Popping Up: Route 94

Robbie Daw | April 18, 2014 8:12 am

Popping Up is our recurring look at new artists making noise on the music landscape. Because, hey — Madonna and Britney were once unknown, too.

Clearly, the sound of ’90s house music is having a huge moment once again, and Route 94‘s mesmerizing dance cut “My Love” has been one of the breakout hits of the renaissance. The track is a strobe-ready slowburner that features British vocalist Jess Glynne, who previously appeared on Clean Bandit‘s UK chart topper “Rather Be.” Shortly after the latter’s success earlier this year, “My Love” was released and shot straight to #1 in Route 94’s home country as well.

With the song now starting to cross over in the States (it was officially made available on US iTunes last week), we took the opportunity to ring up the man behind the beats to find out more about what’s in store for Route 94.

REAL NAME: Rowan Jones.


HOW YOU KNOW HIM: Prior to releasing his UK chart-topping single “My Love,” Jones recorded under the name Dream. Last year he remixed Storm Queen‘s “Look Right Through” and Katy B‘s “5 AM.” He also produced Katy’s Little Red track “Everything.”

HOW HE GOT THE RECORDING BUG AS A KID: “My mom always had music on in my house when I was really young — just everything; reggae, old house, dub, loads of chilled-out, mellow, relaxing music. I just ended up really wanting to make it. Then I downloaded the demo FMStudio and never looked back.”

WHY “ROUTE 94”?: “I think I was looking at a map of America and I saw that 94 connected Chicago to Detroit, which is obviously where the origins of house and techno come from.”

THE HUMBLE BEGINNINGS OF “MY LOVE”: Jones admits, “I made it in my bedroom, and then got it vocaled — it wasn’t Jess [Glynne] at first. So we got it vocaled but we just didn’t feel like it was good enough. Like, it wasn’t very powerful. So we got Jess in the studio to re-sing it. And, yeah — she smashed it. But I had no idea that the track was gonna have this much of an impact as it has.”

THOUGHTS ABOUT THE INNOVATIVE & LUSTY “MY LOVE” VIDEO: “It was shot in New York, so I couldn’t be there. I gave them a brief saying I wanted it to be sexy and clubby and influenced by that sort of thing. But then they came back with that, and at first I didn’t really know whether it was the right thing. But after awhile we thought it would be okay. And it was — it turned out really good. I wasn’t expecting it to be like that, though.”

ON JESS GLYNNE’S OTHER UK #1 HIT, CLEAN BANDIT’S “RATHER BE,” COMING OUT JUST AHEAD OF “MY LOVE”: “We didn’t even know she’d done that with them. So for her, it was just good luck.”

THOUGHTS ON A FULL ROUTE 94 ALBUM: “I wanna do one, so it’ll be like later this year or early next year. I’ve got so much music sitting around. I’m just still deciding where to take it and what to do. I don’t want to rush into anything.”

SO, HAS HE DONE ANY MORE MUSIC WITH JESS GLYNNE?: “I can’t say. Maybe, though. [Laughs]”

ON GETTING OFFERS TO REMIX AND PRODUCE FOR OTHER ARTISTS: “I’m trying to be really careful with what we accept. So it’s just like picking the special ones. I think a lot of people just rush into stuff and go too mad and sort of spoil it for themselves.”

WHAT’S NEXT: “My schedule is so, so busy. Just playing shows right now everywhere. I think, maybe, towards the end of the year [I’ll be in America]. I’m not really sure yet, just because I’m so busy over here. I’m booked near enough every weekend until August or some shit.”

Route 94’s “My Love” is available now for purchase on iTunes.

Get an eyeful of even more pop music coverage, from artist interviews to exclusive performances, on Idolator’s YouTube channel.