As I enter the Nordic inspired setting of Belfast’s Kaffe-o, Jordan is sat at a table nearby sipping a mug of green tea. He’s an artist on the up, but you wouldn’t think it given his remarkably down to earth nature. Never one to dip the head without saying hello, Jordan stands and hugs me before we sit down to chat about his new EP on Loose Fit Records (out today).
Jordan has quietly been making a name for himself within Belfast’s ever developing dance music scene. The Night Institute, hosted alongside Belfast’s musical encyclopaedia Timmy Stewart, continues to thrive. It’s the perfect place for the artist to test drive his personal work; a catalogue that now floats in between the sounds of italo, house, electro and trance.
I’ve listened to Voyager, and I’m keen to learn more about it. I take one large, scalding gulp from my flat white and we begin to talk.
What was the thinking behind the new release? Have you been particularly inspired by anything to create?
I found myself playing quite a lot of electro recently. I did an influences piece and I realised that I got a big box of records from a guy called Boyd Sleator when I was about sixteen, when I was still playing trance. There was stuff by Fischerspooner and Tiga in there. If you listen to the lead track of Voyager it’s pretty much electro. There’s always been that element of influence.
It is a go to sound. I just started realising that the stuff I want to be known for is stuff that has solid basslines, solid hooks, y’know what I mean? Something that’s a bit uplifting. I think it’s really starting to come into itself. The lead track was actually done a year ago, but it all just seems to make sense now.
Brassica’s on the remix. How did that collaboration find its feet?
His stuff has been in the public eye for a while now. I’d listened to his sets before and he seems like a really nice guy. He emailed me after the label had contacted him, said he loved the lead and would be keen to get involved.
How did the release on Loose Fit come about? It seems like a perfect fit; an imprint dedicated to loose genre guidelines and an artist who maintains a cross pollination of sounds.
The joy of Soundcloud is that you can see who’s listening to your music. If someone’s listening to my music, I get in contact with them and see what they’re up to. I just saw that they’d been listening and I got in touch. They seem really pro-active, really young and keen. They throw their own parties in Manchester and they’re super keen to get the label off the ground. Those are the kinds of people I want to work with. I like people who are enthusiastic.
As for the cross-pollination – that stems from playing five hour sets alongside Timmy and his massive record collection. Five hours of one sound is shit. No one wants to hear that, so when you’re playing different sounds you discover different avenues that you can go down personally.
There’s always a base, which is electronic, but there’s always going to be elements of different genres within that. I guess coming from a trance background has helped. That’s where the uplifting, euphoric feel comes from, without getting too fluffy of course.
What’s the story with your own label, Nocturne, at the moment? Have you got any plans for it? Any artists that you might be interested in getting on there?
Well, Nocturne was always an outlet for me to put out my own music because labels are so difficult to get in touch with. Next year I’m thinking of doing a handful of vinyl releases.
I am, now, thinking of developing it with other artists. Maybe trying to introduce other streaming platforms too. I definitely want to be a lot more active next year. Between releases there’s about three months of silence, which is disappointing because there’s thousands of people on the socials. At the moment I’m just trying to flesh out ideas while also working on music for other labels that I’m keen to develop relationships with.
In Belfast recently there’s been a lot of chat regarding smaller venues and the importance of supporting them. I know you’ve been vocal on the topic of The Menagarie, one of the city’s most beloved party venues.
How important do you feel it is to support them, and do you feel that the big boys are taking a bit of the buzz away from the smaller nights?
It’s catch 22 really. You have to realise that dance music is a global thing now – it’s big business and people are entitled to profit off it. It’s popular and accessible.
On the flipside, it means that young people aren’t really in a position to start new projects and parties. I understand that it’s disheartening. If you’re nineteen and you’ve invested all your student loan into a guest and no one is turning up because the audience have no money left after a string of expensive shows, but it is what it is. It’s just a sign of the times. I guess we’re quite lucky on that front with our party being resident-led, if we have a quiet night we don’t have massive outlays and just move on to the next week with no great loss.
I do think the popularity of large events and commercial dance music will have an effect on the grass roots level of it in the interim, but unfortunately there’s very little you can do about it. It’s just the circle of life. In a couple of year’s time people might want to go back to smaller venues. They won’t have the money to be doing the big events every weekend. The big DJs will pass, the trends will pass and another new breed of young creatives will have a level playing field again.
There have been conversations recently regarding the importance of collaboration between the North and South of Ireland, in terms of dance music. I know Timmy has been vocal on the subject, having spoken about it at AVA Festival’s conference in June. What are your thoughts on the importance of it?
It’s definitely happening more, and it’s great to see. You look at the Twitch guys; they have the lads from Subject up quite a lot. They had The Cyclist up too. We had Brame & Hamo up to play, and DJ Deece, and it also works vice versa.
Higher Visions and Life Festival are doing wonders for it too, and AVA Festival is always looking to bring artists from down south up to play. The boundaries that may have once been there are now firmly broken down. I think that that is actually largely down to AVA. It’s something that Sarah [Mcbriar] should definitely be proud of.