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Jody Talks With Us About Performing At FIVE, Beach Sets, His Work On Anjunadeep & More!

One half of Bristol’s veteran house and trance group Way Out West, producer and DJ Jody Wisternoff has also maintained a solo career, remixing artists while releasing his own productions of nostalgic electro and progressive house. Wisternoff launched his career in 1986 at the age of 13 and has been at the forefront of the underground electro and progressive scene ever since. His home can now be found on the Anjunadeep label where he most notably teams up with James Grant to mix the label’s eponymous compilation series. As part of the amazing Anjunadeep festival at Bohemia by FIVE, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Jody Wisternoff to discuss a number of topics.

Hiya Jody. This is not your first time at the FIVE Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, can you tell me what your first impression was when you last visited here?
It’s a super high-level hotel with loads of five-star rooms, good food, nice pools, and great parties. What else could you want? My first impression was great of course! I visited last in early 2020 and it was lots of fun. We played Anjunadeep Open Air at Bohemia right on the beach, which was super packed and had lots of energy! Little did we know it would be one of the last parties before the world went into lockdown, but I guess it’s kind of full circle to be back playing one of the first major parties after lockdown.

For someone that is reading from home and hasn’t been here, could you give us some insight into this place and the vibe it gives?
FIVE is simply the best of the best. It’s like a playground for the rich and famous where they can enjoy themselves while listening and partying to great music. They’re very appreciative of good music, and you notice that because the music that we play is sophisticated, and it works here.

Having played all over the world in countless venues, how does this compare to those?
I’d say it’s definitely up there in terms of vibes and energy. I’ve been all around the world from clubs to festivals, but FIVE just hits differently. Not only in terms of vibes and energy but aesthetically as well.

When you’re playing a beach set like this, does preparation come different compared to what you’re used to?
Slightly yeah. We of course already knew FIVE and the beach from the last time we played here, but it’s always good to get a feeling of the crowd here. So we decided that we should go for the big moments, and not go too deep. We’re of course going to have moments of depth, staying true to Anjunadeep, but generally, the set is going to be mostly killer, not as much filler. In these kinds of places, where you’ve got the sky, the outdoors, and the warmth, there’s no time to play anything that isn’t even slightly gorgeous.

For the headline set, you’ll be going back2back with James Grant, who you’ve worked with on the compilations along with multiple singles. How do you feel working alongside him, in the studio, but also in a back-to-back set?

It’s really interesting because we actually don’t work in the studio together that much. He’s more of the sound guy and so he takes it from a kind of audio angle, whereas I take it from a technical visualizer angle. There’s not much crossover, but more so it works perfectly because he hears things that I fail to see, and I see things that he fails to hear if that makes sense.

Anjunadeep has grown and changed over the years, how has it been to be a part of the growth and change as label A&R?
It’s been great really. We grow as music grows of course, and now it feels like it’s just becoming a bit more experimental, which is a good thing! You know, now we’re getting into weird BPM breakbeats, we’re becoming a bit darker, but it’s working. I like to feel like I’ve encouraged the expansion because when I started out it was very much a label with lots of progressive house and some trance but nothing in a sexy house, kind of slightly more UK genre with a bit more bassline and a bit edge. We’re going in this more innovative and edgy direction now and it’s looking good!

Do you feel your experience of being with the label for so long has helped you to be so successful as the A&R?
That, and also the fact that I had been doing this for so long myself. Lots of people don’t know this, but I’ve been doing this whole thing since 1989 so I’ve seen genres develop and evolve and crowds shift and grow so I like to think that gives you a bit of confidence. That’s what has mostly helped me really, because of my experience I don’t worry anymore, rather I just believe in it.

Thanks for your time Jody, is there anything you’d like to announce to our readers?
One big announcement – Anjunadeep 13, which we actually completed yesterday right before I flew out. So that will come out in a month or so and will include loads of artists that we are and have been building and developing for a while now, so I can’t wait for that to come out for everyone to enjoy!

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