To finish off July's interviews we have Scotland's very own Jason Cortez. Having played alongside Tiesto, Mauro Picotto, Lisa Lashes, Judge Jules, Marco V, Scot Project and Anne Savage, Jason has become one of Scotland's most demanded hard dance DJs. Many might know Jason from his earlier productions with Phil York as "Cortez & York", releasing such tracks as 88MPH and My World on Nukleuz, however Jason has gone on to create his own hard dance label and club night in Scotland called Nuklear Puppy
Nuklear Puppy has had 11 very strong releases with tracks like "Listen To Me" and "God" being played by the likes of James Lawson, Anne Savage, Lee Haslam, Nick Sentience and Phil Reynolds. Jason has also had very strong releases on such labels as Hardtimez, Tranzlation and Dynamix all which have had great reviews from hard dance fans.
Without any futher ado The Beat Ranch presents Jason Cortez
For those who do not know you, where abouts are you from?
Im from Edinburgh Scotland, and have had the pleasure of living there all my life.
Who or what got you into the hard dance scene?
It may be cliche'd, but Tony De Vit got me into hard-house initially. When I first DJ'ed I used to warm up sets for Ministry Of Sound tours in Edinburgh, playing house & trance, then I had the pleasure of playing before Tony De Vit. His set was like nothing I had heard, a fusion of so many sounds, packed with energy, and as a person he was so approachable and enthusiastic about his music. After hearing the tracks he was playing my musical horizon broadened, taken a turn for the tougher. My sound progressed to the hard-dance that I play and make now, when I met and heard Phil Reynolds, again I hadn't heard music played like that, it combined the energy and power of hard-house, with the euphoria and melodies of trance.
When did you get your first set of turntables?
I've been DJing since 1996, but got turntables in 1998. Until then I used my mates decks to practice till I had enough cash to get my own.
Do you remember when you bought your very first record, what was it?
IErm, now thats going back... I think the first record I bought was the Scotland World Cup song from 1982, I was about 6 and my Mum say's I used to jump around the living room to it... I've been jumping about to music ever since :)
What has been your most memorable djing experience?
Its hard say just one experience, but the two that immediatly spring to mind are playing after Tiesto two years ago, and DJing in a lighthouse with Mauro Picotto... The event with Tiesto took place in Perth, Scotland, with 2000 plus crammed in clubbers there to see the World's number one DJ at the time. Nervous about what to play after the trance superstar I turned up not knowing what to play, but knew one thing, I couldn't out trance the trance God. So as his set drew to a close, and as 2000 clubbers went mental, me fear was that as the main show ended, and Tiesto went on to another gig, the crowd would lose interest, so I know I had to make a statement. As the Dutch star left the building my set started, and flew, and 90 minutes later it was over. My set included the Prodigy 'No Good Start the Dance', DK 'Murder Was The Bass', Renato Cohen 'Pontape', Underworld 'Born Slippy', Marco V's 'Godd' & Indicator, and even Dire Straits 'Money For Nothing'. A mixed bag of crowd pleasures, it had the desired effect and the roof was well and truely torn clean off.
Another DJing expirience that sticks out was playing before Mauro picotto in Edinburgh, in a lighthouse in Edinburgh's shore area. It had such an old skool rave feel about it, the DJ box at one end of the room with the lights, and a big dark warehouse infront packed with sweaty clubbers all going mental. I loved playing my set in the unusual surroundings, and enjoyed watching Mauro play a classics set as well, all in all a night that will stay with me forever.
What has been your worst djing experience?
I wouldn't like to say where, when or for who the worst DJing experiences have happened, but the number of times I've had issues with faulty equipment, no monitor speaker, no CDJ's etc... All I ask for is some monitors, 2 CDJ1000's and a mixer with split que... please :)
Your label Nuklear Puppy has had 11 very strong releases, what can we expect from this label in the rest of 2007?
More of the same! We have collaboration EP's with myself and Phil York joining forces with some of the scene's bigger players and more established acts. We also have releases from Norwegian stars in the making Adrenaline Dept, UK hard-dance wonder kid, Technikal, some mor eoriginal releases from myself and Phil, and were always lookign for new stuff, so keep your eyes pealed for Nuklearpuppy Records all over :)
With Nuklear Puppy still releasing vinyl, do you ever have plans to start up a digital label?
Nuklearpuppy's back catalogue, and all future releases will be available in Mp3 format from all good Mp3 sites over the Summer!
Do you still use vinyl or have you gone to the way of the CD?
I said I's always stay true to vinyl, but Im now all CD I'm affraid. Its so much easier to transport, no more lugging record boxes, and with me producing now, I can make a track, burn it to CD and road test that night, something I couldn't do with vinyl. I also review hard-dance for M8 Magazine, so get sent loads of web links to download and review tracks, so with all this new material, its great to be able to rip it and play it out.
What programs and hardware/software (if any) do you use for production?
Depending on what engineer I work with I can use anything from Cubase, Fruity Loops and Logic, all with some hardware and plug ins.
Do you do all your own production, or do you use an engineer? If so who?
I use engineers, I'm learning how to make my own stuff, but have so many ideas, so its easier taking them in with someone that knows what their doing to make the most of what I can hear and want from my tracks. I've been in the studio with Paul Maddox, James Lawson, Nick Rowland, Guyver, Ingo, Colin Barratt, Ben Kaye and Greg Brookman, but am using Alf Bamford(Technikal) and Michael Dow at the momment.
You have recently released a few tech-trance tracks, is this something we can expect to hear more of in the future?
Definatly, I love techier trance, and have been making for about 18 months with Michale Dow, but have been playing trance since 1996, with the techier sounding coming through around 3/4 years ago. My current remix of Nalin & Cane's 'Beachball' is has been played by Judge Jules on his Radio One show the last two weeks, and my previous releases have had plays from Scot Project, Agnelli & Nelso, Fred Baker, Mark Sherry, JFK and many more, so expect more over the coming months. Keep you ears open for my remixes of Brainbug 'Nightmare', Robert Miles 'Children' and Mauro Picotto 'Komodo'.
When can people see you play out next?
I'm in Ibiza fro two weeks from the 25th July, and am pleased to be playing for Tidy, Judge Jules's Judgement Sunday and hopefully Gatecrasher. Outwith that, Im in Canada in September, hosting an arena with Nuklearpuppy at the next Tidy Weekender, as well as travelling the length and breadth of Great Britain.
Thanks again Jason, any last words?
Checkout Nuklearpuppy & Cortech records, and keep a look out for the Nuklearpuppy compilation around October time, and watch for the tour in a city or on a continent near you around then as well :)
Scott Fo Shaw
JP & Jukesy