After hitting number 1 on the UK singles chart, the formerly mysterious Route 94 seems to be on his way to a successful career, to say the least. Since departing from his dubstep-influenced Dream handle, the 20-year-old Rowan Jones has turned to the sounds of deep-leaning house and crafted infectious beats that have heavy-weights around world taking notice.
Bright-eyed and ready to take the music world by storm, Route 94 took a moment from his studio sessions to chat with EARMILK about his future as a growing producer. Revealing news of forthcoming tunes, a potential album and a record label in the works, Jones seems to be hitting the ground running since the success of "My Love", a collaborative effort with British starlet Jess Glynne. Ready to outdo his latest triumph with his next creation, Jones told us keep an eye out for big things from him and his new Rinse family in the coming months. Check out what he has in the works in an exclusive interview below.
EARMILK: How did you transition from your Dream moniker to Route 94?
Route 94: Well growing up I was into just about everything, I just wanted to make music. I started off making garage, drum n' bass, dubstep, like just everything. Since then, I've just grown, grown myself or the music has grown with me. I used to just jump around with it and go mad, but now that I have gotten older I started to make music that means more to me. Now I like to make music that will give people a certain feeling.
EM: So the transition from dubstep to deep house/pop oriented sound came from a real transition in your life?
R 94: Well I guess I sent some music over to someone, like some house music I created and then they put it in a mix. This was before I had a name or anything, so they put it in a mix and loads of people started going crazy for it, being like “What's this song”. And then from the reaction, I was like shit this could actually be big. Then I thought of the name and then it went crazy straight away.
EM: What radio show did you send your first song to?
R 94: Oh it wasn't a radio show, just a mix by this guy and I think Skream as well. Skream played it on Radio 1 and well this guy Neil played one of my first tracks in one of the FACT Magazine mixes. So yeah, that is how it all started.
EM: Cool, well that kind of segues me into my next question, you seem to have a lot of influential friends backing your music, Skream,Benga and Skrillex have all supported both your Dream and Route 94 monikers, how have you gained such influential supporters at such a young age?
R 94: Well I guess I have made the majority of my close friends in music through partying. You just see people out and you have fun partying and well you just end up being friends. My advice to anyone trying to get somewhere is to go party, [laughs].
EM: Your biggest production since making music as Route 94 has been “My Love” with Jess Glynne, it recently hit number 1 on the UK charts, but it has been playing out on channels like BBC Radio for the last six months. Can you tell me about what went into the track and how it has felt to see it grow from an underground output to a chart topper?
R 94: Yeah I guess it came out when Annie Mac played it and everyone went crazy then. So then I didn't think it was going to get bigger and bigger, I don't know what I thought, I was getting a reaction and played out on the radio like four months before it was scheduled for a release or anything. So I thought it had made it mark, but it sort of just got bigger and bigger. When I look at my Youtube views or Soundcloud views, they have doubled since like a month ago.
EM: I guess how does it feel now? Originally you had this mysterious Route 94 moniker and you could kind of step away from the limelight and you could watch the progression of your songs grow from afar almost. Now how does it feel moving into the limelight with a number 1 tune?
R 94: It's not like it's the greatest thing ever, I'm not trying to be a critic, but I always think I could be do better than I did. So I guess, I still feel the same. [laughs] It feels good through regardless.
EM: You recently signed to Rinse, can you tell me what this means for you career? Are there any upcoming releases or an album in the works?
R 94: Yeah, well I have just sort of finished a track that I think I want to be my next single. And it sounds really good, well I think it does anyway. I have got a lot of music I have compiled that could potentially be an album. So I will probably do an album, tour and all that by the end of this year or next year. But Rinse is great, it is like a family over there. They look after me really well. It's nice to not be thrown in the deep end with a bunch of people you don't know, it's nice to know that everyone has my back and stuff.
EM: Can you tell me anything about this new song?
R 94: It is kind of a bit like “My Love,” but it's a lot more sort of emotional.
EM: That being said, what goes into your creative process when crafting a new song?
R 94: However I am feeling at the time comes out in my music. I tend to know be able to finish stuff because I get bored too quickly. So whenever I make something really good, it always happens really quick. Like an hour.
EM: So it comes and goes that fast huh?
R 94: Yeah exactly, all the songs that I have written that I think are the best ones, I have written so fast.
EM: So do you have any collaborations in the works? Or do you have an dream collabs that you hope you could facilitate sometime in the future?
R 94: Well I have got a few collaborations underway, but I can't really say anything. As for my dream collaboration, there is one person I would love to work with and that is Adelle.
EM: Oh man, I would love to hear some Adelle vocals of one of your beats…
R 94: Yeah, that is the one person that I really want to work with. [laughs] If I were to tweet at her, she wouldn't even see it.
EM: So now that you have hit number 1, kind of unexpectedly are you trying to top it with this next big track? Or will you make more underground music again?
R 94: Well I don't know, I really think the thing I have written could live up to it. I think I have written something that is on the a level with it. But I make everything, I'll make some more underground stuff that I will be putting out, but it won't be but it won't be released as singles and stuff. It will just be out on small underground labels.
EM: Do you have any plans to come to the US anytime soon?
R 94: Definitely, we are just sorting out the best agencies and all that stuff. So yeah, I should be out this year, hopefully. Nothing is certain, but I am pretty sure I will be out this year.
EM: You said that you listened to your first mix when you were 13, and well you are still pretty young for the success you have had. Some might even call you a prodigy, has music been the career path for you from the start?
R 94: Definitely, that is all I have ever done. I have never had another job, I have always just done music. I can't imagine doing anything else.
EM: Well I did recently read that you said you are a really good cook and slayer in the kitchen. What do you like to cook?
R 94: Yeah, anything, French stuff a lot. Yeah, it's definitely my second favorite thing to do.
EM: Alright cool, well do you have a send off for us? Any last comments you want EARMILK readers to know?
R 94: I am starting a record label, so keep your eyes peeled!
EM: Okay! Very cool, what can you tell me about the label?
R 94: It's just going to have loads of music from people that I really like. It's just going to be a big mix of everything I like. It will be like a little team. So yeah, keep your eyes peeled.