Q&A : Jordan Bruce




1. Who are you? 

Hi, I’m Jordan Bruce.

2. What do you do?

I produce electronic music and DJ under the names Yard One and [Aura], as well as running the record label Tact Recordings, and working in music promotion looking after many leading labels in the dance music industry.

3. Where do you often create/produce? 

My bedroom’s been my studio ever since I started making music, over the years I’ve been picking up tools and collecting samples to gradually form the production style I’ve now achieved, it’s been a long learning process but of late I feel I’ve achieved the the kind of sound I’m wanting to present to the world, the main focus of this being gritty and atmospheric.

4. When?

I generally attempt to make some sort of sound on a daily basis not necessarily tracks per se, much like many others most of the stuff I end up making never sees the light of day, it’s purely a want to create so I mess around with a beat or try to program a nice synthesized sound, some attempts form tracks, other ideas are simply exported and used at a later date or left and forgotten about.

5. Why do you play music? 

Music, or specifically electronic music has been an inherent part of my life since I was around 15 years old, I’ve been on a never-ending search to find new and exciting sounds to channel ever since, I’m constantly getting excited about and discovering new material on a daily basis, in conclusion I play music because I couldn’t imagine not doing so in my life.

6. When did you start making music?

I started around 16 years old, picked up my first copy of Logic, messed around for a few years and eventually started to put some EP’s out under my [Aura] guise, a sound which tipped its focus towards Deep House with a more stripped-back, minimalistic approach. I eventually worked with some great labels like Luna, Act Natural and Argumento and got some outstanding remixes from the likes of Terrence Dixon, Adam Shelton and Markus Homm so it was really exciting to start putting out records and everything beginning.

7. Which track defines you the most? 

Of my own material i’d say my recent remix  I did for one of MY favorite duo’s, two Dutch artists called Esther Duijn & Steady Douglas, I really respect these two as producers and have been following their material for quite some time so it was great to have a crack at remixing their work, I kicked off the new Yard One alias with this remix and it’s a true representation of what I’m feeling right now. In terms of electronic music productions in general, I’d have to say Efdemin’s “Bergwein”  defines my perception of class, it came out in 2007 and at the time that record truly cemented my love for a more hypnotic style of house and electronica, I’ve been following Dial Records, Lawrence/Sten, John Roberts etc ever since, and I really believe that label is a driving force for raw, edgy and forward-thinking compositions.

8. How would you describe your own music?

As mentioned earlier I used to gravitate towards a deeper more refined sound, but it’s ever-evolving and my newly formed alias Yard One, which I have lots of material in the pipeline for, veers things into more bass heavy, off-kilter realms, taking inspiration from the likes of FaltyDL, Four Tet, Martyn and Daphni, those guys are in a league of their own for me in terms of unique and intriguing productions.

9. Any track of the moment?

I’d have to say Martyn’s “Empty Mind”  taken from his recent “The Air Between Words” L.P on Ninja Tune, he’s such an inspired producer and the release being on Ninja is testament to the beauty of the product, that label’s certainly another driving force for music in general to me.

10.What influences your work?

Listening to a wide array of music all day, every day, I work in an office with a regular stream of music coming through, with a group of people who all have fantastic tastes to throw in as well, so the ever-changing, eclectic soundtrack of my life drives my inspiration, I can extract different ideas and elements from records I hear and try to remake them, which most of the time generates something different entirely, but I like that I think it’s refreshing to extract a vibe from a record then recreate it with your own spin.

11.What’s your academic background? Are you an autodidact? 

I have a degree in Sound Engineering, this has of course been incredibly beneficial to shaping the sound that I want, I taught myself production for several years but I felt taking this route would be really beneficial to stepping it up a notch and crafting records in the way they should sound.

12.Favorite designer?

I’ve been a huge fan of everything that Norse Projects do for years, their attention to detail and ability to create striking garments with a simple aesthetic is always on-point, also Alife NYC and Oliver Spencer too.

13.Favorite book?

Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road”, an inspiring look at the life of Jazz hounds and debauchery in 1950’s America, I’m long overdue a trip to New Orleans! (and back to NY!)

14.Favorite classic movie?

I’d probably have to say “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”, I really like Ken Kesey’s novel and although he didn’t seem to think so, I felt the movie was a great adaptation of the book, it conjures up so many different emotions and truly captures the medical insanity and lack of treatment in its era. Whoever came up with the idea of a Lobotomy clearly had a few screws loose themselves.

15.Favorite music label?

I don’t think I can whittle it down to just one, as previously mentioned Dial and Ninja always pique my interest, but then there’s the likes of Rush Hour, R&S, Pampa, Permanent Vacation and the list goes on…

16.Your dream collaboration?

I’d love to spend a few days in the studio picking the brains of Richard James (Aphex Twin), Moritz Von Oswald, Drew Lustman (FaltyDL) or Larry Heard (Mr. Fingers), they’ve all managed to achieve their own very distinctive style and I’d love to witness the creative process.

17. Are you analog or digital?

An amalgamation of both, I veer towards drums and stabs ripped from records and analogue bass, while the digital tools help sprinkle additional atmosphere into the composition.

18.Which softwares/tools/ instruments do you use/play?

I’ve made a point of building my own sample collection over the years and constantly try to clean it up so I have go-to samples ready to roll. Aside from that I generally build atmospheres from field recordings or turn to soft synth’s to achieve ethereal pads etc, bass and melodics have been coming via the Alpha Juno from Roland of late, it’s a fantastic piece of kit for getting straight to the point. I’m always messing around with different approaches though, you don’t want to stagnate by constantly repeating your actions when it comes to sound choice, that’s the problem with fad’s focused on very particular sounds they grow tired very quickly (to my ears anyway).

19.Describe your creative process?

My process starts a long time before even sitting down at a computer, I generally map out some ideas in my mind before getting into it, create sample packs and gather ideas in the lead up, I feel this is really useful as I want the mapping of the records and creating the vibe to be instantaneous when I start to work. Once I have all the elements for the equation I’ll start with drums, add some atmosphere into the depths of the records, I like to rip bits of audio from TV and Movies when theres no dialogue and just a subtle atmosphere, layer up some synth sounds to create further texture and a heavy dose of bass and the composition will begin to take form over a couple of hours.

20.When are you the most prolific (creatively)?

Never, I’m my own worst critic when it comes to music, finished products that I feel truly happy with are few and far between but I think this is merely a case of striving to reach a quality of production that I enjoy most, it’s all a process, the more time spent creating the more you’ll mature and become happier with what you do, I’m cool with letting this happen organically and embracing what I’m doing at this moment in time.

21. Any favorite record stores? (Real/virtual)

I pick up vinyl occasionally although I’m not an avid collector, most of my music is purchased digitally via Beatport, WhatPeoplePlay, iTunes etc.. The vinyl I do pick up tends to be only in that format, full L.P’s or abstract home listening stuff, so I keep an eye out for a buzz around a particular record, or scour Discogs for old, weird and interesting tracks.

22.Do you get inspiration from artists you represent? 

Absolutely, I’m fortunate enough to be working with some outstanding talents who continually drive inspiration, I’ve made many great friends throughout my career and being involved in the industry, many of whom offer encouragement and advice on how to present yourself as an artist and what works in electronic music which is always helpful. It’s fantastic to work with such a variety of label’s and seeing how they evolve and grow musically, you hear such a diversity and that’s what feeds creativity.

23.What’s your life philosophy? (Optimistic/pessimistic)

This is a hard, realistically the world doesn’t work like this, but try to do what you truly love in life if you can, find peace of mind however you possibly can, surround yourself with good people who better you as a person, and try to eradicate stress that’s weighing you down.

24.Do you have a healthy lifestyle?

I try to look after myself where I can, obviously working in an industry fueled by an often pleasure-seeking nightlife we’re all subjected to sleep depravation and everything else that comes with it, so it’s important to rebuild your energy, I recently took to a pescatarian diet so these days I put a lot of thought into what food I eat which is really critical to maintaining your health. Also know when to leave the party, I’ve had some incredible times partying for days on end but suffice to say my body wasn’t very thankful after, much like many other aspects of life it’s all about balance.

25.How do you manage your time effectively? (Job/hobby)

Essentially both of them are always on my mind until I switch off and escape into my dreams, I’m continually striving to expand on the reach of my clients material, the interconnection of music also helps me expand on my musical consciousness, so basically the majority of my time is spent on both in a way.

26. Any secret skills?

Yeah, but it’s a secret 🙂

27. Any future plans?

For sure, there’s lots of Yard One material in the making, some of which I’m hoping to unleash to the world this year; looking to put out a few 12’’s with some labels I’ve been following of late then I feel like I want to have a crack at the electronic music album format, something that’s not so easy and will no doubt take me a long while but many of my favorite releases are long players which truly showcase the bigger picture and give you a real overview of the artist.

28.What’s your life motto?

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.”Mark Twain.

This quote resonated as I’ve always been drawn to different people, approaches, view-points and music, just because something’s endorsed en masse it doesn’t necessarily make it right for you, it’s always good to take a step back and look at world with new perspectives.

29. Any “mot de la fin”?

Peace ☮




Yard One

Tact Recordings