For many years, music producer Richard Robson has collaborated actively with JES on most of her greatest hits. Certainly, he can analyze the artistry of the prolific singer from a broad viewpoint. Get to know him better through this interview, where he reveals exclusive details regarding his past works, the recording process, and much more. Personally, I think the good chemistry between them is what brings good results to their projects. Learn more below.
1 – Do you remember the first track you produced for JES?
Were working over the internet on some ideas for her debut album ‘Disconnect’. JES texted me about a song she had a song for Tiësto’s ‘Elements Of Life’ album called “Everything” and asked if I could help her finish off the vocal production. There was a hard deadline for the album and they needed the song the next day. We worked through the night sending clips back and forth exchanging ideas over text and calls and just managed to get it all finished in time. Even under all that pressure, JES was only worried about whether she felt it was living up to her own expectations. It was very inspiring to work with someone who was able to focus on the creative aspect of the music and not succumb to the stress of the deadline!
2 – How did it come about?
I was introduced to JES through two producers that I worked with on a few different projects in London. They were based in LA and had started working on her debut album for Black Hole. They asked me to contribute some production ideas from my studio in Barcelona. Through that introduction, I started working over the internet on tracks for the album, as well as collaborations with JES and other DJs. We had been re-working together for a long time before we finally met in LA!
3 – What kind of gear you got in the recording studio?
We have a great studio in LA now which we’ve been developing for the last few years. It has a smaller writing and production room, a medium-sized mixing and mastering space, and a third large recording room and control room. There’s a good selection of equipment across the facility and our partner in the studio is Avalon Design, so we have a great selection of Avalon equipment. We like to use a wide variety of gear for inspiration so there’s never one formula or chain. A few of the mics we regularly use for vocals are, Neuman U47, Telefunken AK47, Brauner Phantom Custom and we use mic pre’s from Avalon, UTA, API and Neve, Retro Instruments. We mainly record and produce in Pro Tools, although we also use Logic and Ableton as well for production and writing. Aside from the analog equipment we also use a lot of software and I particularly like the Universal Audio, FabFilter, Valhalla and Waves plug-ins on her vocals. We also have a wide range of instruments as JES often starts writing her songs on piano or guitar.
4 – In your opinion, is there any specific genre or instrumentation that fits JES’ vocals so well?
JES has a wide emotional range in her voice so she’s versatile with different genres. Her voice blends very well with acoustic instruments and synths, which you can see in songs like “Fall Into You” where the song modulates from being very acoustic in timbre to being very synth-heavy in the drop.
5 – Why do you think JES has taken a Dance Pop direction lately?
JES loves to keep re-inventing her sound so she releases a lot of different music. If you check out her catalog on Apple Music/Spotify she has over 700 releases across a wide variety of genres. We both enjoy the challenge of working in different genres, it stretches you as an artist and helps you to grow. It’s very important to keep developing your style to stay inspired to keep your creative energy levels up.
6 – Are you still inspired to produce fresh Trance music?
Totally! It’s always a huge thrill in the studio when a song starts to come together and everyone can feel that it’s something special. Recently we were working on her Beatport #1 collaboration with Aly & Fila “I Won’t Let You Fall” and after trying a few different ideas for the chorus JES just sang it down in one take and we all felt it immediately. The excitement when the music hits you and everyone feels the goosebumps never wears off!
I’ve lost count, but there’s a lot of them out there under some of my remix names like Twisted Disko, Hampton Chills, and Coco Chanel.
8 – Which one is your favorite? Why?
That’s a hard one to answer, but I often hear people say that they love the Twisted Disko Remix of Allure ft. JES – Show Me The Way. We’ve also got a beautiful chill-out remix of We Belong To The Night coming out before the end of the year so look out for that one too.
7 – Can you reveal to us your creative process when it comes to making new songs?
We don’t have a specific process or formula for new songs. The deciding factor is always that we both have to agree that it’s a good idea, which doesn’t always happen! Some of the songs have come from an inspiring sound or chord progression. Sometimes JES writes the whole song on piano or guitar and we’ll start working on it from those core parts. We always try to focus on the song before the production gets underway and make sure that we both believe in the song 100 percent before we get into producing it.
8 – Do you also participate in the songwriting phase?
Yes, we’ve written a lot of songs together including some JES’ best-known tracks like “High Glow” (Taxigirl/Tiesto), “Awaken” (JES) and “Show Me The Way” (Allure & JES).
9 – How flexible is JES when making decisions? Who has the last word in the studio?
The producer’s job is to deliver the perfect outcome for everyone. The artist’s vision needs to be realized in a way that satisfies them, and the label needs to get what they want as well. JES is always driven by the sense and emotion of the song. She has a great instinct for that, so I would always follow her lead and try to find a way to make everything else work around it. The emotion is the most important part, everything else has to fit around that.
In JES’s own words… Never Give Up! There’s a commitment to both the craft and the art that gives her songs a timeless quality that goes beyond being caught in a particular style or era. Fashion is always changing, but quality can transcend that and JES maintains that crucial quality in her songs which means they’ll always reach people and have a place in their hearts.