Jex Opolis dishes out a stellar selection of proggy club cuts for our latest mix instalment.
Canadian Jex Opolis is a tour de force in the contemporary electronic music landscape. Classically-trained from a young age in piano and guitar, Jex’s work fuses traditional melodic songcraft with his own idiosyncratic approach to electronic production. Along with self-releasing work on his own Good / Bad Timin’ label, Jex (born Jered Stuffco) has released an array of well-received 12-inch singles on some of our favourite imprints such as Dekmantel and Running Back. He’s an artist who pushes creative boundaries and is constantly evolving, often venturing into uncharted territories.
We caught up with the man himself to discuss some important milestones, new music and influences from a packed summer. Dive in a set full of dance floor-tested and approved cuts, which are sure to make you move and bring back those summer vibes.
Good to have you on, Jex. How’s things over in Edmonton? What brought you there and how did you spend your summer?
Hello! The summer was great! Super busy with a lot of touring around North America and Europe, but was great to catch up with old pals overseas after a couple years away from the game. I’ve also been working a day job, so the touring plus working plus having a three-year-old has been pretty intense. We moved back to Edmonton (after 5 years in NYC and about 12 in Toronto) in 2020 to be closer to family. Edmonton is a pretty nice city, no one has ever heard of it though! It has cheap housing and a good quality of life, so it’s been a good move for us. It does add a few hours onto all my flights which sucks, but you can’t have it all baby! Anyway, literally all of the family lives here (both mine and my wife’s) so we’re pretty settled here and spend lots of time biking, walking, hiking, hanging out in all the parks this summer. You can swim in the river here so I spent a lot of time submerged on hot days this summer.
Congrats on the upcoming milestones …. 10 years of your Good Timin, which has become synonymous with good vibes in all its forms and also 5 years of your Bad Timin imprint. You mentioned there’s some kind of a stylistic evolution going on… we’d love to hear more about that and releases coming up?
I had a bit of time in May and June so finished some music, but I always seem to make both “Bad Timin” and “Good Timin” music at the same time. I’ve got a split personality I think. So there’s definitely some proggier, heavier tunes that will come out on Bad Timin’ this year. The vinyl for Bad Timin’ Vol. 2 finally came out, so that was a big relief and now I can move on with my life lol. I mean, the wait for vinyl can be a real detriment to your creative process I reckon. In the 90s, producers didn’t have to wait a year for their music to come out. It was out in a matter of weeks. The Pet Shop Boys recorded “Behavoir” in June and it was out by October! They were a huge band, and now I have friends who have to wait more than a year these days for their 300 vinyl copies to come out. That’s ridiculous. Rip em and ship em baby! These days, I actually think it’s holding things back too much. So we’re not getting the same dynamic music that maybe we could (on the vinyl side at least) which is probably why you have so many rehash releases, same-y disco edits, because people are looking for sure bets.
Anyway, Good Timin’ has definitely been on hold lately, as I’ve just needed a break from the more melodic, 80s-styled music. My old project, DVAS, started in 2003 and we were making 80s-inspired melodic stuff, so that’s almost 20 years of that. Ironically, just before that project started I was making prog tunes in Reason, so I guess I’m reverting back to my early 20s lol. I have an old hard drive of tunes from that era which I should go though, maybe I should try to dust some of that stuff off. Or maybe not. But yeah, hard to believe it’s been 10 years since that first Good Timin’ release, time really does fly. I’ll probably repress some of the titles for the decade anniversary, which should be ready for the 20th birthday at this rate.
Post Covid lockdown, you’ve been playing to a wide variety of audiences across continents, we’d be interested to hear from your experiences and observations, how they vary and are impacting your own musical direction?
It does feel like things are changing pretty rapidly out there. There’s lots of trance and high BPM music out there these days, which in itself isn’t a bad thing. It is dance music after all. But I think maybe the “digger scene” got a bit used to being on the main stages for a while there. Now it’s like, well, sorry guys, you probably won’t be able to play your zouk records for 60,000 people anymore! So that’s been an interesting evolution to watch lately, especially some of the older heads lashing out on Twitter or whatever and complaining about trance. Kinda love that to be honest! For me personally, I don’t mind stylistic shifts, it keeps things fresh and every new generation comes along and then it’s like, oh wow, there are actually some people under 40 at the party! Neat!
Musically, I try not to follow all the micro trends but I also try to make music to service DJs. So my BPMs have been coming up a bit lately, and my last EP has actually been my biggest seller ever on Bandcamp. Any producer or DJ that tells you they don’t watch their stats are lying. So I’m taking those sales as a green light and a thumbs up to make some more progressive, upfront dance music this year, which I’m pretty excited about. And I probably wont wait for the vinyl edition either, just drop it digitally.
Moving on to your own productions, we know it’s been a stop and start year for a number of reasons. However, there’s been some sick remixes for the likes of Cracki Records, Loose fit and others. What else is coming up? As we head into Winter, are you planning to dive back into the studio for other collabs or new original works?
I had a flood in my studio in the summer (it was due to a broken hose bib on the side of the house, so we watered the flowers and the basement got wet!) so getting the studio back in order is a top priority. Like I mentioned, I’ve been working a day job lately so haven’t had much time for production, but I did manage to bang out a handful of remixes. The winters here in Edmonton are insanely brutal, while the summers are lovely, so winter is definitely the time to make music in the basement. I’ll be dropping another Bad Timin’ before the end of the year and maybe another Good Timin’ one too! I need some Christmas money!
Finally what kind of energy are you bringing us with this mix today? Any favourite and upcoming bits from you tucked away in there?
Mixes for me are sort of a clearing house … So I’ll play something in my sets for a bit, get a bit rinsed on them and then move them to a mix and then finally retire them haha. So these are tunes I was playing through the summer and worked well in the club, so you all are getting the club treatment without having to leave your home! The mix starts with a couple tunes I nicked from DJ sets I heard this summer, so thanks to the other DJs I played with for playing such great music … The mix is definitely on the proggier, clubbier side, so definitely good for the gym or a long highway drive. There is a new tune from me in there, which went over well in the clubs this summer, so I included that as well. It’s called “Know Yourself” and has a voice sample from Sharon Stone in there. Hope people like it!