Planningtorock is the chosen alias of celebrated gender-queer producer Jam Rostron, formerly known as Janine. Originating from Bolton in the north of England but based in Berlin, Germany since 2002, Rostron has since relocated to Tallinn, Estonia to begin their fifth studio album, scheduled to land in 2021. It will follow PlanningtoChanel, a five-track EP of music created for Chanel’s Autumn-Winter 2020 fashion show earlier this year, made in collaboration with Michel Gaubert, the brand’s sound director.
Rostron began releasing music in 2004, upon landing in Germany, but it wasn’t until their debut album, 2006’s Have It All, that their exhilarating electronic pop with pitched-down vocals really took shape. After collaborating with The Knife and Mt. Sims on a Darwin-inspired electronic opera, Tomorrow, In a Year, Rostron caught the attention of James Murphy who snapped them up for his DFA label. W, Planningtorock’s second album, surfaced in 2011 featuring a notable cover of a cover of Arthur Russell’s “Janine.”
The release of W triggered a period of change in Rostron. They changed their name and, creatively lost, struggled for inspiration, all before “Patriarchy Over And Out,” which inspired a new beginning of being more politically expressive and has paved the way for two more albums, most recently 2018’s Transome. With songs about their childhood in England, the album was the most poignant realization of their bold and buoyant pop yet.
Nestled in their Estonia studio, Rostron has been enjoying having a routine, away from the planes, trains, and live events. As with so many artists, it’s given them the chance to catch up on the music they’ve missed and to make more for others to enjoy. Their EDMjunkies podcast is the first taste of these new experiments, laden with unreleased remixes and original productions, plus some of the records that have inspired them to make them. It’s one hour of spellbinding dance music in Rostron’s inimitable style.
01. What have you been up to recently?
I’ve been more stationary than I’ve been in the last 17 years. Not being able to tour and travel has meant that I’ve been home much more and in the studio every day. I love this daily routine without weeks away. But I do miss performing. It has been quite a busy few months for me recording and making a lot of remixes, or “Planningtorock versions” as I like to call them.
02. What music have you been listening to during lockdown?
It has been a great time to discover new music and great artists. I’m in love with a track called “Crush on You” by Bored Lord. India Jordon’s new EP, For You, is so good. My dear friend Arca‘s new album, Kick I, is gorgeous. She’s on fire! I’ve been listening to Eris Drew and Chika, and I love the new track by Biig Piig called “Don’t Turn Around.”
03. Can you briefly talk us through your latest EP, PlanningtoChanel?
Michel and I have known each other for a while. Michel used “Patriarchy Over and Out” for a Fendi show back in 2012. We both met in Berlin last year and he told me that he wanted me to compose music for a Chanel show but wasn’t sure when. Then earlier this year Michel called with the invitation and went on to explain his vision for the Chanel fall/winter 2020/21 Ready-to-wear collection and shared two great tracks as references. The first was from the 1970s film “Donkey Skin” and the second was by the 1980s French singer Mylène Farmer. Both classic tracks with lots of character. I set out to create songs that were suspenseful and dramatic with a quality of agelessness to them. Like you wouldn’t know exactly when they were made or if they came from a film soundtrack. I wrote the string arrangements first and then recorded my voice. It was super fun. Pitching each vocal created a virtual queer choir that is the heart of the ep.
04. Where and when did you record this mix?
End of July here in Tallinn, Estonia, where I’m recording my fifth Planningtorock album.
05. What can we expect with the mix?
For this mix, I wanted to be playful and include raw unfinished Planningtorock sketches together with some songs I’m listening to right now. It was fun to make. It also includes some unreleased Planningtorock tracks and some recent remixes I’ve made. I guess I’ve been making a lot of mixes or playlists lately and I wanted to go about this one differently.
06. Where do you envisage it being listened to?
Actually I think this mix can be listened to in many different situations. I’ve been listening to the mix whilst drawing. It’s nice to listen to when your driving or by the beach if you’re lucky to be near one!
07. What’s next on your horizon?
I’m currently writing a new album. I can’t believe it’s my fifth! I feel so grown up! Also, lucky for me I’m writing a lot of music for other artists which is a lot of fun. Always nice to facilitate another cutie’s story.
08. What are your longer-term ambitions with music?
The Black Lives Matter movement has changed what releasing music means to me. Writing “All Love’s Legal” back in 2014 I knew exactly what making music was for me. That music was a way of talking about things and connecting. That not only is the personal political but everything is political. As a white person, I’m thinking about how I can become a better ally daily in the fight against racism. We all gotta find our own way and music is my way to do something. Through my music, I meet a lot of white people on and offline and can talk about racism. With every Planningtorock release, there will be a donation made to an anti-racist organization. A donation will be made to the Marsha P Johnson institute with PlanningtoChanel.
EDMjunkies has now joined Mixcloud Select, meaning that to hear the podcast offline you will need to subscribe to our Select channel, or subscribe to EDMjunkies+ to download the file. The move to Mixcloud Select will ensure that all the producers with music featured in our mixes get paid. You can read more about it here.
Full EDMjunkies+ Members can download the podcast here.
01. Planningtorock “Touch” (Unreleased)
02. Planningtorock “Much to Touch” (Muchness Version) (Human Level / DFA)
03. Azari & III “Reckless for your Love” (Turbo Recordings)
04. Inner City “Good Life” (Virgin Records)
05. Arca “Non-Binary” (XL Recordings)
06. Planningtorock ft. Joy Leah Joseph on live drums “Soft” (Unreleased)
07. Planningtorock “Non- Binary Femme” (Human Level / DFA)
08. Robyn “Ever Again” (Planningtorock Remix) (Konichiwa Records)
** – ** * ‘Planningtoriskit’ version (unreleased)
09. Planningtorock “Jam Fam” (Maxi version) (Human Level / [PIAS])
13. Aquarian Jugs “Histories Not the Past” (Unreleased)
14. Planningtorock “My Fire” (Unreleased)
15. Joyce Simms “All and All” (Warlock Records)
16. Planningtorock “Jam of Finland” (Human Level / DFA)