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Feb 28 2010

United State of Pop 2009 (Blame It on Dj Earworm)

Published by Annie at 7:25 pm under Interviews

United State of Pop 2009 (Blame it on the Pop)

I have to thank one person for supporting me and before I had even put it up yet: San Francisco’s Jordan Roseman, also known as DJ Earworm. This amazing DJ has probably gotten his latest mashup stuck in everyone’s head already, and if not you just wait; United State of Pop 2009 will be stuck in your head for days after you hear it! (amongst the rest of his musical masterpieces!) I was so excited when he agreed to do this interview, so I just have to say thank you so much again!!! keep up the awesome work! I can’t wait to see what comes next! :)

1) It’s pretty safe to say that “DJ Earworm” is an original name. How did you think of that?

Earworm is a word for a song that gets in your head. It’s from “Ohrwurm” in German. I thought that was a good goal, to get music deep into people’s heads!

2) How and when did you develop an interest in being a DJ and creating your mash-ups? What did you do in order to pursue that interest? Have you always been interested in doing this?

I’ve wanted to be a musician since college. I knew I wanted to write music and to make it with computers. So I studied music in high school and college, and spent many years making original electronic music and writing songs on the piano. I made my first mashup accidentally when I was making a mixtape, and friends encouraged me to make more and post them online. Once I got a website, I called myself DJ Earworm, learned to DJ, and before long I was getting gigs. Having a background in piano and electronic production made learning to DJ a LOT faster and easier.

3) Can you give me a brief description on how you make these mash-ups? What is the thought process, does the music just naturally come to you? And what software or mixer do you use?

Sometimes it’s natural and other times it’s a lot of effort. In the best case, I just hear a piece of music that reminds me of another one, and they work together magically. Sometimes I have to try different combinations repeatedly until something works. I use Ableton Live to mix it all together.

4) Where did you grow up? Was music always a big part of your life and family?

I grew up in Eastern Iowa, and there was much music always in my family. My mother plays piano wonderfully, and my father plays many many instruments. There was always music going on the house, and I was always playing piano, first taking lessons, then later I quit lessons but kept on doodling around on the piano all the time. I also played a bit with electronic and computer music.

5) What was your major in college, and did it help you build up skills to produce the songs you do?

I double majored in Music Theory and Computer Science. It most definitely helped me build the skills I use today! The more music theory you know, the better remixer, DJ, producer, or songwriter you can become.

6) What was your dream job as a kid, teenager, or even just before you became a DJ?

I used to think I wanted to be an actor as a young kid, then I thought I wanted to be a scientist. It was after my freshman year of college that I realized I loved music so much, I wanted to make it the main focus of my life. I didn’t slip into the DJ mode until much later.

7) What is your muse for the work you do? What or who inspired you in the first place?

I heard 2 Many DJ’s back in 2002 then started making mashups a couple of years later, by accident. I was using some software just to make a mixtape, and I started cutting up the material a lot. I played it for a friend and he told me “You made a mashup”, so I made a bunch more, put them online, and the buzz just grew from there. I’ve always thought that mashups should just sound like good music, so I’m a lot more inspired by non-mixed music than I am by listening to mashups.

8) Who are your favorite bands? Preference in genre?

I can’t say I have a favorite, but I like electronic music a whole lot! Edgy, interesing stuff. But I love a good hook, and I like to know what everyone is up to, so I end up listening to just about everything, which is a lot of fun for me. I also love music from the past, almost any era, I think music tells us so much about ourselves and the world.

9) If you could meet any person you admire, (dead or alive) who would that person be?

It would be cool to meet some of the great musicians, like Bach or Beethoven, or some of the great scientists, like Einstein or Darwin.

10) What other things do you like to do? Any other talents or interests you could have pursued?

I play piano and write songs, I’d love to pursue that further when the timing is right!

11) As challenging as mash-ups are to make to begin with, what is the biggest challenge you have encountered so far?

I’d say the United State of Pop 2009. It’s hard enough to get 25 arbitrary songs to blend with each other, but this year I really wanted to push it into a pop song format with a singable verse/chorus structure, and a consistent meaning that both tied into the our story and mood. I think for the first time this year I actually got a clear message out of all these jumble of words that just felt right.

12) If you could choose any songs to turn into a mash-up right now, what would you choose?

Maybe Michael Jackson, or the Beatles, or some other great act from the past with many many hits.

13) What is the next step for you? Are you planning on releasing any albums? You have already released a book on the art of making mash-ups, how did you decide to write that?

I have a lot of plans and ideas, including making more mashups and maybe something longer like an album, we’ll see! I hope to do stuff that is in new and interesting formats. For the book, the publisher approached me with the concept, and I submitted some writing and got the gig. It was so much work to write, but I’m very proud of it. It shows people from the ground-up everything they need to know to make music mashups.

14) What are your personal favorites of your mash-ups? And have you gotten asked by artists and their labels to make a mash-up for them?

My favorite is probably the most recent, United State of Pop 2009 (Blame It on the Pop), everything just came together on that one. I’ve been asked by a number of labels and artsits, including Annie Lennox and Sean Kingston.

15) What is something that no one would ever guess about you at first encounter?

How much I’ve risked and overcome to get to where I am now!

16) If you could ever return to high school for a day, would you? What is some advice you could give to music loving, high school students (like myself) from when you were 16/17 years old?

I’m very happy with where and who I am now, so I wouldn’t go back, although I have many fond memories! The advice I’d give to students who love music is to take advantage of your situation and learn as much about music as possible. It’s very hard to learn new music skills later in life once your career starts and the responsibilites build. If you want to develop your music skills, do it now! I’d also emphasize that learning about music theory will help any kind of musician, especially those who are looking to create, mix, remix, compose, write, etc.

17) Did you watch the Super Bowl last night? If so, Saints or Colts?

My vote went to The Who!

18) Is there anything else that either I have missed, or you want to add for the people who will be reading this?

That’s it, look for cool new stuff at soon, thanks!

One response so far

One Response to “United State of Pop 2009 (Blame It on Dj Earworm)”

  1. Fiverr Scrapeboxon 25 Feb 2011 at 9:39 pm

    That is the precise blog for anyone who wants to search out out about this topic. You notice so much its nearly hard to argue with you (not that I really would want…HaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a subject thats been written about for years. Great stuff, simply great!

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