Photo Credit: Sian Scott-Clash
On the heaving dancefloors of Melbourne, Jennifer Loveless can be found dancing in the crowd or playing to them on any given weekend. With her nuanced take on deep house and techno, Jennifer has a collective following around town. With an appearance coming up at Shady Cottage, we took the opportunity to speak to Jennifer about her music.
Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, music has been a constant factor throughout Jennifer’s life from the very beginning. Practicing classical piano with her brothers, developing an early love for RnB and then to finding a taste for dancehall and alt-rock in high school, has created a varied and contrasting musical palette for Jennifer. It wasn’t until her first year of university that she clicked with electronic music.
‘You often hear ‘I don’t get electronic music, it’s so repetitive, it’s so boring’, but those people haven’t had that moment, Jennifer explained, ‘to me and many others, that repetitiveness is healing, meditative. And then there is that moment on the dancefloor. Where the feeling of complete bliss hits — everyone around you is beautiful, your predilections are squashed, your insecurities are gone, money doesn’t matter, class disappears. It’s then, that you get it.’
Jennifer grew up with a number of influences, including dubstep. For her, moving to house music was only a natural step.
“I’m quite a subdued person, and probably because I was coming from dubstep (and quite numbed from the intensity), I was impressed by how slight shifts could make me feel the same if not more”.
Nevertheless, the move from an avid lover of house music to touring DJ was instinctively spontaneous.
‘It was quite serendipitous,’ Jennifer said, ‘I didn’t have a plan when I started, I was young, I put up a few mixes on SoundCloud and in time, things fell into place.”
From there, Jennifer tentatively began to carve a space in the world of DJ-ing. Her online mixes are engaging, nostalgic - a mixture of yes and hard done by.
‘When you listen to mixes, you’re usually alone or, at the very least, you’re not at a club. When I make a mix, I imagine it’s for a lone listener and I often use the opportunity to channel emotions of light, apathy, revenge, and heartbreak.
One of the exciting aspects of electronic music is the ease to change between styles and genres. Nevertheless, a key challenge in Jennifer’s early career is truly defining her sound in her own head.
‘I freak out a bit whenever my taste changes cause that is essentially what we are booked for, a certain sound. Right now, I am going through a mild sound identity crisis, it happens every so often, especially after seeing a really inspiring act. It can get confusing. Jennifer explained.
‘But I always come back to the fact that I’m an R&B girl at heart. Or a sad girl at heart. That feels the truest. And don’t get me wrong, sad can always be flipped into something that is incredibly uplifting.’
With her penchant for mixes, Jennifer has been a part of Melbourne dance community radio station KissFM for the past 3 years now.
‘CC: Disco! used to have a show on KissFM and she invited me on her show to do a guest mix. After that first guest mix, she encouraged me to contact the station manager to do more guest spots. I did a few and after the third time, they offered me my own show.’
Throughout Melbourne, Community radio is a major pillar that supports various music scenes, especially dance music. The values that it upholds is something Jennifer believes strongly in.
'I think community radio reinforces culture. Think NTS, think PBS with Courtney (CC: Disco!), her show has taken her so far, same with Edd (Edd Fisher from Wax’o Paradiso),’ Jennifer said, ‘We are so lucky to have stations like Kiss FM, Triple R and PBS, that provide a platform for electronic music. It reflects the musical preferences of the people living here and it is lovely to see how much of the community requests for left of scope vs easy top 40. In turn, being able to showcase international artists on our airwaves builds our global profile. What’s happening in music here is exciting and I honestly think it has to do somewhat with our seclusion ie. distance from America and Europe and I in no way think that as a bad thing.’
In addition to her mixes, Jennifer is known for her ambitious and pumping club sets. Jennifer herself is a particular fan of the late night/early morning sets where she gets to see the sunrise.
‘They’re my favourite sets, without a doubt.’
I’ve always wondered the secrets of how DJs can stay up so late to not only be fully awake but also be at the top of their game.
‘I can’t nap, and if I could, I am too nervous or full of adrenaline to go to bed before a gig anyway. For the odd time when I am feeling low, I have this amazing green tea that gets me through.’
‘In terms of getting in the right head space, I am mildly superstitious, so I will create these weird rituals that I think will dictate how well I will play. I am also flippant, so when they stop working I’ll make up a new one. I realise it’s kind of ridiculous.”
Her career has already brought her to play some truly unforgettable shows. Most notably, a sunrise set playing on the Great Wall of China. I had to wonder if that was all legal.
‘I think it was legal. It was ticketed, it was advertised for months in advance, and everyone had rooms on site. I did hear that someone had to pay off someone, which is not uncommon in China. I also heard after I played that one of the organisers was running around, avoiding the cops.”
This past March, Jennifer took part in the Mardi Gras festivities, playing 5 shows in 2 days.
‘It would have been nicer to have had more time to actually experience the festival as a go-er, but that’s alright. I will definitely try to make it back next year.’
Her favourite gig during the festival was with the collective Full Bloom.
‘It was the last gig I did on that Saturday night with Bobby Vibe Positive, Nite Fleit, Andy Garvey, and Valerie Yum. I walked into this dark smoky warehouse, I couldn’t see where the crowd started or ended. I couldn’t tell how big the room was. And it was just heaving and sweaty. I have nothing but good things to say about that crew or that party’
With recent slots at Gaytimes, Pitch and an upcoming performance at Shady Cottage, Jennifer certainly has a taste for local music festivals.
‘I’ve never experienced festival culture like I have in Australia. There seems to be a festival every weekend during the summer. I’ve never been to Europe so this might be ignorant to say, but this place leaves little to envy when it comes to festivals.’
So with a full-time job, a weekly hourly radio slot, her dedication to her mixes, her weekend filled with gigs and, at least this writer assumes, a social life for family and friends, it’s some wonder where Jennifer Loveless finds the time to fit it all in.
‘Sleep loses out,’ Jennifer laughed, ‘ I don’t think I would have it any other way, unless there was a way to have more time. There is so much more I want to do.’
Even while being sleep-deprived with ears ringing every other day from the nights that precede it, I gathered from our brief meeting that Jennifer Loveless wouldn’t live her life any other way.
‘It’s easy when you love everything you do.’
Jennifer Loveless will be performing alongside Wax'o Paradiso, Otologic, Sex on Toast and more at Shady Cottage Music & Leisure Festival from March 31 - April 2.
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Alex Capper, once affectionally called by Ross & John of 3AW as the '7 foot fucker', loves the Essendon Football Club, stalking reddit and dabbing. He thinks he can speak French, but he can't.