The beginning of a new decade has marked a shift in sound for Jason Ross. The Anjunabeats favorite has veered off the trance highway and opted for a melodic bass detour on the journey to deliver his debut album, 1000 Faces.
The artistic evolution that can be heard on Ross' latest project fits right in on Ophelia Records. The label, notably led by Seven Lions, has given Ross the platform to showcase his morphing style in recent years. In doing so, it has opened up the floor for an album like 1000 Faces to thrive.
The deviation in styles demonstrates Ross' ability as a producer to skillfully compose emotionally charged pieces that can tug at the hearts of fans on either side of the electronic spectrum. The sentimental notes that were a fixture of Ross' trance tracks can still be found within the vocals of his dubstep-infused incarnation.
Ross' evolution is currently in full display as he recently embarked on the 1000 Faces Tour. The binational voyage kicked off mid February and will progress throughout the spring before ending in San Francisco.
As the first leg of his tour begins, Ross took some time to speak with EDM.com on his debut album. Explaining his musical transition, Ross revealed some exciting news for fans regarding an upcoming collaboration.
EDM.com: What's the story behind the title of your debut album, 1000 Faces?
Jason Ross: 1000 Faces is about finding yourself. On a deeper level, it's about the changes one goes through in order to feel accepted by the world, and ultimately taking off those masks to be your true self.
The project was released on Seven Lion's label, Ophelia Records, where you've already had a few tracks published in recent years. What draws you to his label?
Ophelia Records is very much in line with the music I've been gravitating toward in recent years. I've always wanted to make melodic dubstep, and they have given me the platform to branch out and try things outside of trance and progressive, which has been super refreshing for me.
I've really just been having a lot of fun experimenting and evolving as an artist. My Rooms EP was the starting ground of my evolution, with psytrance and downtempo making an appearance on that record, and it's really blossomed from there.
There has been an increase in demand for the melodic dubstep/bass-driven sound that is heard in albums such as yours. What do you think is the allure that drives that appetite?
I think it's just what people are craving right now, and it seems to be a bit more digestible compared to more niche genres. Personally, I like it because it packs so much energy and it's fun to sprinkle in those tunes at a big festival or club.
The album features many vocalists scattered throughout, notably Dia Frampton who shares her talent in two tracks. What are you looking for in a vocalist? How do you know what kind of voice suits the tones of your recordings?
I'm looking for vocalists with a keen writing sensibility - something that can stand the test of time, lyrically, that people of all walks of life that can relate to. If I hear "club," "bottles," or "party" in the lyrics, it's usually a pass from me.
You're promoting the album with a tour. What can you tell me about the people attending your shows? Has the fan base grown or changed in any way?
I've really started to see a community form recently, most notably after starting my Facebook group The Atlas. They're forming meetup groups in every city I'm performing in, which is amazing to me. The people attending my shows seem to be very passionate about the music I make and I truly appreciate it. It feels like there's a special energy at these shows, and it feels like we're building something unique together. I think the fans feel it too.
You recently hosted a Reddit AMA. How important is fan engagement to you? Are you hesitant at all to know fans could ask you literally anything they want to?
I try my best to engage with my fans as much as I can. We're doing meet and greets on every stop of this tour. It brings me so much joy to meet the fans in person, see how my music has helped them, and interact with them on a more intimate level. I like to keep my personal life personal, but for the most part, I try to be an open book for the fans with their music-related questions.
We were among the thousands in attendance at your Dreamstate SoCal performance back in November. Take us back, what was your Dreamstate experience like?
Dreamstate is always incredible to play. Trance brings about some of the most diehard and passionate fans in the EDM world, so to play to a crowd like that is like nothing else. I was on such a high after my set that I was just shaking from the energy and excitement that I felt. It was electrifying!
You've teased on social media about "something big" happening with SLANDER and you tagged the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. What, if anything, can you tell us about that?
We have a collaboration coming out soon! We're very excited about that one :)
Finally, when we spoke last, we asked you what your main goal in life was. You answered by stating you wanted to make the best music you could and to make something you're proud of. How proud are you of your debut album?
I'm so proud of this album. It's a true representation of where I am as an artist and where I'm going, and I couldn't be happier about the journey that I'm on.