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Interview: Jelly For The Babies

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Jelly For The Babies’ diverse style has made him a favourite amongst a broad range of top tier tastemakers including Hernan Cattaneo, Mark Knight and Eelke Kleijn. When not producing some of the smoothest deep and progressive house around, Marijan Raskovic aka Jelly For The Babies also runs One Of A Kind, RYNTH and The Purr. Now on the cusp of a new collaborative single on The Purr we catch up with the Serbian artist for an exclusive interview. Enjoy!

Hi Marijan, thanks for sitting with us today! What is your current mood and what was the last piece of music you listened to?

Hi there. Well I am tired to be honest...I think this thing with the virus has huge impact, not only physically, but mentally too. It may be a little distasteful to have some big controversy about it, but every man has a different mindset and all it takes, in these difficult times, is to find something we will truly enjoy. For example, if you are a big coffee lover, enjoy the moment while drinking that hot coffee, and try to direct your thoughts towards positive things. Last i listened was playlist from Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2.

What are your plans for the week?

Since I took the new computer, I planned the weekend to install the software and sort out the editions at my publishing houses for the end of this and the beginning of next year.

Tell us more about your story. How did you discover electronic music and what led you down the path of wanting to be a producer and Dj.

I must admit that my parents did not have a direct influence on me when I was little, but, one might say, indirect. In the early nineties, practically when I started primary school, I had VHS cassettes of concerts of domestic rock music, vinyls with old disco and then electronic music such as Kraftwerk, JM Jarre, etc.

I had nothing else to hear but the music that was ubiquitous around me, there was no internet at the time, so I couldn't tell what was good and what was bad, because everything I listened to then was extraordinary to me. From Metallica, to ABBA, from JM Jarre to Vangelis, Prodigy a little later, etc.

I think that is the right upbringing. Don't force your children to listen directly, don't force them, because that can have a counter effect, but I think it's right to listen to good music, watch a good program on television (if there is one at all) and visit places that are not kitsch. In this way you give your child a good example and allow him to decide for himself.

At which club or event did you experience electronic music for the first time and what memories have stuck with you from that moment?

In the city where I lived, the club culture and the culture of clubbing itself did not exist, so the first electronic music parties I visited were those organized by a few of us lovers of that sound.

Can you name five tracks that were influential in your musical development?

I never managed to decide on music in terms of genre, because the city where I grew up was an RNR city to the bone, the music my parents listened to was old rock, disco, funk, and the music I listened to with my friends in elementary school was are mostly hits of a different kind that we managed to catch on television. It is very difficult for me to decide on five songs, but let's say that they can be these, because they remain deep in my memory and remind me of my childhood and growing up.

  1. Jean Michel Jarre - Oxygene 3
  2. Lazar Ristovski i Sasa Lokner - Naos
  3. Piano Fantasia - Song For Denise
  4. Enigma - Sadness
  5. Astral Projection - Mahadeva

How did you settle on Jelly For The Babies as an artist name, is there a story behind it?

I hear that question often and probably disappoint with the answer because there really isn’t any special story behind it. All I know is that I didn’t want to be something that bears the prefix “DJ” in the project name, nor did I want it to be some “supersonic” name. The first thing that came to my mind - as crazy as it sounds, is the name "Jelly For The Babies". I can't remember, I ate jelly and watched TV, now if there was a baby on TV ... That's about it.

How has living in Serbia shaped your sound and career?

Considering that my country, in that period of my childhood, I can freely characterize as a RNR country. It seemed to me then that bands playing rock were superheroes fighting kitsch, bad music, bad dress and everything that seemed jumpy to me at the time. In addition to many rock bands, there were very very good musicians of a totally different direction, experimental, ambient and electronic music, musicians who obeyed the synthetic sound and soft melodies. Musicians like Laza Ristovski, Sasa Lokner, Sanja and Sloba, DATA, VideoSex have greatly contributed to me falling in love with synthesizers and electronic music.

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

Well probably like everyone else. I try to avoid larger gatherings, I blindly trust the people who run our country and their decisions because after all they should be professional and good advisors. As for music, all the free time I have I work on building my three record labels, by signing musicians with good music that will be accompanied by good marketing. When I close the laptop of my full-time job, the next chair is exactly the one in the studio. I don't have much time to dedicate to my production, but I hope that in a few months I will start composing again. Anyway, some releases I finished a couple of months ago are still on hold so ... there will be music.

What is the current situation with the pandemic in Serbia?

Unstable.

Once nightlife eventually resumes globally what kind of effect do you think this period in our history will have on the clubbing experience?

It will be extremely difficult to get everything back to normal. Some measures taken in the fight against the virus will remain in force even after the situation calms down. This will have an impact on the clubbing scene as well.

You have a new collaboration out this week on your The Purr Music imprint. Yourself, Navaa and Weston & Engine have teamed up to create the excellent ‘Human After All’. How did you all come together on this track? Whose idea was it initially?

In 2018, by the team behind Deepstitched Records, I received an invitation and booking for my first performance in South Africa. Timeless experience..Something I had never experienced before. The culture of clubbing is on a totally different level from the one we are used to in Europe. It seems to me that people who visit clubs, festivals and smaller local parties, in South Africa really enjoy music. It’s not just like fashion, they actually feel it. In the heyday where techno music and upbeat are extremely popular, I experienced it, my host 2lani The Warrior, taking me to a party where the DJ played no faster than 110bmp. and where people were in an absolute trance. Then I told myself that it would be wonderful to collaborate with some performers from that part of the world. The synergy of our European culture of listening to music, and the sound they make ... That would be something extraordinary. Hence the idea and collaboration with, one of the most talented newer producers, from Mozambique, Navaa, and the phenomenal duo from South Africa, Weston & Engine! I like to play a lot, so the melodies were mostly mine, Navaa also knows how to produce beautiful harmonies, so there is a share of him while Weston & Engine were in charge of the drums section, editing the basslead, sequencing and final mixing. It was a team effort after all..

What are a few pieces of gear or studio tools that get used in the making of every track for you?

I have basic setup. Computer, soundcard, monitors and midi keyboard. The most significant tool for the production, as cliché as it sounds, is your ideas and your ears.

You currently run three well known record labels; One Of A Kind, RYNTH and The Purr. Tell us how they differ from one another in sound. And do you have a favourite of the three?

The biggest influence on starting my own publishing house was Milos Miladinovic, the owner of the Balkan Connection publishing house, so that idea existed for a long time. It was only a matter of time before that actually happened. The first record label I started was The Purr, in 2014, when Deep House music was a big hit on the clubbing scene. Then the first releases started, the first remixes, the first compilations. Somewhere from the very beginning of the publishing house, my colleague Filip Fisher joins me, and since then, with the division of work and time that we put into our work, it has started to get more and more serious. If we take into account that you are well synchronized, it is much easier and saves a lot of time when the work is done by two people. The Purr was created as an idea of ​​a publishing house that will connect talented performers, well-known and lesser-known ones, all over the world. As for the sound, we try to follow the scene, but again to maintain the dignity by which we are recognizable. The musician we sign and mutual respect are always our number one priority. I passed that same policy on to my other two labels, One Of A Kind and RYNTH. As a big fan of progressive house, I started One Of A Kind record label to sign just such music, while RYNTH was the first record label to be based on downtempo, but with the evolution and synchronization of that deep house sound with downtempo electronics, somehow I went back to that, what we would say organic sound today.

Running three label’s with a consistent release schedule like you have is a daunting task. Are you solely responsible for the A&R on all three labels? And if not, who else contributes to what gets signed?

I try to be maximally responsible and mostly I spend all my free time preparing new releases, negotiating with new musicians, working on design, following the scene and keeping up with marketing that is rapidly changing its directions, etc. Fisher and I make decisions about The Purr together, while at One Of A Kind and RYNTH I make my own decisions.

What advice do you have for artists hoping to get signed to one of the label’s?

I'm not much of a consultant, but it's important that before they send a demo, they listen to what our record labels sign. It often happens that we get something that has absolutely nothing to do with what you can hear from us.

When you finish a new track how do you decide whether or not to look for a label to release or put it out on one of your own?

It mostly depends on whether that song, which I finished, is stylistically close to what I'm releasing at all. It’s a really nice feeling when I release my song at my record label, but I’m not going to do it at any cost. I am simply objective as far as the label is concerned, if it fits - I will sign, if it does not fit - I will not sign.

Your productions often sit somewhere in the space between deep and progressive house. Where do you see your work fitting in? And what do you want your music to convey to the listener?

I really never liked to limit myself in genre. I love music, I love to create and, what I will produce at that moment, largely depends on what my current mood is. Let’s just say that the line between deep and progressive sound is where I levitate, at the moment.

Is there a movie you would have loved to have produced the soundtrack for? And if so why?

Considering that I graduated in sound design, I somehow often see myself as a music producer for films. These would be mostly thrillers and mysteries, just because I like to experiment with the sounds I record beforehand, with synthesizers, various atmospheres, and even live instruments. Maybeee...Mystic River for example.

Looking back over your discography, which one of your very first tracks still puts a smile on your face when you listen to it now, and why?

"Johannesburg" definitely. That song changed the course of my production. I got really good reviews, from various artists, for that song. It gave me the boost to continue working, creating, playing, but also to stay completely my own.

What have been some of your favourite tracks over the quarantine period?

- about : river - Hidden Movement

- Secret Garden - Prayer

- Oleg Byonic - Follow Me (Byona Mix)

- Наукоград - Время

Mostly music that heals my brain cells in these hectic times.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

My younger brother.

What can we expect from you in 2021 – any releases or special dates we should be looking out for?

As for my production, there will definitely be releases. I am much more committed to my labels, to be honest, and I will invest 99% of myself in that.

'Human After All' is out now via The Purr: https://bit.ly/2JUlXBu

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