Two months ago, we saw JES drop her amazing single, titled “The One“. This track saw her collaborate with Joonas Hahmo & JS16, bringing us a truly addicting song that we aren’t able to forget about.
JES, real name Jes Brieden, is from New York and is a singer, songwriter, DJ, producer, and composer – this woman sure knows how to spread herself musically but when it’s your dream you’re trying to achieve, you’ll learn everything you can about that one subject. She was a part of US dance band, Motorcycle, who had an international hit with the song “As The Rush Comes” in 2003. In 2015, as a soloist, she was nominated for a Grammy Award for the track “Hold On”. She’s gearing up to release more new music this year, so keep an eye out for those tracks.
“The One” was released on 23 February 2018 and features Joonas Hahmo & JS16. The song has gained thousands of streams and is on set to become another hit track from JES. We were lucky enough to speak to her about the song, about her music and career to date, as well as where her inspiration comes from.
Hi JES, how are you today? What have you been up to lately?
I’m great. It’s so nice to meet you, and thank you for taking the time to talk with me. 2018 so far is shaping up to be a very busy year for me. I’ve been spending a lot of time in the studio writing and recording a lot of songs for many different projects. I’ve also been working on some new music videos and my weekly radio show is heading for its 300th episode! I’ve been traveling and getting ready, rehearsing for some new shows which I have coming up. My record label, Intoneation Records, has had some great new releases this year and on top of that my passion for cooking has kept me a fiend in the kitchen. I have a food blog so I’m totally committed to eating as well as I can and constantly trying to create healthy recipes that are also satisfying. You can check them out on my Rockstar Diet blog.
Your latest single is “The One”. Please tell us more about the song.
Well, this is a fun one. It’s a departure from my normal sound but writing as many songs as I do I love to experiment and have a little fun with my music and that is just what we did. I started this song with Joonas [Hahmo] and we both loved it but we thought it was a little bit poppy for our usual styles. Joonas gave it to JS16, who is a good friend of his and an amazing producer, and they worked on it together and sent it to me with the vocals pitched up! When I heard it for the first time, I really loved it. It took the poppyness of the song to a different place but somehow managed to still feel sincere. It made me feel very happy and I just wanted to dance. The new sound really changed the song and made it feel fresh.
We held on to it for a while until one day I was going through my songs and came across it again and thought, I like this. We knew it would get a different reaction so we played it to some different labels and Enhanced Music, in the UK, were super excited about it. Once it was actually released, we started to get all sorts of positive feedback and was featured on Nicky Romero’s radio show the first week, so we were happy that other people were hearing it the way we did!
How did the collaboration with Joonas Hahmo & JS16 happen? What was it like working
I got to know Joonas primarily from his work and talking to each other over email and Skype. He’s a great producer and a really fun guy and we got on very well right away. We all had a lot of fun working on the track because it was a departure for all of us. It’s funny when you haven’t met in person but you get to know each other over emails. Both of their personalities shone through and I really enjoyed working with them. They were easy going and never took too long with the ideas and we had a great rapport. It was a cool experience and I look forward to meeting them both in person someday!
The song is something your fans were possibly not expecting from you, what makes this different? How would you describe this song?
The biggest difference is my voice is pitched up. We left one small section where you can hear a hint of my own voice shine through. It also falls on the more mainstream progressive side, which I love. I feel even though my voice is pitched up you still get a sincerity from it and its sweet with a banging. It really makes me want to move. If I’m sitting down and it comes on I’m the first one to get up and dance.
What do you make of the song personally?
I love it. I have done a lot of serious songs so it was exciting to do something different. As an artist, it’s important to keep it fresh and push yourself in different areas. I only ever release songs that I believe in 100 percent and really speak to me. I know if I love it and connect with it that someone else will too.
What has the reaction been like?
Actually, the reaction has been great. The lyric, “You are the one”, has rung true with my fans because they are all the one to me. I thought maybe they would freak out but it seems like most have heard what I heard in it. There were a few people who wrote me and asked why would I do that to my voice, some asked me if I knew it was pitched a little too much but most people seem to feel it the way I did and get that it’s all about having fun and a sense of humor. We even made a fun lyric video.
Your next release was the Chill Remixes of “Get Me Through The Night”. What made you decide to release remixes of this track?
I always try to release an acoustic version of my songs because that is how I originally conceive them. I write almost all of my songs on piano or guitar. With the acoustic versions, I can also re-invent the arrangements and the harmony a little bit, which I love to do. Actually, the chill version was one of the first versions of the song ever done and I found an mp3 of it on my computer. It was so pretty that I had to finish it!
You’ve also released a few collaborations in the last year, “If Not Now” with Cosmic Gate and “Head On” with Jochen Miller. Can you tell us more about these, how the collaborations came about, and what you make of them?
I can say I have written a lot of beautiful songs with Cosmic Gate… We seem to have a way of doing that together! It’s a great combination and I’m very proud of all our songs. We released “Fall Into You” which was really a big song last year and also “Here We Go Again” before that so when I started “If Not Now“, I thought to myself, how am I going to beat those last two! I had been thinking about the idea for that song for a while and when the guys sent the music over and I heard the chords it all just fell into place. We’ve just released a very emotional lyric video for the song, which I think really brings out the meaning in the song.
“Head On” was my first time working with Jochen Miller. I had featured his tracks many times on my Unleash The Beat radio show and got to know him over twitter. He wrote me and sent me an idea that clicked with me right away. Often the best ideas come to me instinctively even if it takes time to craft the final version, and we went back and forth on “Head On” for a while tweaking and changing things until we were happy. Cuebrick also did a great remix of the song that got a lot of support as well.
What can fans expect from you next?
I’ve just finished a new song called “Calling For Love” with Markus Schulz and we shot a beautiful video in the Mojave Desert. It’s out soon with the video and remix package coming in May and June, so be on the lookout for that. I also have a very touching new track with my good friend Roger Shah called “Star-crossed” which is out on Magic Island records on April 27. And, I recently signed a new track called “Heartbeat Tonight” with Elevven, on the Statement! Label (Armada) so that should be out in the summer! They have done a lot of great remixes in the last few months but I think this is their first original track so that is super exciting!
It’s been eight years since you have released an album – not counting your Unleash The Beat compilations – are there any plans to release a new collection of your tracks?
It’s funny, I never meant it to be that long a gap but the dance world went collaboration crazy and it was hard to find time to release a whole album. It’s definitely something that I’ve been slowly writing in between the collaborations and I’m more than halfway done now. A lot of the songs are simple arrangements with guitar or piano so it will be a more stripped-down album, which I think, will make for an exciting next chapter in the JES album story!
Can you tell us more about your Unleash The Beat albums? Any plans to release another one?
Yes, thank you for asking. There will be another compilation before the end of 2018! It’s an extension of my radio show and my love to get the standout tracks from my show onto those compilations.
What do you hope to achieve in 2018, as well as the years to come?
I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of where I want to go and what I want to do. This year I’m working on finishing my new artist album and developing a new type of show for my live performances to take things into a totally new direction for the fans and me.
You have also previously been nominated for a Grammy award for “Hold On”, what was that like?
It’s just the most amazing feeling! I had previously been nominated on other electronic album projects from BT and Tiësto, but this was a song of my own and the first release on my record label Intonenation Records so there was an extra sense of excitement as we were just getting that label off the ground. I had never walked the carpet before and it was an experience I’ll never forget, and which I’m ready to do again, anytime.
Other highlights have included getting world exposure early on in your career when you were part of the progressive group, Motorcycle, whose song “As The Rush Comes” became an international hit. What was it like seeing it chart so well in so many countries?
That was really my first big break. I had been working for a while in music before that so it’s hard to express all the emotions going on with that moment when something finally breaks through on an international level. It’s funny, we knew it was doing well domestically but we really had no idea how big the song had become in other countries. It wasn’t until we actually took the stage to perform it, for the first time, in the UK and 10,000 fans sang every word back to us that we realized how popular it had become!
What have been some of your favorite moments in your career?
There have been a lot of watershed moments in my career! The first was probably recording my first song in a professional studio. Hearing it playback on those big speakers was really a life-changing moment for me; it was a dream come true. Touring with Tiësto during the “Elements Of Life” world tour was also amazing. Being a part of that huge moving circus every night with the crew and the other artists; it’s like a big family on the road and it creates a really unique bond.
Playing “As The Rush Comes” on Top Of The Pops in the UK was pretty nerve-wracking, as that show was a music institution. Signing my first record deal was also very memorable. I thought that I had made it then but you really don’t realize at the time that the hard work is just starting!
Performing at Red Rocks was also a very special moment for me as I had gone there many times growing up and always dreamed of being on that stage one day. I have performed there three times and I still get butterflies when I see my name on the performers list backstage!
Do you have a dream that you’d love to accomplish one day? Something that you can remember for the rest of your life and look back on from time to time?
My dream is to make timeless music that will live on in people’s hearts after I’m gone. If I can do that I will be very happy.
Who would you love to collaborate with and why?
I love to collaborate with people who help me to push my own boundaries and stretch me musically. Inspiration is always the hardest thing to find when making music and I think that it’s the main reason to collaborate. I want a collaborator to bring me inspiration, motivation, and to challenge me.
Is there anyone who you admire and look up to, or even take inspiration from?
I honestly get most of my inspiration from my everyday life and the things that are happening around me. I admire anyone who can stick to their goals and follow through on their own choices. There are so many pitfalls and ups-and-downs that it can be very hard to stay on track. I always have my eyes and ears wide open and I write things down and record snippets of thoughts and ideas on my iPhone, which I use later on as self-inspiration. The biggest mistake is always to think that you’ll remember something, you never do. Write it down or record it as soon as it happens!
And, finally, is there anything you want to say to your fans?
Thank you for supporting me, and thank you for our connection and all the love you have shown me. You are all my inspiration every day and I look to your accomplishments every day for my strength. We are all in this together, and I’m rooting for you every day. Being able to make music that you love and support is the biggest thrill and I can’t wait to make more music to share with you.
Thank you, JES, for taking the time out to answer our questions for this exclusive interview. We loved chatting with you and we can’t wait to see where your future career takes you. Your music is beyond catchy and inspires so many people.