Although you won’t spot her on any annual top 100 DJ lists like Resident Advisor or DJ Magazine, J.Phlip is a name you should know by now. The 32-year-old DIRTYBIRD affiliate—aka Jessica Phillippe—has been making waves over the past few years, rising from label boss Claude VonStroke’s official touring opener to a crowd-pleasing headliner in her own right
Beyond establishing herself behind the decks on the global festival circuit, the Champaign, Illinois, native has also been hard at work in the studio churning out tracks like last year’s head bobber “Say My Name” and her latest sonic weapons, “What You Want” and “Salvia” alongside UK house hero Huxley.
As the curtain closes on 2015, we caught up with the recently relocated Portland resident in her new home to get her thoughts on the year that was and her predictions for the one ahead. She also shared an exclusive chronological mix, A Year in Music, featuring her favorite tracks over the past 12 months from the likes of Justin Martin, Boddika, Posthuman, and more. Click through to page two to have a listen.
What’s the concept behind your exclusive A Year in Music mix?
The mix contains one of my favorite tracks of 2015 from each month of the year, mixed in chronological order. So, the first track is one of my top tunes released in January, and the second from February, and so on…
It’s more or less a blended compilation rather than a mix. The tracks weren’t chosen to fit together, hence why this mix isn’t about the “mixes.” It’s just about the songs. That’s why the songs are played out quite long and the blends aren’t super long or complex. Some of the mixes don’t even make sense to me, but I had to force it for the sake of the theme.
How do you think the final mix turned out?
I had a fun time going through the catalog of tunes I played in this past year! It was like a little trip down memory lane. It was difficult because some months I had five favorite tunes, and other months I had a hard time finding a favorite; so there’s a lot of tunes from this past year that aren’t on here. But I think it made for an interesting combination because it forced me to choose some tunes I wouldn’t have chosen in a typical “top tracks of 2015” mix.
“I found myself missing so many flights because the parties were so fun. I stayed at so many festivals for longer than I planned and saw the sunrise way too many times, but it was worth it.”
I’m quite happy how it turned out, but it’s not the sort of mix I would personally put on repeat. It’s just a nice blend of some of my dancefloor jams from last year. I’m pretty sick of these songs; I played them all so many f***ing times this year.
If you had to choose one person or thing that defined dance culture in 2015, what or who would it be?
I don’t really know about defining dance culture or anything like that, but Paranoid London stands out as the musical group that really rocked my year. Their album dropped in December 2014, so I couldn’t put them on this mix. But their album has been a staple for me this year, and seeing them play live at the DIRTYBIRD Campout was the absolute happiest moment I can think of from 2015.
What are some of your favorite clubbing memories from 2015?
It was such an awesome year for gigs for me! I didn’t do a whole lot of clubbing outside of my own shows and hanging at festivals that I played at. There’s too many to list them all. I found myself missing so many flights because the parties were so fun. I stayed at so many festivals for longer than I planned and saw the sunrise way too many times, but it was worth it. It isn’t always like that.
Favorite party in 2015 you played at? What was it you loved so much?
The DIRTYBIRD Campout (October 2–4) was by far one of the most fun times I have ever had in my life. Happy people, silly camp games, massive sound, an amazing crew behind the scenes to work with, dancing, so much dancing, plus a respectful dancefloor where people shared space and let each other get down for real. It’s the birth of a whole new festival fashion style that has never been done before—Paranoid London live, so many sick sets, and a bunch of DJs who are also rad people to hang out with!
“It’s the birth a whole new festival fashion style that has never been done before.”
Runner-up goes to Future Forest (July 24–26), a small Canadian festival held in Bright Parish, New Brunswick. I had no idea about it, but I met the best people there who made me laugh so much. I felt so at home there, and I have stayed in touch with a bunch of the kids from there, so that made me really happy. I can’t wait to go there again! The trees were amazing, and the lake was absolutely beautiful. Five stars!
What are the most influential brands in dance culture right now? What makes them so?
Unfortunately, I’ve been living in a bubble under a rock. I don’t pay that much attention to what’s going on out there. I just dig for music that I like and play my solo shows and some festivals and, of course, the shows with my DIRTYBIRD family. If it doesn’t cross my path through one of these things, then I probably don’t know much about it.
That said, in my world of music and the peeps I talk to about music, I’ve noticed these brands are really buzzin’: Holy Ship, Swamp81, Ultramajic, Insomniac, Shambhala, RinseFM, Desert Hearts, the DoLab, Embrace, Piknic Électronik, and DIRTYBIRD.
Within your circle of friends, what has been a big topic of conversation this past year concerning electronic music and the culture? If no one thing has been driving a conversation, what are the topical issues and big concerns facing dance music right now?
Cell phone cameras suck.
What are some upcoming trend predictions for 2016? How do you think 2016 is going to be different from 2015, or do you feel we’re going to see more of the same?
All I can tell you is what I’m going to do. What happens in dance music is up to all the folks who make shit happen in this world. So we’ll see what they bring to the table next year when we get there, I guess. Personally, I’m going to try to not kill myself touring this year, so that I can make some new music. That’s the one big prediction that I’m hoping for. I also really hope it isn’t more of the same, because that’s boring. The exciting thing about dance music is when someone does something new that’s cool that makes you lose yourself in the sound right when you hear it.
What emerging DJs/artists do you think will break through in 2016?
My homie Sepehr (pronounced “se-pair”) from San Francisco. He’s such an amazing producer and DJ—one of my favorites right now—and I really hope to see him breaking through this year! I would be so stoked.
What is your pick for a top track contender in 2016?
Wait, I dunno, we aren’t even there yet! I’m also on a mini-DJ hiatus to work in the studio, so I haven’t been doing a ton of music digging the past few weeks. But I will say that I’m really looking forward to hearing the first tunes from Claude and Green Velvet’s duo Get Real. And I will always and forever be anticipating Justin Martin’s second album.
Favorite upcoming gig you’re looking forward to in 2016?
DIRTYBIRD Campout Part 2! Bring it on, baby!
Studio-wise, what original music can we look forward to in 2016?
There’s going to be a lot of new music from me this year!
Have any big New Year’s resolutions?
Fly to Iceland for the Airwaves Festival, and make more music than I’ve ever made.
What’s next for you in the coming months ahead?
Just the usual! Making beats and giggin’ a bunch. I’m getting a new couch in a few weeks. It’ll be nice to have somewhere to sit in the living room. And New Year’s will be a blast! I can’t wait to play with Danny Daze and Jimmy Edgar.
J.Phlip’s Year in Music Track List:
Jakwob “Planets” [January]
I played this track quite a bit this year. It doesn’t sound like anything else. It has strange sounds and rhythms. The bleeps and bloops and the caveman bassline give it some fun elements that DIRTYBIRD fans like.
Copy Paste Soul “Stuck” (Dubspeeka Remix) [February]
It’s tough to put in words why you like something sometimes. When I listen to a track, I not only see if it gives me a feeling, but also if it doesn’t sound like everything else to me. This track has a massive evil warehouse bassline. It has breaks scattered throughout, which make it a fun track to mix with breakbeat tracks; however, it has a 4/4 kick. It was a good tool for me to switch from playing breaks back to 4/4. The track strips down to just the kick basically at one point, and the crowd would always cheer when they felt the change in energy—like: “Oh yay, OK, we’re back in 4/4.”
Tom Demac “Beckett’s Racket” [March]
Tom is an amazing producer. His tracks always sound incredible in the club. All the sounds and layers wrap around you and swirl around your body and your head. This is an absolutely beautiful deep house track.
Billy Kenny & Abby Jane “I Operate” [April]
Acidic stabs and wobbles all over this beast. The vocals are simple and catchy and keep the track moving with their repetitions and pitch-shifty fluctuations and effects. And they aren’t annoying or cheesy. Rather, they are really cool and robotic—“At night I operate.” I think any of us can relate to that. Great tune.
Joy Orbison & Boddika “TMTT” [May]
Boddika is my absolute favorite producer. Anything he does is fire for me. He and Joy took it deep on this one. I just love that sax riff. The kick and beats are strong and totally punch you in the club, and you just can’t stop dancing. Listen to that arpeggiated synth swirling you around and making you float away. Yum. Analog at its best.
Posthuman “We Are the City” [June]
This track is acid in its truest, most classic form. When that acid bassline drops in, the whole place would always go “Mmm…” It gets you; you’re in, and you can’t get out of it. Posthuman crushed it on the acid tracks this year. Somebody give him an award.
Justin Martin & Ardalan ft. Party Patty “Function” VIP [July]
This was 100 percent the theme song of the year. The original was so fire. And then six months later, these boys hit us with an authentic 303 acid break VIP version! Stop it! Everybody in the damn world shook their ass to “Function” this year.
Walker & Royce “My Stop” [August]
This track wins the award for most-played track I heard everyone playing. It threw me back slightly to early Switch & Jesse Rose’s Dubsided label days. Slightly fidget, back when it had funk, and before it got over-the-top obnoxious. It’s always fun to mix in a quirky banger.
Duke Slammer “Just Drums” [September]
Love this track. Chock full of old-skool analog drums, but with so many surprise switch-ups in the beat that it could never get repetitive or boring, even though the track is just what it’s called: “Just Drums.” I love a fun, drummy track, and this Duke fella nailed it. It feels kinda like if Parris Mitchell and Justin Martin made a track together.
Sparky “Tigress” [October]
Raw, distorted warehouse beats that crunch harder and harder as the track goes along. It’s a head-banger, and I love it; it makes me want to rage. My boyfriend got this tune from Jackmaster and showed it to me before it came out, and holy fuck, I could not wait for its release! Awesome release from the Numbers label.
Kenton Slash Demon “Syko” [November]
Have you ever heard these guys’ track “Sun” from 2010? I apologize, but these guys and Tartalet Records hadn’t come across my mind in a while. This is a big goosebumps track, just like “Sun” was. When it’s this goosebump-y, it’s hard to describe it with words, because I just keep getting lost when I hear it. It’s a beautiful song built heavily with samples. Long, floaty samples and stabs that build, and vocal bits that ohhh and ahhh—slightly along the lines of Jamie xx’s style—and it all builds around sorta Burial-style hollow drums. Who cares about comparisons, though; this tune is unique and stands out on its own.
Huxley & J.Phlip “Salvia” [December]
These guys are OK. Have you ever seen that YouTube video of the guy taking three huge rips of salvia and falling out the window? Well, these guys sampled it and made it into a big-bassline, evil techno tune. This track was super fun to make. Huxley is the best!