Discovery Project Releases is a regular series featuring exclusive music downloads from our Discovery Project alumni.
One thing that is abundantly clear from scrolling through the socials of 20-year-old producer Jace Mek—née Cesar Jauregui—is that his passion for dance music runs deep. He is a prime example of the kind of immense talent now arising from the first generation of American dance music fans who have grown up with EDM as a pivotal part of their mainstream lives.
Cesar started producing at 13, and by the time he was in high school, he was already beginning to form the foundation for his signature sound, which has been dubbed “weirdo house” by longtime supporter Porter Robinson. His music pulsates with jackin’ tribal rhythms and is layered deftly with otherworldly sound design. It’s unique and compelling—the kind of music you’d beam out into space to let alien life forms know how hard we rage.
Not old enough to legally enter most clubs he plays in, Jace is quickly becoming a powerhouse name with support from Malaa and Diplo, as well as having releases on Confession and Main Course. We were so blown away by his entry for the DP competition for Countdown 2016, we absolutely had to get ahold of one of his infectious, dancefloor-filling beats.
“Indecisive” is a minimal masterpiece. Thumping booty bass and shuffling, off-kilter percussion frames a slick groove for a powerful, scratching lead reminiscent of DJ Dan’s iconic tune “Needle Damage.”
We caught up with Jace to talk about his unique approach to sound design, what he’s learned from making music under several aliases, and what it means to be a mentor at such a young age.
Your approach to sound design is quite unique. Where do you draw inspiration from to create such strange and interesting sounds?
First off, thank you for the compliment. I have always been a big fan of crazy sound design, and ever since I began making music, my biggest goal in production was to achieve a certain level of uniqueness with my sound design, that nobody can even come close to figuring out how I made those sounds. I’m not there yet, but I think I’m well on my way.
Take us back to when you first fell in love with dance music. Was there a particular moment when you realized this was something you wanted to pursue seriously?
Growing up, my two older brothers played loud electronic music around the house, so electronic dance music kind of just got forced into my head and ears. But I really enjoyed listening to it. There was one particular sound that caught my attention, and that was Benny Benassi. At the age of 12, I remember sitting down in my living room’s love seat and saying the words, “Hey, could you get me music production software?” to my oldest brother, and he went out of his way to get me FL Studio. After producing as a hobby for four to five years, I realized that making music was the only thing I loved doing. So, I began to get serious about it. At the age of 16, I wanted to pursue a career in music production, as well as music performance.
You considered entering the Discovery Project competition before you were even legally old enough to do so. Considering that, what did finally winning mean to you?
When I was about 15 years old, I found out about the Discovery Project competition, and I was bummed that I could not legally enter it, considering I was not 18. As time passed by and I was finally able to enter, I didn’t think I was ready for it, so I passed up all of the opportunities to enter for a while. The Countdown competition was the first Discovery Project I entered and I actually won. Finally winning meant a lot to me, as I’ve been a big fan of Insomniac for the longest, so finally getting the “approval” from Insomniac was one of the best moments of my life. I’m glad I waited.
You began your journey as a producer under different aliases: DJ Anomaly and then Inceta. Why the changes, and what did you learn from those experiences that you took with you?
Haha, I laugh every time someone brings up those aliases. I hated those names so much. I began as DJ Anomaly because I couldn’t come up with any other name. So in reality, it was just a temporary name. When I became Inceta, I realized that I loved making music, and I wanted to rebrand to something that, at the time, sounded more professional to me. I made a lot of electro house, progressive house and complextro using that name. As Inceta, I learned how to make better music, but then I got tired of the name, and I wanted to rebrand to something that meant a little more to me.
I started Jace Mek as an experiment to release really weird and different music, and it has worked out so far. I realized that after every name change, I got better at producing, and I felt a sudden rush of creativity and inspiration. I learned a lot through those name changes. I started something that meant little to almost nothing to me, but as time passed by, I created this project that, today, I hold dearly. It’s an evolution of sound.
You are part of the first generation to grow up through the EDM explosion. How do you think that has shaped your perception of the business and music?
I regret not putting 100 percent of me into music production at a young age, because there is so much competition today. When I began to make music, the DJ/producer title wasn’t as easy to receive. The fact that I’m growing up through it definitely motivates me to try harder, to know more, and to do more.
Considering the fact that you’ve already achieved so much before the age of 21, do you see yourself becoming a mentor for youngsters that hope to achieve great things in music?
It’s crazy to think I barely turned 20 years old. It honestly feels like I’ve passed 21 already, but I’m glad I’m not 21 yet. I get to perform at 21+ events, and knowing that I’m technically not supposed to be there is a cool feeling. I 100 percent see myself being a mentor for anybody who hopes to be successful in the music industry. I love being young, because by the time I’m in my mid-20s, I’ll be an expert in the industry. As much as I love being informed about everything surrounding the music industry, I would like to share that information with someone special—someone who clearly shows signs of dedication, drive, and love for the music.