Jesse Rose: Taking a 20-year victory lap

Friday 02nd, June 2017 / 14:00
By Cole Parker

Bidding farewell to a monumental career in house music.
Photo by Jimmy Mould

CALGARY – If you’re reading this and you’re in high school, Jesse Rose has been DJing for longer than you’ve been alive. If you’re reading this and you’re in high school, you’re also older than Jesse Rose was when he started DJing.

The elder statesman of house music has been going since the ripe age of 14.

“I always looked a bit older and in the U.K. in those days no one asked for ID so it was pretty chill,” Rose recalls.

“The first time I played Ministry of Sound (at that time the most respected club in London) and you had to be 21 to get in and I was about 19. That felt like a win.”

Over 20 years later, he’s seen the world with residencies at top clubs in Berlin, Paris, Zurich, Los Angeles, and Tokyo. As he’s travelled and performed, Rose’s auditory output has evolved, as he’s picked up bits and pieces of divergent house music everywhere he DJs. He cites his extended stays in each city as growth opportunities.

“A residency lets you really expand as a DJ, you get a lot of trust from the crowd and you know them really well, so you can get to a lot of places you might not go to on a guest spot,” he elaborates.

His globetrotting has landed Rose in Calgary on a handful of occasions, with a few stories to tell.

“One time I went with this girl to try and find an after-party and we thought we’d found it…  Then [we] realized we were at a swinger’s party. That was pretty funny!”

He’s grateful for the many good times at the HiFi Club, and will play the venue for the last time on June 10 during his tour, dubbed “Thanks for Stopping By.” This tour is Rose’s swan song, ending a career spanning a few decades. It includes sporadic dates worldwide, and will conclude on November 11th in Berlin. Despite his lengthy history, Rose appears unconcerned with leaving a personal legacy, preferring to spotlight the many artists he’s helped break on his Made to Play label.

“In terms of being a DJ, producer, remixer, label owner, I guess that’s for the public to decide what lives on.“

That same laissez-faire attitude is applied to Rose’s latest and final album Alright Mate, released earlier this year. The breezy, dance-inducing record has been hailed as one of his best, and sonically represents an ideology that is concerned with remaining timely as opposed to being a backward-facing retrospective.

“You never know how other people hear your music. For me, I just made an album without thinking about how it would be perceived. I just wanted to make something dope. I’m happy with it.”

He’s focused on the now, but has an eye towards the future. He only offered very vague hints at his plans during our interview, instead waxing on the elements he’d miss.

“Pretty much everything,” he says lovingly.

“From the time you have to find new music, to the travelling, playing your favourite music to the people that love the same music, and sometimes playing music to people that have never heard it before. The scene has been very kind to me and I’ll be forever grateful.”


Catch Jesse Rose on the Thanks for Dropping By: The Final World Tour. June 9 it hits the Cabaret (Vancouver), June 10 the HiFi Club (Calgary), and June 16 The Bower (Edmonton).

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