Undoubtedly one of his country’s fastest-reising DJs and producers, US man Jean Pierre seemed destined for a breakout 2020. We all know what happened next, but after a refreshingly honest chat with the man himself, it’s obvious he is taking this one in his stride as best he can: continuing to push his sultry agenda of killer deep and tech house. A native of NYC but a regular at clubs such as Space in Miami, Jean Pierre has also played at Romania’s Sunwaves and alongside some of the scene’s best, with Seth Troxler and The Martinez Brothers among those DJs he’s forged a close rep with over the years. Despite being on the cusp of something special, Jean Pierre is also arguably making the best music of his life, just as his latest release would lead us to believe. We put some Qs by the main man recently, and here’s what he had to say…
How was your lockdown period? And what was it you found most challenging about it all?
Lockdown has been a very productive time for me. I have been working on tons of ideas and finishing projects that I started a while ago but was not able to finish while traveling. Probably the most challenging part of this has been not being able to tour (and missing it) and standing in the DJ booth.
Are you worried about the future of live musicians? Or are you confident things will go back to as they were? Or maybe go more ‘underground’?
It’s hard to say. Things have changed so quickly. One day we are told something by the news and the next something different. It’s very difficult to really gauge when things will truly go back to normal or what normal will be. All I know is the desire to get back out there is high for me and my peers. When the time comes, I expect the industry to bounce back. The fans and musicians all want the same thing.
Do you think there was a fundamental issue with the ‘scene’ before? Did greed overtake the music? Did there need to be a paradigm shift of sorts?
Honestly, these sort of topics I don’t think about normally. I really just try to focus on me and my music. What I can say is that it has been a great time for musicians the last few years in terms of unique opportunities. The demand has been very high for music and because of that there are constant opportunities for growing artists like myself and younger artists trying to break through. To lose that would be a big negative in my opinion for the health of the scene in general.
What do you think this all spells for your home city of New York?
It’s hard to say. All I can do is pray that my friends and family stay safe. I have seen some events pop up in NYC over the past few weeks and it is definitely great to see. As long as everyone can stay safe and healthy, it’s exciting to see things start to bounce back.
You also have a very close relationship with Miami — and Space Club especially. Can you tell us a bit about how this came to be?
I have been coming to Miami and Space for many years. The current team at Space has done an amazing job with the club. They have given me many opportunities to showcase my sound numerous times during major events such as the Cuttin’ Headz label event during WMC & Art Basel. They also recently invited me to do a live stream over July 4th weekend. They will always have my support and I am grateful for theirs.
Can you tell us a bit about your favourite memories of Space down through the years? What do you think makes it such a special place to play?
To start, the Space booth is stellar which makes you feel very comfortable while you are playing. Not to forget the sound system which is also top notch. It really helps the crowd feel all the sounds and enable them to get into it. The sunrise and sunsets are real moments that make Space such a special place. Too many memories to recount on that terrace as you watch the sun make it the one of kind club that it is.
Do you ever get to go out as a clubber these days? Who was the last DJ to really impress you in that regard?
It’s been a while. That’s for sure. I definitely don’t go out like I used to. The last DJ to really impress me was Marco Carola when I opened for him right before COVID kicked up. I’ve played with Marco quite a bit over the last couple of years and I have been lucky to see him craft his sets in different ways. This particular night, he took us all on a musical journey for sure.
You’ve been busy recently putting your music up for sale on Bandcamp. How have you found this shift and how has that been going for you?
We did the first Bandcamp release to really test the waters and get some traffic to our page. The release did much better than expected and we received a lot of support. We took what we learned from this first release and have applied it to our next one due in August.
Have you had to think of more imaginative ways to earn a living? Or do you have other gigs lined up for other periods in the year?
Yes. I have recently started working with a number of younger producers here in Miami and helping them with their music and production. I have also been renting out my studio to clients. It’s definitely helped me during these times and taught me quite a bit as well. It’s a different type of feeling when you are able to help another artist fulfill their vision with a track.
How have your goals and dreams changed since the start of this year? Has staying positive been an issue for you at all?
My goals and dreams have not really changed, I have just had to adapt in terms of my expectations of achieving them and how to go about doing so in current times. I definitely have days where I feel down, but I do things to keep my head on straight. I work out every morning and make sure I work on music each day. Keeping this balance makes it much easier to stay on target.
Can you tell us a bit about Mutant People and the production process behind it all?
It’s a collaboration concept and alias that I’ve had in the works with my friend and fellow producer from NYC – Trangaz – for some time. We had made quite a bit of music together back when I had my studio in NYC. We also worked together a bunch in Ibiza together a couple years back. These tracks have been sitting idle in the vault and during this quarantine I went back to them and really made them tight. I am super happy with these records. Stay tuned for a vinyl only release under this moniker coming later this year as well.
On a personal level — and music aside — what’s keeping you excited at the moment?
Simple answer – the music. It keeps me grounded and focused. I have taken a bunch of courses and invested quite a bit of money in my studio which makes me happy. I also took some classes with Dewalta which have been truly great. He is a fantastic teacher and has helped me improve my sound in many ways.
Can you talk us through three pieces of art (music, books, art etc) that worked for you over the past few months?
The book ‘Patch and Tweak On Exploring Modular Synthesis’ by Kim Bjorn and Chris Meyer has been really a great read for me. I recently purchased a few modular pieces for the studip and this has helped me really dive in. My friend also recommended the book ‘Super Genes’ by Deepak Chopra. I’ve really enjoyed it thus far. As far as music goes, I’ve been taking it back to my Latin roots and listening to Hector Lavoe and Willie Colon in the mornings to get my day going.
Keep up with Jean Pierre on Facebook, Instagram and Soundcloud.