With just minutes to spare before he got behind the decks, Jason Ross continued embracing his loyal fans who lined the back patio of the Academy in L.A. As he ended the meet-and-greet, those same adoring fans rushed toward the stage of the Hollywood venue while Ross readied himself to perform for them.
The performance was the conclusion of Ross' Atlas album release party, an intimate event open to fans and ticket holders to his upcoming tour. The soiree highlighted Ross' admiration for his passionate fanbase, to whom he dedicates his latest effort.
Over the course of the pandemic, Ross found himself connecting with his legions of supporters through social media groups. As a means to continue playing music for his followers, Ross began to live stream his performances in a weekly series titled Atlas. The recurring shows allowed his admirers to connect with one another and cope with the hardships of quarantines.
As pandemic restrictions eased, Ross began work on his latest record, a project that would find him continuing to explore the impassioned realms of melodic bass. The culmination of that journey builds on Ross' debut album, 1000 Faces, honing into emotional lyrics intertwined with his signature blend of melodic bass, trance, and progressive.
That excursion has been fruitful for Ross, who began his career producing trance records. His Rooms EP was the first hint Ross gave of his shift in sound, a topic we touched on when we spoke with him at his Atlas album release party.
In our conversation, Ross revealed his sophomore album is an elevated version of himself. He also spoke on the intricacies involved in the creative process, ones he described as lucky to be a part of.
EDM.com: It's been two years since we spoke last, how are you and how did you cope with the global pandemic?
Jason Ross: I'm good. You know, it's tragic what happened with the pandemic and all, but I just kind of did what was in my control. I was able to still work and be with my fans. There's been a lot of live streaming since we last spoke, including one with Insomniac. And then towards the end of the pandemic, I started working on the album.
EDM.com: A lot of artists took that time to focus on their sound and start new projects; what led you to create your new album, Atlas?
Jason Ross: It just felt like a good time to take advantage of the time that I had before I started traveling again. I knew I could focus on a big project that I could then take on the road knowing that shows were coming back.
It was a matter of knowing that I was ready to take on a project now. I knew I had something to say and it felt like the right time.
EDM.com: The project turned out to be very heavy on emotions, and the lyrics reflect that. Were you aiming for an emotional record?
Jason Ross: It's always something that I look for in music, whether that's through the vocals or through the melodies or anything like that. I also just wanted something that the fans can connect to and so I naturally gravitate to emotional lyrics—things like heartbreak or falling in love—all of those things 'cause that's really what connects with me and my fans.
There's a song called "Slow It Down" with L8NCY, and in it, we talk about slowing things down. Everything is moving so fast, you know? Whether that's in a relationship or with yourself, it's about learning to take it slow and not feeling like you just have to get back out there.
So yeah, I connect to things that have a deep meaning, whether that's being in a relationship or with yourself.
EDM.com: You partnered with many artists for this record, was this planned, or did it come along as part of the creative process?
Jason Ross: It definitely came along as the process went along. There were people that we love hitting up and working with, like HALIENE and L8NCY, but then we dipped our toes into looking for more pop-focused writers and vocalists.
I got to learn about that whole world and we met some amazing people through that. And that got me excited to get into that realm of, not so much pop vocalists, but people that are more in that mainstream world.
EDM.com: You said you learned from them, what did u take away?
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Jason Ross: Oh man, just being in songwriting sessions with these vocalists, they're just so skilled. Obviously, HALIENE and all those people are amazingly skilled, but so are those pop writers whose job is to write every day.
I felt lucky to be a part of sessions with them where they could just tap into what the song will be like. They get in the vibe and they all just tap into memories and stories and experiences and they're able to put them into a song structure. It's crazy what they do and it just gave me a newfound respect for what they do.
They're kind of like the unsung heroes. I'm blown away at the fact that they're just creating this magic around this musical bed that I gave them.
EDM.com: Speaking of vocalists, Dia Frampton is featured twice on Atlas. You've partnered with her quite a few times throughout your career. Is it safe to say that Dia Frampton is to Jason Ross what Richard Bedford is to Above & Beyond?
Jason Ross: I knew you were gonna say something like that.
I don't know, I mean she's just been so down to work together and we have such a good relationship. Whenever we're in the studio together we just vibe. And even when we're not in the studio we're just hanging out.
She's just so awesome. And the fans love her too, so who knows? I think time will tell.
EDM.com: When we spoke last we compared the shift in sound from your Rooms EP to your debut album, 1000 Faces. This latest release is sonically similar with the same melodic bass influences. Is it safe to say that this genre is your new lane?
Jason Ross: I don't know. I'm always kind of evolving and trying new things out. The Rooms EP was the first time I experimented outside of trance. It had a psytrance track with Dimibo, and even a downtempo chill bass song.
I think 1000 Faces was where I was like, yeah this is me. Atlas is an even more upgraded, evolved sense of finding my sound.
But I'm always evolving so who knows what the next album will be. I don't think I'm gonna take a drastic turn, but I'm always trying to make the best music I can make and I don't think it needs to stick within a certain boundary.
EDM.com: The new album is being spearheaded by a whole new tour, with your first stop being at the legendary Hollywood Palladium. This is your first time headlining the iconic venue, how excited are you?
Jason Ross: I'm very excited. The Palladium is gonna be amazing. The whole tour will be amazing. It's gonna be a completely new set with new visuals and we're stepping it up a few notches here.
EDM.com: This is your first tour post-pandemic, but it's not your first show back. You recently played at The Gorge Amphitheater and at Moonrise Festival. Was it easy to get back into the show and tour life?
Jason Ross: Yeah, it's kind of like getting back on the bike. We had two years of doing nothing so it's exciting to get back out there. I will say the first show back, there was a small second of realizing, this is weird, but then I got right back into it.
EDM.com: Your album is done and the tour's about to begin. Are there any other projects we should know about?
Jason Ross: We're just focused on the tour right now. We have some exciting plans for the next year that we can't really say much about. But the album's done and now we're in tour mode.
EDM.com: Who's on Jason Ross' radar at the moment?
Jason Ross: Oh man, all of the guys at Ophelia Records. Trivecta, Kill The Noise. Seven Lions has his album coming out soon. Yeah, that's on my radar.
Jason Ross' "Atlas Tour" is on sale now.