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<7 months ago>

Laurie Charlesworth

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We Need To Talk About [IVY]

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We Need To Talk About [IVY]

We really do need to talk about [IVY]- a free spirited creative, an entrepreneur, a renowned free party raver, a DJ, a music producer, a  fashion designer, a CEO. [IVY] is clearly very busy writing her own amazing destiny. A tale that will one day be told to starry-eyed young girls before bedtime, a story of going with your gut, taking risks, marketing and pounding hardcore. 

This Bristol based producer known to her friends as Jaz, also owner of  fashion brand Jazzy Garms, is a modern day success story. Tapping into  the super strengths of social media, she harnessed the power of  the algorithm to push herself as an artist, in more ways than one. 

With major label A&Rs soon circling like vultures, desperate to be the one to sign this artistic anomaly, she soon signed to RCA Records, a label owned by SONY Music Entertainment.  

Her new single ‘Looking 4 Me’ – a wicked 4×4, tech x d&b infused banger with some choppy female vocals – has just been released. So, naturally, we pulled Jaz in to hear more about the track and of course, her incredible story. 

How are you Jaz? Tell us the highlight of your week so far.  Could be something music related, could just be a delicious  sandwich that you ate. Totally up to you. 

My highlight was that I did my first proper photoshoot on Monday  for a magazine. I’d never done a photoshoot before, like a proper,  proper one. I didn’t know what I was doing at all. I was the stiffest  person ever, but it was really cool! I think it came out alright in the  end. 

Did you enjoy it? That’s the main thing… 

Yeah I did. It was one of those shoots where I had a hair stylist and  a make up artist and a stylist, so you’ve got loads of people around  you at one time. It was really fun, but I was kind of terrified!

Jaz, let’s talk about your new single ‘Looking 4 Me’. You’ve  spoken before about the track embodying female  empowerment – which we love! What is it about the track that  embodies female empowerment to you? 

Ria is singing about a guy who can’t get enough of this girl, but she  knows better. She doesn’t need him and it’s up to him to prove himself  to her. It’s just a really sassy, sexy vibe. I love it. It’s the first time  I’ve worked with a vocalist on a track too. I usually just search the  internet for samples for old school house tracks or little snippets of  songs I like and use the vocals. This is the first song where I’ve  worked with a vocalist AND we’re both female. I feel like that’s  quite rare. 

And for two women, both relatively new to music, to be  released on RCA Records (SONY), which is a major label.  That’s massive. How was it working with a vocalist? 

Ria sent me the top line, then we kind of just went back and forth  with RCA tweaking it until we were happy. In terms of the  lyrics, Ria had already written them so when I first heard it I was  like ‘this is sick!’, and exactly what I need. It has such a sassy  techno flare, something I feel you don’t really get in drum & bass. I  love the idea of merging techno sounds with drum & bass, bringing  that vibe into the D&B world. 

The 4×4 thing is a vibe right now too, how does it feel being a  part of this wave and what key players of this sound have  inspired you? 

It is. I love that it’s having  its moment right now! In terms of inspiration, I’d say  Mandidextrous and Dimension. When Dimension made ‘Offender’  that was one of the first big 4×4 d&b track that opened  everything up into the mainstream. There was that ‘Timewarp’  remix too, that went to number one on Beatport. However, of  course, Mandidextrous was already doing it for years. Their work enabled others to come through into the D&B scene. Sota has been doing sick 4×4 switch ups too. It’s just really nice to see  people doing it. It always goes off. I feel like a lot of people don’t  like it though, but it’s kind of like jump up in that sense. You either  love it or hate it. 

Bit Marmitey. There is so much music out there right now that  it’s important to be experimental so it’s not just the same stuff circulating. 

That was my thinking too. I’ve been listening to drum & bass for  years and it’s getting to the point where a lot of it does sound  the same to me. I’m finding it hard to find super fresh and unique tracks that I haven’t heard before. When I’m  going through Soundcloud, I find it hard to find really interesting  stuff so I thought ‘if I’m going to be a producer and if I want to be  in the D&B scene, then I need to do something different’. It’s been  received in mixed ways, some people say ‘you shouldn’t change  drum & bass’, some people really want the scene to progress. 

Whether people like the sound or not, it helps the scene grow  because it’s new and it’s interesting. Let’s take it back a little  bit Jaz, talk to me about your free party days in France. How  did they inspire you to become an artist? 

I started going to free parties in Brittany when I was about 14, mainly because there was nothing else to do. There were no clubs or nights out, the only thing you could do would be to get in  someone’s car, drive 20 minutes and go to a field to rave. I got into  that scene quite early. Every weekend I would go to these free  parties, getting stuck into hardcore and hard techno. I guess the  more I got into that, I started to discover the bigger world of  hardcore. In the Netherlands they have massive festivals like  Defqon.1 Festival and Decibel Outdoor, I started saving up all my  pocket money so I could go. When I was 16, we would drive for 13  hours to Amsterdam, just to go to these festivals. They were the  most surreal, amazing experiences. That’s where all my money  went as a teenager. I went around 10 times a year. I was obsessed.  My whole personality was listening to 4×4, hardstyle and hardcore.  Then, when I moved to Bristol when I was 18 to go to university, I  thought I’d have to give it all up, because in the UK there isn’t as  much of that stuff. I sort of put it behind me and started listening to drum & bass. Then, after a few months, I started to see that there was a tek scene in the UK. Mandidexterous brought me back  in. Not long after that, I started producing. Even before the whole  Dimension explosion, I was trying to merge tech and drum & bass,  but it sounded so bad, ha! I was constantly trying to find a way to  merge both but I didn’t have the skills then to make it sound good.  There’s a hilarious track on my Soundcloud which is private. Then  when Dimension released ‘Offender’ I thought, this is it, two worlds  that I love colliding. That was what really inspired me to work on  my production. I had so many ideas that I needed to put into  music. 

We need to hear that track on your Soundcloud… What  happened after that, Jaz? 

I started making music during lockdown and spent all my time  focusing on producing and becoming a better DJ. Then, towards  the end of 2021, I got the Overview mentorship which lasted a year.  I had two tutorials a month from the Overview roster, which really  helped me get my production to a point where I felt like I could  release a track. It took me at least two years of making rubbish  songs! Lots of trial and error. I then got a two track single on Deep  in the Jungle records, DJ Hybrid’s label. One song had a bit of 4×4  in it and there was a jungle track too. They went to Juno number  one which I was really excited about because I thought it was  going to flop. DJ Hybrid gave me my first opportunity to release  something. I sent so much out and no one even pressed play, but  DJ Hybrid did. I have to give him credit, because of him people  started to take notice of who I was. Then I got the Hospital Record  mentorship, which I’ve been doing since the start of this year. 

What was the moment you thought ‘Ok, this is getting pretty  serious now’? 

That moment was in November 2022, around the same time that I  got the Hospital Records mentorship. One morning I was just  scrolling through Soundcloud and couldn’t find anything that I  liked, so I decided to make something a bit weird. I took an old  school house song and sped it up, got some jungle breaks and  some high pitched house vocal – I called it turbo house! I posted a  snippet of it to TikTok. It did alright, got like 20k views, but for some reason it hit everyone in the music industry. People were  going crazy. I was getting hit up by A&R’s at Warner, Universal,  SONY. I was going up and down to London for these A&R  meetings. Loads of labels were hitting me up trying to sign it. I was  in shock because I really liked it, but I thought I might get a lot of  hate for making it. But for some reason, it just hit in the right way.  From that point on, I was like ‘ok, maybe I can actually just make  music that I love, music that people would usually think is  underground.’ After a lot of meetings and a lot of back and forth, I  ended up signing to RCA Records, which is owned by SONY Music  Entertainment. 

That must’ve been pretty mind blowing. TikTok definitely  shows us that the masses really appreciate the vibe of a track,  perhaps more so than the production value, as it’s hard to hear  intricate details on a phone. 

Definitely. I feel like Tik Tok is kind of cringe, but I think it has  opened up so many opportunities for music producers. You can  have two followers, post a clip of your song, it then shows it to new  people and if those new people like it, they could show it to one  million people, which might change your life. There’s this whole  new world of opportunity where everyone sort of has the same  chance. It doesn’t matter if you’re famous, it doesn’t matter if you  have followers, everyone is in the same boat. There’s good things  and bad things about TikTok but if you’re an up and coming  producer or creative, the opportunities are insane. 

Before TikTok too, you were also really reliant on labels to get your  music out there, whereas now, if the vibe is there, then it will reach  people. I’m all about the vibe. I try not to get hung up on  production elements. If it makes people feel happy and feel  something, that’s all that matters. 

Talk to me about Jazzy Garms, the vibe is definitely your vibe. What’s the story? 

I started doing Jazzy Garms when I was at uni, studying biomedical  science. I loved uni but I needed something extra. So, I started a  Depop, buying and selling clothes I liked. I just wanted to make my  own clothes really but I couldn’t sew, so I saved up the money from my Depop account and hired my first seamstress. I then found this  insane fabric online, which wasn’t really in the UK. I asked my  seamstress to make some funky rave outfits, and I launched them.  They did really, really well. Then COVID hit and I thought that was  it, but I pushed through and put all my time into marketing it. This  is all whilst I was doing my third year at uni. All of a sudden, the  Jazzy garms Insta grew to 20k followers. I was getting all these  orders and although people had nowhere to wear the rave outfit,  they wanted to take pictures in them. Not long after this, a  customer took a video in a pair of our reflective flares and posted it  on TikTok, and it got 11 million views. It blew everything out of  the water and changed my life. The Instagram page blew up to  110k followers, TikTok 120k followers. I had hundreds of orders flowing in. I had to hire loads of staff, get premises and  start a warehouse and studio in Bristol. It’s because of Jazzy Garms that I was able to start my music career. I hired someone to  do my job so I can fully commit to music. Jazzy Garms basically  funded my transition into music. 

I am fangirling hard right now Jaz, you are such a boss woman.  You credit Tik Tok but you obviously had a great product too. 

Yeah, I guess it’s quite unique! In some ways, Jazzy Garms is very  similar to my music. I just want to do things that don’t exist already.  Find the gap in the market, push boundaries and do something  different.

Follow [IVY]: TikTok/Soundcloud/Spotify 

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Drum & Bass
[IVY]

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