Groovier Kinda Guy

22 December 2012 | 3:09 pm | Cyclone Wehner

"I don't wanna go in and be chucked in a room with Rihanna..."

Jesse Rose has always been restless but, then, he did pioneer fidget house. In recent years the London DJ/producer has lived in Berlin and now Los Angeles, joining old buddy Dave "Switch" Taylor. 

At this second, Rose is chuckling at a conference administrator's "proper classic" introduction – she's assumed he's a 'Ms'. Adding to the overall confusion, he's hanging out in Berlin, albeit on a European tour. The DJ laughs off the suggestion that he's topping up his cultural cool. In fact, today LA is hipper than Berlin, he posits. The pro party animal will have been staying there for two years in January. "Switch moved to LA and he was having the best time ever – and every time I went to LA, we were just having a great time," Rose says. "The sun was pretty attractive as well. I'd been going over once every three months to make music and do different kinds of projects and stuff... I always like to have a little move around and a change – and it felt good. To be honest, there's much more exciting things going on in LA right now than in Berlin. I think that each city has its time. New York had its time in the '80s, London in the '90s, Berlin in the 2000s, and maybe LA is a good place to be based right now. A lot of people are moving out to LA now, for some mad reason. There's loads of really great house parties and loads of really interesting things going on, 'cause it's a crazy scene, LA – because it goes from the most expensive houses in the world to places that are really affordable and warehouse spaces. I guess it's got something for everyone, really."

The former BMX champ was DJing as a teen in the '90s, being into hip hop as much as Chicago house and Detroit techno. Later, Rose found himself in Bristol, bonding with Jamie Anderson. The two promoted events. Rose began to dabble in production. He teamed with Anderson as Seventh Chord for a one-off single. He also launched his first label, Front Room Recordings. Rose's global rep grew when he was identified with fidget house – a hip hop-fuelled electro house genre that, he'd subsequently confess, originated as "a joke" between him and Taylor. Curiously, the two released straight house on Derrick Carter's Classic. But, just as he'd established himself back in London, Rose was convinced to up sticks to Berlin by his new allies MANDY from the Get Physical crew (he mixed their Body Language, Vol III). Here, he consolidated a second stable, Made To Play, mentoring Oliver $. In 2009 Rose issued his debut album proper, What Do You Do If You Don't?, on Taylor's Dubsided (he'd previously proffered More Than One, a collaborative record with input from the likes of Black Rose chum Henrik Schwarz). This time Rose roped in Hot Chip, having met Joe Goddard at a boat party. Lately, he's created yet another a 'brand' in Made For The Night with 2011's mix-album package and parties.

Rose has expressed a desire to follow Taylor and Diplo into producing pop acts, but he's not actively hustling. "I'm never that kinda person who really likes to be put in artificial situations," he says. "I don't wanna go in and be chucked in a room with Rihanna..." He'd rather it be "organic", as it was purportedly for Taylor, pop stars like Christina Aguilera approaching him after becoming "super fascinated" with MIA. At any rate, Rose is producing Chuck Inglish from the now defunct Cool Kids, Amanda Blank and Aloe Blacc. And the Brit is working on a new as-yet-unnamed group project that he touts as "kinda like the house music equivalent of Major Lazer mixed with Basement Jaxx and Daft Punk." Rose's primary collaborators are singer Arama – also on Major Lazer's, or Diplo's, upcoming Free The Universe – and a new rapper, but there are guests. He'll unveil the mystery LP in the New Year – he's currently mixing it.

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Rose is buoyed by shifts in the wider pop culture. "I think it's a really interesting time – I mean, the Flying Lotus album [Until The Quiet Comes] went into the Billboard chart in America, which is insane, so anything is possible right now." He's remixed Kiwi expat Kimbra's Good Intent.  

Many seasoned DJs are perplexed by America's EDM boom, which hasn't necessarily benefited house music's originators. "In a way, I think it's cool," says Rose, who's remixed Kevin Saunderson's classic Detroit techno World Of Deep. "Anything that gets millions and millions of kids to hear dance music, it will trickle down, because I've had people come up to me and be like, Yo, I first went out to Tiësto and then I was like, This is all cool, but I wanna hear something else – and then I found your music and found you." Rose is intrigued by dance music trends, utilising global contacts to keep up. "I kinda try to follow everything that's going on as much as I possibly can because, when you lose your interest in what's going on, it's time to give up."

In 2012 the ol' b-boy is all about trap, which he's heard is bigger than dubstep in Australia (Rose has toured here since 2007). "If I had been a dubstep DJ, I'd definitely be playing trap by now." As it is, he doesn't play trap. Rose no longer considers his style fidget house, either, that micro trend almost retro. He might better be summarised as a modern house DJ, one excited about an "absolutely massive" resurgence of deep grooves – a resurgence Goddard has led. Again, Rose is "surprised" that it's taking hold in Australia, normally into "bangin'" music. When he last toured in 2010, Rose actually played "groovier" music. This summer he'll be accompanying deep house exponent Maya Jane Coles on the festival circuit, dropping more of the same. "If I'm seen as a modern house DJ, then I've definitely done my job. I think 2013 is really gonna clear up where I'm at, because I've got about six or seven singles coming out under my own name and then this new project. My singles are very much like stripped-back house music, and then this new project is probably more like bigger stuff that could be at a festival. So I've always kinda played that middle ground – like, I don't just wanna play super underground clubs and I don't wanna just be playing big festivals. So, if I can skip between the two, then I'm doing my job very well."

Jesse Rose will play the following gigs:

Monday 31 December - Vessel Bar, Sydney
Tuesday 1 January - Field Day, Sydney
Tuesday 1 January - Summadayze, Melbourne
Saturday 5 January - Summafieldayze, Gold Coast, Qld
Sunday 6 January - Summafieldayze, Perth