Electronica artiste Spacejams aka Yohann Jamsandekar opens up about his evolving sound
It was in the mid ‘90s that Yohann Jamsandekar’s mum introduced him to Tupac; in the following years he would - in his own words - ‘go nuts’ discovering new music across US and Europe. The Mumbai-based electronic artiste also known as Spacejams is creating some of the most exploratory sound designs, straddling acid house, techno, new-wave synth simultaneously, and is one of our most crucial discoveries in the independent music circuit. A resident DJ for the Milkman Party Series (which turned two this month), and also a part of the long-running Mumbai collective Bhavishyavani Future Soundz (which just turned 20), Spacejams was also recently part of the Dekmantel 2019 line-up, which is one of the most prolific electronic music festivals in Amsterdam. Interestingly, Yohann recently performed in Kolkata as part of a Milkman showcase, and we caught up with the artiste to know more about his process.
Tell us a little about how you got your start
I started mixing music about 10 years ago. I was studying hotel management in Australia when a friend of mine Shawn Khambatta R.I.P. had gotten an M-Audio Torq DJ Controller. As soon as I saw what he was up to, I really got into it. A few months later I got myself the same controller and just started mixing nonstop day and night..... You could say that was the beginning.
Can you tell us a little about your foundational influences? Sounds which shaped your work, or the kind of music which you listened to while growing up
I’ve always been into music since my early childhood, I was heavily influenced by rap. My house has always been pretty musical. So growing up there’s always been good music pumping at home. My mum was the one who introduced me to Tupac in 1997. In 1998 I made my first visit to Frankfurt where I got introduced to this mix called Chart Mix 4.
It was a double compilation filled with hard style techno, rap, electro, breaks & rave pop hits. That was the beginning. The following year I went to the New York and really went nuts discovering music. Majorly Gangsta Rap, music and toys. Loads of action figures. The older I got the more research I did and the story keeps going on and on.
Tell us a little about your experience at Dekmantel 2019
It was truly amazing. Was a real honour to represent the nation on such a big level.
Bhavishyavani Future Soundz just turned 20. Has being a part of Bhavishyavani Future Soundz helped you out?
Yes majorly. You could say they have been like my elder brothers. The ones I never had. They have made me realise that the hustle is real. I want to specially thank Mr T- Tejas Mangeshkar, M.Mat - Matthieu Josso & Loopkin- Cyril Vincent for taking me under their wing and showing me the way forward into the future in the ‘TRUE BHAVISHYAVANI WAY.’
Electronic music in India is in a very interesting space right now. Do you enjoy it as a performer? Do you think there's anything which could help it grow?
Yes, Indian electronic scene is booming. There has always been a scene but I guess lately due to social media it’s really blowing up!!! I’m really enjoying being a part of the nightlife community. As a performer it’s amazing as lots of new people are getting educated about various styles of music. One thing that can help it grow on a larger scale and I mean this goes out to everybody in the industry - put your egos aside and then for sure, the scene can reach way, way, way higher places.
And also something which all of us should always remember is to be thankful and grateful. I think these are the keys to life. Music is life. It’s a lifestyle. I really feel that the scene can grow massively. We got one of the biggest populations in the world. We gotta make the most of it.
Can you tell us about what you're working on now?
At the moment I’m working on finishing some of my own productions (finally) and also I love to DJ as much as I love breathing so don’t think that’s going to stop ever. To be honest music has been a passion that turned into work and it’s a kind of passion that haunts you in a good way 24/7 so you could say that I’m constantly working on something in my head.