The dopest part about working for a music publication in a city like Chicago is getting to meet all the artists that are passing through town.

For the last few years that wasn’t really possible, first because there were no shows to speak of, and then because of all-too-common cancellations in the wake of new COVID variant outbreaks and ordinary travel chaos. One of the most essential roles of any outlet — promoting local events and introducing visiting artists — was lost.

With an eye to the future, life seems to be trending back to (God help us) “normal,” and with that we’re getting back into the pitch.

Jimpster is extended 5 Mag family at this point. Nearly everyone on staff has taken their turn championing his records and the product of the best A&R in the business heard on his startlingly consistent labels Freerange and Delusions of Grandeur.

Jimpster will be in Chicago this Saturday December 10 at Smartbar (tickets) with DJ Heather and Jevon Jackson as part of Heather’s Lake Effect series. The show marks the local debut of his live show — “my own productions and remixes from over the years which I’ve adapted for the live set and add new drums, keys, FX and tweaking vocals.” If you’ve got a list of events Not To Be Missed, a night camped at the Front Left Speaker for Jimpster live is one of them.

How do you rate 2022? Professionally or personally. I think for about 5 years running it was a recurring meme that the year we’re in was the worst year ever. Have we turned the corner?

It would have been nice to emerge from the pandemic into a beautiful, optimistic, inclusive, and healthy world but it hasn’t really worked out that way unfortunately. Events opening back up is great but seems like it will take a lot longer for music heads to be venturing out again and with everyone being squeezed from all angles by the energy crisis it’s going to be a while yet before things feel “normal” again.

I’ve been lucky enough to have had some amazing gigs this year and kept nice and busy in the studio so remaining positive and excited to share some of the projects that will be coming out next year including a new Jimpster EP featuring Mavhungu on vocals with an Osunlade remix as well as a collaboration EP with Crackazat.

There have been a lot of reports about problems touring and traveling for gigs since the end of COVID lockdowns. Some in pop and rock have gotten off the road or even cancelled tours because they can’t make the money work anymore. How do you find life on the road these days? Is it worse than before, or do you find it different?

I think it’s probably harder for those specifically based in the UK now we’re dealing with the fallout from Brexit. I recently got denied boarding of a flight to a gig in Spain because my passport had “more than 9 years” on it since the issue date even though there was 8 months till expiry which is a new rule the EU have bought in to punish the UK. Touring bands have to deal with a ton of extra paperwork when traveling with equipment and visa and passport costs and turnaround times are higher than before so it’s easy to see why bands are choosing to avoid touring while we’re in this state of flux. As a DJ traveling on my own it’s not so hard as long as you’re prepared to jump through some admin hoops.

On the subject of travel, what are you listening to right now? And have you ever listened to Music For Airports in an actual airport?

Noise cancelling headphones are indispensable for travels and I always like to load up on new music before a long trip. Sometimes I’ll check latest promos and new music I’ve bought for playing out but I also use the time for listening to new LP’s or older stuff looking for samples. For all their negatives, streaming services are now full of so much previously obscure music it’s become a great source for sample digging and discovering new old music with rabbit hole’s I’m happy to disappear down for hours on end, particularly when it comes to library music, spoken word, soundtrack, experimental electronic stuff, music concréte and ambient.

Music For Airports has helped keep me sane in airport security queues on more than one occasion although I prefer Music For Films to really drift away to. I’ve also recently discovered all the sleep aid playlists which contain various low frequency drones and tones – 432hz seems to be a popular one – which although pretty similar to the plane cabin background noise really do help zone you out.

This is listed as a live show. I don’t recall you doing one before? Is this a new thing?

Playing a live set is something I’ve been thinking about for a few years but decided to finally get together during down time in the pandemic. Having worked pretty much in the box for my productions for the last 15 years or so it’s been quite a learning curve going back to hardware and trying to find a good method for a live set but I think my chosen set up is the right balance of portable, flexible, powerful and tactile and I’m looking forward to playing some more live club sets as I’ve only done a handful so far this year.

What does a live show consist of? What do you bring with and what can people expect to hear? Is it all your own music?

The set is my own productions and remixes from over the years which I’ve adapted for the live set and add new drums, keys, FX and tweaking vocals using a Roland TR8S, Akai MPC One, 1010 Music Blackbox, Korg Minilogue synth and Rhodes electric piano. For this round of gigs it’s me on my own but I recently did We Out Here festival in the UK with Andy Gangaeen on drums which bought a special energy and enabled us to vibe off each other and bring a more improvised approach. I hope to do more gigs with the two of us together with a view to being able to build it further with live vocals, bass and percussion.

Is this something new you’ll be doing on the regular, or special occasions?

It’s a nice option to be able to perform my own music live for certain venues or events. I would miss DJing too much to drop that completely and only play live but I’m really looking forward to seeing how it goes down on this tour and maybe develop it further and do it more often if people are into it.

In a typical American nightclub setting (let’s say open from 10pm to 5am), what is your sweet spot, your favorite time to play?

That really depends on the venue, line-up and crowd as there are so many variables which make each event unique. When DJing I love playing the warm up or early on and being able to set the mood and get the dance floor warmed up by playing deeper stuff which might not be suitable later on. I’m mixing up the tempos a bit in the live set and playing deeper as well as higher energy tracks so in theory, as long as the crowd are open minded then it should work nicely at any point throughout the night.

Jimpster is will be the special guest at Lake Effect at Smartbar this Saturday December 10 with DJ Heather and Jevon Jackson. Tickets are available at

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