Friday, March 8, 2013

Exclusive Interview with Jon Cutler

Jon Cutler ( Producer, Remixer, Dj, Label Owner)
Owner of Brooklyn-based electronic label, Distant Music, Jon's displayed his evolving talent with productions such as "You Groove Me", "Fluttie Pebbles" and others. He’d since teamed up with such dance music luminaries and vocalists as Dj Romain,Scott Wozniak, Michael Watford , Jocelyn Brown, E-Man, Kemdi, Vanessa Freeman and others, creating phenomenal original productions for his own imprint as well as for UK’s MN2S and Papa Records, Chez Music, and 83 West, among others. In 2001, Jon produced the smash, "It’s Yours", for Chez Music, which quickly cultivated into a club anthem reaching the #1 spot in DJ Magazine’s Hype Chart, #29 in the overall UK Pop Charts, as well as played by club and radio djs in practically every country on Earth. Since then Jon has been committed to releasing quality house music. His remix credits are a testament to his dedication having recreated works by Kerri Chandler (King Street Sounds), Copyright (Defected Records), Kim English (Nervous Records), Bob Sinclar (Yellow), Tortured Soul (Central Park Recordings), and a ton more, into phenomenal pieces of Dance Music. This is a man who truly puts his heart and soul into every production and performance. Celebrating TWENTY plus years in the business, Jon Cutler hopes to maintain the ability to inject his signature soulful flavor into House Music while continuing to inspire the thousands of up and coming producers and DJ’s he’s already influenced throughout the years.

 MzHouse Diva: When did you get started in the music scene?

Jon: I started collecting records when I was 14 in 1983. I got interested in production when I was around 17.  To answer your question, officially when I started working at Power Music in 1994/95, and later when I started Distant Music in 1996

MzHouse Diva: How did you get into djing?

Jon: Born In Da BK (Brooklyn),the culture then was Dj'ing, Breaking, Beats and Sneakers.I saw a lot of the older kids doing it and I saved all my money to get my first turntable.

MzHouse Diva: What was the first record you bought?

Jon: Hard to remember exactly, I was into a lot of House, Hip Hop and Classics. It might have been T La Rocks "It’s Yours " record early Trax releases or maybe even Rock Steady by Aretha Franklin.

MzHouse Diva: How would you describe your djing/production style to people? 

Jon: It was always pretty raw. My early productions were sample cuts. I eventually got into working with musicians and vocalists, which I was pretty good at. Then I would say very soulful, but now I prefer to say deeper. I like to make, listen and play music: not noise. My sets could be Vocals, Sample cuts, Tech joints and Classics. I spend a lot of time digging through all formats of music.

MzHouse Diva: Do you play any musical instruments?

Jon: I play the Drum Machine!!!

MzHouse Diva: When did you first full in love with house music? 

Jon: When the doctor slapped me on my A*@

MzHouse Diva: What draws you to the deeper, soulful side of House? Why has it often been overlooked by mainstream audiences yet thrives underground and how can that be changed to reach a broader base?

Jon: I’m drawn towards Underground Electronic Music with different styles and tempos. I wouldn’t say it’s overlooked, but it’s a personal taste. You like underground or you like commercial. The underground scene spreads wide through out the world; but you also have people who show up at a club and will only dance to something they already heard on the radio and will  immediately stop dancing to something they haven’t. They are in the wrong place. In Europe you will find a larger fan base for the Underground with more exposure.

MzHouse Diva: One of my favorite songs you produced is "You Groove Me". Out of all your songs you produced, is there any one that sticks out as your favorite? 

Jon: Thank you. You Groove me sticks out as one of my favorites. Flut-ie pebbles on (Remedie) and obviously, "It’s Yours" feat E-man and a remix  I did for Nervous records ,"Treat me Right" feat: Kim English

MzHouse Diva: In 1996 you created your own label, Distant Music. Did you expect all that time ago back in the 80s/90s that you would still be going today? How does that feel and what’s your secret to longevity? When did you know this was your calling? 

Jon: I’d say the memories to get here come and go. Sometimes I think back to square one and think "Wow". It wasn’t easy, I put in a lot of work starting Distant Music. I was relentless on so many different levels with the label profile,  the tracks I bought from other producers, and the tracks I made in order to get Distant Music started. Then my career evolved further into remixes and traveling. The digital world we live in now has put some bumps in the road. The longevity I guess comes from those who appreciate what I’ve done and the younger generation who always send me messages on facebook/twitter and email etc. I knew this was my calling when (see question 6).

MzHouse Diva: In 2001, you produced the smash hit, "It’s Yours", for Chez Music, that quickly became a club anthem and it also reached the #1 spot in DJ Magazine’s Hype Chart, #29 in the overall UK. Did you expect the track to receive such critical acclaim? 

Jon: No, that was a game changer. It normally took me forever to finish my tracks. However, "It’s Yours" was done very fast in a few easy short sessions. Everyone I played it for before it came out all seemed to react to it….. Each day passed and the record grew and spread. I figured I would enjoy the hype for a few months, but it was years and the record kept growing and growing. These days, I feel like that record is it’s own person. It has an identity to itself. Even now there's hardly a day that passes that somebody doesn’t message me or tag me in an "It’s Yours "post.

MzHouse Diva: House Music Lovers have never had so much opportunity to hear new music today, but at the same time this could also mean they have too much of a choice. At the other end of the scale, vinyl still holds a place in people’s hearts. What is your view of the state of things, and does it affect the way you make music today, compared to 10 years ago?

Jon:  It’s definitely has  affected me and my peers. The scene has changed, It will never be as it once was.Vinyl is now a very small amount and only for vinyl collectors. They aren't going to show up at the club with a crate of wax. It’s all about the internet. The younger generation really don’t get how the file sharing has crushed so many businesses. Free download seems to be the norm…. But if you have talent and smarts you will find your niche’ . If the tracks you are making stand out then people will always find them. Money just has to be made in different ways such as gigs and events.

MzHouse Diva: As a producer, how do you decide which song, the artist performs on your albums?

Jon: I haven’t worked on many vocals lately, but when I am, it’s all about style and finding the right voice to go with my track: male, female, full song, or maybe just a dub style. You might not always want the strongest vocalist for every song, just the one who matches the track the best.

MzHouse Diva: Who were some of your musical influences? Also, who are some of the artists in the music industry, would you like to work with in the  future if given the opportunity?

Jon: Prince, Stevie Wonder, Doobie Brothers are some of my musical influences. I wouldn’t mind working with Anthony Hamilton. He’s got major feeling in his voice.

MzHouse Diva: What is your most memorable moment in your career?

Jon: When the airport staff would greet me by name from seeing me so much.:) I have a lot of great memories pretty much, a kid from the BK playing all over the world .

MzHouse Diva: What was the best advice that was given to you?

Jon: Be honest and let the other guy make $$$ also..

MzHouse Diva: When you aren’t busy djing and producing; what do you like to do in your free time?

Jon: Mostly spending time with my English Bulldog-she’s still going strong.

MzHouse Diva: What are some of the house tracks that you are really feeling right now?


MzHouse Diva: If you could change one thing about the house music industry, what would it be?

Jon: Nothing to change

MzHouse Diva: What do you see in the future of house music?

Jon: It keeps going, as you can see the 90’s sound has made a full swing. Every few years or so there will be a new producer out there who changes or recycles the sound a bit and the younger generation will enjoy the times as much as I have.

MzHouse Diva: How would you like to see "Distant Music" in a few years from now?

Jon: More releases .. and eventually as I think of taking it for granted, I’d like to spend some time and put up a lot of the history, interviews and pics of the last 20 years on the site.

MzHouse Diva: Can you tell us about your future plans or have you any plans (personal or business) that you can share with goals?

Jon: There is a lot of good new young talent out there and  I’d like to eventually work with some new artists and help them get started through Distant Music. 

 MzHouse Diva: I definitely can't wait until your next release. Thanks for your time and it was a great pleasure doing this interview with you.

*Follow the links below to get a taste of the Jon Cutler
House Experience*

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