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RussellRemix / Jonathan Sherman

Read the RussellRemix / Jonathan Sherman Interview below and share it on social media.

Please tell our readers who you are and what you do?

My name is Jonathan Sherman and I go by the stage name “RussellRemix.” I am a Tropical House, Deep House, and French House DJ/Producer from Washington, D.C. who creates original tracks and remixes using the funk and disco sounds of the 70s and 80s with today's house and electronic movements. I use synthesizers and DAWs with the Ableton Push to reimagine old classics. I grew up in Boston and Maine before moving to D.C., and my love of music began at age 11, when I purchased my first acoustic guitar and began rocking out to Bob Dylan and the Beatles. My dad loved the Jazz piano greats Bill Evans and Dave Brubeck, so I also listened to a lot of jazz music growing up on vinyl and that informed my love of disco and funk music as I learned to play jazz and classical piano during my teenage years.

I listened to a lot of David Guetta, Daft Punk, and Calvin Harris early on, and those artists helped to inspire some of the electronic sounds I would eventually produce. I also played in a regionally-acclaimed jazz band, which gave me exposure to playing live in front of large crowds and the opportunity to compete at the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston, MA. This helped to inform not only my love of music, but my familiarity with music theory and production as well. In addition to my musical passions, I was also heavily involved in politics as a kid, and moved to Washington, D.C. in 2010 to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in International Economics at American University. This gave me exposure to the highest levels of public policy, and afforded me the opportunity to work on Capitol Hill, in the White House, and for the United Nations.

While settling into D.C., the city was becoming a major hub for electronic music, and I became quickly emerged in its music scene, gaining inspiration from other local house DJs to make my own mixes using Pioneer DDJs. Two years later, I now spin regularly on D.C.’s famed “U Street Corridor,” and have played at some of D.C.’s most iconic clubs like U Street Music Hall, Flash, Soundcheck, and the 9:30 Club. When I’m not playing club shows, I also play the occasional wedding, private event, and corporate function. Some of my musical influences also include Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Duke Ellington, ODESZA, Phoenix, Kygo, and Rufus Du Sol. When I’m not spinning records, I also work a day job as an IT professional for a large management consulting firm and am an avid soccer player. I look to release new content and play more club shows, including some festivals, later this year. I also look to sign to a record label to promote and distribute some of my most popular works by the end of the year.

How would you describe your influences and how have they changed over the years?

All of the music that I produce is made to get people dancing. There is no greater sight in the world than looking out from the decks and seeing people on the dancefloor having a great time, so I compose all of my remixes and original productions with the dancefloor in mind. The remix I produced of POWERS’ hit single “Closer” was inspired by my gig as the resident DJ for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank’s (WB) rooftop parties last summer, and was produced on my DDJ using a sampled tropical house back-beat:

Closer – POWERS (RussellRemix Edit):

I also combined a number of house samples, synths, and vocals to produce a series of original studio mixes using my Novation Launchpad, and the organic house track produced as part of that series gained popularity among the organic and tech house crowds:

Organic House Studio – Original Mix:

Washington, D.C. is home to so many famous jazz, funk, and disco musicians from Duke Ellington to Marvin Gaye to Chuck Brown, so that inspired me to use retro funk samples and daft punk-inspired vocals to mix my first club track as a way of venturing into the Nu-Disco genre:

Alright, Goodnight – Original Mix:

Finally, the discovery of John Butler Trio’s hit single “OCEAN” prompted me to create a remix completely from scratch using a combination of original and pre-recorded samples with electropop, future bass, and tropical house influences from Splice and Ableton Live 9:

OCEAN – John Butler Trio (RussellRemix Edit):

What´s new right now?

With just two years under my belt, my DJ/Production career has grown very fast in the D.C. area. The beginning of 2018 included a number of high-profile local performances at Soundcheck, the 9:30 Club, and U Street Music Hall opening for Grammy-award winner Cedric Gervais and Nu-Disco superstar Oliver Nelson.

Now, I plan to hit the studio for the release of a few upcoming remixes and original productions with some potential big name collaborators that could include Blest Jones, Meynard Macol, and Jess Casto. I just released a demo cut of my newest remix of De Hofnar’s hit single “Outrun” featured below, and stay tuned for more original and remixed content in 2018!

Outrun – De Hofnar feat. Allie Day (RussellRemix Edit):

Blest Jones:

Jess Castro:

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Are you a superfan of anyone? How did you become a superfan? Do you remember how you become a fan and what turned you into super fan? Have you ever thought about why you´re such a fan?

Daft Punk. "One more time" was my childhood jam and became the primary reason that I got into electronic music. I really love their combination of disco and funk music with sounds of the future.


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What was the biggest mistake you made when you started making music and what would be the number one tip you could give to a newcomer musician?

Don't be afraid to fail. Failure is not a deficiency, it's a learning opportunity, and every chance you get to play for a live audience of produce a new track is an opportunity to learn more about the industry and the possibilities you can conceive as an artist.


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How do you get gigs? Can you share any tips?

My strategy for getting gigs is to: 1) create your own gigs whenever possible, 2) simulate your audience beforehand to know how many people you can guarantee draw to an event, 3) develop and keep an EPK up-to-date, 4) build a radio show, and 5) support the promoters events who are booking you.


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Do you have good promotion tips for other musicians?

My social media strategy includes: 1) get your tracks posted on as many web sites as possible, 2) use Facebook and ReverbNation Ads to drive traffic, but not to gain followers, and 3) get business cards and use text messages, phone calls, emails, and Facebook messages to reach out to people directly.


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Do you have insights on how to grow your audience on soundcloud that you want to share with our audience?

My SoundCloud strategy is to: 1) follow local artists who will promote your music in exchange for promoting their's, 2) driving up follower and play count numbers using third party promoters like NextGen Promotions, and 3) find and repost tracks you like.


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What has been your biggest challenge right now? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?

Time. Between holding down a 9-5 while trying to produce tracks and play constant shows, I constantly find myself pressed for time. I've been able to coupe with this by taking things week-by-week and following up in the best way possible.


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How do you personally discover new music?

Spotify, Beatport, Soundcloud, Audiomack, Mixcloud, Traxsource, and iTunes.


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Once you discovered new music, do you tell others about the new music/artist you discovered? If yes, how exactly?

“Yes, through social media and by soundcloud.


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What is your number one tip to improve your music production or songwriting skills?


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What is your best tip for those who struggle with finishing their tracks?


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We meet again in one year. What has changed?

In one year's time, I hope to have at least 5 original and remixed tracks with at least one that has been signed and distributed by a label. I also would like to have over 1,000 followers on Soundcloud, and the opportunity to play at a music festival.


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