Dubbed ‘Ireland’s answer to Eric Prydz’, Northerner Jupiter Ace is about to launch his own label Big Vision as a home for his big-room, hook-laden house anthems.
Born Gregory Ferguson, his successful career was launched by the massive club hit 1000 Years in 2005.
Since then Jupiter ace has completed high profile remixes for the likes of Flo-Rida and N-Dubz, as well as producing the international No1 hit Dirty Talk for Wynter Gordon in 2011.
Clubmix caught up with Ferguson (no relation to fellow Northern Irish superstar DJ Robert) this week ahead of the release of Wheel of Life, the opening salvo from Big Vision.
Why did you decide to start your own label and what are you aims?
“Big Vision Records began after I was approached by the dance legends that are Strictly Rhythm about doing a label as a co-venture. They liked my production work on Wynter Gordon’s Dirty Talk. I think that is what initially turned them on to me. I jumped at the chance. The music I produce has a certain sound to it – always melodic at its core, quite bright and electronic and with big builds and drops – so I guess the aim of the label is to get that sound and give it a home.”
How long has this label been in the pipeline and how many tunes have you got lined up already?
“It's been building for a while, I would say the past six months to a year has seen me put a lot of work into getting a sound together for the label. Like most producers I have a lot of projects on the go, some make it to release stage, others don't make the grade. I'm very fussy about what gets out there. At the moment we have three or four potential tracks ready, some with some great vocals on them, others instrumentals.”
Is it primarily for your own tunes or will you be signing other acts?
“Both. It will serve as the main outlet for my own productions as Jupiter Ace but I'm also very eager to sign other producers' records. I'm also interested in remixing bands – especially Irish ones – and potentially putting that out on the label. I do my work in a studio called Start Together in Belfast and there are a lot of indie bands coming in. I'm starting to make some great connections and I reckon you're gonna hear one of these guys on a Big Vision record some time soon.”
What other remixes and productions have you worked on recently and what is your favourite remix you did in 2011?
“On an Irish bands note, I'm currently remixing Wonder Villians who are an amazing and very young band from here, I'm very excited about that. I've been working on a project with a fantastic singer called Fleur who sings with DJ Fresh – watch this space on that one. The fave remix I did from last year was of a track called Louder by Chris Willis, star of many David Guetta tracks. He has one hell of a voice. Makes my job easier.”
What other collabs and remixes have you lined up for 2012?
“I don't want to say too much yet but I am working on something with an X-Factor finalist of recent years. All I can say is that it's a lady and she's an amazing singer. I'm really excited about the track. Also I'm working on some bits and pieces with a guy called Duane Harden who has written vocals on countless dance hits such as U Don't Know Me by Armand Van Helden and Love Generation by Bob Sinclair. He's a bit of a dance music hero.”
How did the Wynter Gordon track come about and will there be a follow-up this year?
“I was doing a some remixes for Atlantic Records a few years ago and they told me about this track they had which they liked the vocal on but wanted different music. They threw the vocals my way, I came up with that little four-chord theme and the beats and the rest is history. I think Wynter did that sexy vocal for a joke initially but people loved it. It gave me my first number one as a producer, in Australia. We've talked a bit about doing something again this year so let's see what happens.”
What DJ technology set-up would you use when performing?
“I have worked with Traktor but I've got to say that I still don't trust it that much in a DJ booth. It's a great tool for resident DJs who have long sets to play and loads of tracks to deal with, but personally I don't need to deal with hundreds of tracks at a time. I grew up working with vinyl and then CDJs and I still trust their rock-solid build quality and reliability. Plus I'd be pretty stuck if someone emptied a drink into my laptop. DJ booths can get pretty crazy sometimes as I'm sure you'd agree.”
Where do you record all your music: home studio or elsewhere and are you using Mac or PC with Ableton, Logic or Cubase and do you use any hardware or analogue gear?
“As I mentioned above, I use a space at Start Together studios in the centre of Belfast. It's really good to get out of the house and go somewhere else to work – you're more focussed and I meet loads of people every day who come into the studio. I have Ableton and I do use it for some stuff but 95 percent of the time I'm a Logic man. I've been using it for about 10 years and I just know it inside out. I work on the move sometimes so I keep everything ‘inside the box’ as they say – meaning it's all going on inside the computer. It suits my lifestyle but I really do miss the days when I walked into my studio and saw a big bank of synths and other gear staring back at me.”
Best thing about being a DJ/producer?
“That feeling when you come up with something in the studio that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Sometimes music production isn't that exciting but there are other times when you're literally jumping round the room and that's what keeps you coming back for more.”
+ Jupiter Ace’s Wheel of Life is released on February 14 on Big Vision through Strictly Rhythm.