Artist of the Week: Cerf, Mitiska & Jaren
Two heads are better than one, one might think. But just sometimes, three heads are even better. United by music, Matt Cerf, Shawn Mitiska and Jaren Cerf form a more than extraordinary league of musicians, combining the finest beats and melodic spins of Shawn and Matt with the supreme voice and lyrics of Jaren. 'Light The Skies', 'You Never Said', 'Man On The Run' and the brand new 'Beggin' You' have been chanted and danced to by thousands of quality music seeking souls, and given a warm welcome to the trance scene. With their debut album in the pipeline and the right buzz and inspiration to make it one of timelessness and high quality, Cerf, Mitiska & Jaren are ready to show what they're made off.
It's a love-thing
According to sources, it's American soil where the first few beats were created and one of the biggest hypes in music history kicked off. For Matt, Jaren and Shawn, that thing called dance became part of their lives at all different ages.
Matt:"I started liking it in 1996, right when I got in University. Shawn and Jaren were still babies back then." Jaren: "Haha, Matt. I wasn't a baby. I was 13. Okay, that does sound a little funny. For those of you who aren't aware, Matt is 7 years older than I am. I fell in love with dance music when I fell in love with Matt in 2005." Shawn: "I’ve always DJ’ed, whether that be hip hop or dance music, if I had to mention anything or anyone BT and Paul Oakenfold most definitely got me into the scene and music."
A trio apart
The remarkable trio that was going to be Cerf, Mitiska & Jaren, was involved with music in all different ways. While Matt was producing under the Second Sun moniker, and landing a few hits, Shawn was making waves with his own radioshow and collabs.
Matt:"It did good in the beginning, when I was part of Second Sun, but then it got harder with my solo career, until I met these 2." Shawn: "Besides hosting a weekly radio show on Party107.com, I produced my first single with Nick Thompson, ’For U’ which was released on Lost Language with a remix from none other than Matt ." And so, the first foundations for the CMJ were build.
In the meantime, Jaren was working on a more serious attitude for her singing career. Jaren:"I was gigging with my dad and younger sister, Josie, in the State of Wyoming singing country music and yodeling. I eventually started writing my own music when I was probably 17 years old. I wasn't serious about it, though. I wrote and composed for fun, mostly on piano. Since then I've written and recorded one album in that style. It's called 'Fixin' it Upright' because nearly all the songs were written on upright pianos. It's available on iTunes. I've been so busy writing for other producers as well, that I haven't had the time to really focus on the CMJ project. But, saying that, it's something that is very dear and close to me so I hope to arrange a large segment of my time for that project in the next little bit."
Hold it. Before we head off to today's day and future, it's time to go back to the moment all three of them met.
CMJ:"Shawn and Matt met through a mutual friend online first (all laughing). After Shawn heard Matt's song 'Bent' he asked Matt to do a remix for him ('Nightlight – For You'). Jaren and Matt met in Los Angeles, through another mutual friend and producer, and Matt asked her to sing on 'Walk Away'. Jaren eventually met Shawn through Matt. Shawn and Matt were working together in the beginning, and then tried to incorporate Jaren, and it slowly built into CMJ."
And so, Cerf, Mitiska & Jaren had landed! With three musical minds in one studio, the first production was there within no time. Cause despite the differences, it's the chemistry that binds these people. CMJ: "It’s a very challenging process, but over time we all try to accept each other’s opinion, and come up with results that everyone agrees on. We argue a lot, but it's always for the best interest of our music."
First one to escape from the CMJ studio, was 'Light The Skies'. And we all remember that 'Doo, doo, doo, doo' track, hammered by DJ's like Armin van Buuren and Tiësto, shaking the floor and pleasing the masses. 'Light The Skies' didn't only do well in the trance scene, but was also added to several Dutch radio playlists in its Retrobyte remix. A big hit was served. And what a swift start to the Cerf, Mitiska & Jaren team-up! It was all far beyond expectations. CMJ:"We never thought so! We laugh about it now, but Jaren never thought the song would go anywhere because she didn't know the scene. We were signing our tracks in hopes that just one would get played in a club. We had no idea 'Light The Skies' would open so many doors for us."
Opening doors is what 'Light The Skies' surely did. While Jaren was snatched up for a collab with Armin van Buuren himself, the vocal trance beauties 'Saved Again', 'Me & You' and 'You Never Said' saw a loyal group of trance followers gather around them, asking for more. The mix of emotional trance, strong vocals, striking lyrics and powerful beats turned out to be the formula to worldwide success. Though their sound is often described as a mix of pop and trance, Jaren and Shawn have a different way of describing it. Jaren: "Good question. That's a hard one. I'd say our sound is diverse/adaptive." Shawn: "Melodic, intelligent."
Whatever you call it or what it sounds like to you, Matt, Shawn and Jaren know how to please the masses. And not just through the speakers, but live on stage as well. CMJ:"We actually do, and the energy is so high! We actually have a show November 14th in Los Angeles, expect it to be off the hook!"
It's a subject that can't be avoided. 3 is a number that doesn't always work. Especially when 2 out of 3 are in love with each other. Or, in Matt and Jaren's case, married. Love can make things easier, or more complicated.
Matt: "It makes it probably harder most of the time, but the overall result is usually better." Jaren: "There's one thing I've realized a lot of people do not understand and that is that working with your spouse in a competitive field (like music) can be really difficult. Matt and I are both extremely hard headed, haha. But, at the end of the day, he is the love of my life and the work we do together is an expression of that."
And when it comes to poor, lonely Shawn..well, he doesn't really feel excluded. Or does he? Shawn:" All the time, but that’s part of the territory when you’re working with a married couple. Matt and I have been friends for quite a long time so when Jaren came into the picture we really meshed well."
With the success of their Dash Berlin collab 'Man On The Run' still fresh in memory, a new hit is coming up. 'Beggin' You' is the brand new Cerf, Mitiska and Jaren track, that's been heating the crowds of Club Amnesia in Ibiza as Armin recorded the fourth Chapter of his Universal Religion series. A heart-breaking beat-ballad with warm melodies, delicate beats and loads, loads, loads of feeling.
CMJ:"We have been working really hard on this one, to make it as good as possible…and we hope everyone will like it!" We're pretty sure they will. 'Beggin You' is out on Armind Recordings on November 16th.
Fans of this musical trio need not to despair, for a lot more of this magnificent trio coming up. CMJ:"CMJ is currently finishing their debut album, so get ready!" In the meanwhile all you need to do, is be patient.
For more info, check their MySpace.
Keep an eye on the website for the full release of 'Beggin You'!