It’s not often that UKF introduces an artist for the second time in a year, but in an ever evolving scene it can happen for the modern drum and bass act. It Is Jev returns to discuss the start of his solo career, having last spoken to us in March as part of D&B’s dynamic duo PRFCT Mandem.
Quickly developing a reputation for high energy releases and heart racing performances, PRFCT Mandem immediately became a firm fan favourite of the scene, playing regular livestreams on Bloc2Bloc and catching the attention of Korsakov Music. Through their music, live sets and social content, the pair became a spotlight for passion and positive vibes within the scene. But after three years of packing out dancefloors with hard-hitting bass, accompanied by their almost telepathic chemistry and synchronised dance moves, the PRFCT Mandem era sadly comes to an end.
Now with a new wave of momentum, Latvian born Jev discusses parting ways with his partner in crime Aisling, but assures the passion and positivity will continue as he begins the next chapter of his musical journey.
So it was only back in March of this year when you last chatted to UKF, how have things been since then?
Things are going well but the last couple months have been crazy! I’m still in Manchester and moved into a flat with the Fav B boys in September, which was around the time me and Aisling decided to part ways. So as you can imagine, with everything going on in my personal life and the music side of things, it has been chaotic.
Yes, I’m sure a lot of people can relate to the stress of moving, without adding other factors on top!
Exactly, but this period has also been a spiritual journey for me. I’m very big into meditation, spirituality and self improvement, and this has really helped me to stay grounded and focused when things have been getting hectic.
Not only have I been meditating but also looking after myself physically, and have been going to the gym every day. This has been doing wonders for my mental health too. Now I am starting from ground zero with ‘it is Jev’, I want to give myself the best start to this next chapter, so it is important I am carrying that momentum and performing well physically and mentally.
There are many drum and bass fans out there who were saddened to hear the news of PRFCT Mandem coming to an end, can we hear more about what led to this decision?
Of course. So when me and Aisling first started PRFCT Mandem, we were doing it for the passion, while figuring out how we were going to play this game our own way. We were loving it!
But over time, the energy toward the PRFCT Mandem project started to feel like more of a business, and less like us just having a crack at figuring this out. And that can happen to anyone. Obviously Aisling and I come from different backgrounds, I have been doing music for much longer, while she has a background in dance. It was obvious to both of us that we were growing into our separate interests over time. Aisling’s day to day life was different from mine, and this made us feel out of sync at times. So from there we made the decision to support each other by parting ways.
I consider our friendship to be more important than the PRFCT Mandem project. You have seen how we interact together and our chemistry, so it felt natural to preserve this connection and relationship by ending PRFCT Mandem.
Sure. I’m sure anyone who has seen your sets, livestreams or listened to your music immediately recognises the passion and energy. If you were to continue PRFCT Mandem when neither of you had your hearts in it, I think fans would have picked up on it and noticed a difference.
Absolutely. For me the most important part is the authenticity of the craft and putting love into it. And moments where I didn’t feel authentic about, are the moments where the music wasn’t good! I didn’t want to treat PRFCT Mandem only as the business, passion should always come first because that’s what fuels the progress. In this case for us this balance was hard to maintain, sometimes it works out that way.
But what a mark you’ve made on the scene in such a short space of time!
It has been an amazing ride. We have learned so much from each other that we can implement in our lives going forward. Obviously we are still best friends, I consider Aisling to be my soulmate. It feels epic that we got to do this journey together.
When we first announced it, the amount of support we received was crazy. I couldn’t believe some of the messages we got, from people whose lives we touched just by doing our thing. People told us we had inspired them to get back into DJing or producing, others said we helped them during tougher times in lockdown. So I am very grateful for this whole journey. And from this, we take this experience and learn from it, and implement these lessons for the future. And this has given me great motivation as I start this new chapter.
Now let’s talk about this next chapter – ‘it is Jev’. What does the next stage of your music career mean for you?
Well obviously I am now a solo act, and so it is only my energy going into this. I see this as an opportunity to express myself however I want. With the creative freedom I can go experimental and crazy, which I may not have been able to do before as there were two brains committed to making some risky decisions. If I want to move onto a different sound then I can. This is what I am most excited about. ‘it is Jev’ is associated with freedom of choice, and making a wide span of music. Previously, our music was very abstract drum and bass, before teetering to a bit more dancefloor orientated. With this next chapter, I want to do fun, dance music with nice sound design. I want it to be groovy!
Sounds like you’ve got it planned out! And you’ve wasted no time in making the music, have you?
I already have a lot of material. I’ll be releasing tunes every couple weeks, and this will all be free downloads. My personal opinion is that music should be free. I’m not saying everyone should release music for free, but I don’t care about people buying my music. If they don’t buy it they will pirate it anyway, so I’m just going to put it out there for people to enjoy.
Putting the music out for the love of it.
Exactly, I first came into this game because I love producing music and creating DJ sets for the sake of it. What brings me the most joy is playing out a track, or a set and seeing how people react. We played Boomtown not long ago, and received messages saying it was the best set they have seen at the festival. This was very heartwarming, so I want to continue this with ‘it is Jev’.
So even after PRFCT Mandem you are still continuing the positive vibes. Are there any other aspects you will be taking across into this new chapter?
So in a lot of ways, it will be exactly what PRFCT Mandem is about, but with just me! There will be passion, energy and positivity, especially when putting on sets.Putting on three or four deck sets in an entertaining, cohesive manner, taking listeners on a dance journey. This is what we did with PRFCT Mandem and it is something that will continue in ‘it is Jev’.
But the PRFCT Mandem saga isn’t quite over yet, is it?
So as we wrap up with PRFCT Mandem, Aisling and I still have our last shows to do. We are going to rehearsals and practising sets. Even after a period of not being together, we still feel in sync. With our DJing, even our dancing – we do the same moves to the same parts of songs! It feels special. We’re playing Hit and Run on 28th October, which is special as we have always wanted to play for them. That will be our last show as a duo, so it will be very emotional. It’s going to be Halloween too, so it will be spooky! After that Aisling will go down south to play at another halloween night by The Midnight Massacre, and I will be representing PRFCT Mandem at the Korsakov weekender in November. I’m very excited as it has the craziest line up.
We also just released our last music video for ‘How We Do, a collaboration with B-don. The tune is a proper summer vibe, to keep you warm in the winter! The video was filmed by Jay Bannister, a very talented videographer and filmmaker, so shout out to Jay and B-don.
And then what can fans expect from it is Jev?
So I remixed a track for Crissy Criss, Erb n Dub and Malux, which is coming out on the War on Silence Remixes album. Huge shout out to Crissy Criss for giving me this opportunity. He was very supportive when I was sending him demos, and very patient when helping me get the remix to where it needed to be.
My new track recently premiered on Jump Up Cave, ‘Crooked Bassline’. The last two tunes that I have released have been like more deep minimal stuff, but this one is more of an in-your-face slapper! When we played it at Rebellion in Manchester it went off, and then when we played it in Boomtown it sounded fat! So I am really excited for people to hear this one.
Like I said before, I’ve got bi-weekly releases of singles from different subgenres – I’ve got liquid drum and bass, heavier stuff, minimal and some groovy tracks. And as I said, they will all be free downloads. My plan for 2023 is to have a solid portfolio of tunes assembled, while developing my social media strategies. I’m going to keep putting out content and honing my signature sound. These days I feel I am progressing at a high speed and learning so much new information on production, new sound design tricks which I am implementing into my music. So as a whole I am excited about the direction I am heading in!