Exclusive Interview w/ Treasure Fingers


It’s been about a year since I discovered that Disco has made its big return to dancefloors across the nation. The man who led my ears to this discovery is Ashley Jones, better known as Treasure Fingers and one third of Evol Intent. His extensive library of remixes infiltrate your limbs with groove and his original tracks automatically categorize themselves under the ‘feel-good’ genre in iTunes. This year he’s made his way around the globe, showcasing his skills in Europe, Australia, Asia, and opened up shows for A-Trak here in the U.S. We got the opportunity to share a few words before he took the stage at Avalon in Hollywood last Friday, hit the jump to see what he had to say.

[C+A+D]: So you said you just got in, how’s LA been treatin you so far?

[TF]: Pretty good, I’m enjoying the cool weather. At least it’s cool for me.

[C+A+D]: Where’d you just fly in from?

[TF]: From Atlanta.

[C+A+D]: Do you have a lot of Atlanta pride or are you mostly all about Oklahoma as your hometown?

[TF]: Atlanta was more of where I would say I was developed. It’s the city I really love — I just moved back there actually from New York, I was in New York for three years. I kept my studio in New York just cause I feel New York is probably better creativity wise and to collab with people. I love New York, but I also really love Atlanta so I’m gonna split my time between the two now.

[C+A+D]: The two cultures are very different artistically I’m sure — what kind of culture is there in Atlanta for Disco/House?

[TF]: With Disco and House there’s actually not too much going on, right now it’s either really hard dubstep or really hard electro. Haha, those are kind of the two dominant forces, which is cool. But I’m thinking of maybe trying to start a night there with a little Disco or Deep House, really small venue something intimate. But I’m not a promoter, so…

[C+A+D]: I’m sure putting your name on it would help out with that… excuse my ADD for jumping around with questions here. I know you got started with Drum n Bass after someone had stolen your House records. I always love looking at specific events in my life that set me on a completely different path — where do you think you’d be now if that had never happened?

[TF]: Man, good question — I don’t know, it could have gone one way where maybe I got popular way early on, but I think when Treasure Fingers really happened it was sort of by accident so maybe it was good that the stolen records happened, I waited a while, and then came back with a newer, fresh sound.

[C+A+D]: So you’ve enjoyed your time as part of Evol Intent?

[TF]: Yeah, we’re actually playing here at Avalon September 23rd.

[C+A+D]: Did you ever find that guy that stole your records? He ever contact you to apologize or anything?

[TF]: Nah, I don’t know where he is to this day. He might’ve overdosed or something. A little dark haha but who knows where is.

[C+A+D]: Haha maybe unconscious wishful thinking. You had a World Tour earlier this year, how was that experience?

[TF]: That was really fun because I actually sort of escaped the US, and especially the New York winter, which I absolutely hate. I went to Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, all these really warm nice places. And I was gone until March so I completely missed the winter. By the time I got back it was warm here, there was festivals going on, then did US dates and some Europe shows. It was really fun, it kind of put me in a groove; I was DJ’ing several nights a week and you get very comfortable DJ’ing when you do that. As soon as you hit the decks you’re already kind of in the zone. Whereas if you’re doing single shows you’re in the studio all week then you play a gig, it takes a while to warm up.

[C+A+D]: You’re about to hop on the decks in about 30 minutes, what’s going through your mind right now? Anything special you do to prepare?

[TF]: In the hotel I downloaded a bunch of new stuff — I try not to do that right before a gig but I definitely wanna see if there’s any brand new hot shit out there. Definitely came across some tracks that I’m gonna play tonight. And I hope I don’t forget em haha. Usually once I get up there I forget that I even downloaded anything earlier.

[C+A+D]: So I know you and A-Trak often tweet your airport woes. Have you ever met anyone particularly interesting on a plane?

[TF]: I met this older lady once, not a celebrity or anything but she ended up being super interesting and then we had a layover and our flights got fucked up. And I think the whole time we were on the plane we were talking about books and authors — this was right around the time the Kindle came out she had just got a kindle so I was asking her all about that cause I’m obsessed with gadgets and shit. So we stopped and while we were at the gate area, she went to the bookstore and bought me a book. I was like… this is amazing, she came back and said I got you a book I think you’d really like. I was like what? We’re strangers but that was kinda cool.

[C+A+D]: What’re you reading right now?

[TF]: I just finished “Juliet Naked” by Nick Hornby.

[C+A+D]: How has being a part of a major label like Fool’s Gold influenced your style as an artist?

[TF]: I think the label actually hasn’t influenced that much — they’re very cool about giving you full artist freedom. So everyone on the label has their own sound so they’re not like a Techno label they’re not a Disco House label — they put out everything from hip-hop to Nacho Lovers to Sammy Bananas. Everyone’s got their own style and they really embrace that. When I send them a track they’re like cool, let’s put this in the release schedule.

[C+A+D]: That sounds ideal. If you could have done the score for any movie, what would it be?

[TF]: Shit, I dunno. Some 80’s movie would be awesome. I really like the movie Rad which is kind of a rare movie, it’s out of print on DVD. The only way you can get it is these bootleg DVDs off eBay. It’s like a BMX movie and the soundtrack is fucking phenomenal. It’s very Power 80s with synths and awesome drum machine shit with guitar leads over it. It’s pretty awesome. Cheesy storyline, there’s a scene where they slowdance at their high school prom on their BMX bikes.

[C+A+D]: Where do you look for vocal samples in your original tracks? Is your production process sort of an endless sample through obscure tracks or is it just something that catches your eye when you’re listening?

[TF]: A lot of times I try not to use vocal samples, the only time I will is when I find an incredible disco record that could be remade. Then I’ll put my little touch on it, like “What Am I Supposed to Do” or this other one “Take My Hand” that wasn’t released yet but I think we’re sorting that out now. Other than that I haven’t really sampled, like a lot of people think “It’s Love” is sampled but that’s a friend of mine singing. I’ve got some more tracks coming up that are kind of weird, choppy vocal things that sound like a sample but I just get friends of mine to sing at a lower tempo.

[C+A+D]: What do we have to look forward to from you in the next year?

[TF]: I’ve got some singles and a couple EPs planned. I’m supposed to be doing a mix compilation but I’m not really sure the date on that. It may be next Spring hopefully.

[C+A+D]: Okay, cool. Who are you listening to right now?

[TF]: Been listening to Foster the People a lot. I’m actually doing a remix for them. Just finished it and turned it into the label so waiting on feedback. I didn’t really know about them until recently but they put in an offer for me to remix and I checked out their album. And I was like this is pretty amazing.

[C+A+D]: Any advice to up and coming producers & DJs?

[TF]: Be creative and hone your skill. I either hear people that are imitating another artist and their production is really good or I hear someone doing something really creative and it sounds amazing to me except for the production levels just not quite there yet. If you can nail your production and do something really creative I think it’s a recipe for success.

[C+A+D]: OK last question, you’re stranded on a desert island. One album and one bottle of alcohol. What’s it gonna be?

[TF]: Album… H-Town – Beggin’ After Dark. It’s a phenomenal album. Not many albums I can listen to without skipping tracks but that one I can listen to every fuckin millisecond of it. It’s like 17 tracks then I’ll repeat it. Alcohol… I don’t know, I drink Hennessy a lot right now so probably that.

[C+A+D]: Alright that’s all I got, thanks so much for your time! Looking forward to the show.

Pulling for BBC1 to get this dude an Essential Mix spot. Either that or he and A-Trak to call up Arman and cook up some Duck Fingers. Look out for his upcoming releases!