Jack Leech makes songs that make you remember where you were when you first heard them. Growing up in New Jersey in a family with generations of artists, he always knew he would be making music, it just took a while for him to find the perfect fit. Wanting to create a sound he hadn’t heard yet, Nurko decided to channel his emotions into a style of electronic music uniquely him, starting with his first big track, ‘Goodbye’ in 2015. Five years later and the Future Bass extraordinaire drops his latest bomb, the hugely anticipated ‘Take You Down’ remix of melodic superstar Illenium. DMCWORLD steps up for another World Exclusive…
What was the production process like for your remix of Illenium’s ‘Take You Down’?
I love to build my songs around the vocals. This vocal is definitely one of the best I’ve ever worked with; so, I tried to match the emotion of the vocal with equally intense chords and a melody—I really get into a state of flow during my process. Channelling emotion into my sound is a big part of it. Just listening to the original song was really inspiring to make this remix.
How did you and Illenium’s friendship start, and what ultimately led to your rework landing on his ‘Ascend’ remix album?
It started when Illenium followed me back on Twitter. We spoke briefly there and he mentioned that he loved my stuff. Dabin was a big part of helping to get my music out there, too—which I think really helped get my sound out there and ultimately led to my being included on Illenium’s Ascend remix album.
Your Digital Mirage set already has over 39k YouTube views just a little over a month after it went live — what does it feel like to see such a massive reach through a livestream event?
It was amazing because technically that was the biggest crowd I’ve ever played in front of. Huge shoutout to Proximity and Brownies & Lemonade for having me—really an unforgettable experience! My fan base grew a lot that day: I received so many messages from people saying that they’d never heard of me and now they are big fans. The team and I were really down about Dabin’s tour being postponed and this festival was a great way to get artists back on their feet after the Covid-19 pandemic put the world on pause.
What did you do to prepare for your Digital Mirage set? Was it any different than prepping for a typical live performance?
I prepared this set just like every other set. Mixing melodic music is a little tough compared to other genres like Dubstep or trap because if a song is in a different key, they often sound odd mixed together; so, it’s important to plan ahead and create your set to a melodic structure in order to ensure things flow naturally. I’ve had a lot of practice making sets in the past 2-3 years with the steadier flow of live performances.
How does it feel to have been able to remix some of the dance music industry’s top creatives like Illenium, Gryffin, and Seven Lions?
It feels awesome! I’m really happy to have been given the opportunity to create official remixes for these artists. They have been my favorite producers/DJs for some time— so being able to officially remix their music is an amazing feeling! I’ll never forget Illenium’s reaction when he first heard my ‘Take You Down’ remix. He was super stoked!
Are there any major differences in terms of your producing style when you’re crafting an original tune versus a remix?
Not really. I essentially mute everything from the original song except for the vocal and create the song as if it’s an original. Then I slowly bring back in elements from the original song and see if it works in context with the stuff I added. Sometimes in my remixes, the only elements from the original are the vocals. It depends on the song and how the vocal inspires me. I never really have a plan, I just go with the flow and see where the sound takes me.
Where and how do you find creative inspiration in your day-to-day, and how does it affect your music, if at all?
I generally get the most inspired by listening to other songs that inspire me. Sometimes I’ll go for a walk listening to my favourite music, and as soon as I’m done, I am extremely inspired to work on something with a similar vibe. For example, my song ‘Safe’ came from my going for a walk listening to Odesza’s ‘A Moment Apart’ album. I’m also inspired by the people in my life: my girlfriend, friends, and family.
You grew up in an artistic family that encouraged you to foster your musical talents from an early age. What was it like to have that as a foundation and what positive aspects of this dynamic have affected your career and who you are as a person today?
It definitely helps to have a family that supports the arts. They understand what the industry is like and prepared me for the rejection and tribulations that come along with the pursuit of a career in the arts. But I would rather have that than a family that doesn’t like the idea of pursuing music and wants me to have an average 9-5 job. I’m truly blessed and my family has shaped me into the man and artist I am today.
It’s been 5 years since the release of ‘Goodbye’, one of your first big hits — what’s been the best part about the last 5 years for you as a DJ/producer and where do you see yourself in the next 5?
The best part has been seeing the gradual growth of the Nurko project. It’s really cool to see the steady progression of my fan base, blowing up on social media, being given countless opportunities to work with people that I admire in the industry, being able to play shows all over the country, and most importantly the evolution and transformation of my sound over time. In 5 years, I hope to be playing larger venues and festivals – hopefully headlining. I also want to reach more fans because my music is really about bringing people together; and, that’s what brings me the most satisfaction when I put out new music. It’s like putting a piece of myself out there to share with the world.
With the current lockdown situation, have you been working on anything new in the studio to keep busy, and in particular are there any new Nurko productions worth noting slated for release later in 2020 or beyond?
To be honest, this lockdown situation isn’t much different than what I would normally be doing: Sitting in my studio and creating with way too much coffee. My goal is to release my first album, so this situation is a great way of getting that done! However, in terms of collaborations, I do have tracks with KRANE, ARMNHMR, Graves, Dabin and Trivecta coming.