Damian Lazarus’ imprint Crosstown Rebels will release a solo EP by German DJ and producer Jonathan Kaspar in August. Transcending melodic techno and sultry house, the 4-track Overfree release echoes the cinematic but club-driven aesthetic of the Bonn-born artist.
Reflecting on his Overfree EP, Kaspar says he is “super happy about my first full solo EP with Crosstown Rebels and also about the four tracks which Damian selected for it. They somehow show a whole DJ Set of mine, containing different emotions and feelings: starting deep, peaking and ending conciliatory.” Enter the rabbit hole through the title track and its constellation of starry synth notes and a chugging bassline. Magic. Ten floats in next as a slow-burning melody curls around a bleepy percussive pattern. On the flip, Kaspar goes deep via Piece Of, as staccato piano notes and a soft kickdrum evokes ethereal textures, the kind that marks the end of an all-night-long DJ set. Kaspar collaborates with Canadian singer and songwriter Graham Baxter on the closing track Unify. It’s a sublime meeting of the minds as Baxter’s ghostly vocals collide with Kaspar’s dreamy grooves and rippling bassline. Surreal synergies, made with the dancefloor and introspective listener in mind.
Jonathan Kaspar is a Cologne-based producer and DJ with an evolving collection spanning Cocoon, Innervisions and Kompakt. Kaspar’s roots in dance music stem from his student days studying medicine, when he promoted parties in his native Bonn, Germany, to fund his studies. After graduating, he followed a winding road in producing and DJing and delivered his debut release on Upon You Records in 2015. A slew of solid releases followed suit on Objektivity, These Eyes, ouï and Kompakt. Like his productions, Kaspar’s DJ sets convey stories, stitching a range of atmospheric tones and tingling melodies that capture his audience’s imagination. He garners a residency at Cologne’s esteemed Gewölbe club and enjoys curating all-night-long sets and inviting international names to play alongside him. Beyond Cologne, Kaspar’s played at German institutions Watergate, Kater Blau and Fusion Club, as well as Volt Club in Milan, T7 in Paris and Extrema Open Air in Hasselt
Hi Jonathan, it’s great to have you with us today. Where are you speaking to us from right now and what have you been up to so far today?
Thanks for having me! Right now I am at home after playing last week at an island festival in Croatia, the summer has been very nice and intense, finally!
Over the years you have become a key part of the Cologne music scene and beyond. Can you tell us a bit about your beginnings in the music scene there and how things developed for
I was born in Bonn, former capital of Germany, a city nearby Cologne. I always used to go out in Cologne with my friends and during that time I organized parties with my best friend in Bonn. When our main location in Bonn was shut down we were more or less pushed to move on with our events to Cologne and had the chance to do one party at the famous “Gewölbe” – That was the beginning of my residency at this beloved club until today. In 2019 I joined the Kompakt crew and also had my first release with the Kompakt records mothership with my track ‘Renard’ at the yearly various artist TOTAL 2019. This was followed by three solo EPs, three more single contributions to the TOTAL and my “Connecting The Dots” DJ mix in 2021. I am very happy with my Cologne family 🙂
We’re pleased to be chatting with you following the release of your Overfree EP on Crosstown Rebels. Congrats on a brilliant release here, how would you describe the EP in your own words
and what was the inspiration behind it?
Thanks! I am super happy with my first full solo EP with Crosstown Rebels and also about the four tracks which Damian Lazarus selected for it: They somehow show a whole DJ set of mine, containing different emotions and feelings: starting deep, peaking, and conciliatory.
The EP marks your solo debut on the label, having previously appeared on the inaugural volume of the ‘Crosstown Rebels Presents SPIRITS’ compilation series. How did the Overfree
EP come to find its home on the imprint?
When I sent Damian the demos for a possible EP, he immediately replied saying he loved what he heard and wanted to road-test the tracks, which I totally understand to get an even better feeling for the tracks. A few days days later I received a beautiful video of him playing ‘Overfree’ at Day Zero in Mexico. He came back to me with his choice of tracks for the EP and we both agreed on the selection.
Who have been your biggest musical influences throughout your life and career?
Before music became my main passion, I used to play basketball and as a team we listened to R’n’B and Hip Hop all day long – I think it was a big influence, as I fell in love with dirty drums and strong loops. For me I still feel this in my own music, as the music somehow has to breath and has to include some dirt, it should never be too clean and sterile.
What inspires you the most whilst at work in the studio and how have you kept this inspiration flowing over the years?
I find inspiration everywhere, in nature during my running, when watching movies or even in my dreams during sleep. I think it is also important from time to time to reset, rethink and most of all never try to force on music in general, it wont help anyway, we have to try to let loose.
What main piece of advice would you offer to an aspiring artist within electronic music?
Patience. I think beside always moving on and believe in yourself it is the most important character trait you need.
It’s been a year filled with lots of musical output from you with releases on Kompakt, Bedrock Records, Crosstown Rebels and more, as well as delivering remixes for the likes of John Digweed, Henri Bergmann and Acid Pauli. How has the year been for you from your point of view and is there anything else we can expect from you in the near future?
With my release and also in terms of gigs and touring it has been an amazing year. I received a lot of positive feedback on my releases throughout the year which is obviously always beautiful to hear. In mid-
September I will release my single contribution “Where Am I” on this year ́s Kompakt TOTAL 2022 and finally a last remix for this year will maybe see the light by the end of 2022. I have big plans for 2023
with some very important music to myself, but time will tell soon 🙂
Thank you for chatting today Jonathan and we wish you all the best. Where is the best place to keep up to date with you?
Likewise all the best to you as well and thanks again for having me!
You can find all my releases on my Spotify and for DJ mixes, which I really love to do, its best to visit my Soundcloud. To see some pics from gigs, music and life you could have a look at my Instagram or Facebook: