J. Worra is a rising underground producer and DJ hailing from Chicago, Illinois, and now residing in Los Angeles. Over the last few years she has been releasing a steady stream of slick, bass-heavy house cuts, gaining recognition as a real talent within the music industry. In 2017 she was named as one of DJ Mag’s rising stars, while Mixmag described her as having a “natural knack for thundering, tech house-tipped productions”. Her latest release ARROW. Modern Medicine feat. Dances With White Girls is an absolute bangers, and launches her new ARROW. label. We caught up with her to get the lowdown…
Welcome to DMC! What’s the first song you listened to today?
Hey, thank you! I actually listened to a promo from This Ain’t Bristol: not sure I can say who it was but man this batch of tracks are next level. So much love and respect for TAB, I feel like they are constantly raising the bar in house music.
For those who might not know you, describe the music you make in 10 words or fewer…
Weird, chugging, groovy house music… guaranteed to make your booty shake. That was 11 words but just give me a pass just this once!
You’re originally from Chicago, but now live in LA – how do the music scenes of the two cities compare?
The music landscape in LA is vastly different from Chicago.. its such a melting pot here and there is SO much talent. Living here you get a contestant reminder that you have to be grinding, pushing yourself, and challenging yourself to create music that can hold its own and add to the already complex industry. I feel like there is a lot of talent in Chicago, don’t get me wrong, but LA is bursting at the seams. Every week I discover artists that are unique, bringing a new vibe to an oversaturated industry, and inspiring others with their view on music/production. Whenever I am in LA, I feel so inspired, and that is truly an irreplaceable feeling.
What first made you pursue a career in dance music? Was there a defining moment you can look back on?
For me, I have never really known what was possible. I knew I loved music and that I had a lot to offer this industry, but was never confident there was a path for me. What I know now is that you need to blaze your own path and you need people by your side to help. A big turning point was just getting a team behind me… after spending a year in LA I caught the attention of my current manager, Tom Williams, and then my agent, Chad Cohen in 2017. Lastly, I have an amazing production mentor who I have worked with now for almost two years, Jon Pegnato. He has been a critical piece in my growth as a producer and helping me challenge myself with each track I make. The realization that other people believed in you just as much as I believed in yourself should be a turning point for young producers: never take that for granted.
Your new single Modern Medicine is an absolute banger! Was there any specific inspiration behind it? And did you always envisage it with a vocal?
Modern Medicine was quite the process. I originally wrote it, and recorded in a vocal of myself saying something really stupid… I am not even going to tell you what my hook was haha. As I kept working on it, and it started to develop into this instrumental it is now (without the vocal) I knew I had to get a proper hook on it. I have always loved Dances With White Girls, his vocals are weird, quirky, and unique, so I sent it over and he was able to lay down a hook within a few days. I was then able to test this out for the first time on Holy Ship! and people went nuts for it.. it really was an incredible feeling, knowing I put so much work into this one over a 6 month period. This is my favorite release to date!
This was also the first release on your new label, ARROW. Why did you feel the time was right to launch your own imprint?
I love this question!! I have been wanting to address it since the launch. I have never wanted my own label… I am going to throw that out there right away. What I started to find was that I was losing myself as an artist by trying to make music that I thought labels would like. Chris Lake has always been a massive inspiration to me and I noticed he was releasing his music on Black Book Records, when I asked him about it, he told me it was a method to get his work out there. I thought on this concept for a long time until I decided to take a leap and roll out something similar, ARROW Recordings. My goal is to get my music heard, I want to be a game changer in house music, I want to show people who I am as an artist and the kind of music I am capable of making. What better way to do this than to call the shots yourself! For now, I am going to push out my own work through ARROW. I want to release a track every 6 weeks or so and really show people who I am in 2018.
As someone who’s managed to break through above the crowd, what are your tops tips for making yourself stand out? Is it all about the music or do other things come into it?
I think there are a few things that help an artist stand out. Music is first and foremost, release music that people want to listen to, that they can remember, and that other artists want to play out. Second, in my opinion, is to be yourself, be kind, and be a good role model. If you make good music but don’t take a second to give back to your fans or connect with them in anyway, or even respond to producers who are trying to learn more and grow, then you are going to hit a ceiling. I think that through doing the second part you start to build your own brand and those are the things that people will remember and be impacted by (along with your awesome records).
Do you have any plans to play in Europe this year?
No plans yet but I REALLY would love to do a few shows in Europe. That is definitely a goal and I will get there sooner or later!
What do you have planned for the rest of 2018 that we should be looking out for?
A lot of music and a lot of shows! I am aiming to release a new track every 6 weeks or so. I have a ton of festival plays lined up and will be ending the year with a bang- a new festival that is already sold out. The goal of 2018 is to solidify my name in the house scene, I want people to hear all different capabilities in my production and I am really pushing myself to deliver unique tracks.
And finally, you’ve previously talked about your devotion to pizza… what for you makes the perfect slice? And where can you get the best pizza in LA?
Wow, coming in hot on the last question?? The topic of pizza could really start a heated debate but here goes… I am a huge fan of a kick, so anything with jalapeños… my go to lately is jalapeño, black olives, green peppers, and onion. As for a favorite place in LA, I don’t discriminate. I order from a ton of different spots out here!
Modern Medicine feat. Dances With White Girls is out now: