Trance fans, if you have not heard of Jason Ross yet, you need to get your priorities in order. His spin on progressive trance has taken the scene by storm and is a must-listen for anyone into the melodies and emotional vibe the genre is known for. A San Diego State University graduate via Minneapolis, MN, Ross has had a huge year so far—and it only looks to be going up from here.
After releasing “Burma” via trance label mainstay Monster Tunes in early 2014, he was swooped up by Above & Beyond and the Anjunabeats family for what has become quite a lucrative relationship. With a new single out now—“Cairo” on Anjunabeats—Ross and I sat down to discuss his skyrocketing career, trance in the US, and how this one-time bedroom producer became one of the most talked-about names in 2015.
Who is Jason Ross?
I grew up in Minneapolis, MN, and I got introduced to electronic music at a very young age. At around 12 years old, my buddy showed me Darude’s “Sandstorm” and ATB’s “Till I Come,” and I was instantly hooked. From then on, I realized I wanted to be that person playing this music to people and giving them that energy that I got from listening to those tracks. I picked up this software program called djay, which was similar to Ableton and Logic. I produced my first electronic album that year, just because I was so inspired by the genre. Ever since then, I have had a passion for the music. It was college when I really started to DJ out in clubs locally around San Diego State University.
What initially drew you to trance music? What inspired you work within the genre?
It is just the feeling—the emotion that is in trance music. The feeling that it gives you is unmatched. I love that there is depth to it, and unlike other genres, it is not exclusively party music. That progressive house sound is something I love. It is a combination of the depth and the emotion that trance gives you, with the club-oriented beats, that makes it such amazing music. It is really music that can make you groove. The combination of the emotive energy and the progressive style is why I like trance music.
How did you move from your early, more progressive house sound—such as your breakout hit, “Burma”—to your more recent, trance-oriented material?
Honestly, I think it is the progression of me as a producer. I think I was holding back a bit on “Burma.” What I really want to do is push the envelope and go outside of my comfort zone, and really make big tracks that work in these big festivals or big venues that are now the face of electronic dance music. I just want to keep pushing the boundaries and pushing myself as a producer to make these bigger tracks.
Talk about being the future face of trance.
It is crazy. I guess it is really hard to take in, because I have been looking up to some of these guys that are now supporting my music for years now. To be at that level, or to be the new face of the scene, is amazing and quite the feat. I am really honored to be at this point in my career. I am continuing to learn, and continuing to push the envelope, because I know that I have more to give, and the best is yet to come. It is a very exciting time right now, and things are only going to get better and bigger.
Getting on Anjunabeats at such a young period in your career is amazing. How did you link up with the Above & Beyond guys?
When “Burma” came out about a year ago on a label called Monster Tunes, I was really nobody, to be honest. Monster Tunes sent promos of the track to other labels to get some feedback and promotion and support, and I guess Above & Beyond or the A&R team selected it to be played on Group Therapy. Literally, it was amazing because it was always a dream of mine to be played on their radio show. Everyone went crazy about the track, and the feedback was massive. Per request from fans, Above & Beyond played it again the next week, which blew me away. They played it a third week… from my understanding, [it] is very rare for them to play a non-Anjunabeats record for more than two weeks. After the third week they played it, Anjunabeats contacted me directly through email. They were like, “Hey, the guys loved your track. Do you guys have anything else you could send to us for our label?” And that is really how it all began.
We caught Above & Beyond at the Forum in Los Angeles earlier this month, and we heard them play a couple of your tracks. What was that like?
It was awesome; they played two or three of them. It was a great time.
What is the current state of trance music in the US?
I think it is always going to exist in one shape or another in the United States. It is always going to be there and have a strong presence, just because of the feeling and emotion it gives off. And really, the trance fans are the most loyal fans you could get in any genre. I think the reason is because the music really resonates with people, and they connect to the music in such a deep level that you naturally become attached to it—because it is such an emotional type of music. Because of this, I think it will always exist in the grander spectrum of electronic music. It is an exciting time because not only is EDM growing, but trance is growing as well. I see DJs playing around the country, selling out shows everywhere. Above & Beyond, for example, are selling out Madison Square Garden, which is insane. They would never think of doing that two, three years ago, and to do that shows how big a reach trance music has. It is a great time for EDM and trance.
What does 2015 hold for Jason Ross?
I have no idea, to be honest… a lot more quality releases, and hopefully a tour soon. I definitely plan to be in a city near you sometime soon. Nothing set in stone, but I am in talks with a lot of great people. It will be a big year for me.