He was a kid from Sydney that competed in the inaugural 2010 edition of Your Shot, and has since gone on to have residencies at Australia’s biggest and best clubs, as well as tour and headline at venues around the globe. He is the owner of ‘Club Cartel’ records and the man behind hugely successful bounce hit ‘Jumanji’ & big room track ‘Rambo’. We caught up with Your Shot alumni J-trick to get some insight into his career, from humble beginnings to where he is today.
What first got you interested in DJing/producing?
A few of my older mates at the time were DJs in the Sydney scene at places like Chinese Laundry and Tank back in the day when it was all Fidget/Jackin’ type music, I actually started going with them to a few gigs (underage haha!!) and just got the bug I guess! As soon as I walked into Chinese Laundry cave room and saw that underground vibe I was hooked and knew that’s exactly what I wanted to do!
Throwback to when you competed in Your Shot, what was that like? Was it your first time playing in front of a crowd?
It wasn’t my first time playing but it was definitely one of the biggest gigs I had ever done at the time, I was actually so nervous but to this day it was definitely one of the turning points in my career and ill never forget it! I was meant to go on a Euro trip at the time but when I found out I got into the competition I cancelled it just to be there and do the training and compete… I’ll never regret that decision as it gave me an insight into the whole industry, and not winning or getting into the top 3 actually motivated me to go even harder with everything!
We know you were an avid producer around the same time you competed in Your Shot as well. What do you prefer more? DJing or producing or both?
I was just starting to produce when I started Your Shot, so basically I was doing a lot of edits and stuff (which I used in my set at the time) and I guess that was kind of my introduction into the producing world. I love them both equally and they both go hand in hand but I guess playing your brand new music to a crowd, there’s really nothing like it, especially if it gets a good reaction!
Fast forward to where you are now, what’s been a major highlight of your career so far?
The biggest highlights of my career so far would be my Beatport #1 which was Hardwell’s edit of my track with Deorro and my #2 “Scream” with Henry Fong which was released on Tiësto’s label. To me, these are my biggest achievements because I’ve been working hard on my music for years so to get recognition from 2 of the biggest artists in the world really blows my mind! It really makes all the hours of sitting in the studio, being on the road and everything in between worth it when you see your idols repping your track, and its even funnier to see them playing it to tens of thousands of people knowing you made that track in your little bedroom studio on a laptop and two speakers HAHA! Anything can happen!!
What was the first track you made that got you signed to a label/your first ‘big break’ as an artist?
To me, my first big break was my track Jumanji with Taco Cat AKA Peking Duk which hit #1 on the ARIA charts. This was the one that started getting a lot of plays in Australia and kind of put me on the map here with bookings I guess, which then allowed me to get around the country and show people what i was about! So that would definitely be my first big break no doubt.
We know you’re a big fan of Hardstyle and don’t mind a gabber here and there… Tell us about your recent collab with Uberjak’d – ‘Psystyle’
Haha absolutely! Have always been a big fan of that music since the early days of Defqon here in Sydney! Psystyle was something me and Uber did for fun and we punched it out in 6 hours! Then started playing it to a couple of our mates and they really loved it so we decided to give it out for free! It’s a fusion of a couple different styles we like, definitely plan to do more stuff like that!
So how long does it usually take you to make a track? Do you have any routines or methods you follow?
It really varies! Sometimes a day, sometimes 3 months to perfect it! But I will say, the best tracks come out quickly! Rambo and Scream came about in 1 or 2 days, same with Jumanji! I guess when the idea is flowing and comes natural that kind of comes through in the track and it doesn’t seem forced… I don’t really follow any methods I just start with whatever I’m inspired by at the moment, sometimes that’s drops or a certain melody or hook.
Any upcoming tracks or remixes that we can look forward to?
I’ve got a few things coming soon to Steve Aoki’s label Dim Mak! One with Halfway House called “Rage” and then another one with Joel Fletcher & Fatman Scoop called “Here We Go”. I’ve also got a solo track coming out through Deorro’s Pandafunk and then a few things on my own label Club Cartel Records so its definitely going to be a busy couple of months ahead!
You dominated the decks at our event day in Sydney last year! You’ve also played to some massive crowds; do you ever get nervous before jumping on the decks?
I don’t get nervous anymore I think, it’s more so anxious! I just hate waiting to play haha, I really just want to jump on and start smashing it out! As soon as I play my first track I just feel at home haha it’s weird!
How do you go about planning your live sets?
I have a shortlist of about 200 or so tracks at any one time that are my go to tracks which I know work well. I always have a new edit or new original for each and every show, it keeps thing fresh for me as well as the crowd. I feel like these days its important to at least play a few breakdowns that people are familiar with and then you can edit the drop to something that’s a bit more your own taste in music. Anyone can play all the top Beatport hits but its what you play in between those hits that sets you apart if that makes sense.
Is there any artist out there that you haven’t worked with yet and would like to have the chance to?
I’ve always wanted to work with Afrojack since day 1 as he’s always been my main influence but lately I’ve really wanted to work with vocalists on my own music. I’d love to work with Chris Brown or Wiz Khalifa on something cool for the radio and the club. I guess I kind of have 2 sides to my style, the bouncey fun side and then the bigroom ravey type stuff, on the festival side I’d really love to work with a Hardstyle act like Headhunterz, Zatox, Tatanka and just make some crazy sh*t!!!
For all the aspiring DJ’s and producers out there, what advice can you give them?
My number one piece of advice is stay hungry and work on your art, make it your life and don’t ever look back! To get anywhere in this scene you really need to be dedicated to it and put in endless hours, its as simple as that there is no shortcuts! Another piece of advice is that its cool to reference other artists work, I do it all the time but you really need to add your own flavour to everything you do! There’s no point in trying to do something that’s already been done because it’ll never be the same… Just be passionate about it and dedicate yourself and you will make it!
Like J-Trick, you too have the opportunity to kickstart your DJ career! What are you waiting for?
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