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Interview: Che Jose

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Hailing from Sydney Australia, with releases under such labels as Armada, Flashover Recordings, Stoneyboy, Juicy Music and more Che Jose is now receiving attention from international labels across Europe and the United States. With the much anticipated release of ‘No Air’ landing just last week we had a chance to catch up with Jose for an exclusive interview. Enjoy!

Hi Jose, thanks for joining us. What is your current mood and what was the last piece of music you listened to?

Hi thanks for having me, at the moment we are still in lockdown in Sydney, unfortunately we have been hit by the second wave of Covid, however we are hoping to be on the other side of this by Christmas which would be good. I’ve been listening to alot of Leaving Laurel during my spare time.

What are your plans for the coming week?

Finishing a remix for Elliptical Records this week, the label has asked for a few tweaks, and then working on another two tracks with two very talented English singers (Luke Coulson and Jodie Knight). Apart from this I’m hoping to enjoy the sun a little as we are now entering spring.

You’ve lived in Australia for most of your life, how was it growing up there and how has it affected your musical taste and the music you make?

I’ve lived in Sydney since I was 8 or 9, I originally immigrated here from Peru, and Sydney has been my home for the majority of my life. I love it here, the weather is great, the harbour, the beaches ect, so I guess living in such an amazing country has allowed me to be able to explore and take inspiration from the world around me, and include it into the music I make.

Progressive and trance are well known for being popular in Australia and they have been for over two decades. Who from your home country inspired you the most when you first discovered the music and how has the scene changed there over the years?

Australia has produced some quality talent in the last few years in the varied genres such as Flume, Tommy Trash, Bag Raiders, Peking Duck to name a few, so the scene here is quite active, and there is lots of inspiration to take from here and other peers. I would say my musical interest has always been geared a little bit more to the progressive and melodic side of house, but I try to include influences from any song that appeals to me. I think music is one of those things that you need to grab inspiration from all sources, this could be other songs, it could be a thought, a feeling ect.

What are some of your favourite venues to play in Australia and why?

Feels like a lifetime since we had any live gigs here in Australia due to Covid, but some of my favourite venues that i have played in the past included Chinese Laundry, Ivy and Home nightclub. These places always had an awesome vibe, especially Chinese Laundry. It was one of those places where you could always break new music, and really get a sense of how the crowd reacted to it. However in the last few years, I’ve really tried to take less gigs and concentrate more on the music production side of things. I really enjoy being in the studio and creating music. To me this is where I feel the happiest.

Who are some up and coming Australian artists to look out for?

I would say guys like Fabrication, Dave Winnel, Marcus Santoro, Hayden James, these are guys that are already making some noise overseas and could the superstars in the next 5 years.

Can you name five tracks that were important in your musical development and why they are so significant for you?

Oh wow, ok umm this is a hard one

1. Another Chance – Roger Sanchez – remember hearing this song every Saturday morning on MTV
2. Salt Water – Chicane – Just an amazing song absolutely timeless
3. Silence – Delirium – This was first 12” i ever bought
4. Strobe – Deadmau5 – once again timeless track, that to this day still gives me goosebumps
5. Prelude in E minor – Chopin – One of my favourite classical piano pieces

You recently had a release on Ferry Corsten’s Flashover Recordings, tell us about that and how it found a home on such a great label.

This was probably a bucket list item, Ferry is one of the biggest Trance superstars in the world! I decided to send Ferry one of my tracks ‘Way out’ which i released on my label F.T.F.T Records, Ferry and the team at Flashover really liked it, so much they had it in rotation for 5 weeks on Ferry’s radio show ‘Resonation radio’ and then decided to license it for the Resonation radio compilation. They reached out to me and asked me to send them some more songs, and they really like ‘Take me there’ and that’s how I managed to release them.

Following that up in style you now have a new single ‘No Air’ out on your F.T.F.T Records, tell us about that one and walk us through the production process on it.

I originally came up with the piano riff in the breakdown, and built the track around it. I managed to touch base with Luke (Luke Coulson) who I met online and I approached him about collaborating on the track, he loved the melody of the track and so we decided to swap ideas over the following weeks until we were happy with the outcome of the song. Luke is a great lyricist and he came up with an amazing top line for the track. During this time I was listening to lots of Arbat, Yotto, Tale of us and Mind Against, so you can really hear the influences in this track. I hope people enjoy it and like it as much as we did making it.

Was there anything that inspired ‘No Air’? And where does your inspiration come from generally?

This one has really been a passion project, I can’t even tell how many times i’ve reworked the track until I finally felt happy with how it sounded. The track originally started last year, when we hit Global lockdown, so many emotions of being uncertain and scared how things were going to pan out, to anger about seeing so many people affected, it was a real roller coaster.
The basic idea for ‘No Air’ was basically born from the uncertainty of the changes in the world around us under Covid and how things would be different.

What does your set-up like? Do you favor physical gear over digital? And what studio tools featured heavily in the writing of ‘No Air’?

I would love to get some analog gear, but honestly I don’t think I would have the patience to sit there and tweak a million knobs. I’m pretty comfortable playing in the box for now, but I have had my eye on a Prophet Rev 2, I think this would probably be my first synth. I’m also a little scared of the possibility of gear addiction lol. For now my main Synths are Serum, Diva and Wave Table and Sylenth. I find that I can make 99% of the sounds that I want in those, and there are also lots of presets in the market for these synths. For ‘No Air’ it’s basically made up of Serum and Sylenth, the main lead is heavily processed, with parallel distortion, compression and reverb, it’s actually quite a simple patch, but just has lots of processing to make it sound different.

How do you decide what to release on your own label and what to send out to other labels as demos?

I’m trying to be more active in releasing music nowadays, I find especially now with the ease of spotify and the internet, if you aren’t releasing constantly the audience you build up moves on quickly. I’ve noticed for example people like Armin are releasing a song a week or every second week, people have short attention spans so you have to fight through the noise to get heard. The way I choose which works I want to release vs sending out to a label usually depends on what sound that label is looking for. Sometimes it might also be the case that I want to own the entire masters of a given song and hence releasing on my label allows me that freedom.

How much road testing or friend feedback is done before you’re ready to say a track is finished? And who is someone you share your new music with first for feedback?

I tend to send all my music to a few key people who I trust, one of the OG in the game whose opinion I value the most is Stonebridge who is not only an amazing producer, but a great friend. He will always give me objective feedback which I try to incorporate into every production. I think it’s very beneficial to have someone that you trust to give you this sort of feedback, otherwise we can never grow and learn.

Talk to us about your label F.T.F.T Records, it launched last year and has primarily been an outlet for your own music. What are your plans for the label moving forward?

Absolutely F.T.F.T Records allowed me to release the music I wanted, in the way I wanted, by doing so it has allowed me to grow my audience and open doors that would have been nearly impossible to do so. I think now with the ease of self releasing, the old way of running labels is dying. Now more than ever it’s about the community, I want to build on this, and sign artists on the label who want to grow with the label. Who are passionate about music. We have now started taking demos so if there is any producer out there please feel free to drop us a line with your music.

What advice would have for an artist hoping to sign their music to F.T.F.T Records?

The main genre of music we concentrate on is melodic house, techno and trance. The music needs to invoke a feeling, it has to be authentic and not just a cookie cutter approach. We also want someone who wants to work on building their brand, we really want to build a community around our artist.

How have you been dealing with COVID-19? How has it affected your daily life, music production and overall inspiration to write new music?

I’ve been lucky enough not to catch this awful disease, so I’m grateful. The lockdowns however have allowed me to write so much new music, more than I ever could. I think I have another 6 tracks that I’m with and are going to potentially release in the next 12 months. I’ve also been really lucky to have an amazing fiancee, who has been an amazing support. I think I’ve been really lucky to have her by my side during this time.

In your opinion, what’s the biggest risk you’ve taken and what made you do it?

Biggest risk, well i think the biggest risk that i can think of so far is launching my own label, and listening to my gut feeling about things. I think its important to take calculated risk, because we never really grow past our comfort level if we dont.

What’s a book you’ve read or film you watched that has left an impact on you, and why?

I saw a Netflix film the other day called ‘Brain on Fire’ , basically about a girl who was perfectly healthy and then developed an autoimmune disease that makes her slowly go crazy and then catatonic. Really made me think, how life is not guarantee and to make the most out of every day.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

My Finacee, my dogs Stella and Pepi and my family

What is your favourite food?

Any Peruvian food – i love it unfortunately not many restaurants here in Sydney, so i need to wait for mum to arrive back from the US to get her to cook some authentic Peruvian food lol.

Iphone or Android?

Iphone all the way – They sucked me into the echo system now i can’t leave

What does the remainder of 2021 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

Releasing more music and hopefully planning for an ever bigger 2022. One thing i can share is, believe in yourself. There will always be people telling you what you can’t do, or putting you down. But all you need to do is listen to the one voice that matters (your own) if you believe it you can achieve it.

‘No Air’ is available now via F.T.F.T Records: https://bit.ly/3FyMkoR

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