In depth about music with CJ Jeff
CJ Jeff frank about his music and releases
With a continuous stream of fantastic music, CJ Jeff takes part in this stream with great outputs since 2001, when his career was launched. Ever since has been building a highly esteemed local residency in his country, Greece. One of the highlights must have been his appearance at the 2011 Olympic’s Closing Ceremony in Athens. With great ambition, he’s been playing the greatest clubs all over the globe.
As a DJ, producer and owner of Rhythmetic records, CJ Jeff’s passion and execution of electronic music has continued to shine. With dozens of releases, there is nothing holding him back in his approach.
Not so long ago Jeff’s ‘Shots in the Dark EP’ got released on Dennis Ferrer & André Hommen’s Objektivity imprint. We took the chance to talk with the master himself about this ferocious work and live as a DJ/producer.
For those that are not familiar with CJ Jeff, describe yourself in 5 words.
Greek house music producer extraordinaire 🙂
Which 5 words would your mom use?
Lazy, lazy, lazy, lazy, sweet.
Let’s get serious and talk a bit about your ferocious ‘Shots in the Dark EP’ on Dennis Ferrer & André Hommen’s Objektivity imprint. Released some time ago but these surely are two bomb tracks with a steady groove. How did you end up on that record label?
Dennis is one of those producers that have inspired me for a long time. So it’s a huge honor for me to release my music on the label. I have actually released on Objektivty before with my studio partner Thodoris Triantafillou, but this record was really special – to team up with vocalists like Honey Dijon and Seven Davis Jr. is a dream come true! I also played at Dennis’ Misfits party at Blue Marlin in Ibiza this year, so it’s been a year of really solidifying my relationship with the label.
Tell us about the production of the EP.
It was one of those records that came together really easily. I had the instrumental of ‘Shots In The Dark’ for a while and had been looking for the right vocalist. So to finally find not one but two was incredible! Honey especially has had an amazing year. It seems that she is finally getting the recognition she deserves, so I was very happy to have her on the track. And the other track ‘Go West’ is just a dark, brooding club banger along the lines that I really love to produce and play.
In general, what characterize your music style?
It’s difficult to put this into words really: it’s not necessarily something I think about when I’m in the studio. The vast majority of music I make is 100% focused on the dancefloor, which usually means it has to be structured in a certain way. However, I always try and harness something a little extra: a feeling or emotion that I can capture in the record to make you feel a little something extra where you hear it. Something that brings memories back to you, and makes listening to it a personal experience.
Last summer you’ve been playing at Dennis Ferrer’s Misfits residency in Ibiza on several occasions. How did you end up there? Was it due to the release?
It was a great experience. As I said previously, it was really just an escalation of involvement with Dennis and Objektivty, so yeah kind of tied in with the release. Ibiza isn’t somewhere I’ve played a huge amount before, so to be on the island with such a solid crew around me was fantastic.
Was it your first time playing on the island?
No, not the first time. I can’t actually remember when that was! But definitely one of the best.
What does it do for a man when you play at the Olympics Closing Ceremony (Athens 2004), watched by thousands in the stadium and by millions on TV?
That was special, one of the most emotional moments of my entire life, and for sure a lifetime career highlight. It was at Panathinaikos stadium which is a proper ancient theatre. Their energy there is incredible, even on a normal night, so this was just something else.
This surely was a well-deserved spot. Did it create new opportunities for you afterward?
Absolutely, although I was pretty well known in Greece beforehand anyway. But as the Olympics is one of the biggest events all around the world, I started to get more international interested as well.
Being a musician is quite demanding and also requires a lot of travel. How do you relax when you’re not on the road, and what is your ‘ritual’ when you get back into the studio?
I would say reading is the thing that seems to keep my life calm and in balance. I don’t have a TV in my home, so reading or going to see a good movie keeps my feet on the ground.
If you could describe your perfect creating environment, what would it be? Look like, smell, vibe, people around vs solo?
There is no one approach that works better than others, however, I love teamwork: that’s where I generally seem to thrive. To organize and inspire other people is not easy these days. but if you work at it and manage to get everything lined up right there’s usually some magic that happens.
Does your experience as DJ affect how you approach production?
Absolutely. I have had a weekly residency in Greece for years now, so I get to road test my productions on the most receptive crowd. When I sit down in the studio I am pretty much always thinking about how it will work on the dancefloor.
What’s next to expect from CJ Jeff?
Next up I have a single coming up on Yoshitoshi. They are a label I have worked with before and I have so much respect for them so I can’t wait to get it out there, plus it’s coming with a remix from Audiojack who I absolutely love!
What or who inspires you inside and outside of DJing and electronic music?
People, places, other artists, the natural environment: pretty much anything can be inspirational given the right attitude. For me, the trick is to be flexible and always open to new ideas. Sometimes if you sit in the studio and think about making something, that can be the worst time to be creative. But if you’re walking down the street and you hear some ambient noise that awakens something in you, the flexibility to be able to head straight to the studio is invaluable.
Food for thought. How do you think future generations will re-invent music and festival culture to distinguish themselves from us, their parents.
It’s almost impossible for our generation to predict how the next, or the one after, will create something unique and their own: but you can bet that they will! That’s another thing that can inspire, aside from the legends that have gone before you, you should always know what the kids are listening to. That’s why music is so vibrant and exciting: just when you think there can’t possibly be any new direction to go in, someone does something totally new and blows your mind.
Keep the vibe and thank you for your time.
Don’t miss the other great interviews we had with fantastic talents out there.