Jonathan Kaspar: You can never know what to expect from the next track

We sat down to interview German DJ and producer Jonathan Kapspar about his new EP, which is another round of captivating and melodic techno to Damian Lazarus’ Crosstown Rebels.

A fixture on acclaimed labels such as Cocoon, Kompakt, and Innervisions, Cologne-based DJ and producer Jonathan Kaspar continues to demonstrate his versatile talent while also remixing for notable names like Acid Pauli, John Digweed, Joris Voorn, and Sven Väth. Six years after dropping his initial single on the label, he now makes a triumphant return to Damian Lazarus’ Crosstown Rebels for his fourth outing, mesmerising audiences once again with the three-track EP ‘We Come,’ revealing his deeper and hypnotic side.

Listen to Jonathan Kapspar’s ‘We Come’ EP and read the interview about the release, his relationship with Crosstown Rebels, his artistic vision, and future plans.

Hey Jonathan! It’s great to chat with you today. What’s your musical background, and how did you first get into electronic music and DJing?

Thanks for the invitation! During school my first passion was basketball, the main music we listened back then in the team was rap and R´n´B – We loved Notorius B.I.G., LL Cool J, Nas and many more. I remember already back then I was fascinated by raw drums – a love I still have today. My first party with electronic music is still very present as I remember there was a show act on a horse riding into the dancefloor, bad idea as the horse did not like the bass too much. I was fascinated by the groove and endless loops you can get lost in. I started to dive deep into the music just as a listener first but when my best friend had some Reloop decks at home we starting spinning at home with the very first vinyl we could afford. It took some time until we had the guts to play in front of people, but it directly clicked and we started to organize our own parties so we could play!

Your latest EP ‘We Come’ is set to be released on Crosstown Rebels, what can listeners expect from this release?

It’s my second EP with Crosstown Rebels and I’m really happy about Damian’s selection of the demos I sent to him for the EP as the 3 tracks feel like the essence of my current DJ sets: Building tension, up and down until having an atmospheric finish. Each track has been road-tested a lot during my sets in the last months and I can’t wait to put them out finally.

This EP will also be your fourth outing on the label. What key factors have contributed to the longevity of your partnership with Crosstown Rebels?

The music itself and the good contact to Damian! I’m super happy to return to Crosstown as I am a huge fan of the label for years already, always excited to see new Crosstown music in my inbox and very proud to be a little part of the +20years journey!

How do you approach the creative process when working on a three-track EP, and what considerations do you take to ensure each track complements the others?

I always go track by track – never aiming for a special fit for an EP or that the tracks complement each other as taste is such a subjective feeling, you never know which tracks the A&R of the label wants to put together. In the end, it is always a collective decision which tracks make it to an EP together and which then paint the bigger picture.

As a DJ and producer based in Cologne, how does your environment and the local music scene contribute to your artistic vision and sound?

Kompakt was and is a huge influence to my sound as I love the wide catalogue of the label, I also try to keep it fresh for me and my music and releases – You can never know what to expect from the next tracks, neither do I! 😀

You’ve worked with a diverse range of artists through remixing. How do these projects impact your growth as an artist, and do they influence your original productions?

I love doing remixes, as most of the time you already have a certain way or idea in mind with the parts of the original track. With my latest two remixes for Tiga & Kölsch and Rex The Dog, it was quite a difficult process as I loved both originals so much. They were both my highlight-tunes of 2023, so the challenge was really high for myself. In the end I’m very happy how they both turned out.

Are there any fellow DJs or producers you dream of collaborating with in the future?

I would love to work with Roisin Murphy. l love her voice and her presence as an artist in general.

Looking back at your discography, are there any tracks or projects that hold a special place in your heart, and if so, why?

Luckily until now there is no track in my discography which I’m having a guilty pleasure with, let’s see what the next years will bring haha! I really love ‘Villose’ – a somehow weird track I released in 2019 and love it for its roughness and deepness at the same moment. Also I still love ‘CHI’ from 2020 for its emotional journey, it still opens up my heart. And I’m also very happy about the tracks on my EP with Maeve in 2023.

Do you have a standout moment or noteworthy performance in 2023 that you consider a highlight in your career?

I loved every show at my residency Hawā – It’s a super special concept at the visitors terrace at Dusseldorf airport where you have an intimate crowd and airplanes starting and landing over your head all day. I always play a solo DJ set to warm up for my guest and then finish the day in a b2b set with the guest. So far we welcomed Mano Le Tough, Michael Mayer, Jimi Jules, Robag Wruhme and many more. Also a yearly highlight is the crazy good 4GB Festival in Tbilisi/Georgia – It takes place in the middle of nowhere in an old satellite fabric, one of the most special venues I have ever witnessed!

Thanks so much for joining us today! Lastly, what’s in store for the rest of 2024?

I have a very special remix coming up for the South African label Kunye and some really fresh original tracks which will finally see the light this year. I’m looking forward to nice shows at UNUM festival, a highly awaited 10-hours all night long set at Stereo Montreal in April and my second Mexico tour with stops including Funk in Mexico City, the infamous Bar Americas in Guadalajara and Vagalume in Tulum and more.

Follow Jonathan Kaspar on Instagram, Facebook and SoundCloud.