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.