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Interview: Ready or Not here Jordan Peak comes

Fresh from his debut on Eats Everything’s Edible imprint, Jordan Peak drops Peak Trax 003 on his own imprint Peak Trax, "Ready Or Not" - The DJ & producer blasted onto the scene with his peak time house and techno sound garnering attention from industry heavyweights before serious complications from lung disease Cystic Fibrosis Jordan arose and doctors gave him “two years to live” whilst facing mental health battles after being spiked during a DJ set imposing a seven-year hiatus from music.

Jordan returns with renewed energy, grabbing attention from BBC Radio 1’s DJs Danny Howard, Sarah Story, and Pete Tong in the last few months. Plus regular support from Eats Everything, Hannah Wants, Joseph Capriati and Amine Edge and DANCE couple this with a slew of releases on Moxy Muzik, Edible and Robsoul demonstrate this is just the start of his triumphant resurgence.

In honour of his third release on Peak Trax, we sat down with artist and label boss Jordan Peak to find out more about the in-demand artist. Hey Jordan, thanks for taking the time to talk with us here at UNDRTONE London, your new EP ‘Ready or Not’’ is out now on your very own imprint Peak Trax; for those of our readers who may not know much about you can you tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi, you awesome people at UNDRTONE. Thanks for letting me chat with you lovely lot. My name’s Jordan Peak, yes that’s my real name, I’m a DJ and Producer from the UK, I have a lung disease called cystic fibrosis that I don’t let hold me back and I LOVE music.

How did the Peak Trax label come about and what does the label represent? Peak Trax is a label I started just for my own productions. Anyone that work’s in the music industry will tell you that signing records to labels can be a long and frustrating process, I just wanted to cut that out and have my own outlet for my stuff. I’m also not good at being patient. I have a very strong work ethic that I get from my parents, I like getting stuff done and then moving straight on to the next project. Every release is three tracks from myself and I’m even trying to invent a new sub-genre of House Music with it, something I like to call “Jitter House”.

Could you tell us a little about this ‘Ready or Not EP’, what is the process and inspiration when making it?

Ready Or Not - No how dare you ask! Hahaha of course. Speed Garage is a sound I’ve always loved, and when done right I think it’s one of the best styles of dance music as you get the groove and swing of House & Garage and the low-end sounds of Drum & Bass and Jungle. It’s so good to see that style become popular again. The track’s creation actually owe’s a lot to Smokey Bubblin’ B and his track “Poison”. If he had never made that then I never would have made “Ready Or Not”.

I kept hearing that track everywhere and played by so many different styles of DJs, one’s I never would’ve expected to play it so I wanted to make something in that format for myself. I made the beat first in Ableton then took the Enya sample (the ethereal-sounding part the Fugees also sampled) and the Lauryn Hill vocal and made a track I thought would work for the dancefloor. The first break teases the classic elements without giving everything away, then we cut back into the beat with two different vocal chops (something I do a lot in my music), the pitched-down one is inspired by RIP Productions’ “Bugsy’s Theme” if you check that track out and then listen back to “Ready Or Not” you will see what I mean. Then we have vocal chops of the iconic Lauryn Hill hook before finally going into the main breakdown where the Enya sample and the vocal play in full, the crowd get to sing along to the full hook, and it builds up with a pitched snare roll and shorter chops and then finally drops with the drums, bass and iconic vocal in full. I really put effort into my arrangements. I think you can make even the most simple track sound epic if it is arranged well and keeps the listener engaged without feeling too repetitive. A friend of mine said listening to my music is like a film, there's a beginning, a middle and an end. I’m a huge film fan and once I started studying storytelling and how to structure a film and also traditional songwriting my skill at arrangement increased as I saw the similarities in both and realised that I could apply those techniques to my music, even for club-based dance tracks.

That Track With the Big Sub Bass - Ready Or Not is straight-up speed garage but the following two tracks on the release are two tracks in the new style I'm trying to create. I call it Jitter House, this is cut-up vocals and glitches, interesting arrangements where you're not always sure what to expect, a heavy emphasis on bass but also taking elements from electro and techno and applying them to a house groove.

Make Me Feel VIP - I listen to lots of styles of music and I’m friends with a lot of Drum And Bass DJs, in D&B culture you have VIP tracks which are alternate versions of a track, the track name is a reference to that and who doesn’t want to feel like a VIP. Boddika was originally part of the Drum and Bass group Instra:mental before he started doing techno and the VIP version of his track that he did with Joy Orbinson “Mercy” was massive around 10 years ago, the VIP version got played more than the original. You know when I said about the interesting arrangement part in the Jitter House style, this is fully on show in this track, the level 1, 2 and level 3 samples each add something a bit different with level 2 being a breakbeat section.

What were your earliest memories of dance music and what inspired you to start making music?

My Dad wasn’t a DJ but he loved dance music so I was exposed to it from a really young age, I just really gravitated toward the sounds. I got into DJing at 13 and always wanted to make my own music to play and started producing at 18. I've been doing it for a very long time but I’m always learning new things, studying techniques and hungrier than ever. I’m a student of the game.

You live in the Isle of Wight. Could you share a little bit about your hometown and what it’s like to live there?

I was born and raised here, it’s an amazing place to grow up. I moved to London for a few years and did the big city thing but then sadly had some serious health problems both physically and mentally and I moved back to the Isle Of Wight to sort myself out. It also forced me to take a break from music for a while. There's a reason why if you look at my discography it's lots of regular releases and remixes then absolutely nothing for seven years, now I’m better and feel ready you will be hearing lots of new music coming from me.

I’m always open and honest and I wear my heart on my sleeve I think with things like mental health it’s important to talk about them. Everyone has a story to tell and the more people feel ok to share their experiences the better it is for people struggling to realise they can get help and things can work out.

Any special announcements or news you can share with us ;)

Of course! Peak Trax 03 is out now along with my remix for the legendary Groove Armada which was truly an honour to do. I’ve had a lot of music come out this year after my time off so please, please go and check out my Spotify page or Beatport and check it all out, there’s still lots more to come from me in 2023. I’m just getting started.


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