Arguably one of the hardest working men in the business, not to mention, a possible prodigy, Jody Wisternoff is a household name in the EDM scene and one of my top must-sees at the ABGT Weekender coming up July 26-28, 2019. Jody is one half of Way Out West (WOW), a duo that gained popularity back in the mid 90’s with hits like “Ajare”, “The Gift”, and a slew of amazing remixes of Sasha, Roni Size, Orbital, and more. He went on to create chart-topping solo and remix works, and due to his popularity, work ethic, and I’m just gonna say it, genius, now works in A&R development under the Anjunadeep label. Accompanied by James Grant, Business Manager of Anjunadeep, Jody and James have been pumping out music on the Anjunadeep label for many years. But what really solidified him as my #ManCrushMonday is his dedication to and love of his fans. When I saw him this winter, my Anjunafam asked him to play an after-hours set, which shockingly, he did! But more on that later…
Getting his start DJing in the late 80s and 90s, at 13 years old, he and his brother Steve reached the finals of the DMC Hip Hop Championships. A few short years later, they released several tracks as Tru Funk Posse, a Hip Hop dance duo, which made their way onto Radio 1. At a mere 16 years old, Jody began headlining club shows, and while in college he could be found playing to thousands at raves like Universe in the early 1990s. Dropping out was only logical when you’re on a meteoric rise like that!
When Jody had a random meeting with Nick Warren in a local record shop, the rest was history. Way Out West was formed and the two began producing tracks I was hearing at underground raves in Seattle in the early 2000s. In my mind, “Mindcircus” has always been their most distinguishable track, possibly because of the era in which I started going to raves, and possibly because Tiesto’s “In Search of Sunrise 3” rarely left the disc player in my car for a year. Almost every time I saw Digweed, Tiesto, or BT perform, they threw down some WOW because their tracks are unique and distinguishable. They add an element of surprise, yet also familiarity.
Many music groups have disagreements over time and eventually stagnate, so WOW decided to part ways and strike out on their own. Unsurprisingly, both Jody Wisternoff and Nick Warren developed fabulous solo careers. For years at a time, they produce on their own before feeling sparks of creativity that only WOW can produce and come back together to create stunning aural masterpieces like their 2017 “Tuesday Maybe” album. In homage to their years of boundary-pushing productions, it contains unique tracks that have the ability to pleasantly surprise me, even after many listens.
Jody’s solo career has proven just as impressive as his WOW work. While getting a hit on Beatport is difficult, Jody (as usual), took it a step farther. Not only did his 2006 single “Cold Drink, Hot Girl” top the Beatport charts, it hit #1 on ALL Beatport, not just in the EDM genres. I can see this happening now since EDM has successfully broken into mainstream music, but in 2006, this was unheard of. Working solo and with WOW, Jody was continuing to do nothing but build his name in the industry.
After remixing the likes of Above & Beyond and gaining well-deserved success over many years, it makes sense that Jody was asked to work in A&R for Anjunadeep, another label represented by some of the hardest working gents in the industry. During this time, he released his solo album, “Trails We Blaze” in 2012, followed by “Anjunadeep Volume 005” in 2013 with James Grant. The beloved Anjunadeep Volume albums compile the best tracks of the previous year(s) and started with Above & Beyond’s Anjunadeep 001 in 2009. While the first editions were fabulous, by the time Jody Wisternoff and James Grant got their hands on the project, they pushed the bar much higher.
Unlike most girls, there were no boy band or teen heartthrob posters on my walls. I just don’t do “crushes.” But when that term is applied to someone with real talent, who works their ass off for what they have, and most importantly, understand that they’re no one without their fans, then yes, that person is crush-worthy. By that definition, Jody Wisternoff was almost crush-worthy when I caught his show at the beginning of the year. What pushed him into attaining #ManCrushMonday status was that he agreed to play an afterparty at one of my Anjunafam’s house, and simply speaking, was just a cool, humble dude.
Jody joked around, shared a beer, and proved that he’s a human like the rest of us, just one with a pretty phenomenal set of skills. He messed around on the decks, dropping 16 Bit Lolitas’ “Deep In My Soul”, and then proceeded to fuck with the fader which had all of us cracking up. In my 19 years of raves, festivals, and shows, I have never met an artist as down to Earth as Jody. Every time I’ve seen him at a club, before and/or after his set, he mingles with the audience, fulfills their many requests for pictures, and just wants to know a little about you, his fan. After that night, my admiration for Jody Wisternoff hit epic levels.
Considering how amazing his b2b set with James Grant was at ABGT250, I can’t wait to hear what they’re gonna hit us with at the ABGT Weekender. Theirs is one of my most highly anticipated sets, and admittedly, having gotten to experience him as a human being, I can now appreciate him even more. Jody Wisternoff is the coolest cat around. Why? Cause he oozes talent, isn’t a pretentious twat (when he easily could be), and he keeps pumping out absolute stunners. Guess I do have a bit of a thing for this week’s #ManCrushMonday…
*Featured Image of Jody Wisternoff Via Artist FB Page*