Jamie Jones is the best DJ on the planet. And you've probably never heard of him.
That's because he's not Deadmau5 or Kaskade or Afrojack or Avicii, and he's never played on the main stage at Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas. You won't see him collaborating with Rihanna or DJing at the Grammy Awards. He's not a button-pusher.
Jones, in fact, is the antidote to all that. For every action there is an underground reaction, and the Welsh artist, named the best spinner in the world in 2011 by Resident Advisor, is the cure for oontz-oontz, bottle-service, frat-fest cheese. And he's in L.A. this weekend:
Jones is the headliner at Get Lost LA at Exchange LA downtown Saturday (info). The bill also features Damian Lazarus, Art Department, Droog and more. But what's really interesting about this party is that it's being thrown by the folks behind … that mega-rave juggernaut known as EDC.
Yep. Is a little underground cred being sought here? If so, they got it.
We recently lobbed a few questions at Londoner and part-time Angeleno Jones, whose sound is funky, groovy and house-flavored.
LA Weekly: Where do you live these days?
Jones: In the summer I'm between London and Ibiza, mainly in London, but I have a place in Ibiza for my residency. In the winter I live in L.A. I started going there quite a few years ago to play Avalon and met up with the Droog guys. [Angeleno] Lee Foss is my partner in the label [Hot Creations]. I have a lot of friends there. It's probably the only other city I could live in other than London.
L.A. is the rave capital of America. How does your more subtle, housey sound fit in?
I still think my sound is still quite underground in L.A. and in most of America. Over there the rave scene is developing in a way it did in the '90s in England, when we had '90s dance music on the charts. Now you have ravey stuff all over the pop scene.
In this big-stage, big-fest era of dance music, how do you compete?
My music is acceptable to a lot of people because it's quite melodic. Obviously it's quite different from the trancey, ravey stuff. It's a bit more easy on the ears.
Is it strange to see America's biggest dance festival promoter doing a night with you?
I've played for them over last few years. I played at EDC New York. To be fair what they're trying to do is introduce this music, which they're obviously into, to their audience. The guys from [EDC promotion company] Insomniac, they put on a big event, and now they're trying to push a big underground sound. All you can do is give them credit.
Do you think the festival masses will tune into your style?
That'll happen as more and more people realize it's a lot more fun with music that's more subtle on the ears.
There's been a debate between Chicago's DJ Sneak and the Swedish House Mafia about what real DJing is, with Sneak accusing that trio of being festival button-pushers. Deadmau5 weighed in by saying there's no art to traditional DJing anyway.
I've got all respect for DJ Sneak — he's a hero of mine. The most important thing is to do what you want to do. They're [Swedish House Mafia] still making people happy. It's not something I would do. I would get bored not putting any records on. But it's a different thing for them.
People are still smiling and waving their hands in the air, and that's the most important thing.
[But Deadmau5 implied that] real DJing nowadays is just playing your own music. Completely untrue. The challenge of being able to pick any record and entertain people is an art form.
What kind of gear do you use when you play?
Vinyl and Traktor [DJ software] with vinyl controllers.
Your first release as Hot Natured with Lee Foss was on L.A.'s own Culprit label. I heard you have a new Hot Natured album in the works?
I'm in West London laying down the vocals for the second single. Hot Natured — we've been writing more music with instruments. We're kind of an electronic band now. It has a lot of crossover appeal. Obviously it's keeping the weird edginess we're known for. Hopefully it will be out by the end of the year or next year.
Jamie Jones DJs with Damian Lazarus, Art Department, Droog and more at Exchange LA Saturday from 10 until “late.” 618 S. Spring St. Tickets and Info.