No longer the next "it" DJ on the house scene, J. Worra has more than arrived and she has blown the doors off of any expectations placed upon her. She's burst onto the scene, wrestled it to the ground and made it her own. With a new label (Arrow) and a new clothing line with Strata to prove it, she's taking the world head-on.
Citing major influence from This Ain't Bristol and Billy Kenny, J. Worra continues to evolve her sound by recent collaborations with Mark the Beast and Dances With White Girls.
There are a lot of things going on for this house DJ, and one of them is how she continues to transcend expectations and labels placed upon her.
AXS had the opportunity to chat with the tremendously talented musician, producer and clothing designer about her new label, new clothing line and what's next (yes, you lucky Splash House people, she's coming for you!).
AXS: Your most recent release, "Hourglass" feat. Mark the Beast, was just released on June 29. How did this collaboration come about and what was it like working with Mark the Beast on it?
J. Worra: I was flipping through SoundCloud one day and I heard a track that Mark sang on, it happened to be the only other track he has done vocals on, and I was immediately drawn to his tone and overall style. I reached out to him and his manager to try to link up and work together, turned out that Mark was in LA for a show, long story short, he actually didn't realize I wanted him to sing on one of my tracks so he showed up to our session ready to produce/write. Mark was amazing to work with...he is one of those all-around truly talented artists. He went back to NYC and sent me the "Hourglass" vocal the next week. I loved it right away. I think a lot of people can apply the vocals to some aspect of their life, which is what makes it very special to me.
AXS: The track was released via your own label, Arrow. When did you start your own label and how would you define its place in the current milieu of house music?
JW: Yes, I launched Arrow this year, in March, with the release of my track "Modern Medicine" feat. Dances With White Girls. I had gone back and forth with launching my own label and once I finished that track I knew this was my starting point. The music industry is definitely over saturated but my hope is that Arrow can develop into a key, go-to label for cutting-edge music. I want to be able to blur boundaries and straddle various lines in house music.
AXS: Has running your own label always been a dream of yours? What's it like bringing it from idea to conception to infancy and beyond? What are some of the hangups and triumphs you have experienced with it?
JW: To be honest, I have never wanted to own a label but I think that is because I have never really seen that lane for myself. For the last seven years, I have been so hyper-focused on my music, sets, etc. and a label seemed like too much extra effort.
It is no small feat but it has been extremely rewarding and we are just two releases in. The greatest thing about it is being able to put my music out, what I want, how I want and really show the artist I am. I hit a really low point last year and I started second guessing if music was for me. I found myself sitting down and making music for a label versus making what comes naturally, and when you do that, if labels pass it can put you in a weird headspace.
There are a handful of hangups but I feel like that is with any new endeavor. My manager, Tom Williams, has been instrumental in helping launch Arrow, getting releases locked in, sourcing artwork, PR and basically any other detail I can think of.
AXS: Just like running your own label, you are also developing your own range of merchandise with clothing line Strata. How did this collaboration come about and what can we expect in your line? What's the feel or identity of it?
JW: I have been wanting to design a merch line that was more streetwear than typical merch; something that people would want to wear out to the bars or to dinner. Strata is doing a lot of work with major festivals and others artists, and my manager linked us together.
I have a denim jacket, a t-shirt and a black denim vest that I am about to launch. I went with the tagline, "Repeat After Me," which is the title to one of my favorite tracks that I have made to date. I really think people will love the look and feel of them and these are pieces that will last and stand out!
AXS: You are once again playing Splash House. What do you love about the energy of the Palm Springs weekend? How do you go about planning your set and how does the interaction with the live audience help to shape your set in the moment?
JW: Splash House weekend has such a crazy energy; so positive and welcoming. My usual move is to make a bunch of playlists to pull from and play to the crowd and the vibes they are putting out. That way, we are part of an experience together, both making memories and feeding off of each other. Planning a set through and through has never worked for me. I get other ideas when I am playing, or I think of a song in that moment that would fit the energy. To me, that is all the fun. I have had the month of June off from shows so I have a ton of new music to test out; be ready for something extra special!!
Catch J. Worra next at Splash House in Palm Springs, California (Aug. 10-12) for that extra special set. She will thrill, surprise and knock the bass right out of you!