Having cut his chops with Richie Hawtin, Magda and Minus back in the late ‘90s, Heartthrob has gone on to regularly tour the globe, DJing and playing live at clubs like Space Ibiza, Fabric, and Panorama Bar, and Rex Club.
In the studio, he’s become a techno tastemaker with forward thinking, experimentalist material on labels like Bpitch, Minus, Spectral Sounds and Hot Creations. Most recently he launched his own imprint, Isnisnt, releasing hits like “Discount Dancer,” and “Let’s Talk About Reading,” spooky, melodic techno very much his own. So with a new label under his belt, and a brand new album due this fall, we caught up with Jesse Siminski to find out how he got his start, where Isnisnt is headed, and find out what his dream festival line-up would be.
Firstly, the name Heartthrob is awesome and unique at the same time. Who doesn't love the name Heartthrob? How did that come about? Yeah well, it came from Magda actually, my friend for many years now. It was her nickname that she used back in the day in New York before I started Minus, and once I kind of signed with them, Rich asked each artist to kind of use a nickname, so I used that one, it made sense. So, I'm kind of stuck with it now, can have a laugh with it.
We at Pulse are big fans of your work, where did your passion come and who were your early influences? Well thank you first of all. I got into techno when I was a teenager, really, so now we're looking at like 15 years of being into it. I just started going to raves as a kid and growing up in Michigan. It was kind of happening in the ‘90s. I started buying records in Detroit and Minneapolis, places like that. I definitely liked the Detroit techno, people like Rich and Underground Resistance and other people doing stuff in Chicago, like Derek Carter. People like that have caught my interest at an early age.
For those not familiar with your style of DJing or producing, how would you describe it? House and techno really, but yeah I try to add my own personal spin on it, keep it funky and melodic, you know, add a few surprises along the way. Do something a little unusual sometimes, try and do something fun.
You have been making waves on the electronic scene for years now, how did you catch your first break? I started when I was living in New York, like I said. I met up with Magda, we became friends, and she started working with Minus around the same time I started making music that I thought was decent enough to kind of play and give to friends and yeah, Richie Hawtin got interested, and signed me up to the label, Minus, in it's early stages, so I started releasing there and yeah with some other people. Now I have my own label. That's kind of the beginning, really, and intro to everything.
What’s the highlight about being involved with such a huge label? It's hard to say; I mean when I was working with them, it was a lot of fun. They had a nice system set up where all the promotion is done very well and I really enjoy playing the label showcases obviously with Magda, Troy and Mark. Yeah, I mean that's part of the fun, being able to travel and tour with the other artists and kind of get excited about the other music that was coming out, getting to play in front a lot of people.
Having worked with several prestigious labels over the years, how does it feel to launch your own label, and how do you see this label growing and progressing in future years? Yeah, I mean I'm really excited about it. It's definitely a lot of work, but it's interesting. I've discovered how things kind of work. I really enjoy the freedom of being able to release my own music, and in the near future, other people's music – friends' and what not. Definitely, it's a little hairy at times when it's getting things together, meeting deadlines, it becomes a little bit more of a responsibility, but fun. It's great having that freedom.
Of course you are also releasing a new album as well as a label and event. For those unaware of your latest releases and schedule, would you care to tell us a bit more about them? The next release should be out in the next coming weeks. It's the second one; it's called "Someone Called Again." It has four tracks, like nice, kind of pumping techno. I think it's pretty unique. There are four cuts, but two of them are basically like variations of the same thing and got like a great feel of a beat to it, funky. So that will be out on vinyl in the next two weeks, and then in May it will be out digitally. Then after that, I have another release planned for, say, around July, that will lead into the album in October, so it's a busy time, it's good.
You have toured the globe for near enough the past decade on a full time basis either DJing or playing live, in doing so you gained a residency at Rex Club in Paris as well as performing frequently at Fabric in London, Berghain in Berlin, Space in Ibiza and Womb in Tokyo. Which venue has been your favourite to perform at and why? That's a tough one. I mean, I would say my favourite place to play live would be Fabric. They just have a terrific sound system, and all the staff, the sound guys, the production is great you know, it's a really homey vibe and some place I really hold dear. DJing I would say Panorama Bar is my favourite. Sure, yeah, absolutely. It just has the right atmosphere; it's still a crazy place. Of course the sound is great. It just has this kind of real Wild West club vibe that you don't find anywhere else, really.
Speaking of Ibiza, what dates will you be performing on the White Isle this year and in what clubs? Not sure quite yet. I think there is an ENTER. date that's in the books, but we're still trying to figure out where it is exactly, so yeah, I don't know yet.
Are you looking forward to performing in Ibiza this year? Sure yeah, absolutely. It's always a good time you know.
What is your favourite thing about Ibiza? I just love the kind of laid-back atmosphere. When you get out the clubs, going to the beach and having lunch, seeing friends, drinking wine, you know. I'm a real beach person, so I like getting in the water and chilling out, watching people. You know, proper vacation stuff.
Switching gears to your productions now, how important is it for a DJ to be able to produce as well as DJ? Well I mean, the thing is at this point, it's harder for DJs just to become known for their mixing alone. It helps to have music out and to contribute tracks, you know, to get known that way as well. It kind of defines your sound in a sense, your own productions. I don't believe it's absolutely 100 percent necessary, but it does help a bit to spread the word around.
Finally, if you had the opportunity to select your dream electronic festival or line-up, what would it be and where would it be held? You can include yourself. I would like it to be in Maui, because I love Hawaii and Maui's my favourite island. I would love to have Zip DJ, I would love to have Tobias and Matthew Johnson play together live. Let's see, if I could really use my imagination I'd love to have Prince perform their old school set. Let's see, who else would I have? Craig Richards would be an excellent choice because he's a great DJ, I think we'll throw in Ricardo just for fun, he's always good for a good time.
Would you put yourself in there? Sure, yeah I would play back to back with Magda.
Catch Heartthrob, Heidi, Krankbrother and Rob Amboule this Friday, April 11 at Village Underground, London, EC2A 3PQ from 10pm – 4am.
For more info, head to the event's Facebook page.