Few things come as a surprise once you’ve been immersed in the ever-trippy world of Electric Forest; a place where one minute you’re watching possibly the weirdest wedding you’ve ever witnessed, and the next, you’re riding the rail while Jantsen blows the roof off the Jubilee Stage. Or, perhaps you caught him destroy the decks on a decked-out school bus during his late-night throwdown. Sounds like a pretty casual time, right? The only perplexity regarding these happenings is the fact that this was Jantsen’s inaugural performance at EF. Don’t worry, we were confused to hear that news also. But as they say, first impressions last a lifetime, and this one was no exception.
Despite taking in the whole spectrum of Sherwood for the first time, the Boulder native was able to put aside a few minutes to discuss thoughts on the festival’s vibe, his Colorado roots, the progression of Gutter Music, and making it to the finish line at Forest.
photo credit: @treevalds
Electric Forest was a long time coming for you, what are your thoughts on the experience as a whole?
Jantsen: It was amazing, biggest festival I’ve ever been to. I was blown away by how much stuff was going on there, even just walking through the forest and seeing all the art and random little stages set up was so cool, not to mention the renegade stages. I hope I get booked every year!
Did you feel like you had a good turnout with the white tee-shirt signing?
J: The turnout for that whole set was insane. When I walked up to set my stuff up there was literally 10 people there , by the time I came back to play it was packed with people even outside the tent, so that meant a lot to me. There was definitely a lot of white shirts to sign, especially in that heat but I was happy to do it, its the least I can do for everyone so willing to endure that sweat lodge to hear me play.
photo credit: @treevalds
Being a Boulder native, how did that play into your influences when getting into the DJ’ing and producing game? Any notable CO artists that helped emulate your sound?
J: When I was a teenager in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, there was a really good underground rave scene in Boulder and Denver. All my friends were local jungle and breakbeat DJ’s, so those were the people that introduced me to a lot of those sounds. I wouldn’t say there was one particular person but there’s A LOT of great producers that came from Colorado that all have their own unique thing going on.
Part 3 of your Gutter Music series has gotten some serious love and recognition from listeners and producers all over. Can you shed some insight on the project as a whole?
J: The original Gutter Music mix came out about 12 years ago, in the true glitch hop days before dubstep was really a thing, so that style was really focused on chopped up, glitchy vocals layered over different tempos and styles of music. I got really swept away with dubstep when it came along and after about 10 years of that I think I really just started to miss that crazy mashup/gangster shit that was a big part of who I was. After I put out Gutter Music 2 it was very clear to me that I needed go back to my roots and incorporate that more, especially now when everything is so over-saturated, I think its been a nice breath of fresh air.
You showcase a variety of stylistic approaches, as seen in live sets and through your discography. Your signature lacerating, wobbly, and glitchy dubstep has become a unique sound to recognize among a sea of at-times monotonous electronic music. What (or who) has influenced your musical direction most significantly over the years?
J: Si Begg, Akufen, Remarc, edIT, bil bless, Bassnectar, Rusko, Doctor P , G Jones. There’s a lot more but those are all people who first come to mind when I think about who really had an influence on my sound.
photo credit: @treevalds
It’s no secret that you have a plethora of heavy-hitting collabs with some of the biggest staples in the scene – Bassnectar, Luzcid, and Dirt Monkey to name a few. Do you have any other collaborative projects coming out that you can tell us about?
J: There’s a bunch of random stuff, Bassnectar and Dirt Monkey are always staple collaborators but I also have stuff in the works with Gnar Gnar, Conrank , TVBOO , Chime and a bunch of others, its just a matter of finding time to finish everything.
Your late-night set was easily the heaviest late-night party of the weekend. You mesmerized the crowd with everything from OG’s like “Sultan of Swing” to fresh releases like “It’s About to get Hectic”, with ill mashups and edits in between. The crowd was going absolutely bonkers, yet you maintained a calm and focused demeanor throughout the madness. Did you anticipate the magnitude of that moment, or were you totally taken aback?
J: I’m laughing at “calm and focused demeanor”. I specifically remember standing up there being like “how the fuck am i possibly going to get through this right now”, because I was dead tired, I think I was kind of just playing on autopilot and I felt bad for not being as animated but in some way that kind of added to the specialness of the set. It was a very unique circumstance and even though I was so tired the vibes were very thicccccc, by the end of the set I didn’t want to stop, my squad had to force me out basically haha.