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[Exclusive Interview] SJ: The Future of EDM

Nashville, Tennesee has the distinct honor of being nicknamed “Music City”. Since the 1950's, the bustling southern city has held strong musical roots in different genres including R&B, Blues and of course, Country Music. However, one genre that rarely defines the capital city is EDM– but that's changing now thanks to Seth Jones, better known as SJ.

Louisiana-born, SJ moved to Nashville after high school (where he says his music was “born and raised”) and started his career as a singer-songwriter amongst the many other talented musicians the city had to offer. After moving to Los Angeles five years ago to pursue a project of his own, we now find SJ a full-fledged DJ and producer who is currently an opening act for Seven Lions‘ “Horizon Tour” alongside Tritonal.

SJ at ExchangeLA. Photo: Insomniac.

You're opening for one of the biggest names in EDM right now– Seven Lions. What draws you to him?

SJ: That is a great question. There's this energy in his production, in his records and all he does but there's also this emotion in it as well. I feel like he does such a good Job at weaving those things together.

How would you describe your sound to our readers who may not be familiar with SJ?

SJ: I feel like a lot of the stuff I play is House/Future House. I tend to play a little bit of everything in my sets. The music that I'm working on right now is all over the place. I'm a songwriter so I come from a lyrically melodic world and even when I play around with different genres I still listen to the melody and chord structure.

Do you feel pressure for your music to be put in a genre-specific category?

SJ: There probably is, but I'm not aware of it—which is a good thing. SJ happened because I had been writing and producing records for other people that I ended up realizing I had so much music in my cart to make myself. I love being a DJ/producer because you can pivot so easily with genres.

You're signed on to Tritonal's record label, Enhanced Music. How did that partnership take place?

SJ: I had a record that I had written called “Hung Up” that I brought to their manager and he loved it. He thought the guys from Tritonal would love it as well and he played it for them and they did end up loving it. Soon after that, I was in Amsterdam and Will at the label cornered me and was like, ‘man we love this record and we would love to give you a place to release more music.'

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You recently released “Reflection” with Ana Pancaldi, how's the reaction been so far?

SJ: It's been great. We created a music video for it that captured the emotion of the song and brought it to life. One of the coolest things for me has been the response I've gotten from the video, how the visuals and the story connect to the lyrics. This is my first non-collab single and I really want to make a statement and show my fans that this is who I am.

I also heard you're preparing another track to be released very soon?

SJ: Yeah, I do. I have a new track coming out next month called “Flicker” and its sound is kind of Future House—I started this record earlier this year and I loved it, but I had this totally different production of it. I always knew that it just wasn't right so I kept working on it and finally, I was like, ‘this song is here but the sound isn't.' So I ended up throwing it all out entirely and took it on this Future House direction and I'm loving it. It's one of my favorite records on my EP.

Aside from your career, you have also been very focused on a specific project called “One Life”. Tell me about that.

SJ: One life is an organization that I started about 6 years ago while living in Nashville. I traveled to Calcutta, India where I met some people who wanted to help children from the slums who had inadequate access to food, water or an education. These kids almost always were sexually and physically abused as well.

I kept in contact with people there who were willing to help us get these kids out of these horrible situations and now, six years later, we're about to finish our first housing project. We're giving them an 8,000 square foot safe space and so far about 25 girls will be there and we'll have 85 by the time its done.

How far along are you from reaching that goal?

SJ: We're still raising the little bit of money left to finish the facility– there's painting and other stuff needed. Once that's done then we focus on the girls and the programs and hopefully partner with other organizations to do rescue work and bring the kids to that facility.

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It's a big feat to accomplish but certainly not impossible. Have you come across any hurdles?

SJ: The whole thing is a hurdle. Every day there's something that comes up and it's very similar to music—you have a dream or a goal that you want to accomplish with your music career and there's always something thrown in your way. So you have to figure shit out- what's the next step? how do you do it? The non-profit world is the same way.

Have you received any help or support from the EDM community?

SJ: Yeah, when I told the guys from Tritonal about the project, they stepped up and started to support. The goal for me is to kind of figure out how to connect those two worlds. One of the things I love about the EDM community is how passionate and how led by their heart the whole scene is. You don't find that in many genres. Everyone has this desire to connect to something deeper, for a meaning. My hope is that as my career grows, I can bring in other artists, DJs, and producers and have them get involved.

What is your ultimate goal with “One Life”?

SJ: The goal is to not just have it be in India. I want to take this all over the world because it's not just in Calcutta where these kids are not given the opportunity to live out their best life.

It's hard to believe, but we're about to close out the year—what can we look forward to from SJ in 2018?

SJ: Well, I'll definitely be continuing on with “One Life”. As far as my music, I'm gonna be buried in my studio until the end of the year finishing up records and getting the EP ready— We hope to have the EP out by spring of next year. We're gonna hit the new year hard and playing a lot more shows; this year has been me in the studio writing and next year will be going on the road.

SJ and myself after his set at the Hollywood Palladium.

To support SJ's “One Life”, click here.

Click here for tickets for the “Horizon Tour” by Seven Lions featuring SJ and Tritonal.

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Listen to his latest single, “Reflection” below:

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