Repost: Glauben & DIVINITY Interview Nöel Jackson
A repost of my interview with Glauben & DIVINITY.
Nöel Jackson is a character with enigma written all over him. His vibe seems to be that of a mad scientist combined with the perfect amount of artistic balance and sass. Focusing his energy on the creation and performance of music, specifically house and techno, Nöel Jackson sure is a name to watch out for. For the past few years this man has performed at different corners of the world for multitudes of fans. Playing at venues such as the infamous Output in New York City and the sunny beaches of Playa del Carmen for the BPM festival. Today we sit down and converse with our good friend Nöel Jackson to find out more about his musical journey in this game. Here is what he had to say….
Glauben & DIVINITY:
What is your reason in pursuing a life as a musician, specifically a house and techno artist?
The reason is because music is just an extremely extraordinary medium for allowing you to learn and grow. From the physics of it, to the transcendent experiences you can have from pure auditory input, audio is this truly incredible medium that never seems to stop giving back (as long as you continue to give). I’m a scientist and an engineer by nature, the desire to create just comes from being human. Music has helped me to figure out life in ways nothing else could. As far as dance music goes, it started at a young age, listening to Plastikman and then getting thrown a copy of Aphex Twin, which to me is still really obvious music. It wasn’t until a few chance encounters in Detroit really put me in touch with true house. Art “Pumpin” Payne brought me to a show that Aaron Carl (RIP) was spinning at. For a skinny kid out of the suburbs, I had never seen anything like this. There wasn’t YouTube or anything back then — friends had to share CDs with you — so when I saw this, it was unreal. That was the first house DJ I saw that helped me understand what house music really was about. After that I was never the same, and then the truly transcendent techno experiences really came later in life. I think the story of that is a little too long to share, but I’ll put it simply: my heart beats at 127bpm.
G & D
What inspires you?
I could say: my fans, or new music, or my community, and that is all true. But it really is something more along the lines of the capacity we have as humans to inspire love and peace in the world. Fans that love your music, people that love music so much they spend night building insane pieces of software, DJs that literally have given up their lives to spread music and inspiration around the world, and people that love to dance. But, it’s not just music people either, it’s everyone — it goes so much further and I think it has to. What you have in your heart, the love and passion that you can dig up is miraculous to me. I’m inspired by love — without any care towards how you might judge me.
G & D:
How did Superfreq and your collaboration with David Scuba come about?
I kept running into Mr.C for no good reason I met him an ended up becoming really great friends with him after a show in Detroit. Then we spun a few times, in NY, Mexico and Chicago (I think?), he heard my sound and liked my tunes. David Scuba and him asked me to come on to advise Superfreq. The rest is history. I’ll always be here to balance out David and Richard… or maybe for them to balance me out?
G & D:
Do you have a go-to piece of gear in your studio?
Speakers and acoustics. Gear is awesome, and I will basically buy anything you put in front of me that makes a noise, but it’s a bit overrated. I think there is an industry that lives off of always creating some new little gadget that you *have* to have. Acoustics is something I can’t really explain how much I appreciate. It’s a bit of a peek into the secrets of the universe, but it also simplifies the ideas behind what you hear in music. The process of hearing more clearly ends up translating into your every day life, you start to hear people better, you start to listen more deeply — not just your music, but your entire life benefits from that. That’s a tangent — gear is overrated and your ears should be your go to piece of gear.
G & D:
What does your creative process look like?
Before I really got into mixing and mastering, I just kind of messed around with Ableton until something not horrible came out. That was ten years ago now. Now, I really think a lot about the sounds I need, how I want them to sit in the mix, how they should be compressed, how they are EQ’d, and the function the song should have. A lot of that thinking influences the feeling of the music. Ultimately, if the music feels right, it is right. The creative process is about growth. If I’m not experiencing growth, I change how I work. — If we want to get simple, I start songs with a click and lay down melodies, not drums first. I focus really close, then take steps back continuously, to maintain perspective.
G & D:
In your opinion, what is the most important aspect of being a successful producer?
Being humble. Most people get okay/good and kind of stop there — they plateau. That would be okay if it didn’t harm Art. But, then they start following the crowd and help to contribute to the incessant drivel of homogenous garbage that everyone complains about. Of course, this is human nature — to let comfort get the best of us. Staying humble and being really honest with yourself will get you further than anything. I also think this goes hand in hand with being realistic about what “success” means to you, and what you’re trying to gain by being “successful.” On top of that, being successful as a producer really comes down to the normal things that make you successful in life: have something to care about, treat people with respect, and communicate clearly and consistently.
G & D:
What is your opinion about the current state of the house and techno scene, specifically in the SoCal area?
When I first moved to LA, it was dismal, to be honest. You know, I think that the states are always behind the times, but I was downright confused what was going on 3 years ago. Now though, people have changed a ton. We’ve got people like Ivan Smagghe, Rhadoo, Mr.C: You know, really legitimate DJs coming in to town. It’s really incredible and makes me quite happy. The thing about “underground” music is that, it really isn’t underground anymore. The Internet has really leveled the playing field. America will see good legit techno and house really start to be a part of our daily lives. I think that the boomerang actually starts with the west coast. Now that we’ve started to recognize what’s really good, pushed aside the trends and gotten out of the comfort zone, the real game can begin.
G & D:
What is your most memorable performance?
Opening for Richie Hawtin at Output in NYC. The horn-loaded subwoofers in that place make you feel like you’re ripping a hole in the fabric of the universe.
We would like to give Nöel Jackson a special thank you for gracing us with such wonderful knowledge. It is truly amazing and inspiring to hear someone like Mr. Jackson share their story with such heart and passion. You can catch Nöel Jackson at Glauben Records & DIVINITY present: David Scuba and Nöel Jackson this April 30th at Spin Nightclub in San Diego, CA. Save the date…
Originally published at Noël Jackson.