There are few producers or DJs as consistently accessible as JPOD. His bright, glitchy music seemleslly fuses the classic sounds of musics past with new ideas and energy – often serving as a gateway into electronic music for the uninitiated. And sometimes his music helps people long into electronic music remember what they liked about it in the first place. And sometimes he can save peoples nights from spiralling wildly out of control, as he did for me in 2015. I was chased by hoards of people into the Grove at Shambhala, where JPOD was playing (I believe his debut on that stage) and I was comforted in the warm embrace of his aural pleasantries. Even in front of that terrifying Eye Queen that was dancing in front of the DJ booth – an image that haunts me to this day – dancing to Jpod's music helped calm the overwhelming anxiety that led me there in the first place. “I tend to attract the kind of people that create a welcoming, comforting environment,” Jpod tells me from Australia. With the homie being elf-admittedly difficult to pin down for things like interviews, I couldn't be more tickled to finally catch up with this cat who's been so instrumental in helping myself, and so many others, figure out this whole electronic music thing.
But before we get to the 5 Questions, we need to discuss a couple of things.
While I have you here I have to ask about this discussion my friends and I have been having for years now. It's kind of Bernstein Bears situation...Were you ever “JPOD the Beat Chief” as opposed to “JPOD the Beat Chef?”
No. Just 'Chef.'
Okay. Some of my friends are wrong then! Ha!
I'll tell you why. It's because that mistake has been commonly made and the most influencing mistake was made by my MC friend Dash who thought it was 'Chief' for a while. We would play together and he'd keep forgetting and keep announcing me as 'The Beat Chief.' There's even a song I made with him and the vocal is “Beat Chief on fire patrol” or something like that. I wrote the song and gave it to him and when he sent the recorded lyrics back I asked, “You know it's 'Beat Chef' right? But I think we should leave it anyway because it's hilarious.” So there's evidence that it's 'Beat Chief' though I was never officially called that.
And now that that mystery is solved, if you're reading this and are going to be around my home base of Victoria on the magical weekend of 4/20, you should probably come and check JPOD out live as he rocks the Weedkend with the homies K+Lab, Murge, Jennay Badger and Funkee Wadd. (Also DeFunk will be there and he's really good, but he's not my homie yet, as far as I know.)
1. What's the first album you bought with your own money?
It was Nada Surf. Whatever their debut album was. My friends all had lots of music and finally I thought “I'm gonna buy something!” I couldn't just buy something everyone has and that was the only thing that I kind of liked that no one else had.
When's the last time you listened to Nada Surf?
I haven't listened to it in 15 or 20 years. Shortly after I bought it. High/Low. That's the one.
2. When's the last time you did something for the first time?
A few months ago I decided to start brushing the right side of my mouth with my left hand. There was a moment when I felt like I could best get into certain corners if I used the other hand. It felt uncomfortable at first but I told myself that I was going to learn something ambidextrous.
And it's paying off?
I guess. <laugh>
3. What's your favourite household chore?
Washing the dishes. There's just something about having a clean kitchen that helps me clear my mind. When I go to make something I can't have a mess around. It doesn't work in my brain. I definitely do lots of dishes that aren't even my own, just to try to keep that clean kitchen feeling in my head.
I love cleaning the kitchen. It's probably the most satisfying room to clean, oh wait, maybe the bathroom...
I don't really enjoy cleaning the bathroom. I also find it's easier to keep the bathroom from getting cluttered. You're not dirtying dishes and stacking them up in the bathroom. The things get used and put back in their place and it just doesn't get as messy and cluttered as the kitchen.
4. If you could spend the day with anyone living or dead, who would it be and what would you do?
I would spend the day at Burning Man, exploring art with my late friend Jon H who passed away a couple of years ago. I miss him.
5. I got a couple guest questions for you. The first is from Grieves...A round of “Fuck, Marry, Kill” - three synthesizers.
Hmmmm one I hate...this is hard. I don't usually spend a lot of time with things that I don't like. I just don't know one that I hate because I only use things I know are going to be good. You have to use a lot of different things to be able to answer that question completely. I guess I limit myself to some extent but I like to not try to get everything at once. I like to really learn how to use what I have well before I branch out.
6. The second guest question is from reggae homie Mike Love...
Oh cool! He's the one who has the amazing video where he breaks down and builds up this vocal bit, singing all the parts in different orders and loops it and fills it in as he goes. I remember that video and it blowing my mind.
That's the guy! His question...what will you do now? Not what will you do after the interview but what will you do in terms of making the world a little bit better?
That's kind of always been the backbone of what drives me to do what I do. I feel like so many times I've got feedback from what I've do – it started as a general drive to make music and make the music that makes me dance – but a lot of the feedback I get from people is that what I do really makes their lives better on a day to day basis. Some people say that they put my music on every day before they go to work and sets them in the right mood. Other people say that I've gotten them out of depression.
Yeah, I've had that a few times. It's mind-blowing. And other people tell me how my stuff connects them to their parents and grandparents who thought they didn't like dance music because they'd never heard it fused with something they know and so I'm bridging gaps unintentionally. I feel like by just continuing to do what I do I help make the world a better place for those who dig what I do.