Dubspot Radio Podcast revisits an exclusive interview and chill mix selection recorded live by a Dubspot student known as J.Pennyworth during our weekly Open House sessions.
Following his DJ set at Dubspot’s NYC Open House Sunday sessions, J.Pennyworth shares his musical and non-musical influences, his individual DJ style, and creative process.
Describe your DJ style.
I would say my style is pretty free. I wouldn’t say I’m a super organized DJ who labels all tracks or uses Mixed in Key for everything. I get a general sense of what I want to play if I know I have a set time frame to DJ. I also avoid staying within the same BPM for an extended amount of time. I am constantly changing things up to keep the audience on their feet.
Tell us a little bit about your experience at Dubspot, what classes you took and how this shaped you as an artist.
I started at Dubspot just over a year ago, as of a month ago I wrapped up my Electronic Music Production program. It was the best thing I’ve ever done. I remember before I went to college, over five years ago, seeing Dubspot videos online and thinking how amazing it would be to actually attend Dubspot. I didn’t think I’d ever see myself going to Dubspot, but taking a year right out of college to complete the EMP program was the best choice I could have made in pursuing my musical career. I think it has made me more confident as a producer. My workflow is ten times faster, and it has given me the tools to hold my own as an artist in this competitive world. I think without going to Dubspot and getting the full sense of music production, my creativity would have been held back as a result of not being familiar with the software. Now I am able to think about a sound I want to make and create it using Ableton Live and the skills I have acquired from Dubspot.
Describe your sound and tell us a bit more about your creative process.
As a result of attending Dubspot, I have developed a new project, completely different from what I was making prior to Dubspot. I can confidently say that Dubspot shapes you as an artist, but more importantly helps you to develop your own sound. I have found my niche, and I have been putting out remixes online while I wrap up my first original EP.
I would say my sound is low-key, anywhere from chillwave to hip hop, taking elements from cinematic scores to abstract sounds. It’s tough to label it under one genre, but I would say it’s definitely ‘chill.’ Some records I will use a lot of audio and sampling with almost no MIDI composition, but some records I find myself deep into digital synthesis coming up with cool sounds. I think most importantly, it’s the sound that I feel most connected to. I am not trying to push myself towards any certain artist or genre, I just do… and the final product is J.Pennyworth.
What are some non-musical influences and musical influences?
As far as non-musical influences go, I get a lot of inspiration from photography as I have a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. I’ve found myself taking influences from different cultures I have come across in my travels. I think my best advice for someone producing music is to constantly step back from the music and take your focus to something else. Just by staying active or going outside the musical world, you can let your mind focus on something other than a computer screen. You will be so surprised how little things will spark creativity you could never imagine.
Regarding musical influences, I just love seeing live music. It could be a band or a DJ set; I love seeing what other artists are working with, what kind of songs they are making or playing. I get fixated on artists for an extended period of time where I am on YouTube watching live performances or looking on Google images at their live setup. It’s nerdy I know, but I’m sure I’m not alone on that.
What artists are grabbing your attention right now?
I would say someone that has really grabbed my attention recently would be Kilter, an amazing producer out of Australia. He has great productions and has really been stepping up his live sets by incorporating drums and live vocalists. I also think Odesza has really stepped it up over the past year with their remixes and debut album; I see them pushing electronic music in a very interesting way. Finally, Chrome Sparks – I saw him perform with his band a couple of months ago, and I was blown away. He is super creative in performing all of his records with a live drummer and other instruments.
Where can we see you play?
I actually have my first live show in Baltimore at the Ottobar opening up for Cibo Matto. I am focusing more on my production, getting a solid body of work together and then I will dive into the performance side. However, I am very excited to perform live as I’ll be working with an Ableton Push and some MIDI drum pads. Stay updated with my page to find out where you can catch me next.
A 25-year-old producer originally hailing from the United States, Evan Slagle (aka J.Pennyworth) currently resides in Hong Kong, SAR where he owns and operates his recording studio – The Record Room. His music style fluctuates from record to record, however listeners will find influences of Asian elements driven by abstract beats.
Connect with J.Pennyworth on Twitter | SoundCloud
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At Dubspot you’ll be working at personal student workstations equipped with industry standard and cutting-edge technology: Technics SL-1200 / 1210 series turntables, Pioneer CDJs, Pioneer DJM or Rane TTM mixers, Apple iMacs and MacBook Pros, Native Instruments’ Traktor Scratch Pro, Serato Scratch Live, vinyl, CDs, timecode, and MIDI controllers.
Our instructors teach you the necessary techniques and draw on their vast collective experience to give you insight into the mindset, workflow, and art of DJing. Graduates of the DJ Extensive Program will have an opportunity to perform at an event in a New York City venue, organized and promoted by Dubspot together with you and your fellow students. At Dubspot, we want you to do more than just learn. We want you to be great at doing what you love. Let us help you get there!
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- DJ Level 4: Preparation | DJ Psychology
- DJ Level 5: Classroom to the Club | Advanced Techniques I
- DJ Level 6: Club to the World | Advanced Techniques II
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