Unless youve been living on Pluto for the last decade, theres a good chance youve heard of Jason Nevins. A talented Producer, Remixer and DJ, Jasons name became ubiquitous with the release of his remix of Run DMCs Its Like That in 1998. Way before his impressive hit, Jason had been enjoying a long and illustrious relationship with music – not just making it, but being passionate about his love for it too. "Ive always been into various types of music he explains Not just dance music but everything from 70s mellow tunes to 80s pop, tons of classic rock….. and everything in between.
Jason picked up on dance music in the early 80s when he heard mixed tapes circulating around his native New York. While going to college (he originally studied graphic design), Jason moved into the exciting field of Telecommunication and got a slot on a major radio station, playing a diverse mix of underground New York house and more accessible dance. When I was in college, most people at that time didnt really understand New York underground club music" he reminisces, but they did recognize pop dance tracks- so I mixed the pop with the underground together.
Back in New York though, Jason traveled strictly on the underground, making cut & paste tracks for a wealth of imprints. His first outing made it onto E-Legal, the label co-owned by NY house legend Todd Terry but he kept on offering tunes to which ever labels that would have him. Some of the labels at the time turned out to be some of the dance worlds most respected labels: Freeze, Strictly Rhythm, Nervous, Cutting, Loaded and many others which were all seduced by Nevins’ grooves.
I just love the process of making music and selling it explains Jason. So I continually worked and sold, worked and sold." Since music changes ever so quickly, my philosophy has always been to put stuff out and move on to the next project. I never was one of those producers who believes you should only have one or two records out at a time and then wait around to see if something sticks- I love working on multiple projects.
Though remixes in the start had never really paid him much financially, Jason enjoyed doing them and maintained a habit of taking tracks that he liked and working them into something different, then presenting them to labels as finished products. A slightly backwards procedure to some, but one that firmly underlines his commitment to music and love of spending time in the studio. As his commercial success continued, he began to receive commissions to remix the likes of Lil Kim, Janet Jackson and Madonna, but in 1998 his unorthodox approach to mixing other peoples tunes finally paid off when his own version of Its Like That combined with hip hop legends Run DMC was released.
The massive tune went on to sell close to a staggering 5 million copies, hitting number one in over 30 countries and making Jason the biggest dance pop star America has ever had. Everyone from Ricky Martin and Robbie Williams to Prince and Britney Spears were soon clamoring for his “Midas touch”. That tune blew my mind as well as many other people says Jason I started in the underground and moved extremely fast into the mainstream- and that can shake anybody up really well. Its not as easy as it looks and it puts a huge amount of pressure on you.
Though he has become known to millions as the man to also bring classic 80s records up to date (he has reworked everyone from Eric B & Rakim, Toni Basil, Falco and the B52S), Jason insists his tastes have always been broader. My musical taste really expanded in the 80’s so I have a true love for the records from that era but I never wanted purposefully to have that tag says Jason. Its just coincidence really that I had remixed a lot of 80’s records in a row. I want to try and make records that fuse different elements and combine different styles. Im doing a lot of hip hop/rock/dance fusions such as my remix of Rock Star by N.E.R.D or my mix of “Rubberneckin” for the new Elvis album, and trying to be more selective about which projects I take on.
Jason Nevins is on a mission to devastate dancefloors. Despite spending over a decade in the business and scoring one of the dance worlds biggest hits, hes showing no signs of slowing down. Just make sure you keep your ears peeled for the latest installment – coming soon to a sound system near you.