Last night, Rohan and I went to the Drai’s, located right in the heart of Hollywood, to see Jamie Smith otherwise known as Jamie XX. Besides being part of the XX, Jamie has come into his own in the past couple of years with a series of prolific remix and original works, including his Adele remix and his Gil Scott-Heron collaborative album as well as work with pop rapper Drake.
Despite all of these past achievements, Jamie has managed to stay under the public’s radar for the most part I would say. I was surprised by the amount of people who showed up originally to see him but then again I am in LA, versus the more desolate areas that I have resided in, in terms of music. He didn’t come on until around one ‘o-clock but when he did he was met with the usual fanfare that occurs when the headlining DJ appears at such events. The fact that this was done in the small space of Drai’s indoor section of it’s rooftop made the event very intimate and very easy to see Jamie’s sheepish grin in response to the cries and screams for him as he prepared his workstation. He brought with him CD’s and a crate of vinyl, signalling the kind of set he was intending to play.
When asking others why they came to see Jamie XX, it was because of his more popular achievements that seemed to attract many. “He’s in the XX” or “His Florence and the Machine remix”. We among a few of the answers I received. I came because I had higher expectations for what I was to hear from his set. After listening to his Boiler Room Mix and Essential Mix this past year, I knew that he can play varied and diverse sets, ones where I wouldn’t be able to easily name every song being transitioned to, where the listener is expected to enjoy the musical journey more than just wait to hear their favorite hits. This is what I see as intelligent DJing. A process that is being lost as EDM rises up more and more from the underground towards pop-culture. An issue that is being addressed by many even within the industry itself: A-Trak Speaks Out
Last night, after coming in with high expectations, I can say that they were easily met by Jamie XX. He started out with his Adele remix, a curious move as most DJ’s wouldn’t begin with their most known tracks, but my questioning was soon settled as he quickly mashed it up with a dance-hall track, making it almost into an entirely new track. He then dropped out of the entire mix and as he began to raise the volume once more, the vinyl turntable could be heard as he restarted his set with a 50′s type swing track that could’ve easily been from The Johnny Carson Show. It was almost like he was saying to the crowd, don’t expect me to play my music. And his true set began, ranging from minimal to deep house to dance tunes most likely straight from the eighties, Jamie XX pulled out what I considered a true “DJ set” more a showcasing of his selection talents as a music taste-maker and ability to keep the audience of listeners guessing. I enjoyed the set for what it was and despite retrospective complaints via Facebook from others that they “didn’t get to hear any Gill Scott-Heron or other remixes”, I appreciate what Jamie Smith did and hope that as he inevitably grows in popularity, despite the venue or pressure, he won’t change his attitude towards his DJ sets. I look forward to seeing him DJ again, hearing future releases from him as well as seeing him tour with The XX.
Secondly, I want to talk about the discovery I made last night that is, Jacques Greene. I had never heard of him before, despite him being under Lucky Me, but wow! Greene’s set was so much fun and he had so much energy, it was the perfect segue into Jamie’s set. I hope he posts up his set list/mix because it was the tits. He’s on my radar now, expect posts about him in the future for sure!
Props to Dim Mak for putting on a great show and I can’t wait to see Mumbai Science at DM Studios tomorrow!