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Getting to Know: J Wax

Edinburgh- based DJ and producer J Wax never fails to pack a punch with his releases. His first EP 'Port to Port' from 2019 showcased his undeniable ability to craft sharp, corrosive electro anthems; an ability that has remained evident throughout his discography since. On 2nd October, J Wax will be releasing his second EP Blink on Kouncil Cuts, consisting of 5 high octane electro tracks. As the release date approaches, we wanted to have a chat with the man himself to get an insight into how his sound came to be, and what's coming next.

For people who haven't heard of you, how would you describe your sound?

I would describe my sound at the moment as kind of a mix between electro and breakbeat dance music. I still feel that I’m trying to craft my own sound though. With each release it feels like it’s slowly evolving.

How did you first get into production?

Around 2014 I had my first brushes with it. I thought it would be cool to try and learn how to record bands because from my own experience it was expensive getting the bands I was in studio time. So from there I got myself a lite version of a DAW and realised I could make music with the build in synths and drum machines. Around that time I was listening to xxyyxx and Clams Casino and started trying to make atmospheric beats similar to them.

Who are some of the artists that have been the biggest influences upon your sound?

Overall I would say artists like Jensen Interceptor, Speedy J, Nightmares on Wax, DJ Shadow, Palms Trax, DJ Seinfeld, Carl Finlow, Lil Ugly Mane and more recently I’ve been really inspired by SAAH, Sansibar, Aloka, PRZ and 96 Back. There’s so many more though.

How have you found lockdown? What is a time of creative inspiration for you?

Fortunately enough my lockdown was pretty relaxed. Me and my flat mates just chilled out, watched lots of films, cooked, read and played Xbox so we were pretty lucky. The time was really useful as I was able to complete the ‘Blink’ EP. Throughout the lockbox I mainly focused on learning more and more about my DAW rather than focusing on finishing tunes, which is great because now I feel that I have a better workflow and approach when it comes to making music. What was also good about the free time is that I felt like I was listening to lots of new music, getting through 2 or 3 radio and podcast mixes a day. Now I feel even more creative and just want to get my head down and work on new music.

Tell us about Hilltown Disco.

Well Hilltown Disco is a Dundee based record label and collective that started in Dundee around 2017. At that same time I was working on a few techno and house tracks. Head honcho Ben Rothes was a few years above me in school and we had a lot of mutual friends. So I heard that he started a label I thought I might as well fire him over a track or two. From then I put out my first few tracks on the labels early digital releases (even though my production was a bit shaky back then lol) and the guys introduced me to be part of the collection. Since then Hilltown Disco have been putting out some of the most consistent and exciting electro in the scene and I’m so excited to see it grow in the near future. Without those guys and their support I doubt I’d be making and getting to release the music I am now. They showed me the ropes of how the scene works and introduced me to so many amazing artists and got me more confident with DJing. I owe those guys a lot. Definitely keep watch on the label there’s so much exciting things to come!

How has your style changed since you first started out?

I would say by quite a bit. When I first started it was mainly house, acid and sorta Lofi stuff I was making but as time has gone on I would say my style has got a bit heavier, darker and a wee bit leftfield. I feel that overtime my style will probably go through changes with new music and new inspiration.

Tell us about your upcoming EP.

Yeah so I’ve got my second EP out on October 2nd called ‘Blink’. I’ve been working on a follow up to my debut ‘Port to Port’ which came out last April for awhile now with a few projects scrapped along the way. I started Blink at the start of this year when I first began work on the track ‘slugs’ and me and SAAH began our collab track ‘Kode’. The EP will be available on all digital/streaming platforms as well as vinyl (which I still can’t believe is actually happening, I’m so chuffed and excited). The EP is a collection of 5 tracks that are pretty gritty, got a lot of electro vibes, lots of space and bass, some slightly atmospheric but all are pretty groovy in their own way I feel. Just hope people enjoy and hopefully clubs open soon because I’d love to hear them on the dance floor!

Beyond ‘Blink’, do you have anything else in the pipeline for this year?

Well I’m starting work on two upcoming projects of mines on two labels I’m a huge fan of! However, they won’t be released until next year. Apart from that though I hope to do lots of radio mixes and podcasts and fingers crossed I get a chance to play a show if things get better! But mostly just working on new music.

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