I first heard Jordan play at Planet Love in 2008. I was just fifteen, fresh-faced and ready to party. It was inspiring seeing someone just a few years older already playing festival stages and providing a blueprint to other young DJs in the city. I asked him for a picture that day and it’s memory probably still lives on in an old LG Voyager tucked away in some poor man’s attic.
One thing that always struck me about Jordan is his energy; it’s infectious and has found its way into everything he does – from his early Nocturne parties, The Night institute with local don Timmy Stewart and now his label.
We recently sat down with Jordan to chat longevity, throwaway music, emerging talent and the importance of community.
There seems to be a lot bubbling underneath the surface here in Belfast. Many creative projects steadily coming to fruition. Do you feel hopeful for the future of the city post-covid?
Yeah, I’m genuinely excited. With the lack of club gigs it’s really highlighted the drive of so many artists here who are genuinely passionate about making music. My fingers are crossed that when we return to some sort of normality there’ll be a renewed sense of community that’s hopefully smaller than before, but inclusive and welcoming. With the whole dance music thing getting so big, there was a really grey area of what constitutes club culture.
It felt like at every turn there was another new student night booking a big name DJ or playing the underground anthems. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s not really what excites me personally. It’s the subculture and community aspect around music that I love – parties that feel a bit like you’re escaping the outside world.
Your From Belfast With Love compilation has a major focus on emerging talent. How important is it to showcase new artists now gigs have come to a stop?
Well, I think it’s nice to be able to give people a platform if you have a channel that you can do it through. I’m thirty now, and over the years I’ve been lucky to have support from those who came before, so it’s nice to continue that tradition. I’m not doing anything that hasn’t been done before in terms of emerging talent. Extended Play has been showcasing strictly Irish artists for 100 releases now. But I guess with my roots being so firmly in independent music in Belfast that was always going to be at the core of my work. It’s nice to be able to do my bit to ensure the right people get heard.
Working together, we can see your passion and ability to connect creatives from many disciplines. Is this something you try to do? Bring together a collective to produce one long-standing project.
I work with really talented designers like Andreea Ilisai & Jordan Robb, and film-maker Ross McClean and they all contribute to not only the identity of my projects, but the Belfast boys come to our parties too. I remember when I first got into house music I would watch videos from Berlin and see people like Ricardo Villalobos and Luciano playing these really exciting looking parties full of interesting people of all ages just hanging out listening to music. I’ve always had this romanticised idea of people working together to create a community that people look at and go ‘that’s fucking cool.’
We’ve been loving all the artwork from the label and it’s become something we look forward to seeing before each release. What’s been the concept behind it?
The internet has given music so many great things – the ability to collaborate across the world, the ability to release a track within hours and I guess giving people who may not have had the resources previously to get heard.
But on the flipside there’s a serious amount of throwaway music out there. Even the good stuff can be throwaway. There’s a peculiar mindset about a lot of digital music as well, that once a certain period has passed that it’s no longer ‘current.’ Maybe I’m rambling, but my point is that with so much throwaway digital music out there, I’m emotionally invested in trying to make sure there’s attention to detail with the label, whether it be the artwork or the charities that the compilations support. My designer Andreea is hugely talented, and I sometimes feel a bit bad that she has to endure my over the top attention to detail demands, but we always get there in the end, and the art is always really well received.
What’s next for you?
We’ve got the next 6 months of the label releases boxed off. Some really strong EP’s and remixes. I’ve just finished my next record which is mainly made up of music I started in lockdown 001 and gradually finished over the past year. That’s also involved making my first music video. That’ll be coming out in May or June.
I’m spending lots of time with my new son which has brightened up lockdown, and just generally coming up with a lot of disjointed ideas for music and hoping that one day I’ll slowly piece them together. Oh, I’m also making a documentary with Timmy Stewart & Ross McClean…
Cop From Belfast With Love here