MistaJam is a multiple award-winning, global track-breaking radio DJ and an artist in his own right. We caught up with him to talk about his new single, signing to Virgin Records Germany and life as a superstar DJ!
Hey, please introduce yourself and tell us where you are from..
I’m MistaJam and I was born in Nottingham, UK, the home of Robin Hood.
What got you into dance music in the first place, has it always been a passion for you?
It really has! I count myself lucky that I grew up in a time where Dance music really was one of the most dominant forces in popular culture and has continued to be. I was a small kid but there were so many compilation albums I remember from my early childhood that I was obsessed with – like the ‘Deep Heat’ series, ‘The Greatest Hits of Dance’ and even ‘Now Dance’ – I’ve still got them on vinyl! I used to watch clips of club events on TV, performances on Top Of The Pops – and even on shows like Dance Energy – where you’d see loads of different kinds of people all coming together and just dancing. That only got amplified in my early teens when the Ibiza Uncovered style of shows was huge where you’d actually see inside a club like Pacha or Space and just dream of being there myself, behind the decks; having my songs play for that crowd. Seeing and feeling that unity and upliftment that only Dance music brings made me not only fall in love with it but also want to be part of the scene myself.
In the last few years, your own original songs and remixes have really taken off. You have collaborated with some big stars, is there any collab or remix that really stands out to you as a special moment in your career?
It was the collaboration with David Guetta – ‘If You Really Love Me (How Will I Know)’. I’d initially written the song with John Newman with an interpolation of the Whitney Houston classic for my project but when I got a demo that was about 50% there, John sent it to David who flipped out when he heard it! My management had already managed to clear the interpolation so David and I then started to work on it together via WhatsApp to get it finished. It was such an amazing experience – and it ended up being that record that introduced me to a much wider audience than I’d had before.
Your new single, ‘Nothing Else Matters’ is out now, tell us a bit about the track and the reaction it’s been getting in your sets..
It’s definitely the most complete record I’ve been able to write in my career so far as it’s my love letter to music. I spent many years not having the confidence to put music that I’d written out there for fear of it not being good enough – but music has been the dominant force in my life and has really saved my life so many times. I wrote it with some amazing people during a writing camp that my management had set up for me at Tileyard Studios in London. The vocals you hear on the finished record are the vocals that ÀSDÌS recorded when we first wrote the demo – she’s that good! I debuted it at Creamfields North last year and really didn’t expect the huge response it’s got. I’ve had messages from people every week since the end of August asking when I was going to release it and other DJs asking for a copy!
The song is released on Virgin Records Germany, how did that relationship come about as a British producer? Do you have more to come with the label soon?
The Virgin Germany team really were my first choice. My management has a great relationship with them, their A&R team are absolutely brilliant and I’m over the moon they really ‘got’ the demos I had and could see the musical vision that I had for my artist career – I didn’t sign to a single deal, it’s my full artist project I’ve signed with them and as I aspire to be a global artist rather than someone who’s just making music for one particular territory – it made absolutely perfect sense for me to sign internationally.
For some people in the UK, I’ll always be that bloke from the radio however outside of the UK, people will only know me for the music that I put out and that for me feels really exciting.
What’s in store for the rest of the year, are there any events or festivals you are really excited to play this summer?
Very much so – but I’m not allowed to announce them just yet. I’ve had some huge Summers in my DJ career so far but this one feels so much different because I’m sticking to my guns by playing the music I love in the way that I love it rather than trying to fit into a line-up. There’s a difference between being a DJ and being an Artist DJ – and I’m really excited to explore a side of my craft I’ve up to now been too nervous to fully commit to.
As a man that’s played some of the biggest and best clubs and festivals on the planet, do you still get nervous before you play to a big crowd?
I do – mainly because I truly love what I do and I want to bring my all to any set that I play. There’s always the nerves because I actually care about my sets, the music I play and the energy that I bring to a club or festival. I used to fear clearing a dancefloor however these days, instead of fear of being judged; there’s a nervous excitement to see what kind of response any new IDs I may be playing in my set will get – or which mix or song will be the peak of my set. I try not rigidly to plan anything though, I just try to go off the vibe in the room at that time, and with that comes nerves and excitement. I’ve been doing this for a very long time and I still love it as much now as I did when I dreamed of doing what I now do.
What advice would you give to someone just getting started as a DJ or producer?
I’ve been doing a load of videos on my socials offering some of the experiences I’ve picked up over the years so you should definitely check those out. My biggest piece of advice though would be to practice. Practice, practice, practice! If you LOVE what you do and want to be one of the best at what you do, the only way you’ll ever do that is to practice.
Do you have any ritual or routine before you play a set? And what’s on your rider, anything interesting?!
I like to get to the venue a bit earlier before I’m playing so I can get a feel for the venue, and hear the other DJs that may be playing. I’m usually quite quiet before a set too. I’m teetotal – have been since 2018 and to be honest; it’s changed my relationship with Djing infinitely for the better. So my rider is tea. Yorkshire Gold tea to be precise. Milk, no sugar. Normalise brews in the rave!