Manchester DJ/producer Jini Cowan has over 30 released tracks on various labels with her tracks supported by some heavyweight DJs. She has the support of Mixmag, has just started her own label and is playing gigs around the UK. Phew! All this at the age of just 24. We spoke to Jini about her career so far and future plans.
Hi Jini, how are you and what have you been up to lately?
Hey! I’m not too bad thanks, 2016 has started well for me, I’ve finished my first EP of the year and also set up my own label and club night called ‘ANIMA’ so now I’m having a couple of weeks break before my next gig in March!
Sounds great! Tell us about how you first got into music, and your early gigs?
I’ve always played classical instruments since I was 8years old, I took Grade 8 in both piano and flute and I also studied music theory as this was an integral part of the Associated Board exams. After doing GCSE and AS Level music, I realised that as much as I loved classical music, I wanted something more. I began to listen to electronic music when I was 16, this being mainly Mike Oldfield and Jean Michael Jarre due to my mum being an avid fan. I didn’t really know much about DJing as I’d never been to a club at that age, but I watched some youtube videos of Eddie Halliwell playing back in the day, I finally saved up some pocket money and bought a pair of belt driven turntables. Being 16, I couldn’t really afford much but I bought 10 vinyl records and literally taught myself to beat match.
I got my first residency a year later at a bar called ‘Cape’ in Sale where I lived. It was only a small place but it was very scary to play to actual people after playing records in my room for so long. Leading on from this, I got what turned out to be my longest and favourite residency, at Opus in the Printworks. I played commercial house there every Monday, completely different to what I play now, but it was a start and the club was full every single week!
Other places I played included Sankeys, Sound Control and The Leeds Warehouse. This was before I’d started producing music, so when I look back now I did alright for my first couple of years on the scene!
Most definitely! Who were your early musical influences in your career?
As a pianist, Ludovico Einaudi is one of my biggest influences. His music is very unique, fusing both classical and electronic elements, one day I hope to do this! I saw him live last year and am heading back to see him again in March. I would definitely recommend his concerts to any electronic artists, you will be blown away!
From an artist point of view some of my biggest inspirations are Above and Beyond, Sasha, Jody Wisternoff, Stephen Bodzain and Guy Gerber – their music production is incredible!
Some top DJs there! You were featured in Mixmag’s ‘Artists To Look Out For’ section a few years back, this must of been great and opened new paths for you?
It was a surreal moment seeing myself in there! I was 20 at the time so it took a while for it to sink in. It definitely helped me gain recognition especially with me being such a young age. I’m 24 now and I’ve had some great coverage in Mixmag during my journey. I have another feature coming out in the April issue, so keep an eye out for it 🙂
We will! From there, you took a break from DJing for a couple of years to concentrate on music production. How was this period in the studio?
I’m sure any music producer will tell you, you have good days and bad days! Some days I’d sit down write a few bars and then my mind would go blank! I spent a great deal of time going out especially round Manchester, seeing what was ‘hot’ in terms of house music and what people were listening to in clubs. I finished my ‘Roots’ EP in January and have some more music on the way too. You can’t rush the process, it can take me weeks to finish a track. It all depends on whether you’ve got the inspiration, you cant force the ideas. For me it’s about quality, not quantity.
Absolutely! You’ve had over 30 releases on various labels so this break in the studio was certainly worthwhile, how important do you think producing is for DJs today?
I think production is key, especially if you want to get gigs. I think it’s very rare for DJs to ‘make it’ just by being ‘DJ’s. Everyone is a DJ nowadays, so you have to set yourself apart from the rest. Production can work wonders for your career. You can make that one ‘big’ track and then you’re sorted for life…. I’m still working on that part, so watch this space!
We shall keep an ear out! Which of your tracks/EPs are you most proud of?
My latest EP ‘Roots’ without a doubt. I’m a self taught producer and now, I think I’m finally starting to feel happy with my sound. It was signed to Strictly Deep within a few weeks of me uploading it and it’s had some heavy support on it already, from James Zabiela, Roska, Pawsa and Josh Butler amongst others so I’m really excited for the release now!
That’s some good support right there! You’ve recently started your own label, tell us about that.
I’ve wanted to run a label for a long time, I set up ANIMA the club night first, then decided on the label too, as eventually the two will go hand in hand. I am just finalising the first release so will be announcing that soon. The label launch is 16th April at The Whiskey Jar in Manchester. I’ve got some good friends playing; Adam Ross, Rubric Music Sciran and A N G U S. My night will be all about showcasing some of my favourite DJs alongside some local talent, I’ve got some other showcases planned elsewhere but you’ll have to wait to find out about that!
Good luck with the launch! You’ve played some pretty cool gigs across the UK, which has been your favourites?
I played at Aura in Cardiff a few years ago, that was a mental night. The club was rammed and I literally came home thinking ‘that’s one of the best night’s I’ve ever played’ I enjoyed it so much, I ended up playing again at another night the following week and also went to ‘Delete’ a party basically set up in a car park. Ryan Elliott was playing, the sun was out and the energy was just insane.. Cardiff know how to throw a party!
Sounds crazy! This is a tough question for any DJ, but could you name us a few of your top tracks of all time?
This is such a hard question! One I remember from my childhood was Mike Oldfield’s ‘Platinum’ LP (as they were called back then)
I’d probably say..
Richard Durand – Sunhump 2006
Guy Gerber – One Day in May
George Fitzgerald – Every Inch (Deetron Remix)
Stephen Bodzain – Fahrenheit
How much time have you got….?!
Some great tracks! Guy Gerber is one of our favourite producers here at Uneek Ibiza! We love his night Rumors in Ibiza also. What other DJ/producers are doing it for you right now?
I’ve been listening to a lot of the deeper house recently, mainly influenced by some new nights I’ve been attending. I’m planning on starting to play vinyl in my sets again, so have been on Juno most days looking for new stuff. Diego Krause is really pumping out some jams at the moment, I saw him live at Rubric last year and he was ace! Also new label HOSTOM, which I believe is Varhat.. are also releasing some great tracks. The list could go on, I’ll be recording a couple of new mixes in the next month, so Il be sure to include a few of my favourite tracks in there!
We look forward to listening. What’s your plans going forward? Where can we catch you DJing and do you have any releases forthcoming?
I have a few gigs lined up over the next couple of months, actually in my hometown of Manchester which I’m really looking forward to. Its been a while since I’ve played here so I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar faces! All the dates I’m playing can be found on my facebook artist page.
In terms of releases, my EP on Strictly Deep is due out in the next few months, I’m working on a couple of remixes too but haven’t got dates confirmed dates for those yet.
I’m heading to lost and found at the end of March, so no doubt I will come back full of inspiration ready for the studio!
Thanks for the interview Jini, we hope to see you in Ibiza this summer and good luck with everything!
It was a pleasure, will see you in Ibiza!
Check out Jini’s social media pages;
Twitter @DJ_JiniCowan and @Anima_Mcr