Jean Beatz is a Russian producer and DJ who's played in many clubs around St. Petersburg and has releases on Showland (Armada), Playbox, Eclypse Records, Yakuza Records, and Pyro Records to name just a few. His latest track, "I Like That Game" is out today on Drop Fire Records.
How did it all start for you?
It started a long time ago when my stepfather showed me his collection of old music such as Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin to name a few. I continued to sift through his music and I eventually came across some classic electronic music artists like Underworld; I was in love. I start searching for all kinds of electronic music: drum and bass, trance, house, and many more. Out of all of those, house music quickly became my favorite, so much so that I decided I wanted to try and make music like that. I started learning how to use different DAWs, but in that period of my life, my parents wanted me to graduate from university so I had to quit music for several years.
When I finished university, I met my friend, who was a successful trance producer with releases on labels such as Spinnin’ and Musical Freedom, and I asked him to help me to learn FL Studio even though I knew it might end up being a waste of time. He showed me some of the basics but I knew I had to go deeper, so I went to a Producer School and a DJ school. I learned all the basics pretty quickly and I started to produce some tunes and start find places to play as a DJ. I was really lucky because I was able to get a lot of support and meet a lot of people who helped me find some bars, clubs, and restaurants in my hometown of St. Petersburg.
How do you feel about VK as a native Russian? Is it really the Russian equivalent of Facebook over there?
It’s really a good platform for those who live in Russia. You could probably say that it Russian version of Facebook. You can do a lot of the same things on VK that you could on Facebook like listen to music, watch videos, post stories or photos, and a lot of other things. The thing is that those other platforms like Soundcloud, Facebook, and Twitter aren’t that big over here so VK is really the only place for us to promote our music; it’s basically it the best social network in Russia.
Tell us about some of the best clubs you’ve played in.
I’ve done quite a few shows in my native town and in my experience, the best shows I’ve experienced as a DJ were at events hosted by Escape, formerly known as Gallant Pro.
What is Gallant Pro?
Nowadays, there is no more Gallant Pro. The guys totally rebranded it and now it’s called Escape. I’m an performer with them. To give a bit of history on it: it started out as Gallant Pro and it was like an EDM rave for students only. There used to be several events each year where they took over some of the biggest clubs and platforms to house all of people who wanted to be there. It was really an amazing concept for us young people to have a few big raves each year. Unfortunately, EDM is dead today in Russia, so they changed the concept to have more commercial and hip-hop music. The people love it a lot more now than they did before when it was just EDM. I’m hoping that they can regain those huge crowds that they had before. Escape is still a big promo group here in Russia; they still throw great parties and there is always incredible atmosphere and we still draw a substantial crowd for each event.
What’s your favorite part about performing?
My favorite part about performing is that moment right before you go on stage. It’s like the calm before the storm. In that moment, you’re nervous because you’ve spent all this time preparing your set and you’re finally on stage standing in front of all these people waiting just for you. Just thinking about it now gives me the chills; it’s definitely my favorite part.
How do you go about finding the music for your sets and preparing for all of your shows? Who are some of your favorite other artists?
Well, I spend almost every day in front of my computer. I use VK, Soundcloud, and sometimes the playlists on 1001tracklist just searching for some interesting mash ups and bootlegs. I also look at charts on Beatport and iTunes to see what’s at the top but to buy music, I mainly use Beatport or Traxsource. Since I play at some commercial clubs, restaurants, and bars, I need to have a pretty bit collection of mainstream music because not everyone wants to dance to House all the time; sometimes they like to hear the music they listen to on their own or on the radio.
Do you have a day job as well or can you live off of your music?
Yeah, I still have my day job because music hasn’t been enough to make a living off of yet. Music is still more of a hobby for me but I keep trying my best in the hopes of doing music full time. Here in Russia though, artists only can make money from touring. It’s hard for us to get well paid for our music because radio stations, TV and other platforms don’t usually pay royalties to local artists. We also have a problem over here with music piracy because no one wants to pay for music and there are so many ways for them to get around the paywall and get it for free. I’m hopeful that this situation will change in the future but it’ll be tricky for sure. Everyone needs to make a living and if music isn’t cutting it, there’s no shame in having a day job to make extra money in order to live more comfortably.
You did a song that was released as a TWOLOUD Edit, what exactly was the division of labor for “Front2Back”? What does an “Edit” even mean?
Well the track was started by me and my brothers from Italy, Jegers, and we just sent stems back and forth until we had a Bass House track that we were all happy with. After we finished, we sent it as a demo to Playbox which is TWOLOUD’s label. They really liked our track and decided to sign it but they wanted to make a few changes to it. They didn’t change too much, like they added some different claps and redid the mixing and mastering. We were just happy to have such big names in the title so it was all good.
How do you go about finding a label for your releases?
It’s really hard work! There are so many great artists making music these days that it’s extremely difficult to get signed onto a big label. What I do is search through Beatport and Google to find a label that fits my track, after I settle on one, I’ll try to see if I have any connections like friends or email addresses to send the music to directly. After I send the private song link to a label, I’ll just be sitting and waiting at my computer staring at my Soundcloud stats to see if anyone listened to the track. If I’m lucky enough for them to like my track, I’ll sign that contract and get it released! My main advice is to make the best possible track that you can and be patient when you’re waiting an answer from the label.
What is your favorite part of the EDM community?
I love sharing my music with other people and trying to express myself to other people through my music. It’s also great meeting new friends and seeing different places when you’re performing. My favorite has to be that moment when you play your track and see people dancing to it with happy faces; it’s just crazy to think that your music made them dance and smile.
Is there anything interesting about your studio or DJ set-up?
It’s nothing special really: I have my laptop, Adam F7 monitor speakers, and Sennheiser HD720 headphones. You really don’t need too much special equipment to produce music, just your ears, some skill, and experience.
What has been the proudest moment of you career thus far and where do you hope to go next?
There have been a lot of good moments so far but I think my proudest moment was when I got my first big release on Showland and was supported by like, all the big names. I just couldn’t believe it when it happened. When you realize that people like and support you, it makes you see that you other people care about your music and that you’re not your only fan anymore!
A big thanks to Jean Beatz for sitting down and answering our questions! Be sure to check out his socials to be up to date on his latest tracks and gigs!
D'Angello & Francis
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Tom & Jame