It's hard not to marvel at the career of guys like Jamie Odell, a well loved lad from Essex who's been chipping away for more than 20 years now, constantly improving and re-crafting his warm and highly influential brand of house.
Jimpster essentially is deep house, and his labels Freerange and Delusions Of Grandeur are testament to his standing as one of the most respected A&R’s in the industry for close to two decades. With his fifth studio LP due out next month and a quick visit to Aus scheduled for next weekend, we managed to steal him for a few words of wisdom, and quite an exquisite podcast full of exclusive jams.
From an outsiders perspective you appear to be one of the busiest guys in the game with your labels, constant touring and production never taking a back seat. Have you had a particularly insane period of late?
Happy to hear my ploy to cover up the fact that i’m actually a lazy bastard is working! I would say that the last 7 or 8 years have been pretty consistent in terms of playing most weekends and still trying to muster the energy and gather enough focus to head into the studio during the week.
I’m about to head into a particularly busy few months as I have my Jimpster LP coming out in May and there are a lot of extra gigs around that time but I tend not to head out on longer tours or stay away from home on a regular as it doesn’t go down great with the family. I’m lucky that we have a great team helping with different aspects of the labels with my partner Tom Roberts managing the whole thing but if that wasn’t the case it would definitely be impossible to do it with being away so much.
From speaking to a few artists of whom you’ve released music on your labels Freerange and Delusions Of Grandeur, it sounds like you pay particular attention to finer detail in the production of what finally makes it out on the labels. Do you think this strict approach has been the key to the success of the labels to date?
I’m not sure I’m any stricter than other label A&R’s but I do try and push the artists and not rush things until I think they are the best they possibly can be. That’s just standard though isn’t it? Or maybe not now in this digital age! I wouldn’t like to think that i’m ruling with an iron fist but hopefully my A&R directions do give a certain consistency to the sound and help create an identity and add definition to the labels.
You’ve been making records since the early 90’s.. What has been the major change for you in terms of your approach and methods when making a tune over the years? Or is the process for you these days still pretty similar?
Yeah, my first releases were in 1992 on UK label Jumpin’ & Pumpin’ which was also home for the likes of Future Sound Of London and Humanoid. When I think back to those early days it seems almost laughable how lo-fi the equipment was and what little knowledge of mixing I had. My first releases were made on an Akai S900 sequenced by C-Lab Creator on an Atari ST and my monitor system consisted of one Carlsbro 50 watt keyboard amp. Basically, I was doing everything in mono and I remember I didn’t even check stuff on headphones or on hi-fi speakers before going straight to DAT and off for mastering.
They don’t sound too bad considering but the music was pure cut n paste sampling, nicking breaks from here and there and putting together in a slightly different way with the odd chipmonk vocal over the top. We all have to start somewhere I guess! Nowadays, I still hunt for interesting samples as inspiration for the track so maybe the approach isn’t that different.
Some kind of sample is usually the basis which I then go onto build the track around but I definitely spend a lot more time mixing and getting the sounds and layers and details all balanced nicely, but then I often drive myself mad at not being able to get as raw sound as I like so I think I’ll never be happy.
Speaking of Delusions, we know you have another EP coming out from Session Victim soon. What can you tell us about that record and what else do you have forthcoming on the label?
Yeah, the SV boys have finished a new EP which will have two brilliant originals plus a remix of the lead track from Max Graef. Not sure if you’ve come across him yet but he’s done a couple of lovely releases on his own Box aus Holz label as well as a new thing on Tartelet.
It’s going to be a really strong release cos the original is probably the most upfront housey and clubby track they’ve produced yet and for me it really sums up the spirit of their DJ sets – bags of energy, good grooves and a playfulness which is really infectious.
I’m also working on a new Franc Spangler EP and we have a lovely EP lined up from Soul 223 which should be out after summer.
Touching on this mix, what have you come up with for us? Are there any exclusives we should be keeping an ear out for?
With so many millions of great mixes around these days it’s important to throw in as much exclusive stuff as possible to create some interest and present something special. I wanted to include a couple of tracks from my forthcoming Jimpster LP as well as an edit or two of stuff I’ve done just for playing out.
There’s also an old remix I did about 6 years ago for Schmoov! which is still yet to see the light of day on Winding Road but will hopefully come out one day. The overall vibe is pretty lo- slung, bumpy, a bit dark in places with a hint of acid and a twist of old school Chicago.
Finally, you’re in Australia next week after a couple of years between drinks. Have you got any time to hang out and drink beers in what’s left of our Summer, or is this more of an in-and-out job?
Unfortunately it’s a whistle-stop trip this time hitting Brown Alley in Melbourne on 12th April, One22 in Sydney on the 13th and Bachus Southbank in Brisbane on the 14th then heading straight back London. Really looking forward to it though as I really enjoyed the parties last time I was over there a few years ago.
Will be nice to play together with Move D at the Smalltown party as we’ve met a couple of times in the past and I love his sound. Next time I come it would be nice to bring 6th Borough Project or Session Victim and join up with Tornado Wallace, Ben Sun and Recloose for an Antipodean Delusions Of Grandeur extravaganza!
Angelo Battilani – Talea – Margot Records
Jimpster – Wanting You – Freerange
The Black Madonna – We Still Believe – Home Taping
Cottam – Trouble In the Street – Sound Of Speed
No Milk – We Got a Party Go to Tonight (Rondenion’s Ragrange Mix/Jimpster Edit) – Ragrange Records
Crazy P presents MTS – Higher – Unreleased
DJ Nature – Everyone – Golf Channel
Norm De Plume – Steady Teddy (Franc Spangler Remix) – Kolour Limited
Erik Rug – Tribute To My People (Dub) – Les Disques Du Télégraphe
Schmoov! – Sweetest (Franc Spangler Dub) – Unreleased
Abstraxion – Break Of Lights (Tim Paris rework) – Marketing Music
Crusho – Someone To Love (Blackjoy Ain’t Got A Demo Mix) – Q-Tape Records
Chicago Damn – Temporary Transgression – Chicago Damn004
7 Citizens – Muse – Unreleased
Vedagor – Untitled 2 – Burek
Jimpster – Porchlight & Rocking Chairs – Freerange