Alum Jai Wolf talks snacks, ODESZA

Daniel G. Valente
Jai Wolf performing at his sold out show at Rough Trade, New York City.

Electronic music producer Sajeeb Saha, more popularly known by his stage name “Jai Wolf,” has an interesting success story. After graduating from the Gallatin School of Individualized Studies, Jai Wolf established himself as a mainstage phenomenon at venues such as Hard Summer and Coachella. Wolf spoke with WSN to discuss his success story, future plans and favorite late-night snack from his NYU days.

WSN: When did you start making music?

JW: I started making music when I was a senior in high school in 2008.  I picked up guitar a few years before and I did a lot of pop-punk covers (Green Day, Blink 182, Fall Out Boy etc). I
slowly transitioned into writing music — my early stuff was a mix of synthpop and pop-punk. It sounded really bad. 

WSN: Can you walk me through the story behind your “Ease My Mind” Remix for those who aren’t familiar?

JW: I made the “Ease My Mind” remix around the time I did my Gallatin Colloquium in 2014. After I had finished it, I sent it to my friend Stephen from Fight Clvb.  I actually met him in a studio session with another NYU grad Prince Fox. He’s actually friends with Skrillex and was nice enough to forward it to him. 

Within minutes, Skrillex tweeted me “SIQ REMIX!” The song was released through thissongissick.com as a free download a few months later on June 1.

A few weeks later, he played it out live at Glastonbury in the UK for the first time. He played it at every single festival that summer as well as on his Fall tour. Around August, we entered talks with his label OWSLA to sign it as an official release. Fast forward to November 2014 and it was officially out on the remix EP.

And to go back to the previous question, this is when things started to pick up. It led to official remixes for Odesza, Alesso, Dirty South as well as a release on Kitsune. All of this led to playing shows nearly every single weekend in 2015 and it just snowballed from there.

WSN: I always like to get an insight to what inspires the artists I speak to. If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?

JW: It’s pretty hard to pick just one song. Can I pick one artist? I could listen to Kanye forever.

WSN: When did things really start kicking off for you in college?

JW: I’d say things started to pick up towards the end of 2014. I [graduated in] 2013 at NYU and slacked off really hard doing music that they didn’t let me graduate. I got my degree a year later and then I sort of just locked myself in my basement and worked really hard on music.

WSN: Any tips for aspiring producers?

JW: If you’re serious about making music, my only tip is to not give up. I’ve been producing for seven years and for many years my music sounded terrible. It takes a lot of time and dedication to get where you want to be — and it’s a continuous process. I know I also have a long ways to go. Never settle for where you are and never give up.

WSN: Lastly, RL Grime said Joe’s Shanghai was his NYU grub spot—what was yours?

JW: My go-to food spot was this chicken and rice / halal cart on 14th and Third.  It’s on the south west corner. I know 53rd and Sixth (The Halal Guys) is like the famous spot but I gotta say my boy Mitu at 14th and Third cooks up a way better platter. Been going there since freshman year when I was at Founders.

A version of this article appeared in the Oct. 13 print edition. Email Daniel G. Valente at [email protected]

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