Techno Tuesday: Jesse Rose elaborates on retirement ahead of first & last CRSSD appearance
Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.
Two decades of pioneering house have defined Jesse Rose thus far. Having gotten started at a ripe young age, he was soon shot to legendhood upon scoring a residency to Berghain’s Panorama Bar, and for his far-reaching tours that saw him proliferating his grooving sonic message across the globe. According to Rose, these have truly been the best years of his life — he’s had the privilege of working alongside a dedicated team and a set of equally experienced colleagues that have all played a pivotal role in house music’s development. Furthermore, his accomplishments are far from scarce, with notable notches on his belt including his incredible work with Henrik Schwarz under their Black Rose alias, a successful label, and induction into Pete Tong’s “Hall Of Fame.”
All good things must come to an end, however, and that end is nearing for Jesse Rose. Having cut his teeth for so long in the scene, he realized deep down while on a recent holiday that his time as a DJ needed to come to a close. Twenty years is of course an exceptionally long career on the electronica scale, and after so much wear and tear, it’s time for him to move onto other ventures for his creativity.
Luckily, he has since provided his most dedicated followers to see him one last time by way of an extensive farewell tour, as well as a final LP that is inspired by all the elements of house and techno that have defined his sound over the years. Ahead of one of his stops, this time at San Diego’s CRSSD Fest, we sat down to get the full details of what’s in store for Jesse Rose.
Can you go into more detail on the “ah-hah” moment that made you realize it was time to have your last hurrah?
I took my first 3 week holiday of my life last September and went to tiny island in Greece, turned off my phone and had a lot of time
to think. It came to me that i’d surpassed the dreams i’d had as a teenager which was to have the artists and DJ’s I love playing my records, travel the world, play the best clubs and festivals. It was both a supremely happy moment of reflection but also a little sad. For me life is always about tackling new adventures, like when I moved from London to Berlin or Berlin to Los Angles. I realized that as much as I absolutely love DJing, touring, making records, remixing, Play It Down, I needed to push myself and do something new.
I had no idea what that was and it felt exciting, almost the same as being the kid I was with this big dream of DJing and making records when I was 14. As soon as I left the Island I called my agents and said “look i’m going to stop but lets put a final tour together and in a way celebrate the last 20 years which have been the best years anyone could ask for.”
Would you ever consider producing and releasing music, but not touring? Or are you completely closing that chapter?
Right now I feel like I’ve done everything I could have ever dreamed of doing within House music. I really pushed myself on the last album ‘Alright Mate’ but yeah that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be up for starting a band or producing other people one day. It’s stupid to say ‘never’ about anything but for now it feels like the right thing to do.
Now that you’re moving onto other ventures, what are those? What will Jesse Rose be in his post-DJ days, and what has drawn you to that path?
That’s a really good question, I’ve been super busy touring this year, finishing my last album, sorting out the final releases on PlayIt Down before the label takes a long break but it will for sure be something creative. I really want to do something where it’s about helping others and the focus is not on myself.
What are you looking forward to most as a soon-to-be retiree?
Honestly I’d love to know how it feels not to be tired, especially in the last years my body feels at least 45 and i’m still in my 30’s. It’s been over 18 weeks since I had 5 straight days at home, so it’ll be nice to know how that feels to be in one place for a minute.
You’ve been around the block quite a few times! Can you recount some of your fondest memories from the 90s/2000s, mid-2000s, and the present?
That in a way is a really tough question, I guess I could write a book on all the great experiences. Here’s one – When I was working on my first album ‘More Than One,’ I called up Henrik Schwarz (who I’d played with once at our night in London), and asked If he would be up for making a track with me. My idea for this album was to ask every dope producer I knew to make a track with me so I could learn how to produce, learning while making the album. Henrik said yes and I went to his house in Berlin and we made this song called ‘Stop, Look and Listen:’ a 110BPM musical groover.
I was playing Panorama Bar for the first time that night (This must have been way over 10 years ago) and I told Henrik whatever happens I’ll start my set with the track. I got to Panorama and the DJ before me was playing quite fast hard Techno, I was worried, on my first play at this great club I would clear the floor but I’d made my decision and had to stick to it. So I let the DJ before me’s record play out and started again with this super slow track, all of a sudden the place went absolutely nuts, the shutters opened letting the very early morning sunshine in and people went even more nuts. I played for 4 hours that night and it felt like 10 minutes. A few weeks after that I got got given my own night at the club, which lasted for 6 years.
Has your decision to retire influenced what you’ve written for your final album? For example, are you including a lot of bittersweet elements due to you missing the scene, happy elements out of excitement for the future, retro sounds to encapsulate your career, etc?
Yes the album was influenced by me retiring but it was made before my final tour so not so much thought about the future. I didn’t look to the dance floor even though all the tracks are very different nods to House music. I just wanted to make an album that celebrated all my influences including my early self. The only pressure I felt was that I wanted to make something more, something you could listen to in a variety of places, something that people could relate to at different times of their lives and at the end of the album a track that could be a penultimate track of a night ‘It’s Not Over.’ I’m pretty happy with it.
Final thoughts & parting words on your retirement?
Realistically all I can be is thankful for all the love and support I’ve received over the years. To have had a dream and to have lived it is all anyone can hope for. I hope that more spaces open up for the younger generation coming through. I’ve never seen a time in dance music where it was so hard for younger people to come through and I really hope more people will start taking risks and supporting the next generation.
Although this is an end of one thing there is always something new. I’m sure i’ll be seeing you in the future. Love to all. Jesse. x
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