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Interview: The Journey of Rising Northern Irish DJ and Producer, Jack Kelly


Northern Irish electronic music producer, Jack Kelly, is undoubtably one of the scene’s brightest rising stars. The 21-year-old from Belfast has always had an ear for music, picking up several instruments from an early age.

Following his move to London in September 2021, Jack has already accomplished a lot. He signed to Perfect Havoc Management, has completed official remixes for Joel Corry, Jax Jones, Charlie XCX & Tobtok, and landed his debut release on Spinnin’ Records early in 2022.


Through a combination of captivating melodic lines, indelible toplines and fresh sound design, Jack’s music comes together to portray his love for life, as shown through his latest single ‘See You Again’ on Perfect Havoc. You can download/stream it here: https://perfecthavoc.lnk.to/seeyouagain.



In celebration of his latest release and his debut appearance at Ministry of Sound on November 24 as part of the Perfect Havoc 103 takeover alongside Benny Benassi and OFFAIAH in the main room (tickets available here https://www.ministryofsound.com/club/), we caught up with Jack Kelly for a chat about his past, present and future:


Thanks for joining us today. Where are you writing to us from, and what have you been up to over the last few weeks?


Thanks for having me, guys! I’m writing to you from London, UK. Promo for my new single ‘See You Again’ has been my focus over the past few weeks as well as the usual load of studio sessions finishing some exciting projects.


Tell us about your journey into music and what led you to this point.


I grew up in a household with a wide variety of music. Home was where I fell in love with music that was full of emotion -my mum’s the same so I must get it from her! Dad’s where I get the love of dance music from, which is why I’ve combined the two together to create my style.


I started playing the clarinet and saxophone in primary school, which I’ve taken forward with me to today. My secondary school had a flourishing music department, and my music teacher really changed my outlook on music and how it was composed.

When I was 15 a friend of mine invited me along to a music production course and my love of making electronic music started from there. I fell in love with the capabilities of music production, and the ability to make full records on my laptop blew my mind. Fast forward to now and although I’m using more software and I’m in bigger fancier studios, the fundamentals I built growing up with music around me is the reason I wanted to pursue this as a career.


How do you effectively promote yourself as an artist?


I know it’s tricky for a lot of people, but I really enjoy making short form content. I try to make several different styles of short form video and then repeat those for each release. My main way of self-promotion is content making for my social media pages. With ‘See You Again’, I went for a more outdoor setting for the content, but also incorporated what I usually do. What I do isn’t complicated, it’s just a case of setting your phone up to record in several locations and some short editing afterwards. I found that realness resonates with people more than highly edited videos, so I opt for this approach.



Tell us about your latest release


The idea for ‘See You Again’ came off the back of a writing session back in March this year. I’d been wanting to work with James French for a couple of years so to get this session done was huge for me. It’s a good vibe, commercial deep house record with an earworm topline from James. Not one to be skipped!


What has the feedback been like from your latest release?


So far, we’ve had an amazing response. Some of my personal highlights are support from Fedde Le Grand and Martin Garrix, which has been a goal of mine since I started making music! Getting a spin from Hix on Cool FM was a nice touch as well.


How do you take care of your mental health?


I enjoy getting outside a lot, and socialising is a key part of my life. Whether it’s going for a walk with the dogs or a run, or meeting with friends, for me it’s important to switch off from work, especially in an industry so challenging to make your way in.

Talk us through your creative process.



It’s all about the original idea for me. I always start by trying to find/make that one element that’s going to be the basis of my track. Sometimes it’s a lead, sometimes a chord progression; all my tracks are built around one solid idea I come up with in the beginning. The rest of my process is polishing, whether that be finding the perfect sound, a particular drum groove or the fine tuning of my elements.


What advice do you have for other artists?


Simply, make music for YOU and nobody else. Your favourite artists didn’t become a success by trying to copy others. If you really enjoy something you’ve made, chances are others will too!



What is your biggest goal this year, and how close are you to achieving it?


My biggest goal for this year was to get a release on Selected. I am fortunate to say that this goal has already been achieved as they signed a record I did with Tobtok and Betty Bloom which is coming out on December 1 this year. Selected are a label I’ve been a huge fan of since day one, so even writing this is crazy! Other goals for the rest of the year are building on my live performance, which I want to do lots of this coming year.


Lastly, what can we expect from you in the future?


Expect a lot of emotive dance music, some more chill dance, live sets, and DJ sets to name just a few. I’m going to keep building my profile as much as possible over the next couple of years, so a heap of music is to be expected. Keep a look out on my socials to see what’s coming up!


 

Download/stream Jack Kelly & James French ‘See You Again’ on Perfect Havoc here: https://perfecthavoc.lnk.to/seeyouagain


Catch Jack Kelly at Ministry of Sound, London on November 24. More info / tickets here: https://www.ministryofsound.com/club/


Jack Kelly

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