“I recently came to the realization that I've been Djing half of my life,” Jimi Needles – world-class DJ, producer and drummer for knock-out soul band Ephemerals – recalls, talking to me from home, shortly before leaving on a well-deserved holiday. “I had my CD decks first when I was 14. I bought really cheap CD decks and hated it, then got vinyl decks when I was 15 and restarted again. Not many people did that back then. You didn't touch Cds like that. It was all vinyl and then suddenly it was all Cds and I did the opposite. I've been djing full-time about half of my djing life. And only about the last four have been giving a real shit.” Four years is probably about the length of time that Needles has been on the radar of an ever-growing contingent of bassheads here on the Canadian west coast. His Needlewurk mixes are some of the most reliable I've found, able to keep all the members of the crew happy – no matter where they lay on the spectrum of bass music enjoyment. The good homie combines his incredible arsenal of sounds, tempos and feelings, with great taste in music and a penchant for juggling the best parts from an unyielding scope of genres.
It's been a year and half since the last time I've talked to Needles. It's been a fruitful time that has seen him touring relentlessly on his own and as the drummer for Ephemerals, the creation of the Jimi Needles Band and the beginning of the final stretch toward his long-awaited debut album. “I think I've become a worse DJ and a better producer since we last talked. I've sacrificed a bit of the Djing. In the past 18 months I've really collected a bunch of sounds that I will use for all of my tracks. Every producer has their signature thing, like Stickybuds has his signature bass. 'Oh yeah, that's a Stickybuds tune there.' Featurecast has got his signature boom-bap-shuffle-drums. You can't miss those. A. Skillz has own kits and stuff. I've done a lot of tracks that share the same synth,” says Needles. “The whole album is going to speak to that synth. It'll be the “Jimi Needles Sound.” Really moving away from bootleg stuff on the album to more original stuff. It's exciting. I've really learned to create space in tracks. When I was just bootlegging I would just go, “Let's just feature loads of stuff!” Never give it a breather. You kind of learn to add those spaces in.”Read More