Interview: Jerome LOL
Photo credit: Jasmine Safaeian
Few electronic producers have been on their grind like former LOL Boy and Body High co-creator Jerome LOL, who’s touring and DIY releases have been non-stop since the duo parted ways back in September.
His alignment with internet culture and its associated visuals has thrown him into the middle of Rihanna’s SNL performance controversy, which you can read more about in his recent interview with Fader.
I spoke with Jerome after his set at Cake Shop in New York — one of the many venues he performed at over the course of the CMJ weekend. There, we talked about pop music, messing with people’s preconceptions and his plans for releasing new solo work.
Joseph: This year has been a big one for the momentum of LOL Boys, which is why it was so sad to see you guys split up. Was there something more to the breakup or was it just a mutual thing?
Jerome: It was always difficult for us because it was bicoastal and based on the internet. I think with making the Changes EP, getting on a label we really wanted to be on (Friends of Friends) and releasing a record on vinyl, which we’re very proud of — it was like the climax of that project in a way — like, “Ok, we’ve reached a goal and got where we wanted to go. Let’s move on and start our own solo projects.” I love Markus’ new project and I look forward to seeing what he’s doing with it. It’s all good.
Joseph: You guys recently put together an amazing mix for Fader which has a surprising amount of pop tracks in it. I don’t think many artists in similar niche dance markets would touch a track like “Levels.”
Joseph: But you’ve embraced it and made it your own. What are your thoughts on pop music and how it affects your sound?
Jerome: The whole idea with the Fader mix was to release the tracklist as-is without mentioning they’re all edits. We wanted people to have this preconception, like, “Oh this mix is gonna suck. Look at all these really stupid tracks they put on it.”
And then when they’re listening, they’ll be like, “Oh shit! These are all fluid tracks with similar drum kits and they all fit together nicely.”
With the name “LOL Boys” you’d think we were a happy hardcore rave group or a big electro duo. The whole project was meant to mess with people’s preconceptions and I think the Fader mix was another way of doing that.
Also, we’ve always been huge fans of pop music so making a track like “Changes” and working with vocalists on that EP definitely helped us achieve the pop sound we’ve been striving for.
Joseph: So when you hear a pop track now, do you think about how you can make it your own?
Jerome: Now I definitely do. I just did an edit of Rihanna’s new single, “Diamonds,” which I played earlier tonight. I’m way more conscious now, like, “Oh, that part’s open. Maybe I can sample that and put some drums underneath it.” I’m definitely going to be doing more edits in that same vein for live sets.
Joseph: At what point did you decide to start making music?
Jerome: I started making electronic music when I was about thirteen. I had a Yamaha DJX-II keyboard with a bunch of techno samples in it and I’d make songs using loops. After that I moved on to playing in bands in High School and took a break when I went to college for 2 years.
Then I discovered Ableton and was like, “Oh man, I don’t need gear, I can just make everything with a laptop and headphones.” Ableton helped me gain interest in making music again.
Joseph: What do you think about all the hardstyle sounds resurfacing through artists like Flosstradamus and Unicorn Kid?
Jerome: I think dance music is very cyclical, especially now with the internet. Everything is fair game to sample so if you were a fan of that sound then, why not just make it now? Obviously it’s not going to be the same. It’s like a second wave of it.
I think there will always be similar genres but each new generation puts their own spin on them — like a reappropriation of the sound.
Joseph: So, you finished LOL Boys with a great EP and you’ve established a working system for releasing new solo singles and edits on soundcloud. Are you just planning on moving forward with this type of momentum?
Jerome: Ya, I have remixes for Classixx and Tomas Barfod coming out soon and I’m working on my next EP, which will be out early next year on Friend of Friends.
Joseph: Awesome! We’ll be looking forward to it.