When it comes to hit jams that leave you in awe, UK’s Joe Hertz is the dude. From his impressive collection of house classics to fresh takes on old styles, his versatility as a producer has proven to be virtually limitless. His original with Bassette “Playing For You” brought Glass Animals and AlunaGeorge vibes offers a solid glimpse into the R&B side to his work, where the Gorillaz-tinged “Simple” with vocalist JONES brings a dancier indie element. Overall, his sound is more on the late night slow jam side of things with strong electronic-facing sentiments.
The Joe Hertz project is the “continuation of making beats in my bedroom.” From these humble beginnings to working with some incredibly talented singers, Joe has lived a career trajectory with which many other SoundCloud- and Hype Machine-originating artists found fame. He prides himself on strictly making the music he wants to, and over time, his talents in the studio have flourished into an amazing, forward-thinking creative process that yields some truly amazing work.
Give our interview and MiniMix with him a look below and jam out to some classics. That Pepe Bradock tune is a GEM!
Hey Joe! Tell us a bit about the Joe Hertz project.
Started back in 2013, I guess I built up reputation on SoundCloud with help from various blogs/Hype Machine. Joe Hertz is my artist project which is essentially a continuation of making beats in my bedroom, only now I’m getting singers and some other session musicians involved along the way. It’s really a vehicle to make music that comes to me naturally. I’ve learned a lot from doing production for other artists, this is my way for me to make what I want.
How would you describe your sound and style.
I grew up on UK dance music but also old school funk, soul, hip hop, jazz. The result is a kind of blend of electronic soul.
How has it been influenced by other artists, musicians, or life in general?
I get inspired when I hear something fresh for sure, but also by a lot of old stuff. I love crate digging and finding forgotten gems. Also stuff outside of the music – sometimes you need to get out the studio to eventually make something decent! Getting away and being in a new location is always good (I love travelling to reset myself).
Getting a feature on Annie Mac’s Free Music Monday was huge for you. What was your reaction when you heard the news?
I was mad excited at the time I remember. its always a nice stamp of approval to get when someone you respect picks up on your music and it goes out on their channel, good for the confidence.
Your tunes with JONES have distinct pop undertones with rather unique electronic overtones. Stuff I haven’t heard from many artists before. What was it like working on those songs and with her?
I think one of the biggest challenges is making something that’s both ‘pop’ and keeping to my sound at the same time. I think for me it’s paying attention to the tracks you have loved growing up, and understanding why they work. Then applying part of that technique in conjunction with new techniques. It was dope to work with JONES’ voice, it just fitted right in there. I was a bit concerned it might come out as too pop-y a step for me…but it turned out well.
Tell us about your new track “Ritual” and the process behind it.
I made the rough beat one evening and kind of forgot about it! A few weeks later I had a session with a songwriter called Tom Mann, who I played it to and he loved it so we both wrote the track and developed the production. I got James involved because I thought his tone and energy would sit well with the track. When I re-recorded it with James, he then brought a whole load of other harmonies and vocal ideas which I think brought the track up to being a complete record!
What does your live setup look like?
I have basically built a little studio set up which surrounds me on stage, I can get involved by playing keys & drums & triggering sounds & FX throughout the set. I usually have at least two features vocals with me depending on the gig. At Koko, I also had a dancer for one of the instrumental tracks, and two strings players for the track with Jones. Im looking to incorporate other live musicians in future gigs.
Any big plans for the coming months? You’ve got some stuff planned for September. Can you talk about that?
Currently working on an extended EP which will consist of 8-9 records. “Ritual” is the first track of that release.
What can we expect from your MiniMix today?
Future nostalgia. It’s a bit of a whacky mix of things I have been listening to recently.
Joe Hertz MiniMix Tracklist:
1. Harvey Sutherland – Bamboo
2. Pepe Bradock – Deep Burnt
3. Andres – Reality
4. Joe Hertz – Some Time
5. Mac Ayers – Lonley
6. Oshun – Sango
7. Joe Hertz – Ritual
8. Mattdeguia – Champion Wrist