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A true tastemaker, Jason Bentley is one of the music industry's most influential radio and club DJs. During his fifteen years at L.A. stations KROQ and KCRW, he has helped such artists as Portishead, Jamiroquai, and The Chemical Brothers get a break in the music industry. Jason has reached a worldwide audience working as the music supervisor for video games, TV commercials, and major Hollywood films such as the Matrix trilogy. He continues to be a driving influence in the LA music scene through his popular radio programs, appearances at clubs and events, and remixes of current music. Jason is known for his commitment to electronica, and he helped introduce the Best Electronic/Dance Album category to the Grammy Awards. This installment of Creative Inspirations shows how Jason works his magic as he takes us behind the scenes at KCRW and gives us a peek at his home studio in Venice, CA.
Use of Silversun Pickups "Lazy Eye" courtesy of Dangerbird Records
(Music plays.) For inspiration, it's really about interaction with people and listening to their points of view. One way that I try and stay inspired for the industry side of things is I have gotten really involved in the Recording Academy, which is the Grammy organization. So besides doing the Grammy show every year they actually have an academy.
I have been on the Board of Governors there for four years now and it's basically a room where different people from the industry get together once a month and we deal with issues around the music world, musicians and it's just a great room. I'll be sitting next to - it's so random but it's like the lead singer of Earth, Wind and Fire will be on one side of me, Philip Bailey and then one of Elvis Presley's producers is on the right. Everybody has this viewpoint and this experience and that's one way I try and stay inspired is just interacting with these people.
It also might be people are way out of my age group. They will be in their 60s or something, but they have so much knowledge and such an interesting perspective on the world so that really if there is just a simple conversation, you are going to pick some stuff up. The Recording Academy also is the type of organization that's a non-profit and it's not something you are paid for, where you really have to change your point of view from what am I getting out of this to what am I giving into this, and that's when you get, is when you switch that around. But if you are only going into it going, why am I volunteering here? They have me come to these boring meetings. And when you switch over to just 'what can I really contribute' and focus on that, then all of a sudden, like magic, the universe allows you to then get something out of it.
So that's important with not only the Recording Academy but probably with any kind of collaboration, whether I'm working in a studio with a musician or working on a remix or working with director on a film, is really trying to listen and see how much information you can gain in terms of what you are giving to the situation. It's almost the search for what's next. That's also really important in my particular music scene. Dance music is an electronic music in particular, it's very much about what's next, what's coming and it's sort of the need to discover and find out is what drives it. And it's what drives me.
I'm looking to be inspired every day. When I go into KCRW and I go into the music library and I'm checking out new things, I'm going to come across something that I didn't expect and just really switches me on. I think fundamentally with electronic music/dance music is really about what people can do that you've never heard before and since that's fundamentally part of the music scene, it's what keeps me really excited to hear what's next.
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