If you’ve listened to trance music over the past decade, there’s no need to introduce JES. You’ve likely heard her distinctive vocals on high-charting tracks from Tiesto, BT, Paul Oakenfold, Kaskade, and Above & Beyond, among other prominent genre producers.
Now re-releasing hit single “High Glow,” a Tiesto collaboration from 2007, with a new group of remixers, JES officially started her solo career five years ago. Over that period, she has put out five solo albums, created a hit radio show, collaborated with many notable producers, and won IDMA and International Songwriting Competition awards for her work.
But while other dance music singers seem satisfied in their role, JES expanded to production. Live sets involve mixing and singing at the same time, while “Unleash the Beat,” her weekly syndicated radio show and compilation series, showcases her skills.
The recent “High Glow” re-release, out on Magik Muzik on October 27, adds three new interpretations of this trance classic, with the singer selecting each producer. Hungarian DJ Sunny Lax created a progressive take, as uptempo and deep mixes debut from Ciaran McAuley and Hamptons Chill respectively.
As this release drops, we caught up with JES by email.
Why did you decide to give “High Glow” a release with new remixes?
High Glow became a favorite of mine when it first came out on “In Search Of Sunrise 6”. I still get requests for it at every show and regular requests for the acapella from DJs and producers that want to remix it. The final straw came when a friend of mine that works at one of the big U.S. dance radio stations encouraged me to get some remixes. I finally decided it was time to give it a single release and a chance to reach a wider audience with a beautiful video as well.
How did you select the producers to remix this track?
I actually planned to only get one remix at first. I had loved Sunny Lax’s tracks and remixes and thought he would come up with something really great for it. While he was working on the mix, we also got a request to remix it from Ciaran MacAuley (of MacAualey & Walsh) to do a remix of it. The timing couldn’t have been better, and his sound is very different to Sunny’s, so it was a perfect fit. Both mixes came out great, and we decided to round it off with a Hamptons Chill down tempo mix that will come out in November.
When making the original track with Tiesto, what was your approach?
I wrote it while I was on tour in Europe. Tiesto was looking for a new song for “In Search Of Sunrise 6,” and I didn’t have much time. I was working on it in hotels and recorded the vocals in a bathroom. I intended to re-record the vocal in a studio before the project was finished, but Tiesto loved the raw first takes and kept that vocal in the final version. It started off as a moody alt rock ballad with just an acoustic guitar. It was very innocent, direct, and emotional, and I knew Tiesto would take that and mold it into something different and inspired.
At the time, why did you decide to use the “Taxigirl” moniker?
I wanted to develop a different brand name for some alternative projects that I was working on. It was during the switch over from “Motorcycle” to “JES”. Sometimes you just need to take a vacation from yourself! I knew down the line I would also be using it for other things. It seemed to sum up a darker more edgy sound, and Tiesto really liked it as well. It’s also the name of my publishing company.
Trance music has changed since 2007, when this track first came out. What’s your perspective on trance’s evolution since then?
It’s funny that the traditional sound has actually started to come back over the last 12 months. There was a point where the progressive edge had blurred between many of the genres. I think now that more classic tempos and choice of sounds have returned, it’s good for the genre and helps to strengthen its identity. I produce my own weekly radio show (www.unleashthebeat.com) so I listen to over a 100 promos a week, and a lot of the new trance tracks take me back!
Where do you think trance music will go in the future?
I think that Trance music is really a feeling. It’s the emotion that brings people in, and as long as we make sure that the emotion doesn’t get lost, it will continue. It has been incorporated into so many other genres, and EDM had become more of a melting pot for a while, but I think the genres are more clearly separated at the moment. I’m not sure that Trance will break into the mainstream, or even if anyone involved in it would want that. Its identity is a little left of center, and that’s what makes it so special to the trance family and fans. All music forms grow and change over time. As long as trance continues to reach people emotionally, it will continue to grow.
Aside from “High Glow,” what other music do you have in the works at the moment?
I have a beautiful song with Sunlounger (aka Roger Shah) called “Glitter & Gold,” which I’m really excited about coming out on November 10th. I worked with Roger on a song called “Higher Than The Sun” in 2012, and we became good friends. We collaborated on “Glitter & Gold” a while ago, so I have been waiting for it to come out. It has a classic quality to it and we have a great remix package and a fun video too. I’m also working on the next installment of my mix compilation album “Unleash The Beat,” and I have another brand new single planned for release before the end of the year. I started my own record label this year, so I’m signing new releases for that at the moment. You can expect to see the first songs out early in the new year.
Your last full-length release came out in 2010. Do you have any plans to follow it up?
It’s been way too long, but I have been working on it for a while now. I’m more than halfway through, so you can expect to see another album from me next year.
If so, what could fans expect it to sound like?
I like to keep my albums very song oriented. That means that I like to work on the songs in their raw forms, so stylistically it tends to be a lot more varied. I try to come at the songs from a basic performance with guitar or piano. It will be very colorful and emotionally driven. Working on the songs with more varied production styles means I can leave the pure dance versions up to the DJs.
Aside from new releases, what other projects do you have in the works?
I have just finished refurbishing my new studio in Los Angeles. I have a great kitchen there as well so when I’m not making music, I’m working on my recipes! I love to cook healthy food. Staying healthy is very important for me. I’m obsessed with making healthy recipes that don’t leave you feeling like you’re missing out! I’m starting a blog about healthy living that will incorporate a lot of my ideas about diet and exercise. Clean eating is very close to my heart. Stay tuned!
Thank you for having me, Crossfadr! Xo JES