A name that derives from ‘doing it all solo on your Jack Jones‘, Dolo Jones is a one man production in Manchester who sets himself apart from the conventional-ism of today’s electro music and looks towards the music that is ‘next’ – a vision embodied in his latest release ‘Stuck (In A Groove).’
Having supported the likes of Sean Kingston and Farley “Jackmaster” Funk, Dolo brings innovation to both audio and visual platforms. Starting off as a club DJ he quickly learned the art of what connects people in music, leading him to playing for audiences of over 1000 each week.
Now an artist whose knowledge of music tech accelerates him into music production on a futuristic spectrum, Dolo Jones produces his music predominantly on Synthstrom Audible’s Deluge – a product that, along with Dolo Jones’ influence, has since garnered the name ‘the everything box’ by electronic musicians.
We got the chance to interview this Manchester music mastermind about the tech used behind his music and the creative process he goes through to produce such innovative electro beats.
Q. Tell us about your relationship with Synthstrom Audible and also your
use of their product Deluge.
I first found out about Synthstrom Audible after looking for quicker ways of
getting ideas from my head and out into music. They were a brand new company
when I found them and had just launched this box called the Deluge that was a
synth, a sampler and a sequencer and seemed to do absolutely everything in-between.
It was exactly what I’d been looking for so I got hold of one as soon as I
could and started making videos, performing full tracks I’d made on it and putting
them up on YouTube. I got really into making them, and started adding my own
animations and video montages and just enjoying the visual side as well as the
music. These got a pretty nice reaction, including from the guys at Synthstrom who
asked if I might want to make some new music and animations especially for them.
I’m currently working on a few exciting things for their recently announced updates.
It’s great to be part of something so cutting edge!
Q. What other gear do you use? Any favourites?
I’m really into groovebox style pieces of kit, or anything that can be synced up and
play well together with other gear. This kind of automation really helps being that I’m
a ‘one man band’ (just an electronic one, so no big kick drum and cymbals on my
back!) Some of my favourite bits of gear I’m currently using (along with the Deluge of
course) includes a Roland TR8S drum machine, which is great for classic 808 and
909 style stuff, a Roland SH-01A – a nice emulation of their classic 80’s SH-101
bassline synth, a Novation Circuit and a Korg Volca FM. I also use a few smaller
gadgets like Monotrons and Pocket Operators to develop musical sketches as
starting points to tracks or just add a bit of extra character.
Q. What are your dream pieces of gear?
Money no object, I’d probably join the queue of people on ebay in search of the
synth holy grail, the Roland Jupiter 8! These have been used on some classic and
groundbreaking music but are now so rare and sought after they’re fetching eye-watering amounts online – around £12,000, used! Other than that there’s TONTO,
an exhibit at the the National Music Center in the U.S. – its apparently the world’s
largest synthesizer! I discovered it online through a great emerging electronic artist
called Debby Friday. Its an immense vintage piece of kit, and obviously pretty
Q. Tell us about your studio.
I work in what feels like a little bunker in an alcove carved out of a back bedroom
space. I’ve got various pieces of kit there but my focus is typically to have bits of
gear that are very portable. This means that I can take one or two pieces and move
around with them – around the house, maybe outside, to a park or a friends house.
It sparks more ideas when you can be inspired by a change of environment. It also
means you can take your setup, or least some of it, and design a live set around it
that will be easy to transport when it comes time to gig!
Q. How do you choose the music you sample? How do you find a way to incorporate this into your own music?
I’m glad you asked me this! I actually don’t sample! I create pretty much every
musical phrase I use myself. I grew up obsessed with sample based music,
especially Hip Hop and House tracks that used funk, soul and disco records as their
source material. I obviously wanted to emulate some of the styles I heard, however
as copyright laws tightened it just made taking an existing piece of music a legal
minefield. For that reason I stayed away from it. At times it can seem a bit unfair that
people with either the funds to clear a sample or just the confidence to risk avoiding
it have an advantage. However, I just find it a way more compelling and satisfying
process to make the music as much from scratch as I can, even if that takes longer,
I feel I’m expressing myself fully without the need to use other’s material. But I still
get asked where I sampled things from, which I find really funny and take as a
Q. What would you like to see developed in terms of the music tech world and how music is produced?
I think there’s a lot of interesting things happening with systems that can sense
body movement and manipulate synths and sound engines that are linked up to
them. These are really interesting for live performance and definitely get around the
common complaint that some electronic music performances simply look like
someone checking their emails!
Q. How did you create your visuals?
I have no one way of doing things visually. I have a background in graphic design so
it really helps to be able to have an idea of what looks good and suits a particular
track’s vibe. My current favourite thing is to use chroma-keying in my videos to
create what’s more commonly known as a ‘green-screen’ effect. I regularly cover
walls and surfaces in my studio with tonnes of green paper and then film either
myself or my instruments with a green backdrop. Then I use various piece of
software to animate, montage and mash-up all kinds of imagery, then super-impose
it on the backdrop and make it as wild as possible!
Q. What, if any, were the differences in the tech you experienced when you were working as a club DJ to now working in your own production?
I’ve been DJing from as young as I’ve been legally allowed in clubs so I was lucky
enough to catch at least some of an era where vinyl turntables were everywhere.
This went away with CDJs and then laptops and midi controllers taking over. I think
this helped some DJs into production, being that once computers were involved
there was some overlap in the skill sets. Then, vinyl came ‘back’ – some say it never
went away! Just like a pair of 1210s, everything works in cycles!
Q. What is it about your music that makes it the ‘next’ music?
I’ve done what I’ve always been told is the truest way to satisfy you’re own musical
impulses – stayed making the kind of music that I love, rather than ride any waves
or current phases. I’ve obviously been influenced by genres with rich histories like
funk, disco and house and I’m fusing them together in a way that I don’t hear
many people doing right now. It’s just like the turntables I mentioned coming full
circle – each time they’re re-introduced they come with some new features. I’m
making things that have some heritage, but I think I’m twisting them differently, into
something of the past, present, and hopefully the future!
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