Jason Harlowe A.K.A. DJ Harlo is one of the busiest and most influential DJs in Central Oregon. He began his career in 1997 and since then has gone on to gain a masters in Audio Engineering and Post Production from the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in 2006. Currently he is the active DJ for Jay Tablet & The Cloaked Characters. He also currently holds a residency at the Astro Lounge in Bend, OR and now runs his own studio called Mixed Heritage Studios in Tigard, Oregon.
Signalfy connects with DJ Harlo and discusses musical influences, his advice for Signalfy and building community, and a just-released track.
1. What initially captured your interest in DJ’ing? What first made you want to become a part of the scene?
Growing up hearing artists like Jazzy Jeff, Grandmaster Flash, DJ Mark, The 45 King and of course Yo MTV Raps, DJ’ing was all around. Making mix tapes for friends in high school was fun but seeing what these guys did live on stage was pure motivation.
2. What are your favorite genres & influences in what you DJ & produce?
Trance, House, Hip-Hop, Rock, R&B & D&B are always my main influences. Dubstep before it was Dubstep really grew on me and I think the use of it tastefully in breakdowns and bridges is great. It adds flavor to all EDM tracks and helps provide contrast on the dance floor.
3. Where did you grow up and how do you think that played a role in your music choices?
I grew up in San Diego - North County area to be exact - and yes your place of adolescence plays a role…more in the timing and depth of music choices. Back in the 90’s, urban cities had better variety and culture in music options than the rural towns. Even now there is still about a 5+ year gap in when things become socially popular between those areas. The internet has helped with that for sure.
4. What are some of your best memories from a party you attended, organized or DJ’ed?
Slipmat Parties are always epic. Paul Oakenfold at the Crystal Ballroom with my wife, VIP side stage with the artists = flippin sweet. Also, hanging with DARA, Dieselboy, Sam Pool & the Hill brothers on the POTD Tour was a riot. But in the end, I must say that my most recent tour with Enzyme Dynomite, Jay Tablet & DJ True Justice was the best growing and motivating experience yet.
5. What can help strengthen the current community and how do you think the scene has evolved?
Unity & Solid expectations. No more auto beat syncing & train wrecks, it just kills the art & tarnishes the scene. Evolution-wise, the pop scene has really taken influence from EDM. Top level studios and producers now know all the “tricks of the EDM trade” per say & they have the resources to really make a mark. The underground could easily be buried if we can’t come together and make networking better. If you get a demo give it an honest listen. Don’t like it? Cool, give some positive criticism, heck pass it on to someone in your network who might. That’s how the pros do it and that’s how they are keeping hold on the scene.
6. How separated/segmented are scenes by US geography and do you think it’s important to bring these together?
In certain areas more than some. The funny thing is the fans and listeners are very open minded to all & support the music no matter who - thank the web for that one. I get props on mixes from all over the world, it’s very humbling. Uniting the DJ scene is imperative if we want the labels, A&R people and talent scouts to take us seriously. As musicians we need to learn to work together & be professionial about it. Labels invest thousands of dollars into artists & releases and they want a good investment as much as we want to be heard. That way it’s a win-win.
7. What would you like to see the most in an EDM events platform (hint, hint, like with Signalfy)?
Something that focuses on community, the small out-of-the-way venues, and quality local talent, not just the cliques. It’s always good to blast the known spots, yet there are many out there that are trying to make their mark that need the love from somewhere. We all grew from a seed, struggled & got help. The time has come to give back.
8. What do you think are the most important elements that make a good party?
Booking local & professional talent. Approachability (if that’s a real word) of the organizers. If headliners are booked, make sure they are willing to at least do a meet & greet of some kind and not just with your homies, but with the people who pay for the tickets to get in. It helps remind people that they & you are real. People might laugh but I think everyone needs to watch Katy Perry’s “A Part of Me”. Her tour & event staff are top notch.
Take an early listen to DJ Harlo’s new release Ready Set Go, on Beatport and iTunes January 13th.
Ready Set Go is the first Dance/Pop release from DJ Harlo featuring renowned vocalist Chelsea Lodge. This club hit combines the essence of R&B Soul with the Dance Pop flavor that is sweeping the nation. Keep your ears peeled for the nasty drop as it’s sure to get the floor & fists pumping. Recorded at Oxiliary Studios in Bend, OR, with Rory ONEders on Co-Production and engineering. Creative credits & consulting to Stephanie Harlowe, Jay Tablet, Brian Bennett, Brad Jones aka Keez & Keegan Smith.