Slicing into the scene in 2019 with a drum & bass blade so sharp, precise and futuristic you’d swear it was forged in the blazing furnace of No U-Turn itself, Australian alchemist Jaise is very much a new-generation name… But his sound began to take shape well over 20 years ago.
Now at home on labels like Rebel Music, Metalheadz and (in the near future) Dispatch, a whole lifetime of musical endeavours and explorations stand between his current sci-fi sonic onslaught and his first encounter with D&B. A life of endless tours, sessions and jams in his local Perth scene, but a chance encounter with his old vinyl collection rekindled a fire that’s now burning brighter than ever.
Feel the heat yourselves on this mix he’s carved for us. A glacial, breath-taking trip into D&B’s most timeless territories, it captures where Jaise is at right now and where part of him has always been…
In light of his brand new Rebel Music EP, Matter Takes Shape, we caught up with Jaise to find out more about his journey so far.
Take me back to pre-Jaise… You were a drummer in lots of bands. Would we know your work?
I doubt it. It was all low level but we did a lot of things. I played in a scene in Perth from 2006 – 20017/18. It was very healthy, a lot of musicians were in the pie playing with and for each other. We played in multiple bands and on multiple records for each other and the opportunities that came from that were invaluable. I was studying music, working and touring, playing a lot, travelling a lot. The bands ranged from pop bands to harder rock stuff, alternative, even screamo bands. Having that outlet through my 20s was a great life and a great way to learn music, learn to collaborate and learn the industry and how it all works. Labels and legalities and all that.
But then coming into drum & bass, it’s all so different. It’s a lot more exciting and creative. Like you can do anything. It’s more renegade, you can take your own path. There’s not really a monetary goal at the end of it. you know coming in that it’s just for the love. Unless you’re playing festivals there’s not a huge amount of money in it. So you’re doing it because you want to carve your own path and can take it wherever you want to take it.
Takes the pressure off when you look at it like that doesn’t it?
Totally. And at this stage in my life and musical journey it’s a beautiful place to be. As the opportunities have come it’s been humbling and exciting and motivating to push more, explore more. Nowadays the possibilities are endless; rather than sequencing in the confines of a sampler with 128mb of ram you can do so much now with a laptop. It’s interesting to come back into the music I’ve grown up with after all these years and see the advances in how it’s created.
How much of a role did drum & bass play during your band era?
I took a full blown break and was fully immersed in the band life. It was very time consuming. I always knew it was there and I’d check in with the artists I grew up with every now and again. The rave scene here in the late 90s/early 2000s was very strong. I was coming out of high school and I fell in love with the music. Trying to further my craft as a musician I was drawn to the precision of drum & bass. The fact it was looped breaks made it feel so real but the edits made it so clinical and precise. I was also really drawn towards the darkness of it. Coming out of high school, going to those parties, buying those records. I really felt part of it. A lot of the bands I played with were at the 160 type of bpm range as well so I’d bring a little influence of drum & bass into how I played.
Perth at that time, too… Must have been a vibe with Pendulum were breaking through?
Yeah those guys and Shockone. It was a very healthy scene and a lot of fun. It was great seeing those guys destroying Perth and then the whole world. When they come back and tour it’s a proper monster tour. They tour the same way the biggest rock bands in the world tour here. It’s amazing to see an underground music come this far. And because I was removed from it for so long and to come back to it in 2019 and see how big it’s become, it’s breath-taking. I thought it would be more similar to how it was when I left. That was very motivating. There’s no limits – you could contact anyone around the world, people are very friendly and supportive. People went out of their way to show my music to people. It’s been a very humbling experience.
Amazing. What was the switch?
So I hadn’t played in a band for a while. My kids were born, they’re 4 and 6 now. My youngest was born when I first jumped into a DAW but prior to that I’d been reconnecting with my record collection. My parents were selling their house and wanted to get rid of my records. I brought them back here, bought a cheap record player, put them on and was like, ‘Ah this is too good.’
What was the first record you spun?
So initially, like back in the day, the first record I ever listened to was Torque on No U-Turn. Legendary record. So I went through them and started looking for it. I knew I’d sold a load of them 10 years before but was pretty certain I hadn’t sold that because it was such a big record for me. I found it, I played it. I dug deeper and deeper and started to look them up online to see if there were digital versions of a lot of them and there weren’t. So I started digitising them and went through my collection. It took me eight weeks to do the whole lot.
What a nice experience!
Yeah! I really fell in love with it all over again. And the cool thing was I was taking photos on my phone and posting on Instagram and it developed a life of its own. A lot of artists from back then like Teebee and Nik from Noisia and loads of other guys got into it and we were all having these conversations about Kemal and Rob Data and Stakka and Skynet and guys like that and we’d be talking about how they made particular sounds.
It became a very positive connection through these posts and, by the end of it, I started to wonder if it was possible to make music myself. I had Cubase, I had a laptop, I made half a tune and Guido from Subplate Recordings got onto me and asked if I wanted to put it out. That led to a few releases and then I hooked up with D-Struct and Advance. I did collabs for about 18 months and decided I wanted to do some solo work. I realised how much fun it was and wanted to carve out my own sound as a solo artist and see how far I can take it. And here we are!
Inspiring. When did Headz come into this?
When I started there wasn’t a hard goal to do anything in particular. I knew I wanted to do something musical and explore more breaks and real instruments. Try and incorporate some of my past band experience into this new context. Not just that but explore some new ground in drum & bass. It’s such a beautiful genre and so many influences, hip-hop, reggae, techno, a little bit of metal here and there, you can bring anything you like into this.
So I was experimenting a lot with this and a friend of mine Luke Krypta heard my tunes and asked if he could pass them to Emilio HLZ. That night Emilio messaged me out of the blue, he said, ‘I don’t know who you are, I’ve never heard of you, but this music is great. Do you want me to send these to Ant at Dispatch?’ It was so selfless. He doesn’t know me from a bar of soap but was extremely supportive and didn’t have to do that. The next thing I know I’ve got an email from Ant saying he’d like to sign them and if I did one more tune it would be an EP.
Wow! How did you feel?
I didn’t know what to do. I just thought oh well here’s an opportunity now, I should really do something. If he likes this style I’m working on, I need to develop it. So I did. There were some hits and misses as there is with everyone. The misses get shuffled aside and you navigate the path. Ant was so simple, he was very decisive. I admired that. He wasn’t interested in the noise in the background. I don’t have the loudest mixdowns or the most complex sound design but it didn’t matter. He was focused on the music. And then a moment came when he came back to me saying, ‘This has got a Headz vibe, do you want me to pass this to Goldie?’ That was another moment. It’s amazing when you feel like you fit somewhere you really open up. You push the boat out and let it go. Goldie changed the way I felt about writing to music and listening to it. I’m sure he has conversations like that all the time with all the artists.
It’s usually 4am or 6am over here. But it was probably convenient time for you being in Australia?
Yeah! Mid morning. I had a nice cup of tea! It’s very motivating. The way he talks about art was really interesting. We all have our own relationship with art but to hear him talk about my music within that context was surreal. So after that conversation I sent him more music and got a couple of EPs done… And the Dispatch EP that started all this is yet to drop.
Ant knows what he’s doing. He’s the man. Ben (OB1) is another one. He knows that music is the only focus. Without it none of the rest of this exists. It’s rally nice to link up with people who don’t just love the music but live it and it’s their life. It’s not been my whole life but to link up with people where it is, and for them to enjoy my music is mind-blowing. Even having this conversation with you. To talk to someone about my music and drum & bass and to have a call from Ben or Ant or Goldie, it’s important for me.
I mean, put it this way. I’ve been with my wife 15 years and she didn’t know what drum & bass was. So I don’t have many conversations about it, other than doing something like this with you. Talking about it solidifies your belief in it. If you’re not living and breathing it every day it’s like ‘is this real?’ But moments like that happen and you understand its value.
Yeah totally! What do your family think about drum & bass?
The kids don’t like it. My wife doesn’t particularly either. But she’s been with me through my whole 20s. Music, bands, crazy schedules, touring, the whole thing. She’s always said ‘if you love it, go and do it.’ She’s incredibly supportive. With my boys they’re like ‘is this one of yours Dad? It’s not good!’
They’re brutally honest but it’s a big inspiration. The way they react to it, they’re not defined by genre or what’s hip or cool. It’s either dope or not. The way they react is the biggest influence in how I make music. Now having kids and doing music again the approach is so different. There’s a purity to it because you can see the way the kids react to any music and you wish you could react like that. Now I’ve trained myself to be more in the moment and not be so analytical and critical and teach myself to be a listener.
What will we be listening to next?
The Dispatch EP is done so that will land at some stage. There’s a vinyl EP that’s been signed and a vinyl single with a label called Compound Records. As far as writing is concerned, I’ve got lots of ideas and a couple of collaborations but I’m trying to be free with it and not feel any pressure…