Jordan Strong, following the recent premiere of his and Lil’T’s Unite on MI4L speaks to us about everything he’s been working on in recent months, the current lockdown culture and what he’s most looking forward to when things can go back to normal. Jordan also delves deep into how the Uniting Souls Collective came together and what drives the successes they have unduly deserved.
How are you and how have you adapted to the lockdown?
Very well, thank you. This is a great time for all of us to reset, to let go of negative memories and old useless thought patterns, to find inner peace and create new paths, to build anew. My heart goes out to all of those who are hurting and all those we’ve lost, but it’s really opened up the time and space for me to work on my various projects and endeavors and I’m grateful for that. Plus, I’m gonna come out the other side an iron chef…
What have you done to stay busy?
Other than the usual lockdown rituals I’ve been keeping in close contact with Uniting Souls founders and dear friends Ramiro Gutierrez and Mikey Tello as we work on various projects. This has kept my spirits high, and is perpetuating my excitement for the future. I’ve really been enjoying my chats with some of the my other talented homies – Jay Tripwire, Michael Manahan, Jason Esun, Tony H, Jeromy Nail, Michael Eli, Tait Collins (really excited for his Nightlife Relief fund to help those in need) and the rest of the crew as we keep the ball rolling. Glad to have these amazing souls in my life.
Tell us about the house scene in Seattle – is it booming, filled with creativity now more than ever?
I’m actually from LA but Seattle is my home away from home. The scene up there is very special – magical. They’ve got some serious world-class talent. If you’ve never heard Jon Lee play you don’t know what you’re missing. Diggin’ Deep and Flammable are two of my favorite events to play. Their scene really feels like a giant family, so loving and accepting. I always leave quite inspired. I don’t think there’s anywhere in the world quite like LA with the amount of space we have; you can catch world class talent almost any night of the week and then find an after hours, but I think LA’s newer generation of promoters and DJ’s can take some behavioral cues from Seattle.
How did you hook up with your fellow Uniting Souls Collective? What makes it work?
I’ve been a part of Uniting Souls since the very beginning. Scott Elgin aka Pescado (God rest his soul) was one of my high school friends and in 1997 Ramiro, Tello, and Scott founded the crew in Emily aka GriffinGrrl’s living room in San Francisco and soon after Ramiro branched off to Seattle and Scott to LA, and they offered me a position as resident DJ. It took off like wild fire and we had an incredible ride until 2007 when several core members in LA retired but Ramiro’s events are still going stronger than ever and some of Seattle’s most prestigious events.
Uniting Souls has been successful because of its large group of talented passionate friends coming together to produce an outcome by way of hard work and dedication. We love the music, we love the community and we love each other – and with this collective passion it has given wings to the mighty soaring eagle that Uniting Souls is.
What are your aims for the near future?
Other than local plans to get Housepitality LA up and running with Mikey Tello, Michael Eli and the crew I’m looking forward to travelling the world and playing music for the people. There are so many places I’ve always wanted to see and this will be my vehicle to do so.
How do you work and what most excites you about the music?
I’m a musician first, then DJ, and then producer. I play percussion, keys, and guitars. I love to create organic rhythms and melodies with my hands. Unless it’s an instrument or vocal I’ve recorded of someone else, I play all parts, all rhythms, polyrhythms, melodies, harmonies, everything – no samples. I also love to write poetry and spoken word, and put the message into my music. I’m still all about the message – the greater good. House Music’s original mission of peace, unity, compassion and equality are still very necessary and I intend to keep it going. That’s what its all about to me. One of the main things I fell in love with in the first place.
Tell us about the new one, ‘Unite’. What inspired or influenced the music? You produced it alongside Lil’T right?
Mikey is one of my best friends and favorite people. I’ve known him most of my life and I know who to call when I need to cheer up or laugh or get some solid advice. Over the years we’ve gotten in the studio many times and this is one of the things we’ve finished. It’s not easy when he’s travelling the world but I do look forward to getting into the studio with him as much as possible when he’s available. Once we had the basics down I wanted to do something special for the label and get the message in. As far as inspiration goes, anything and everything influences me – no one person or thing. Music is a way for me to say the unspeakable, to release and to elevate.
How did you link with James Weston – why him?
I met James Weston through an acquaintance and as James is a seriously talented musician you can be sure the vibes are strong. We clicked right away. I’m always hoping to find a unique approach to my creativity and I knew his sound was fresh and different, plus he had himself a fancy guitar.
Did you work together in a studio or was it remotely online?
James was sitting about ten feet away from us when I mic’d him up and ran him through the pre amp.
What else are you working on?
I’m co-curating lots of good stuff for Uniting Souls Music with label partner Ramiro Gutierrez. We’ve got some solid originals on the way by Sunshine Jones, Lil T, DJ Alicia from NY, Michael Manahan, Luke Mandala, Lee Houser and much more including remix work by Marques Wyatt, Sean Dimitri, Pattern Drama, Atnarko, Knoe1, JJ Flores, Cris Herrera from SD and that’s just scratching the surface.
I’ve got plenty of my own EP’s and remixes lined up, a fun remix for Jason Esun’s new minimal label “All That Music” and working on some original stuff with a singer/ songwriter/violinist named Ilen Halogram for the LA based Wulfpack collective. I’m also very excited to announce that we’re going to launch Housepitality LA and we’re releasing a solid compilation on the Housepitality label as well.
What will be the first thing you will do following the easing of lockdown restrictions?
I’m gonna get in my car, pick up as many of my friends as possible, go restaurant/bar hopping, lose the car somewhere, find the right party and end up at the beach watching the sunrise.
Oh and by the way! I’m very excited about my buddies documentary on the power of music as a healing tool and I’m sure it’s something everyone will appreciate. Check it out!