CLUBPLANET INTERVIEW: Jamie Schwabl
Jamie Schwabl is a rising star in the DJ world. Her instantly recognizable sound--along with her passion for her art--sets her apart from the crowd as one of the country's brightest young stars. Hailing from the underground dance music scene, where her deep house and techno sets are regarded as "not to miss," Jamie is approaching 2014 as one of it's future DJ stars. Clubplanet chatted to her about why she loves playing festivals, what she her feelings are on deep house becoming more mainstream and what it feels like to be tipped for DJ stardom.
CP: It's been quite a year from you so far. Would you like to tell us about it?
JS: This year has been a dream come true for me. I started it by setting goals for myself musically as both a DJ and focusing more on my productions. That lead to me releasing my first track which made the Beatport Top 100 ("Come Alive/Yes Please More Please" reached #65) and that was just such a great achievement for me both personally and as an artist. I've also started a new record label, Wülfpack, which will be launching early 2014 and of course, as a DJ, I've seen my gig diary fill up.
CP: You started your career as a resident for GIANT (One of SoCal's top promoters). At what point did you think to yourself, "I want this to be my full time career"?
JS: I got my start in 2007 (with GIANT) where I got to play alongside some of the biggest names in the DJ world. For a young DJ, it was such an honor. For me, DJing was something I just loved to do. I got so much enjoyment out of it and knew that's the direction I wanted to take my with my life.
CP: And when did you know what your music style would be?
JS: Well GIANT was predominantly a trance and progressive night, but I'd always try to stick to my niche of a really nice blend of tech house and techno. Since then, I've matured as an artist and realized that my love is deep house and I've remained loyal to the genre ever since.
CP: Who do you see as your influences?
JS: My influences change every year but I'll always have a secret love for the guys who I listened to when I first started out in this scene. I was lucky enough be on the same bill as people like Sasha, John Digweed, Nick Warren and Dave Seamen and I learned so much from them just by watching them play. Even Tiesto back in his early days gave me the drive to push forward with my DJing and, even now, I still go back and pull some of their old tracks out for inspiration.
CP: You're very proud of your festival performances and, in your own words, sometimes prefer them to a club setting. Why is that?
JS: After playing Burning Man, my eyes were really opened. I had so much inspiration by seeing DJs who, with all due respect to them, were completely unknown. These people had turned up and were playing their hearts out and, just being able to do that, was so amazing for them. It made me realize that what we do as DJs and artists is more about the experience and just being allowed to do what we love, and less about the image or making a name for yourself. That's what I love about playing these kind of festivals, you get to see the music scene for what it really is; gathering of beautiful individuals having fun and listening to music.
CP: Do you have a personal favorite to play at?
JS: Desert Hearts. Hands down. I love playing Burning Man too, but, Desert Hearts captures the love and the passion of the music and the whole scene. I love to play there.
CP: What is your drive as a DJ?
JS: Honestly? It's the connection that I get from it. I spend so much time looking for new music and tracks that no one has ever heard before, and I program them in a way that will allow others to listen to this wonderful music with my own little take on it. I just love the whole experience that comes with the scene. I love taking people on a journey and, whether it's a room of five or 2000 people, to see them all connect with you is such an amazing thing.
CP: Tell us about your label, Wülfpack.
JS: Wülfpack is something that started completely organically between myself and my DJ peers who are a group of amazing DJs and producers. We all have so much talent between us and we play gigs together and have known each other on a friendship and professional basis for some time. Each of us all have our own tracks just waiting to be signed and we thought, let's do it ourselves. From there, Wülfpack was born. We already have our first four compilations ready for release and, come 2014, we'll be ready to make our mark.
CP: As a passionate supporter of the underground sound and deep house, what do you say to all of these people who are saying it's the "next big thing"?
JS: First of all, I don't think it ever left us. Sure, you see this huge "EDM" scene going on, but all over the country there are clubs that play deep house, techno and other--as the media put it--"Underground" music, and each one of those clubs is packed every week. For me as a DJ, it really excites me to play in front of all the music lovers who are new to the scene and introduce them to all this amazing music that they didn't even know existed.
CP: What have been your standout gig and city to play in?
JS: My favorite city has to be San Francisco. And I mean no disrespect to everywhere else I've played; it's just that I have a connection to the city that I can't explain. When I have a gig there, I can play whatever I want to and the crowds embrace it. The people there are on the search for new things and, musically, they love to experiment. They just love to go out and have fun. As for my favorite event? There's no question. Desert Hearts. It just blew me away. Everything about it from the location, the team behind it, the set-up, the artists who played and, of course, the crowd. It really was perfect.
CP: And finally, what's the next step for Jamie Schwabl?
JS: Just to keep delivering. What's happened to me this year has been incredible. It's now up to me to keep raising the bar for myself and keep performing and producing what people are now expecting from me. My outlook is that you're only as good as your last show and I want to give my best performance in every gig I play, no matter where it is.
Jamie Schwabl, thank you!
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