INTERVIEW | JODY WISTERNOFF
Growing up in a musically oriented family, Jody Wisternoff’s passion began at an early age. Alongside his brother Sam, the Bristol natives participated in their first hip-hop competition at the tender age of 13. The two would later form the group Tru Funk, helping cultivate the Bristol dub scene throughout the late 80s and early 90s. He continued to expand musically through linking up with singer/songwriter Coco Star to create the duo Sub Love. Jody’s career took its biggest turn after meeting producer Nick Warren at a local record shop. The two would eventually combine forces to form Way Out West, and together they helped shape the dance music landscape with their unique, progressive sound. After four album releases, the Way Out West project is still alive and healthy. Today, Jody continues to innovate, focusing a lot of his energy on his solo career, releasing on labels such as Anjunadeep, Ministry of Sound, and Distinctive.
We recently got the opportunity to chat with Jody, where he shared details about his life and emergence into the music industry. Be sure to check out Jody Wisternoff for his Bang Bang debut on July 10th. Tickets can be found here.
You just recently played a Way Out West set at Glastonbury – how’d it go?
It went realllly well thanks! The Glade is such a great area to play and the crowd was really up for it. Our visuals looked wicked too on the huge LED screen behind us. Glastonbury is most definitely the best festivals in the world, and to play there and then party all weekend is utopia 🙂
Your father played a huge role in developing you as an artist early in life. What is the earliest memory you have discovering music with him?
Yeah, having hippy parents can tend to have quite an impact on ones listening material at a young age lol. I was no doubt subjected to all sorts of weird and wonderful sounds during my infant years, but what really made an impact was my dad making mixtapes from John Peel of late 80’s hip-hop. For some reason this sound just totally captured my imagination, maybe it was the DIY aspect of it all but it just really fired me up as a kid.
At the age of 16 you were already booking club gigs and releasing vinyl records. Finding such success early in life must have been overwhelming at times. How did you adapt?
To be honest i was just going with the flow, fully driven by the innocence and confidence of youth and totally undamaged by the impending harsh reality of the music industry lol. Good things were happening and I just felt like this was how it was meant to be, although to be honest the success was on a pretty chilled / non life changing level of course.
You and your brother shared a deep passion for hip-hop growing up. What was it like competing together in the DMC World DJ Championship?
Yep exactly lol. It was actually the DMC rapping championships, so basically my brother was the main player when it came to this! I was just chilling at the back fascinated by of my mad little 12 year old bro who was going up against all these fully grown black dudes and holding his own. I think we came 2nd in the finals, crazy days..
How did your love for hip-hop transform into dance music?
There was a period around 1991 when I was listening to both in equal measures. I was really into groups like De La Soul but equally vibing on the KLF and Shup Up and Dance ,for example. It just seemed like a natural progression, and pretty much everyone who was making dance music in the UK at this point was on the same mission. The rave scene was being born.
Dropping out of college marked a huge turning point in your life. What were you studying? Were there any specific events that lead to your dropping out?
I was studying Higher Maths and Psychics, and really starting to find it a major distraction from my quest to master the Akai S1000 sampler lol. I had just put together a pretty tasty home studio thanks to a publishing advance Smith&Mighty had helped us get, and my academia was clearly suffering.
And you played Universe Rave soon after that?
Yeah. pretty sure the first Universe was literally the weekend before I dropped out actually. In retrospect , a pretty bold move. No fallback vibes.
What are some of your fondest memories of the 90’s UK rave scene?
Just a general sense of wonder and an absolute fascination with the music and how it was made. Driving round the country in a convoy looking for free parties, waiting for hours to get a turn on the decks, then going home all buzzed up the next afternoon and trying to recreate all these mad sounds I had heard. A magical time, I feel lucky to have been part of..
Do you have plans in the works to release another solo album?
Not right now because I am working on the next Way Out West album with Nick Warren, as well as finishing off Anjunadeep07. Maybe in the future though..
How have you grown as a person in respect to how you’ve managed to balance your family and your music career?
I suppose just learned to multitask, massively !! The 2 opposing lifestyles compliment eachother hugely too, in a strange way.. Yeah the traveling can be tough, but as they say – absence makes the heart grow stronger 🙂