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Artist of the Week: Jerome Isma-Ae

November 27, 2009
With the characteristic Isma-Ae sound on his side, requested and praised by many, he's got the best weapon there is: the ability to stand out. Mind you, he won't hesitate to use it..

He is reinventing and designing the sounds since the early years of EDM. Building, combining, releasing and holding on to a continuously sharp sound, fit for both timelessness and the current demands of the dancefloor society. German producer/DJ Jerome Isma-Ae sure kept himself busy over the past 15 years. But results are showing. With the characteristic Isma-Ae sound on his side, requested and praised by many, he's got the best weapon there is: the ability to stand out. Mind you, it's a weapon he won't hesitate to use..

Drum machines & satisfaction
Jerome:"I was in a musician elementary school, where I've been educated in playing several music instruments. At the age of 12, I played the bass in a metal band, around my 15th I
started to program my first beats with a drum machine and 3 years later I released my first record on a German techno label called 'Delirium Records', and so on and so on. I'm never satisfied, but there is always an improvement from production to production." That's how the Isma-Ae story started. One essential fact is missing though, how and when did Jerome get in touch with that thing called dance? Jerome:"It was 1991, when we replaced our bands drummer by a drum machine." From that year on, EDM and the revolution it set forth were part of Jerome's everyday life.

Schnitzels & sound
The first few years of Jerome's career were all about exploring the different sides of music. A year after his first release, he teamed up with Marcel Krieg and gave birth to the Future Funk project, bringing a successful combination of house, disco, soul and funk. To Jerome, it's that well balanced blend of styles that makes the ride worthwhile. Nowadays, though most of his work is labeled 'progressive house', these influences can still be heard in his productions. Variety is the soul of pleasure, right? Jerome:" Well, you can't eat schnitzel every day I guess. Otherwise it gets boring."

A fine piece of German delicacy never hurt anyone, but we'd rather keep things versatile, yes.
So how would Jerome describe the sound in his 'Smile When You Kill Me', 'Monkey Square' and other big tunes? Jerome:"Hotter than a porn star, stronger than a Lamborghini! My sound has been going through some changes in the last couple of years, but I've always kept my signature in productions and remixes, so everyone can hear right away where it's from."

Soundtracks & Advertisements
Another example of the versatile producer that is Jerome, is his involvement with movie soundtracks and commercials. Projects for Audi, Marlboro and several other biggies, saw him opening up to the more commercial type of producing. You don't just end up working for big names like that, so how did he get into this business? Jerome:"Via friends working for advertising companies and another good friend who is a movie director. We made the soundtrack for his first movie together. I also added a few tracks for his latest movie 'Männerherzen', which is no. 1 in the German cinema charts at the moment. The funny thing about this movie is that one of the leading role is about a music-producer who is banging many girls. And his name is Jerome, hehe. But of course, it's just a movie. Has nothing to do with the real life."

Despite the many projects he's doing, there's still not enough time to complete them all. Jerome:"At the moment there is not even enough time to accept every remix request. I just had to decline a job for a BMW advertisement . I should be an octopus, then I could work on many projects in the same time, or at least I'd be good food."

Influences & tuning
Over the past few years, aside from Future Funk and other projects, Jerome has been busy enough building his own catalogue of originals and remixes. Needless to say it's worked out for him.
In 2009 alone, he's made remixes for the likes of Faithless, Above & Beyond, Paul van Dyk and Way Out West. And yes, he even gave Michael Jackson's 'Stranger in Moscow' a little proggy shake. Jerome:"For the progressive house / trance genre I am like what AMG is to Mercedes, or MTM is to Audi. I just make the original product more sporty, powerful and unique. You can call me a 'tracktuner', hehe."

Besides 'tracktuning' and producing one dancefloor cracker after another, Jerome spend his time well by setting up his own label, Jee Productions. Jerome:" I just wanted to do my own thing, without any influence from outside. It works pretty good if I find the time to release something on it. The last release was '308', produced by Sebastian Krieg and me. The track is dedicated to the Ferrari 308. A beautiful car with amazing sound, which you can hear in the break, because we sampled the acceleration of the car." A bit of a car-freak there, Jerome?

Hold That Sucker Down
But for now, the full focus is on his new single, 'Hold That Sucker Down', out on the Pilot 6 label.
Based on the early 90's hit by O.T. Quartet, Jerome hands in an intense remake of pure progressive delight. 'Hold That Sucker Down' is a fierce weapon on the dancefloor, peak-time and building tension from the very first, rumbling beat. Canned by number one DJ Armin van Buuren throughout the summer and chosen record of the week by UK greatnesses Above & Beyond, it's only a matter of time before 'Hold That Sucker Down' starts spreading like a feel-good virus. Jerome:"It sounds great, but I guess you knew that already, haha. The original production is made by Rollo, who is also the producer of Faithless. I'm a big fan of his work for a long time and it made me very proud when he recently asked me to remix the new Faithless song."
Besides remixes for Faithless, Jerome has plenty of other good stuff ahead. Jerome:"Remixes for Above and Beyond, Ayla, Toolroom...gigs around the world and a few original productions in the beginning of 2010. And of course I'm working on a follow up single of 'Smile When You Kill Me', but that can take a long time."

We've got plenty of time to wait, and a good tune to enjoy our time doing so. 'Hold That Sucker Down' is exclusively available on Beatport now.

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