhere! His sound is unique, his production quality is amazing and he has other massive name artists such as Nadastrom and Congorock dancing to every beat. If there is one name that is worth searching and getting all his tunes its John Roman! He is very much in love with his studio so there are always fresh tracks and with his Reclusion mix coming out get prepared to hear a lot of new tracks from the new production master John Roman! Have a good read with my chat with this genius!

1. Now you’ve come out of hiding, How has the journey been from first releasing your stuff in 2009 to now, getting praised by some massive artists and the release of Reclusion?

It’s been fun man, there’s a lot of hard work involved in getting exposure and maintaining a fan base. I’ve certainly learned a lot over the past year, from playing my first gig a little over a year ago until now. The important thing is to always stay working and working on things that you’re passionate about, and if one of those things breaks through, is supported by a big artist or is well-received, it’s an amazing feeling.

2. Personally my favorite track from you is “Ready For This” with the unexpected bassline smashing in at the drop and the jazz intro, can’t go wrong, give us an insight on how you go creating a track, and is there any pre – studio tradition? Also what are you looking for in your “Ready For This” Remix comp?

No pre-studio tradition really, just sitting down and focusing on the project in front of me. When I started experimenting more in other genres, tribal and techno, outside of my “banger electro” past production, I use to give a lot of thought into wondering: ‘Does this sound like me?’ ‘Will people be thrown off by this?’ But I’ve learned that what’s most important is pursuing any and all ideas in the studio, the more adventurous, the better, and by the time you feel like the track is finished, it will sound like you.

In the “Ready For This” remix competition I’m just looking for creative interpretations of my track that know what they’re trying to accomplish. If they’re made for the dance-floor then make it hit hard. If it’s more of a headphone track, then really explore that direction. Instead of throwing the whole kitchen sink into the production, make sure every piece fits and there’s no more excess than there needs to be.

3. Tell us about your new blog launching, whats going to happen on there? can we be friends? Haha

Haha, of course we can. The blog is just going to act as a homepage and archive for new material. For example, projects like the remix competition, new tracks (edits, experiments), monthly charts and mixes are some things I’d like to steadily feature on the blog. They’re wont be much or any writing MP3 downloads for other artists, just a place to check and see what’s new with my music.

4. You have certainly become a inspiration for myself but who is yours?

Ah, there are so many. There are some amazing and creative dance artists today. So many genres and so much music to be inspired by. Right now I’m into the stuff coming from Sound Pellegrino and Made to Play, I think everyone is, haha, and there’s a reason for that. New Flying Lotus album is great, digging the latest Sei A EP “Lazers”, Azari & III are amazing, we’re very lucky here in Toronto to have them before the world tours begin, haha. And of course I don’t think a lot of us would be into dance music this obsessively if it wasn’t for Daft Punk, Justice and Soulwax!

I’ve been listening to a lot of non-dance music as well lately, exploring my hip-hop and soul background, haha, and you’ll hear that in some of the music I make after Reclusion.

5. Now you have been touring, Funny moment behind the decks?

Haha, yes, there is one story that stands above all others as the worst party I have and will ever play. Circa nightclub. Boxing Day 2009. I was headlining this one room, all electro DJs, promoted as the electro room. It’s a huge club, Toronto’s biggest, four or five rooms or something, and I knew it wouldn’t be the most underground venue for playing more obscure stuff, but I’d already prepared myself to drop the odd Afrojack or Guetta track if I had to.

So I arrive there before my set, and my friend Meech is on, and he’s playing some pretty pop electro, trying to get the crowd into it, but there’s just this kind of general vibe of confusion. So I go back to the booth and start setting up and right before my set, one of the club managers says to Meech, “only top 40 and hip-hop from now on”…

Apparently, the promoters booked us in the “Hip-hop, Dancehall, Reggae and Soca” room. So I’m scrambling to re-arrange my set, and fish out whatever I can to last my two hour set. Meech is dropping “Pon de Floor” like it just came out, I’m freaking out and the crowd is absolutely oblivious.

I get on, start spinning tracks from my old-school hip-hop collection, and after many, many requests, start to understand what drove the “Worst Wedding DJ Ever” to alcoholism and boob-slapping.

One guy, dressed super gangster comes up to me…

“Yo,” he motions me in close. “Can u play sum Gucci Maaaaaaanee?”

“Sure dude”

“I appreciate that,” and drops a $5 dollar bill on my laptop.

And there’s the one guy who would not stop demanding Vybz Kartel (which I didn’t have), each request getting more and more aggressive…

1. “Yo, do you have any Vybz Kartel?”

2. “Man, could you please play some Vybz Kartel?!?” (at which point Meech pretends he’s saying “Felix Cartal” and is yelling at me to play Felix Cartal)

3. “Just open up YouTube and play a Vybz Kartel track!!!”

4. “LET ME COME UP THERE AND PLAY A VYBZ KARTEL TRACK OFF YOUTUBE!!!!!!!!!”

I finished the night. My biggest track was “Jammin’” by Bob Marley. I have nightmares about the event to this day. I got paid a month later.

6. You going to come Down Under anytime soon to smash the dance floors of Australia?

I might be playing out there as early as August/September, but a lot is still being worked out!

7. Now your only a year older and me, has the sudden change of being recognized as a amazing artist changed much of your life in this short period?

Well being an artist or a DJ, you definitely don’t keep the same schedule as everyone else. Especially in this come-up phase, it takes a lot of time to move your passion into a career and although a lot of things to do that seem like fun or pastime, they’re necessary to the job. When you’re on your laptop browsing Beatport or checking blogs for new tracks, you’re working. When you go out to see a show, you’re working. When you’re updating your Twitter or Facebook, you’re working. It’s hard to convince other people this is work sometimes, haha, but it is, and you have to be constant with all of it.

8. After “Reclusion” whats next?

More experimentation, more releases. I’ll be doing some work with the Plant Music (NYC) fam in the near future which I’m really happy about it. Great talents and great people. Look out for some new originals and remixes coming through them. Mainly I just want to make some really unique music, stuff that will stand the test of time and that I’ll always be proud of.

9. What tips do you give to the kids who want to be where you are today?

Make the music you love and the rest will follow. Stay persistent, be realistic and challenge yourself to reach your potential.

10. Any words for your fans in Australia?

Thank you for listening! You have an awesome country for dance music!

Here is the song i was talking about earlier! “Ready for this!” There was a remix comp which closed about the same time as this post so keep your eyes out for some sick remixes and John Romans new mix… “Reclusion!”

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