By: Camila Álvarez
If you met Jeremy Ismael, you would find it hard to believe he was once in the military. The free-spirited 19-year-old was stationed in Germany when he first began hearing a series of haunting beats (very different from the heavy rock or hip-hop that others there were listening to) coming from some room in the barracks. Jeremy kept strolling down the hallway for days, wondering what the f–k these beats were, and who and how they were making them, until one day he finally decided to go on a mission to find the source of the magic.
Jeremy, who began his journey in the electronic music world by listening to acid jazz and trip-hop, found his new love: house music. He began researching DJ’s and producers, and creating his own mixes. He had his first gig at Das Boot—a stationary boat that was made into a club during the time he lived in the Deutschland.
Jeremy moved to Miami from Tampa five years ago and got hisElectric Pickle residency soon after that. He opened for the legendary Seth Troxler in a b2b with Basti, another one of our favorite DJ’s/producers in Miami, who says Jeremy is definitely one of our city’s best DJ’s. Basti loves his technique, his ear, and his deep, trippy, organic sound. He also says that what makes Jeremy stand out is that he has the ability to adapt to every moment.
David Sinopoli, music brain behind Bardot, Miami’s music haven, and III Points, the upcoming music, art, and technology festival in Wynwood, agrees with Basti. He says that Jeremy has a unique futuristic, psychedelic feel that is inside of all of his sets… “It’s not just in the music he chooses, it’s in the way he mixes and how he drops tracks,” David explains.
We chatted with Jeremy about his inspiration, influences, and his plans for the near future…
CD: I was listening to the mix you created especially for III Points in my car on the way here. It’s beautiful. What was your inspiration for it?
JI: A lot of the inspiration came from the artists who are participating in the festival: Mac de Marco, Jamie Jones, Jamie XX. A lot of these guys are playing a lot of ethereal, cosmic sounds. I wanted to mix that with my style and input that on the set.
Can you describe your style?
That’s a hard question. I feel that it’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that, but these days I’ve kinda found this niche where it’s more cosmic than normal. I just like weird music, so that’s what I stick to in the sets that I play.
What’s weird music?
Like odd sounds [laughs], odd sounds and beautiful memories. Very deep techno, if you will.
Who are you currently listening to?
A lot of the artists that are coming out of Innervisions: Michael Gracioppo and Dixon. A lot of those guys from Life and Death: Tale of Us, Recondite, some of those people. Also Bob Moses, Frank and Tony, Bedouin, Silky, Mercy of Music, Low Tide, Oskar Offermann, and more tropical, happy vibes that are African influenced, like Kanson and NU.
When did you start playing?
About 14 years ago. I started when I was in the military, when I was 19 years old. Been going strong since then.
Why did you start playing?
I started playing on a really random tip. I used to live in the barracks in Germany, which is where I was stationed and there was a guy by the name of Dan who was from California that was playing down the hallway. I used to hear the music and every day pass by his hallway, and never say hi or anything, I just kept passing by. And then one day I just walked into his room and asked him: “Dude what is this? You keep jamming out! I need a mix or something”… and he’s sitting there fiddling with turntables, and he was like “Yeah man, it’s house music” and I was like “that’s what’s up!” And we kept talking every day after and he would let me play with his records.
So Dan got you into house music?
I was always listening to acid jazz and trip-hop, that’s what got me into the more electronic side. And then when I started listening to actual proper house music, which this guy was playing, then I started getting really excited about the whole scene. And I started doing research on DJ’s, and artists that he was giving me, and then I went from there.
Who were the cool DJ’s at the time?
In the whole disco realm, Larry Levan, Frankie Knuckles, Automate. Coming out from there, I transitioned into progressive trance, the type of trance when Tiesto was actually pretty good at the moment. I’m not gonna lie, I used to listen to Tiesto, so what? [laughs].
Yeah, me too. I used to listen to Armin van Buuren also…
Yes, back then he was great, great, great! Like I said, it’s the melody lines. So yeah, the evolvement of all these different genres have crossed and meshed, and that’s what I listen to now.
You moved to Miami from Tampa about 5 years ago. How was the music scene back then?
Not like it is right now. Miami was a little bit behind the times back then. There was this club called Blue and they used to bring all the underground artists there. But it wasn’t until the Electric Pickle opened up about 4, 5 years ago that it really started to pick up because there were not many clubs that were playing underground music. It just wasn’t exposed to other clubs. Everything was super commercial, glitz and glam of Miami. Seeing the evolvement has been amazing. Nowadays there’s a lot more than just one place to go.
Which do you consider to be the best places to go right now?
The Pickle is still holding it down. You also have Trade and Treehouse, and Bardot, and I guess all the new places that are opening up and the places having pop up parties that are bringing this type of music to the scene.
I know that you started playing at the Pickle not long after you moved here. How did that happen?
I used to go to the Pickle a lot, but I officially met Will Renuart at a strip club [laughs]. One day I talked to him and asked him how I could get more involved and we ended up going to a crazy after party, and then we had another after party, and it was just me and him playing records, all slow music, and he was like: “who are you?” and I was like “hey, you didn’t know that! Ha-ha”. It was just camaraderie over similar interests. Then I started playing at the Pickle all the time and got my residency (2010-2013). Over the years we all went our separate ways. Now everybody is doing their own thing, still beautifully, and that’s all I care about.
I know you opened for Seth Troxler with Basti. What other amazing DJ’S/producers have you opened for?
Have you ever produced your own stuff?
I recently got back into production. I’m working with Jon Mateu a.k.a. Joyson, a friend of mine. I’ve been re-teaching myself how to produce, kinda starting from the basics again.
Let’s go back to your mixes. Talk to me about the creative process behind them
It kinda goes with how I’m feeling at the moment. When I make mixes I tend to put a lot of emotion into them—what goes on a daily basis, or how my day was, or if something happened in my life.
So it’s more spontaneous than anything?
There’s actually a lot of planning. What I like to create is an emotional ride, I would say. There’s certain tracks I put in because they give me goosebumps, there’s some that I put in because I thought of a certain person that would enjoy them, or thought of a recent event. Everything coming from the heart.
Who are you excited to see at III Points?
Mac de Marco, Jamie XX, and Four Tet. That’s my top 3.
– Saturday, September 13th at the TSL Lounge
– Friday, September 19th at the Electric Pickle
– Saturday, September 20th at The Garret at Grand Central
– Friday, October 10th at Soho Studios-III Points
*This interview was originally published on Culture Designers