We recently had a chance to talk with Jordan Strong of Uniting Souls Music, and got him to share his thoughts about the label’s new Equinox Dreams compilation and the current state of electronic music culture.
What was the first thing that attracted you to the world of electronic music?
Seeing different age groups, ethnicities, creeds, classes, and sexual orientations on one dance floor felt like the continuation of the hippy movement and was inspiring – true unity. Of course, the music itself was quite alluring and has kept me inspired for a lifetime but watching gangsters realize they could live a life of peace, gay people realize it was ok to be themselves – all the self-realization – I knew this was the place for me.
Do you remember any album or concert that made you see everything in a different way?
Doc Martin – he was the concert and still is. He’s paved the way for so many of us. What I love the most is his ability to play for any crowd. He’s a funky soulful chameleon full of surprises and decades later he still impresses me every time I catch his set.
What’s helped you grow the most lately?
Personally, I feel two things have helped me the most lately. Being more selective of who I work with and moving to a smaller city which allowed for a tighter-knit and more supportive community. And of course no matter what I’ve always kept pushing one way or another. You never know how it will manifest, just that it will.
How would you present your work to somebody who doesn’t know you?
Live is always the way for me to present my work to somebody that doesn’t know me. Whether it’s a DJ set or one of my tracks that I’m playing in it, I think the full effect immersed in a crowd full of energy on a good sound system is the greatest way to let somebody experience it.
How did your last release come to fruition?
Curating compilations is always fun. As our label gains inertia, it’s a delight to ask our favorite artists to jump on our speeding, charting, light rail. Our artists are talented and eager to release and the compilation format allows us to showcase and support so many – from seasoned pro to first timer. All are talented and the final product is soulful and rewarding! Having a Cory Wells track is legendary, for those who know, and it’s also a good feeling to feature one by Jonathan Lastra aka Thumpin’ Little Rabbit as he inspired me from the start decades ago. Also really amazed by the Gorio Talla track as it’s his first. And of course, we’ve got some solid work by our regulars like Terry Jasinto and Cantos. All involved are great and we’re proud to support them. We keep it real by keeping it underground.
What do you want to transmit in this work? What is the concept behind it?
I’d like to continue to transmit the original messages of house music – peace, love, and unity and do my best to actually live it in this crazy world by practicing safe boundaries. I like to make my music kinda weird, with a bit of abstraction going on, so as not to fit in with the cookie-cutter stuff constantly being regurgitated. I keep with the underground vibes and don’t want to overproduce it. So many cheesy build-ups and breakdowns in music today and that’s just not what it’s ever been about in my mind.
As for your studio, what is it currently made up of?
I can tell you this much, the few things I just picked up that I really love hardware-wise are the Hydrasynth, Behringer Deepmind and the Korg micro freak.
What is the one instrument you would never get rid of, no matter what?
As far as functionality goes, my Yamaha Motif ES8 is such a powerful tool in the studio and I will use it always somehow or the other.
For sentimental purposes, I will never give up the first bass guitar I ever owned. A maroon and white left-handed Fender Jazz bass that my Mom bought me when I was like ten years old.
What was the last record store you visited?
The last record store I visited was Aloha Got Soul here on Oahu and I got some solid new jams off the Shall Not Fade label. Then I bought doubles of Charlie Soul Clap and Doc Martin’s new release on Wax Records off Bandcamp.
Do you have hope for the future of music? How would you like the future of the music industry to be?
There’s always hope. I would love to see artists being booked for their talent as opposed to the numbers they hope will come in based on their conjured-up electronic press kit and Soundcloud plays. They should build their following based on great music and trust the crowds will respect their choices as opposed to playing it safe.
What do you have in the works production-wise?
Uniting Souls Music has a summer comp coming up after the spring Equinox which I’m excited about. My Drawbird remix with Knoe1 has an indy vibe going on and it’s pretty good. I also have a big Tony H project in the works and I’m really excited about my remix for that. And my own Wave Machine imprint is about to pop with some solid releases with Knoe1, SoundSex, Cory Wells, George JJ Flores to name a few. I’m also beyond excited to be continuing my new relationship with Doc Martin and Sublevel Records. I’ve got something coming out of his compilation and another EP down the line.
What makes you happy?
Surfing, good music, good food and good people.
Do you have any final words of wisdom?
I would like to see the newer generations of dance music patrons understand the original message and keep it a safe space for everybody and anybody. It’s a place for self-discovery, reflection, and growth, and that often means people are not coming from the best places. We are there to support them and not judge them. Group therapy is not always gonna be pretty but together in solidarity we can truly help each other.