A talented DJ, Producer, and also radio host with an abundance of talent, J-Fresh is putting his sound and urban music on the line in the UK grime scene.
Hailing from Bournemouth, he’s definitely gotten his name out there, on top of building up a very successful career. In the world of radio, J-Fresh hosts a show every week that’s syndicated to over 50 stations internationally. He’s interviewed and worked with more than a handful of the biggest names in the business, including 50 Cent, Jeremih, Wiz Khalifa, Ty Dolla Sign, Kid Ink, Kano, and Skepta. He’s also produced lots of game-changing mixes, for Charlie Sloth’s BBC 1Xtra #ClubSloth and lots of other artists.
J-Fresh scored many milestone achievements last year, as he toured Europe and played at some of the biggest music festivals in the UK. He just dropped his debut project, “The Pineapple” EP. The first single off the album is “Change”, J-Fresh’s collab with North London’s Blay. The track revives that old school grime vibe, with Blay making everything even more intense with his signature punchy flow, as he cruises all over the city in the track’s music video.
We had a great conversation with J Fresh over here on GMM. He shared with us his beginnings in Bournemouth, his rise in the scene as a DJ and Producer, why he didn’t go straight in as a Grime artist, his thoughts on the local grime scenes all over the UK, working with grime’s best of the best – as well as two hip-hop legends, his “#Change” collab with Blay, and more. Check it out:
GMM: How did you first get involved with the grime scene?
J Fresh: The early days of UK Garage got me hooked! DJ’s such as EZ and Tuff Jam and then Heartless Crew, Pay As U Go, So Solid were the inspirations for me to pick up records and start trying to DJ! It was such an exciting and dynamic time for UK music with influences from ragga, jungle, hip hop and then watching and experiencing garage evolve into grime. I haven’t lived in Bournemouth alI my life and I spent time going to legendary raves such as La Cosa Nostra and Sidewinder and grabbing tape pack and vinyl to feed my love of this music.
GMM: Why did you go with the DJ and Producer routes, instead of going straight in as a grime artist?
J Fresh: I never really attempted the MC / Artist route like that – I didn’t know where to start and I sounded terrible. Spinning records as a DJ seemed like the option I could master quicker. Dabbling with records and playing around with ideas is the next logical step as a DJ – you’re creating ’new’ records when mixing 2 tracks at the same time, you hear tracks that you want to edit and re-arrange etc its all very fluid.
GMM: What’s the local scene in Bournemouth like?
J Fresh: For a small coastal town, Bournemouth does have a cool, dedicated base. We see scene heavyweights play at large scales concerts as well as leaders of the new school rip up intimate, underground spots. There’s a nice balance
GMM: Are you involved with the scenes in other places, like in Birmingham, Manchester, and grime central in London?
J Fresh: Wherever the call comes in to go and play – I’m there. My DJ diary is full and varied, on the way over the next few week I’m hitting, Oxford, Newcastle, and a few spots around London as well as taking care of business in my home town.
GMM: What was it like working with Grime legend Skepta?
J Fresh: Getting to sit down one-on-one with an artist who you rate and to get a true insight into the world and how they operate is a blessing. Each interview is truly unique and throws up interesting situations – the last time I had a proper, proper interview with Skepta was way back in 2011, the “Doin It Again” album era – his first and only as a BBK + AATW label collab. Seeing him there it was, you could say, a bit of a transitional phase, to where he is now -what he is achieving, how far he has taken and continues to take his sound, who he inspires, the legacy he has already built – its truly sick to see.
GMM: How about hip hop greats like 50 Cent and Wiz Khalifa?
J Fresh: 50 is such a legend, a global phenomenon I found him witty and entertaining – good company. Wiz was another interesting guy, a focused and passionate guy, beneath his calm, laid back demeanor.
GMM: You’ve just worked with Blay for “Change”, from your debut project “The Pineapple” EP. What was that like?
J Fresh: #Change is a record that really came together organically – I always find that gives the best results. I’d built the record and was thinking “who would this really work with?” and instantly thought of Blay – he was my first choice for it. We actually live close to each other now, he came through the studio laid down his vocals in almost one take and it just flowed. Even sat there in the control room I was gassed hearing him on it and we were both excited about the results!
GMM: In the video for “Change”, Blay has more screentime – and grime time – while you pop in every now and then. Were you thinking more like a producer while shooting the video, like getting your feet wet before going all out and dropping music where the focus is mostly on you and the music you bring to the table?
J Fresh: For me, working on a project is all about everyone involved “winning.” It seemed natural to me that Blay would be the focus for the video – he delivers a killer vocal and he should be central to the visual – more people need to know about this guy! It’s important for me to appear in some capacity, but I’m not one of the guys to be “it’s all about me” – it’s a team effort. For future videos, you never now, but I’m more about the video looking dope and interesting and engaging for people watching – that’s of critical importance first and foremost – not self gain. I’ve got to big up the LateralThinkers team for delivering the visual – cool, talented guys and a pleasure to work with.
GMM: What made you decide to focus on mainly promoting and shooting a video for “Change” with Blay? Why not “So High” with Strive, or “Toppa Toppa” with Don Jagga?
J Fresh: That was a really tough call you know. I genuinely love all the records – the guys are sick and they were all a pleasure to work with – I work with people who I rate, who have the hunger and a key objective for me is that more people become aware of dope artists like Strive, Blay and Don Jaga. The feedback the EP as a whole got and the reception all 3 records received, meant it seemed logical for #Change to be the one to get the visual.
If you want to catch J-Fresh, live and in action, below are some of his upcoming DJ gigs. You can also check out his social media links, below.
March 22nd Bournemouth – Cameo
March 23rd Portsmouth – Liquid + Envy
March 24th Bournemouth – Bomo Bunker
March 27th Bournemouth – The Lost Paradise Bar
March 29th Bournemouth – Cameo
March 31st Banbury – Moo Moo
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