Manchester’s Jason Herd has been on the dance scene for 25 years, releasing on top labels such as on Defected, Subliminal Azuli, Toolroom, Moody and CR2, to name a few. Making a welcome return to the arena in 2019 with a brand new release on his own Weirdo label, we grabbed a chat to find out more about his massive contribution to dance music and what he’s got up his sleeve this year..
f: What came first for you, DJing or making music?
Jason Herd: DJing, we used to go to the raves and Hacienda and go back to peoples houses and just mess around on the decks all night. Once I had started getting gigs in Manchester, there was a DJ who had a studio in Manchester and we used to see him in Eastern Bloc every week and he’d try getting me in the studio but I didn’t believe I could do it. Anyway, one week he offered me a free day and that was it, I go to the bug, bought his old brown Mac and just dedicated every free minute to making music.
f: Describe your sound?
Jason Herd: I like a journey with music as I started warming up for the like of Frankie Knuckles, David Morales etc at Babooshka in Birmingham so I like Deep house (Naked Music) to house and uplifting vocal and piano house.
f: What was the first dance record you bought?
Jason Herd: Donal Rush “Symphony” Steve Hurley Remix, I’d heard it in the Hacienda and needed it even though I had no decks.
Who are your musical influences? Simple, everything on Def Mix to Joey Negro or labels like Strictly, AM:PM, Defected but soul and disco are my roots.
f: Which of your own tracks was the biggest labour of love to create?
Jason Herd: I love all my old tracks on my old labels J:Soul and J:Funk, they came from the heart in every way.
f: And what is your biggest release to date?
Jason Herd: Well it has to be Herd & Fitz ft Abigail Bailey “I Just Can’t Get Enough” on my label J:Funk first then Subliminal as a full vocal, that and my other Subliminal releases carved a career for me.
f: You also run your own Weirdo label, how’s that going and who can we find on there?
Jason Herd: It was a bit all over the place when I started it, I Was a bit lost with the scene to be truly honest, I needed to make money and following the trends slightly but as things have changed recently, I am going back to making music for love as that was the best music I made so I am rebooting the label with the Michelle Weeks remix. The label is as my sets, a journey from Deep to Soulful to straight up House into classy funky house dare I say and uplifting peak time house and dubs. Anything I would play now. I’m not aiming to be on a certain label or genre specific but it will all be based around house and songs.
f: Tell us about your new remix single – Juan Kidd, DJ Jorj & Michelle Weeks ‘Be Real’ (Jason Herd Remixes) and what we can expect to hear?
Jason Herd: Well I have a load of tracks ready to go and we have been struggling finishing the vocals but I wanted to get a track out before 2019 so I dug out this vocal and remixed it.
f: You record under various aliases, covering lots of different dance genres, please tell us a little about those?
Jason Herd: Well when I just came out and hit the charts soulful and vocal house died off to Tech and Electro so Jon and I stopped doing vocal house productions and I started Juan Kidd, I was going tech and did my first track with Yousef which got signed to Azuli which was a great label. Next I made “Now Your Gone” which went no1 Beatport for quite a while, I loved that record it was tech but had soul and everyone was playing it, I then got management who pushed me towards America and electro and I fucked that one up, to be honest, I was doing it for the wrong reasons. Then I started Cabarza and Pirate Copy, I love Tech House and always listened and went to the Ibiza nights, it was a no brainer and I am still making the Cabarza Music.
f: You make a lot of collaborations on your productions, which have been your favourite so far and who else would you most like to work with?
Jason Herd: I’ve only collaborated with friends so all of them but I’d love to work with Jazz n Groove they are the masters for music in my opinion, India for a vocalist and Alecia Keys to make a track with, I reckon it would be a game changer.
f: Over the years you’ve DJ’ed all over the world and graced most Ibiza clubs with a set, where is your favourite place to play and where would you most like to play next?
Jason Herd: Ooooooh, there’s too many. Subliminal at Pacha every time, One Love / Stereosonic Australia was special times too.
f: What are your Top 5 weapons that always smash the dancefloor?
Jason Herd: Well the 1st has to be the most requested
Herd & Fitz ft Abigail Bailey “I Just Can’t Get Enough”
Kid Creme “Hypnotizin”
UBP “Testify” UBP Sunday Vocal Mix
Sandy B “Feel Like Singing”
Oliver $ “Doin Ya Thing”
f: What was your highlight of 2018 and what are you most looking forward to in 2019?
Jason Herd: Falling back in love with making music, 2019 is all about releasing high-quality music, watch this space.
f: Any tips or advice for aspiring djs and producers looking to break through on the scene?
Jason Herd: Keep to what you love and don’t rush tracks out, my two biggest mistakes.
f: You’ve seen the music scene change a lot over the years since you first started out, how does it compare to now and looking back what precious advice would you give to yourself?
Jason Herd: I think a lot of music is more throw away now, there are so many tracks I can remember from clubbing and back in the day, I don’t think the recent clubber will have as many, I mean 4-minute tracks, fuck that! Thank God for records like Lovebirds “ In My Soul” that are just as magical as KOT Finally. There is some beautiful tech out there as well but a lot seems generic.
f: What else are you working on at the moment that you can tell us about?
Jason Herd: I’m working on tracks with Lisa Millett, Davos & E-Man and some hot new talent from Manchester. I am producing a band called 161 that are a semi-live house band, they are awesome musicians.
Words by Favouritizm
‘Be Real’ (Jason Herd Remixes) will be released on Traxsource promo on 18th January / full release on February 1st 2019 on Weirdo Recordings.