Interview | Hungry Like Jai Wolf

Photo: Dash Grey 

In dance music lore, Skrillex handpicking you for his OWSLA label is the equivalent of God choosing David to be King or Magic Johnson drafting Lonzo Ball to lead the Lakers. Whatever the reference may be, the point is the same — real recognize real.

Also: Summer 2017 Music Festival Darlings You Will Fall in Love With

Jai Wolf rose from bedroom producer obscurity to “next big thing” in future bass when Skrillex tapped the young DJ/producer for his label.

It’s been a meteoric rise for Jai Wolf (real name Sajeeb Saha), who was born in Bangladesh and raised in New York as a classical music prodigy. 

Before he knew it, Jai Wolf was opening gigs for the likes of ODESZA and then he broke out with “Indian Summer”, which has racked up tens of millions of streams (check out the just released music video).

Jai Wolf eventually signed to indie darling label Mom + Pop Music, placing himself alongside the likes of Flume, Jagwar Ma, and Wavves and released the buzzed about EP, Kindred Spirits.

I caught up with Jai Wolf over email to chat about his classical music roots, making emotional electronica, and his upcoming appearance at Hard Summer 2017 (he’s also playing Lollapalooza on Friday).

Crave: Growing up you played the violin and were part of the New York All State Orchestra. What was it like telling your parents you wanted to become a DJ? 

Jai Wolf: I never wanted to become a DJ, I just sort of fell into it as a means to perform. My parents were pretty accepting of me pursuing a career in music though. They knew I was writing music outside of the classical world for years as a hobby and were really supportive when I decided to pursue it full time.  

You’ve described “Indian Summer” as a track where you were completely true to yourself. How did you approach it differently?

I wrote a song that merged my Bengali heritage with my love for electronic music which I had never done before. I feel like that song specifically is like my soul in music form.  

Your music is packed with a wide range of emotion, not just highs and lows, but in-betweens, which is very hard to do in electronic music. How were you feeling while making Kindred Spirits. 

I think nostalgia is a huge component in the music I write. I think a lot about my past and where I want to go in the future and so that spectrum of where I’ve been vs. where I’m going affects what I’m writing.  

You’re playing Hard Summer 2017, which is one the biggest music festivals in the world. Do you approach festival gigs differently than a more intimate club show?

I think an intimate show at a venue allows for you to play your own music but at festivals you’re sometimes forced to conform to a larger audience. Lately I’ve been trying to break that by playing just my own music at some of these festivals.  

Hard Summer 2017 is a great line up that’s incorporated a lot of female and hip hop acts. Any must-sees for you? 

Snoop Dogg for sure. That’s going to be really cool to see. I’m a big Tinashe fan and I’ve always wanted to see her live.  

For more sights and sounds on Jai Wolf go HERE.

Jai Wolf Tour Dates:

Sat. Aug. 5 – Chicago, IL at Lollapalooza

Sun. Aug. 6 – San Bernardino, CA @ HARD Summer 

Sat. Aug. 12 – Salmo, BC @ Shambhala Music Festival

Sun. Aug. 13 – Baltimore, MD @ Moonrise Festival

Fri. Aug. 25 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel