Check out this new interview with one of Anjunabeat's latest success stories, the highly talented and extremely versatile producer Boom Jinx...
Boom Jinx Is Unending Trance Energy From Norway
Øistein Johan Eide aka Boom Jinx may still be considered a fresh face on the Trance horizon since he started releasing in 2005, but this Norwegian lad has been involved in making music since 1991. He started making music in 1989 when he accidentally got his hands on Soundtracker - a pattern based audio sequencer for the Commodore Amiga computer. In terms of audio specifications, the Amiga was basically an 8 bit 4 voice sampler. With a burning passion to create, 15-year-old Øistein spent more time making music than he did attending Norwegian elementary school. When he got his first freelance assignment from a major US game developer in 1991, he set a goal on making a career out of making music. By 2003, Øistein had produced music for more than 50 commercials. His work was being exposed to millions of people worldwide through international commercials and websites for high-profile brands and personalities. At the height of his freelance career, he was headhunted and offered full-time employment at one of the leading sound and music production companies in Norway. These days, it's easier for Øistein to say what type of projects he hasn't worked on than what he has, and his music airs on TV, Cinema and Radio every day. Even though he hasn't produced so much since he started releasing music in 2005, he produces quality before quantity, something that Steve Helstrip aka The Thrillsseekers has done the last few years. Øistein quickly got attention from Jono, Tony and Paavo and was able to release classic tracks in the making ‘Come Play Perfect’, ‘Remember September’, ‘Eternal Reminiscence’ and ‘Sunrise’ on Anjunabeats / Anjunadeep. His tracks have been pushed by top DJs like Armin van Buuren, Paul van Dyk, Tiesto, Above & Beyond, ATB and Marcus Schulz. His musical talent is far from one dimensional and not limited to the trance scene. Not only was his Breakbeat production ‘Manipulator’ premiered on BBC Radio 1 as a “hot new track” alongside Nelly Furtado, it was also licensed by the hit television show CSI: Miami. With his debut album in the works, Boom Jinx is poised to leave a lasting impression on listeners all over the globe. i:Vibes had the chance to interview the musical genius…
i:Vibes: Hi Øistein. How are you? Thanks for chatting to www.ivibes.nu. Thanks for the music first off! How often per day do you hear or read those words?
Boom Jinx: I'm fine, thank you. I don't always get music related compliments on a daily basis if that's what you mean. It varies a lot depending on what I'm doing or what's “out there” (or about to be). It's always very inspiring when I do though.
i:Vibes: You did not come from a particularly musical family. How did you become blessed with so much musical talent?
Boom Jinx: I think some people are born (or have the potential to be) more creative than others so I channeled my creativity through music just as much by coincidence as by choice.
i:Vibes: What was your first bought record?
Boom Jinx: I honestly don't remember. If I were to guess, I'd go with Michael Jackson's legendary Thriller on vinyl but it was probably something older.
i:Vibes: You did not start to release Trance until 2005. When did you become interested with Dance music?
Boom Jinx: My introduction to electronic music was through Jean Michelle Jarre and later Vangelis, and then I made the unpredictable jump from new age to Contemporary Jazz, Jazz Rock and Fusion which lasted for almost a decade. I think it was BT who ignited my interest in dance when I heard “Tripping The Light Fantastic” in 1995.
i:Vibes: What was the Norwegian dance scene like in the 90s? Did that affect you in any way in your desires to make music?
Boom Jinx: Believe me, you're asking the wrong guy. After I got into dance in 1995, I explored it exclusively in a pair of overpriced headphones in the confines of my own bedroom for several years. I've never been into dancing or traditional clubbing and to even contemplate going clubbing without dancing required an amount of self-confidence I needed another decade to develop.
i:Vibes: You have a very diverse list of musical influences. Ulrich Schnauss is one of them. How did he inspire you and what would you like to inherit from his musical know-how to put into your music?
Boom Jinx: For me, Ulrich Schnauss is synonymous with ‘Gone Forever’. It's one of the ten best... or I should say amongst the ten songs that has moved me the most in recent years. As a producer, I think it's also a bit of a masterpiece because even though it's not a three billion dollar production, recorded at two zillion bits and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, the simplicity yet richness of the sound and harmonies are absolutely astounding. It's all electronic but somehow, Ulrich makes a lot of his synths sound like guitars. I've tried to do something similar when nobody's watching but it's not easy. Then again, simplifying things in very clever ways is not exactly my specialty. There's something almost magical about his music sometimes.
i:Vibes: You have been involved with music since 1991 and your music has been featured in over 50 commercials. What are the biggest differences in making music for a commercial and just a plain old Trance track?
Boom Jinx: Oh, the difference is huge. Doing customized music requires a high level of flexibility, both creatively and stylistically. A client may want modern, traditional, fast, slow, happy or sad at any given time and when it reaches my desk, it comes with a deadline. On a personal level, doing customized music is a study in swallowing camels and never takes your mood or level of inspiration into account. On the upside, the more detached you are from your pride when doing music, the easier it is to do. Sadly, sometimes you even do better work because you put a lot less pressure on yourself. I suspect this goes hand in hand with the fact that customized music isn't always directly linked back to you... unless you score a film and end up in the credits. Being relaxed and not expecting too much of yourself is like fertilizer for your creativity. As an artist, even though you eventually do take into account what you think people will like, you normally begin by trying to entertain yourself. Relating to a record label A&R is very different than answering to a client. An A&R's job is music. A client's job might be trying to sell as much food as possible.
i:Vibes: You got very late into making Trance music. What were the most important things that your 10 plus years of making music for commercial and high profile websites gave you for your moonlighting Trance career?
Boom Jinx: Well, having been producing for many years meant that my primary challenge was to learn the formula, not how to make music itself. Having done hundreds of short pieces for commercials, games and whatnot, the biggest challenge was to learn how to properly arrange full-length songs. This is still one of the most difficult things for me but I try to compensate by spending a lot of time on it, and it does get easier with time.
i:Vibes: Why did you come up with the artist name Boom Jinx? Does it have a particular meaning?
Boom Jinx: Back in 2005, I met a talented Dutch writer/rapper/dancer and after hearing how quick and clever he was with words, I asked him to suggest artist names. He came up with a list and I instantly felt connected to Boom Jinx.
i:Vibes: How would you describe the Boom Jinx sound as of 2009?
Artistically, for me, 2009 is all about finishing my debut album which has taken much, much longer than I first anticipated. Between the occasional writer's block, lack of time and constantly wanting to improve on things, it's become just as much a burden as it is my creative life's most ambitious and exciting project. Finishing it will come with a mixed feeling of relief and euphoria. As for sound, my debut album will be stylistically so diverse that it's hard for me to narrow things down, except tapping into my signature sound and engineering style which is very difficult to put into words when you're standing in the middle of it.
i:Vibes: A Daniel Kandi or Adam Nicky probably did a special dance after they heard they had a track signed by Anjunabeats. You as a music veteran who had seen it all, how did you react when you found out that ‘Come Play Perfect’ had been taken by Anjunabeats?
Boom Jinx: I don't remember much other than being very happy about it. After having released several breaks singles and remixes, I realized signing with Anjuna meant a higher level of exposure. Not much point being an artist if no one likes your work or you specialize in an art form which has a very limited audience. I'm not that eccentric.
i:Vibes: You have known Jono Grant through the internet for more than ten years. Why did it take you so long to finally release a track for Anjunabeats?
Boom Jinx: When I first met Jono, he had not even met Paavo or Tony yet. We were doing different things and going in very different directions at the time. I didn't even produce anything Anjunabeats could consider until ‘Come Play Perfect’.
i:Vibes: Your first release ‘Come Play Perfect’ became an instant favorite. You can listen to this track a hundred times and find something new each time. Was this track really as difficult to produce as it sounds?
Boom Jinx: Sadly, yes. If someone actually saw the amount of work that normally goes into each track I produce as Boom Jinx, not to mention how many changes they go through from beginning to end, they might be tempted to have me institutionalized. I take great comfort in knowing some people seem to appreciate the amount of work that goes into them though, and it allows me to conceal my fanatical perfectionism by labeling it being... thorough. One of the downsides of spending so much time with each track is that you hear them so many times it starts tapping into your gag reflexes at some point. ‘Come Play Perfect’ is one of the only tracks I've released that I can still listen to, and it has a lot of sentimental value to me. It was the first full-length, 4 on 4 dance track I had ever made from beginning to end and despite several previously released singles and remixes, it was essentially the beginning of the Boom Jinx people seem to identify me with today. I owe Espen Gulbrandsen a lot for convincing me to have a go at this style when I was still devoted to breaks.
i:Vibes: One could call you Mr. Groove because with ‘Remember September’ you hit the mark with a groovy beat. I like September because it’s my birthday month. What was your inspiration behind naming a month your track?
Boom Jinx: I'm not one of those people who take a lot from the conscious mind with me into song-making. I don't go hiking, witness a squirrel making love to a willing pigeon and decide to write poems and songs about this beautiful yet unusual act of nature. ‘Remember September’ had a nice sound to it and for a while, I intended to have (and actually did record) vocals for it. If you take the first passage of the melody and apply the words "Do you remember... that night in September?", it fits. The vocals eventually came out too pop-like and shamelessly reminiscent of Earth, Wind & Fire and thus, were taken out.
i:Vibes: With ‘Eternal Reminiscence’, you showed the world your soft touch with melodies. This track is a beautiful tear jerker. This is a very emotional track. The melody is unforgettable. How difficult was it to find this tender melody?
Boom Jinx: To me, writing melodies is often easier than coming up with interesting chord progressions. ‘Eternal Reminiscence’ was originally written as a demo for an Audi car commercial. At half-tempo without any reminiscence of dance music, it taught me to start writing the musical backbone of a track by getting the chords and melody in place first. Despite good feedback, it wasn't picked up by the agency so I decided to try to make a full-length song out of it. An early decision to up the tempo from my regular 128 BPM made it my first full-on Trance track and as such, my first Anjunabeats release. In terms of production, ‘Eternal Reminiscence’ is perhaps my least favorite Anjuna release but by far the most successful. If anything, this taught me that if you want a broad audience, the music itself is much more important than high production value.
i:Vibes: ‘Sunrise’ was a co-production with the very talented Oli Smith. What was it like working with him? What special quality did Oli give this track?
Boom Jinx: I was going through a very inspired period when I wrote ‘Sunrise’, enjoying composing more than the time-consuming process of producing. Following my own advice to get the chords and melodies in place first, I wrote three ideas that I hoped would eventually become Anjunabeats releases. Knowing that producing all three of them on my own could easily take several months, I started playing with the idea of having others co-produce them. They all sounded kind of movie-esque at first so although there are a number of tracks from my original demo in ‘Sunrise’, Oli basically produced the entire song at first. Oli did a great job remixing ‘Eternal Reminiscence’ so he was one of the first that came to mind. Needless to say, he did a fantastic job and he's an absolute pleasure to work with. He is very talented and one of the nicest guys in the business.
i:Vibes: How do you usually work in the studio when you are working on a dance track? Do you have a certain working pattern or does it vary from track to track or possibly mood you’re in on a certain day?
Boom Jinx: That process varies and evolves a lot with time, especially considering being a recording artist is still fairly new to me. To be honest, I still feel like I'm trying to find myself artistically. I don't use templates but fortunately, I rarely use the same sounds or samples twice. Sound selection is one of the things I enjoy the most while producing. And yes, mood definitely has a big impact on all things creative.
i:Vibes: What new releases can we expect from you in the future?
Boom Jinx: The simple answer is... my debut album and any/all remixes associated with it. What happens after that depends on the outcome of the album. I'm not entirely sure what style I enjoy doing the most yet.
i:Vibes: You are working on your debut album. What can we expect from this?
Boom Jinx: Figuratively speaking, a study in whether or not climbing Mount Everest was really worth it... for me. Other than that, a few surprises and good music, I hope! There will be more than ten people contributing on this album.
i:Vibes: Your production ‘Manipulator’ premiered on BBC radio as a hot track, and will air on the famous American crime show CSI: Miami. Does TV exposure like that help possible chances of making music for soundtracks? That must be a goal for you?
Boom Jinx: In the case of ‘Manipulator’, the amount of exposure as an artist was minimal but considering CSI: Miami is or was the world's most popular TV show and has a budget that allows them to use whatever the hell they want, the sense of achievement was huge. When a show like CSI licenses your music for an episode, they extract 20-30 seconds worth of music and put it in a scene that comes and goes in the blink of an eye. The actors don't start to dance and hold up posters with your artist name so even if someone out there falls in love with the 20-30 seconds worth of music they hear, they have to do quite a bit of research to narrow down who made the music in that particular episode, in that particular scene. Other than the sense of achievement, it's undeniably a great reference. I would love to have more Boom Jinx releases licensed to TV and film.
i:Vibes: You have already been busy in the music industry for 16 years. What big dreams do you still have unfulfilled?
Boom Jinx: Dreams are so important. No dreams, no ambitions. No ambitions, no goals. No goals, no direction. No direction, no result. One of my dreams is to interact more with my audience, travel and DJ as much as I can. The key to being an in-demand DJ these days is to establish your name as a recording artist. Attending a major DJ event today feels more like attending a concert than simply going out with your friends on a Saturday night. With that said, continuing to try to put out good music is essential. I would also consider it a dream come true if the feedback on my debut album is consistent with the effort that's gone into it. To invest so much of yourself on something that turns out to be a disappointment to your target audience has got to be pretty rough.
i:Vibes: What are your five all-time favorite tracks?
Boom Jinx: Oh boy... I'm afraid that’s too specific for me. I can only answer that if you let me name some gems more or less randomly. My all-time favorite artist is probably Pat Metheny, and mentioning songs like ‘The Road To You’, ‘In Her Family’ and ‘First Circle’ is just scratching the tip of the iceberg. Otherwise, ‘Evolution’ by Mezzoforte, ‘Rock With You’ (and many others) by Michael Jackson, ‘Gone Forever’ by Ulrich Schnauss, ‘Poison’ by The Prodigy, ‘September’ and ‘After The Love Is Gone’ by Earth, Wind & Fire, ‘Ai No Corrida’ by Quincy Jones, ‘Air For Life’ by Above & Beyond and Andy Moor… Several Vangelis and Antonio Carlos Jobim pieces should be on the list and if you gave me enough time, I know I would hate myself for forgetting so much!
i:Vibes: What are your hobbies?
Boom Jinx: I love all things related to psychology and anything that contains alcohol. I'm also very fond of philosophy, being a critic and modern science in general, especially cosmology. I enjoy combining these. For example, one thing that amuses me about UFO mythologists is that they think, despite the fact that we've now successfully teleported particles, discovered a way to divert light around an object (non-fictitious invisibility technology) and being on the brink of a nano-technological revolution, that aliens - who apparently wish to remain anonymous to the general public - have supposedly been visiting us in visible, interstellar spaceships that look like huge IKEA dishes and the occasional cigars. The telephone was invented around 130 years ago, the computer around 70. Add a few hundred years on our own terms and revisit the visible dishwasher spaceship thing. Give aliens a theoretical few thousand or millions of years to develop technology. You get the idea. So, that's time. Our galaxy is about 100,000 light-years across. It takes light particles (travelling at the speed of light) 4.2 years to reach Earth from the nearest star. There are over 100 billion stars in our galaxy alone. There are over 100 billion galaxies in the known Universe. The Universe is about 14 billion years old. The Roswell crash supposedly occurred 62 years ago, around the same time as human space exploration begun. Right... Believe me, modern science can be a testament to fact being stranger than fiction. We live in interesting times.
i:Vibes: Thanks for the chat, Øistein! All the best in the future!!!
Boom Jinx: Thank you, same to you!