Having never been to Treehouse in Miami, I was not sure exactly what to expect on Saturday. I was overly excited to be able to sit down with worldly and talented producer and DJ, Jerome Isma-Ae. Shortly after entering the club, I began to look around and notice the decor and relaxing ambiance which surrounded me. Everywhere I looked, I found treehouses and interesting, intricate decorations handing from the ceiling, attached to the DJ booth, and placed in the walls of the bar. The blend of the cool, sexy ambiance with the chill techno beats set a perfect mood for the night.
Jerome Isma-Ae was one of the most down to earth inspiring artists I have ever gotten the chance of meeting. For a DJ who has been touring and producing for nearly 15 years, his calm and humble vibe radiated from the moment I was able to converse with him. This Munich- based DJ has remained true to his sound through the many changes of the dance music scene in the past decade. A mixture between progressive, trance, tech house, Jerome has developed a 'rolling beats' type of style that is so unique and enjoyable to experience.
DB: You have been prevalent to the electronic music scene for 15 plus years. You have toured internationally many times and seen all corners of the world. What has been your favorite venue to play or city to see?
JIA Ahh, it is so hard to say. There are so many great places to play, but my favorite is probably Buenos Aires, Argentina because that is where my biggest fan base is and they have followed my music for a very long time.
DB: Tell us about your biggest inspiration and creative process when producing music.
JIA I get a lot of inspiration from movie soundtracks and of course other producers. I am a big fan of film music composers. Some movie composers I have always admired are Hans Zimmer, Jerry Goldsmith, Steve Joblonsky, and Thomas Newton. One of my favorite movie soundtracks is The Gladiator.
DB: It seems as though you play a little bit of everything; progressive, techno, trance, tech house, etc. Do you think the flexibility of your sound allow you to create and produce more enjoyable, fluid mixes?
JIA Yes of course. You have to be open-minded in this industry. Hahaha. No, I don't believe in genres. I feel some people are way too strict when it comes to a genre. When I like something, I do it and explore it more. I never think inside of the box.
DB: You’re extremely well known and admired for your remixes. What exactly do you look for in a track before remixing?
JIA Well, I need at least one element in which I like in a song before remixing it. Sometimes I get remix requests and I just take one small piece of the vocal where I think 'ah this can sound great' and I make a completely new track. Other times, the original is very good so I just make some little changes and improvements to make it sound like one of my own tracks.
DB: Tell me more about your label Jee Productions and why you decided to start your own label. What is the next step for Jee Productions?
JIA I released the first track on Jee Productions, in 2004. This year will be the 10 year anniversary. I am planning on doing an album with the 20 or 25 best tracks that I have released on that label over the past 10 years. I decided to make this label because I was tired of being dependent upon other people for my music to be released. I didn't want to send my demos out and wait around for feedback. Mostly the label is for my own songs. Sometimes I am looking for new artists.
DB: What artists/songs/albums specifically influenced your interest and decision to begin producing and mixing as a DJ?
JIA That is really hard to say because I really was listening to everything. I listened to hip hop, heavy metal, jazz, pop, rock, classical music. Somewhere a mix of U2, Metallica, Beethoven, Mozart, Bob Marley, and Michael Jackson. Haha as you can see, a little bit of everything.
DB: If you could collaborate with any dance music artist, who would it be?
JIA Eric Prydz. I really really love his productions. Also, Axwell is an excellent producer. Deadmau5 also is an amazing producer I would love to work with. There are so many artists I would love to collaborate with.
Jerome's set was diverse and inclusive of all genres, as he explained to me he tries to do. The fluidity of his sound is tough to find nowadays in a scene full of "progressive" producers that seem to make bangers, not flowing mixes. Jerome-Ae displayed enthusiasm while spinning at Treehouse and developed an intimate relationship with the crowd. I cannot wait to hear more from this legend!