EDM Unbuttoned EP06: Jason Leech
In this weekly series, EDM.com picks the best live acts working in electronic music today. These producers abstain from DJ sets and opt to use live and electronic instrumentation to give their performances a more grounded sound. From the saxophones heard by GRiZ and Big Gigantic to the rock-inspired sets from The Prodigy, this series explores all types of live electronic music. Read our pick for this week's best live act below:
Best Live Act of the Week: Jason Leech
For this week's edition of EDM Unbuttoned, we decided to highlight a smaller artist who's finding ways to innovate live electronic music. Jason Leech is a piano player from Smithfield, Pennsylvania, who has gravitated toward electronic music and is attending college for a music technology degree. Since the age of 5, Leech grew up learning piano through classical and jazz lessons, and he noticed that many EDM producers incorporated keys and piano into the production of their tracks.
Leech made a career out of playing piano at restaurants and hotels and giving piano lessons to people around Smithfield. In his free time, Leech would talk and socialize with local producers and DJs. Leech focused on learning tips from trap DJs in particular, and began a mission to combine his piano playing and the new trends in electronic dance music. The seasoned piano playing became a hopeful producer, creating beats that he could accompany with his piano playing. To build upon this new mission, Leech started recording himself playing along to his own tracks and mixes, and it wasn't long before the TrapDoor record label took notice, and reached out to Leech to pitch a new Youtube video series. Thus, a new chapter was born in Leech's career.
For his live show, Leech has offered a compelling set-up to stand out from his peers. As opposed to taking control over simultaneous piano playing and mixing, Leech will enlist some help from a DJ to mix his tracks as he plays at the keys. This unique approach to the live show solves some pesky problems, principally the overwhelming demand that's required from an artist to play an instrument and mix live. While the DJ mixes his tracks, Leech will be able to hone his focus on the piano playing, which rests at the foundation of his production.
This live instrumentation will also enable Leech to interact with the crowd and improvise some piano playing. Leech says he plans on incorporating extended piano solos and playing up certain riffs to emulate the feeling of a drop. By requesting the DJ to perfom such tasks as looping a section of a track, Leech will be able to take artistic liberties with the recorded tracks without ever removing his fingers from his keyboard. This manner of live performance is seldom seen among EDM DJs, especially in the trap or bass subgenres. Leech's approach aims to display the potential to integrate live instrumentation with electronic production.
Leech's live show remains to be seen, but the possibilties for Leech to change live EDM are endless. The first episode of his TrapDoor video series can be seen above, and shows how skilled Leech has become at using the video medium to portray his talent. With his live show relegating mixing duties to a dedicated DJ, it can be assumed that Leech's live performance will blow audiences away.
Cover Photo Credit: Jason Leech