Jody Wisternoff: Blazing a new trail

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Fans of Jody Wisternoff’s unique brand of sumptuous progressive house have a lot to celebrate at the moment. This month, the Bristol legend drops his debut solo album Trails We Blaze on Anjunadeep, and while many already know him as one half of the legendary Way Out West alongside Nick Warren – as he revealed to ITM last week – Wisternoff set out from the very beginning to distinguish the new LP from his prestigious past.

Hence, we have an album tailored for the dancefloor from the ground up. While he might be most famous for his work with Way Out West, he’s also made an impressive name for himself as a solo producer in the recent years, and he’s gone the extra mile on Trails We Blaze to ensure the album’s collection of club-ready records are sporting all the gorgeous detail, sonic polish and dancefloor emotion you’d expect from a producer as experienced as Wisternoff.

From the shimmering deep house of the first single How To Make Me Smile, to the album’s most adventurous moment Red Stripes, a sparkling progressive number that sees him cleverly flirting with some rumbly bass influences from his distant rave past – Trails We Blaze is an exercise in superbly crafted house music. ITM talks to the man himself to find out more.

Hi Jody, hope you’re well. This is obviously an exciting time for you, with some nice hype generating around your debut album as a solo artist. How are you feeling at the moment?
Thanks man, it’s a great feeling to finally get a solo album out there! Feedback so far is very encouraging, so buzzing really!

You’re obviously already well experienced with crafting artist albums, some fabulous ones in fact as part of UK outfit Way Out West. How did it feel to be striking out on your own with the format this time?
Cheers mate, appreciated. It’s obviously harder in some respects because you don’t have a partner to bounce ideas off, but it’s also slightly more of an achievement and seeing the actual product makes me feel very proud.

What were you trying to achieve with Trails We Blaze, did you have a mission statement from the outset or did you let the album write itself?
The intention from the start was to only write club tracks, stuff I would play out, but still try to make it interesting and musical enough for home listening. I really didn’t want to go down the experimental and chillout path, as I’d rather do that kind of stuff with Nick for Way Out West. I needed to make sure the two projects keep their individual vibes. From the get go I wanted to make sure every track was in a different key, however ‘A Minor’ being my fave, it did get used three times.

How would you sum up the album now it’s completed and ready for release?
An honest expression of my current take on house music, drawing influence from the past whilst looking to the future.

What experience are you bringing to the table now in terms of writing an artist album, following your experience with Way Out West, and did you approach it the same way?
Yeah pretty much, the way I tend to write is very gradual. A track will go through many changes before it reaches it’s final destination, loads of ideas being chucked at the wall to see what sticks and then the long process of reduction and basically removing the dodgy bits. Some people hear earlier versions on YouTube and moan about riffs or sounds that have been deleted, but I take them out for a reason, you can’t please everyone, aye?

Trails We Blaze will be coming out on Anjunadeep, a label you’ve stepped up your involvement with over the past few years. It seems like a natural fit for you, how did you come to get involved?
Ever since I signed Lassoo with them, I feel the working relationship we have has been improving. I love the direction they are taking Anjunadeep right now, and they are a very cool/professional bunch who are a pleasure to do business with.

Tell us about what you’ve got planned for later this year.
The next few months will see me visiting Russia, India, Taiwan, Finland , Romania and Australia. I’ve just had my US visa renewal excepted, so will also be revisiting North American later in the summer.

Jody Wisternoff’s Trails We Blaze is out now through Anjunadeep.