Jen Mas is one of those iconic women that knows her way around the decks. The underground music culture being mostly male dominant Jen Mas proved she can tangle with the best. Undoubtedly Jen is a show starter! She KNOWS how to get people dancing with timeless emotion. Often with the selection of tracks she puts down. Versitile and educated she has no hesitation opening the room with large sound that trancend her audience. Jens' New York edge cuts rite to the point when listening to her energize a festival dancefloor. For anyone who has not heard her set before I reccomend you DO NOT MISS IT!!! I know I won't! Read on our chat about the changes in our music culture. Get personal with Jen as she preps for Hydotechnics Festival.
How has technology influenced the evolution of electronic music?
Technology advancements have always influenced everything from producing to DJing. New equipment is constantly emerging which keeps people motivated and productive. It’s nice to go on Youtube and watch all these young artists rocking out on hardware and seeing some DJ creativity with the new gear available today. People used to complain about laptop DJs, but there are so many artists taking things to the next level and that’s exactly where we should be.
Current music trends. So many genres. What are your guilty pleasures in music?
I find myself listening to old school music more and more lately. 80s and 90s stuff for the most part. But I have always loved all types of music and am pretty openminded musically. I would say a guilty pleasure is 80s Freestyle. It’s not for everyone, but I feel happy and nostalgic when I listen to it.
How has underground music influenced your life?
Underground music has had a major impact on me. I was in college when I decided to drop 25 thousand (borrowed credit card money!) on a party which changed the course of my life. Not long afterwards, I began DJing, met tons of awesome friends, threw a bunch more parties, and embarked on an amazing journey that I wouldn’t trade for the world. Life can be pretty crazy sometimes, and the underground has given us all a place to call home and escape the stresses of daily living.
So many emerging artists and gimmicks. How can an up and coming artist compete in the current state of theatrics?
Any artist can achieve success if they work hard and don’t give up on their goals. Sure, you can cheat the system and hire ghost writers, buy fan likes and use promo teams. But for long term success you can be proud of, you just gotta find your niche, develop a unique style that defines you, and don’t let the rat race and competition get you down. Overnight success is rare as well, so expect to pay some dues and give yourself time to get good at what you do. It’ll make a bigger and long lasting impact that way.
Who are you listening to currently?
Old school! I’ve been drawn to playing older tracks in my sets lately, too. They say everything comes full circle so I’ve been in a throwback phase lately. I’ve been coming across some artists that have an old school vibe as well, which I really appreciate. VTSS from Germany is one of them.
What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
I would add that you shouldn’t worry about what anyone else is doing. It’s easy to fall into that trap and it’s not productive. When you have found your true artist self, stay true to it and don’t compromise for anyone. As the saying goes, be yourself, everyone else is already taken.
What trend would you like to see dissipate?
Fake artists with ghost writers, people who use money instead of talent to get ahead, and the whole festival style of DJing where DJs play prerecorded sets. Let’s see some real talent prevail, and let’s hear some perfectly imperfect DJ sets. There’s no fun in fake.
How has NYC underground changed over the past 15 years?
It’s changed a lot. Promoters tend to focus on fewer genres, so multi-genre rave events are hard to come by. To attend an event with many different styles of music you’ll need to go to a festival or a random smaller party by one of the few local rave crews we have left. What I enjoyed most about the old days was that a night of music was varied and the scene was more unified. We had a lot more daytime park parties then, too. Everything must come to an end, though, and it’s the younger kids turn to create a scene that they truly enjoy. It may not be what us older peeps are used to, but it’s about them now and as long as they’re happy and doing their thing, that’s what counts.
Young women breaking into the industry. What advice do you have for them?
Know your worth, know your strengths, and don’t compromise yourself for anyone. You are just as capable as anybody else, and you can go as far as you’d like, as long as you’re willing to put the work in. Don’t let stereotypes, jealousy or misogyny hold you back. And don’t rely solely on looks or sex appeal to get ahead, you’re better than that. Stay true to yourself and enjoy what you do. The minute you stop enjoying things, it’s time for a change.
What is the craziest thing to ever happen during a set?
I’ve witnessed many crazy things happen at parties, not specifically for my sets, though…but being I’m an underground DJ I’ve dealt with lots of funny DJ setups and situations. Some of the most memorable include playing on the back of a pickup truck in an old barn in Wisconsin, having someone hold up cardboard pizza boxes to block the wind from blowing needles off my records, and I’ve also had to fight off dust, dirt and other elements at plenty of gigs over the years.
What are you excited for this summer? Where can fans find you?
I’m excited to play Hydrotechnics next week, the best rave festival in New York, and at the end of the Summer
you can catch me at Saturday Morning Cartunes with some old friends, as well.
"Hydro Fam! Catch me Saturday night at the Woods Stage playing Old School Hardcore! For more info about this amazing event go here:http://www.hydrotechnicsfestival.comAnd here's one of my Classic Hardcore mixes to get you geared up and ready "
Queen of New York Hardcore. Is the music world going soft?
The music world is definitely not going soft. There are plenty of Hardcore producers in the electronic scene, young and old, doing their thing. Hardcore was always one of the most underrated and neglected genres, but I see it still gets lots of love across the globe. Besides, haven’t you heard Hardcore will never die?!
Dream lineup? Who? Where?
That’s a tough question, as I was never good at picking favorites. There are so many amazing artists and DJs out there. I’d rather envision a dream party, which would basically be a 90s warehouse rave with all the different styles of music of the past in one room, and all the music of the present in another. If there was a way to recreate one of Peter Gatien’s clubs, like the Limelight with all its funky rooms, that would be even better. I would wanna hear it all, from House and Breaks to Techno, Drum & Bass and Hardcore. I would want to watch some Turntablist DJs as well. We may not experience another club like the Limelight, but with festivals like Hydro at least we can enjoy some good music with a nostalgic vibe.
What are some components to long lasting presence in the underground?
Hard work, perseverance, thick skin, respect for yourself and others, and a real love for what you do.
If you were only allowed 3 records to start a new civilization... What records would you choose?
If we’re talking electronic music only, then I would bring 2 of my favorite Hardcore records: Lenny Dee’s Forgotten Moments and Ophidian’s Butterfly VIP and a classic feel good tune for good measure like: The Future Sound Of London’s Papua New Guinea.
If you could take 5 artists with you, who would you take?
My husband Andrew of course, Lenny Dee, Carl Cox, DJ Craze, and Miss DJAX