Progressive-Sounds: Balance 010 marks your first mix compilation in several years. When you were first approached by EQ regarding the project, was your initial idea for the compilation the same as what the album came to be, or was the triple disc concept that you came up with something that came over time?
Jimmy Van M: The first idea was just an eclectic mix and a club mix, but I had too much I wanted to cover. I wanted to play a broad spectrum of music and tried to touch on a lot of varied styles I've been into for a long time. The flow of the whole mix was very important to me, so creating three discs seemed to suit all the music I wanted to use. The downtempo mix starts at 65 bpm and gets up to 100 bpm, the midtempo one starts from 100 bpm and goes up to about 124, and finally the uptempo mix barely reaches 126. It’s a mix I hope people will listen to at any time for hopefully many years.
I went over at least a thousand tracks and decades of music I’ve been inspired by.
Progressive-Sounds: How did the album come together, and how did you go about choosing the tracks that you came to include? Some of the classics on there span quite a time period, so how much of your record collection did you have to go through whilst compiling the album to find the tracks you wanted?
Jimmy Van M: I went over at least a thousand tracks and decades of music I’ve been inspired by. Sean Cusick helped a lot as he's a musical library who has a massive log of music stored so its like record shopping through all the music you remember. I chose songs that meant something to me but also flowed well with each other. I was trying to create pieces of music that made sense sitting with each other. It was really exciting to put Depeche Mode in there because I listened to them in my youth, but then there is new stuff I am absolutely amazed by. Oliver Lieb's ‘Integrale’ is just such an immense tune and I think it’s important for where it fits.
There's so much out there and you really have to be different but also at the same time create something listenable. One approach I tried was to make something anyone could listen to.
Progressive-Sounds: With so many DJ mixes available for free these days, do you feel it’s harder for DJs to come up with something special when putting together a mix compilation, or do you feel that if a DJ is forward thinking enough that it's something that comes naturally rather than being strived for?
Jimmy Van M: Of course. There's so much out there and you really have to be different but also at the same time create something listenable. One approach I tried was to make something anyone could listen to. I’ve had feedback from parents, friends and music people alike who've said they enjoyed the mix and that’s really what I wanted.
Progressive-Sounds: You've been back in the studio in the last few months, working with the 16 Bit Lolitas and Nick Warren amongst others. Does it feel good to be back in the studio working on your own music and collaborating with such talented people? Can you tell us about some of the music you've been working on and what we can look forward to hearing over the coming months?
Jimmy Van M: I’ve been working with a fantastic musician called Steve T. We wrote 'How Are You', which is the 3rd song on the midtempo disc of the Balance compilation. He’s been traveling around with me and has been a great inspiration in production. He used to be in a band called Deep C so he's quite varied in his likes and the things he's capable of doing. ‘The Only & Only’ with Nick was a lot of fun. I’ve also recently launched a website, as I’ve never had one before so that’s quite exciting.
Progressive-Sounds: How is life living in Barcelona compared to the US, and how is being part of the new Litheum dj agency working out for you?
Jimmy Van M: I love it, it feels like home, and being part of the agency is great. It’s a small agency with people like Carl Cox, John Digweed and Michel de Hey. Ian Hindmarsh knows what he's doing and he's easy to work with. The roster is quite small so it’s nice he can focus his energy on the artists as I think that’s important.
Progressive-Sounds: The TCA agency continues to grow, with the artist roster more diverse than ever. Do you feel that the roster reflects the broadening of the dance scene in general, and what areas do you see the agency and its DJs and artists reaching out to in the future?
Jimmy Van M: I think diversity is very important and I feel like we have a great group of talented people in many different markets. We’re always trying to find different opportunities for them and find crossover potential. My business partner Joel Zimmerman who runs the agency has an amazing ability for knowing what’s good. He has a very discerning ear and does a great job for TCA and the artists.
Progressive-Sounds: With a five month tour to promote the album due to start shortly, plus a show on New Years Eve with Sasha and John Digweed, what are you looking forward to over the next few months?
Jimmy Van M: I’m looking forward to two things. Honolulu is a great place where I’ll start the evening playing alternative music, starting with everything from the late 70's and beyond for the first two hours. An interesting mix of songs and sounds, and the best part of playing there is the people welcome this. They love the eclectic sounds and the vibe that comes from it is really amazing. The second thing is touring out in Australia. I’ve not been there for 4 or 5 years so I’m eager to get back and play. I’ll be spending three weeks there and I’m really looking forward to it.
I love being able to build that intensity, being able to bring things further along and setting a mood.
Progressive-Sounds: Since you are known more so for your warm up sets than your peak time sets do you find you enjoy one or the other more? Are they different for you, and do you feel you can experiment more as a warm up dj?
Jimmy Van M: I enjoy them both a lot actually. I recently played at The Cross in London for Renaissance and played from 22:30-01:30. It wasn’t too packed when I first started but by 12 it was full and people were just starting to get excited. I love being able to build that intensity, being able to bring things further along and setting a mood. I’m much more used to playing peak time now since I’ve been touring for the Balance compilation and try to do things in an unobvious way.