Freejak drops new original material following the massive success of‘Sandstorm’The UK producer delivers the goods once again with the huge rave house tune‘Reach Out’.
For the past 12 months, Freejak’s ‘Sandstorm’ has dominated festival stages and dancefloors the world over with its most recent outing coming courtesy of Gryffin on the main stage at Ultra Music Festival Miami.
Freejak’s influence on the music scene isn’t restricted to impressing DJ nobility; he’s been turning heads within the record industry too releasing on the likes of FFRR, Vicious and Spinnin’ and going studio deep with everyone from Kelis through to Tom Zanetti and Sigala.
But who is the man behind the Freejak name? We caught up with him to find out.
Hi Freejak, how you doing? Thanks for chatting with us. Let’s set the scene, where are you in the world right now?
I am based on the beautiful Devon and Cornwall coast in the Southwest of the UK.
Let’s dive straight into the success of Sandstorm. Did you imagine that 12 months on that it would still be on such heavy rotation?
99% of the music I write is put together for my own DJ sets and I certainly don’t envision them being played by anyone except me. So, when the world’s biggest DJs are not only playing the track once, but over a year later, it just blows my mind. To be completely honest, when I hear the likes of Tiësto playing Sandstorm it almost seems as if it wasn’t me who put it together.
You appear to love doing covers from Perfecto Allstar ‘Reach Up’ to Rosie Gaines ‘Closer Than Close’. How do you land on a certain track that you want to add your own magic to?
I can see how it would appear a little like that. I’d like to say that I do write a lot of original material too. But as I mentioned, I create a lot of bootlegs and mash ups for my own sets. And it’s these remixes and bootlegs that often catch the ears of the labels, radio stations and DJs and from there they tend to end up being the tracks that get the full releases and better traction. So, it is partly what the industry wants I guess, rather than by design.
The new single Reach Out is such a tune. You created it in lockdown, and you’ve said you’re really proud of it. How did you channel its big room energy when you’d been cooped up for so long?
Well, that in itself is the answer. I’ll start by saying ‘Reach Out’ wasn’t written quickly. It was the culmination of months, possibly a year, or more of writing. I wrote a little bit each week as we all went through lockdown. It unintentionally became a reflection of my up and down journey through that period. I’m not ashamed to say that lockdown had hit my mental health somewhat like many of us and if you listen back to the original Extended Instrumental you can actually listen to my journey.
The track starts off quite somber and atonal. It was fairly mono and narrow sounding. It repeats what seems to be a never-ending loop which was how many of us felt at that time. It eventually arrives at a point where it just seems like it’s been building and going on too long. Now, if I’m honest, that was the point where I learnt to ask for help. That was the point where I “reached out” hence the title of the track.
This was around the time we were allowed to go back to work and some clubs and bars reopened too. And from herein we hear a very different side to the track an epic opening up and uplift in positivity that continues to grow through to the end, reflecting the relief that many of us felt at that time. For me this track will be a reminder that you don’t have to feel that way, you can ask for help and you can bring a more positive energy to life.
What’s clubland looking like for you this year, do you have any gigs or festival appearances that you’re particularly looking forward to?
To be honest I have somewhat taken a little step back from the DJ world post covid and have been spending much more time in the studio producing for myself and others. But I always enjoy any gigs big or small. But as a music fan I also very much enjoy gigs from the audience side too. I’m more excited to actually be attending some festivals with friends for the first time like Boardmasters in particular, it’s always so beautiful.
We can glean a ton of info about you online, artists you’ve worked with, labels you’ve signed to, your big list of A-list supporters, but there’s’ very little personal info out there about you. Was this a conscious decision; are you a private guy?
I wouldn’t say I’m a private guy, more old-fashioned perhaps. I was brought up by parents and grandparents with somewhat Victorian ethics where bragging and boasting and shouting about yourself was not the done thing. Obviously in this day and age, that is what is required, so comparatively I might seem quite quiet, I guess.
Can you share 3 things people wouldn’t know about you?
I very nearly didn’t do music. I secretly wanted to be a Pro Skater. Seems so crazy now.
I am absolutely DOG bonkers. Nothing in life upsets me more than a dog who isn’t as excited to meet me as I am them.
My name is Rob, and I am a colossal sci-fi and science geek.
What were you like growing up – were you always into music / did you grow up in a musical household?
I kind of grew up in a musical household but only in the sense that we inherited a grand piano that my mum could play a little. But she encouraged me to take lessons from the age of about 6. I did all my grades so I guess that would make me a classically trained pianist. I also played the drums and the guitar very badly. If I’m completely honest, I used to hate my piano lessons and music. But then I got to secondary school and quickly realised that girls liked musicians, and I very much got back into it haha.
Who’s on your wish list of artists to work with?
That list is an endless evolving entirety of its own.
I’d love to work with Post Malone. I think he’s an incredible songwriter. I’ve always wanted to work with Seal who I think has written some flawless masterpieces. And of course, I’d love to work with one of the modern pop princesses like Dua Lipa, Tay Tay or Miley, just coz I think it’d be crazy fun.
And what bangers will definitely be on rotation in your sets this year?
I think everyone including me will certainly be reaching for Genesi – Everything You Have Done all summer. I certainly won’t get bored of Parisi and Steve Angello’s – U Ok? And I really can’t wait to play Reach Out on a festival stage as the sun goes down. I hope we can make that happen 😉
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