A leading light in underground dance music and a fan favorite here in Ireland, Jake Dodd caught up with Jonas Rathsman ahead of his upcoming show in District 8 on the September 17.

Q: You’re at the forefront of the underground electronic scene. Did you ever think when you were starting out that it would reach these heights?

A: No, never! It was just for fun in the beginning, and still is! It’s an amazing feeling to be able to live off the things you love doing the most.

That’s always been a strong driving force for me, whatever I chose to do in life it has to make me happy.

Q: Back in 2013 and 2014 you were declared as a “Future Star” by BBC Radio 1’s very own Pete Tong. Was there any pressure after receiving those accolades?

A: If he declared me Future Star for a third time then maybe…

Nah, It’s always nice when people who are that influential give you credit, it makes work so much more fun. Radio 1 and Pete Tong have supported me since I started and for that I’m truly grateful.

Q: There’s so much emotion in each piece of music you put out. What are your influences?

A: Personally I like to feel something when I listen to music, and I guess I want to give the people listening to my music the same experience.

Inspiration comes to me in many different ways, from touring, meeting other people and different experiences, and then I bring that back into the studio.

Q: After releasing ‘Tobago/Feeling You’ came praise from so many already established names like The Magician and Pete Tong. What were your thoughts on the feedback?

A: I remember that time so well, it was a very exciting moment in my life. French Express and I had just started working together and this was one of the first releases on the label.

We never thought for a second it was going to be so successful. I think the reason it got so popular was a combination of us doing our own thing with a great amount of love and of course all the support we got from people.

Q:  ‘Bringing You Down’ was one of the tracks that spearheaded the ‘Majestic Casual’ empire. How did it feel to be one of the leading roles in an entire new scene with such massive attraction?

A: I didn’t see that way to be honest! That sound was definitely at an exciting point then, you felt that a shift in trends was happening and it was amazing for the whole French Express crew to be a part of it. ‘Bringing You Down’ was a great moment – I have so many good memories of those times.

Q: What’s your opinion on the accessibility of music? Do you feel it dilutes or helps the dance music scene?

A: I seriously have no idea… I do know there’s a LOT of new music coming out each day, and it’s like we treat it as fast food. One day it’s the biggest thing in music and the next day it’s forgotten. Today, you really need to be sticking out from the masses to breakthrough.

Q: Having grown up in Sweden, a country ripe in culture, would you say your surroundings of the country had any influence on your music?

A: Absolutely! I think it affects me more than I know. I only realised this recently!

When you are away in these big cities it feels so calming to return to home and have so much nature on your doorstep. I recently went on a trip with my dad and brothers where we built a raft and spent four days sailing down a huge river – you take so much from those experiences.

Q: You’re seen as a favourite here in Ireland, with a close relationship built with the guys over at Bedlam. Can you explain what it’s like to perform here and what’s so different about it to any other place in the world?

A: I’ve always had a special relationship with Ireland, and Bedlam. They’re top lads and they do what they do for the right reasons. It makes me so happy to see that they’re doing so well. I personally believe the crowd in Ireland is the best in the world, no bullshit. The reactions I get when playing here is something I’ve never seen anywhere else. They’re in it for the fun!

Q: ‘Uniforms For The Dedicated‘ is a collective and fashion brand you’re involved in. Can you update us on how it’s doing and what is the main goal to achieve with it?

A: I’m one of the co-owners and I’ve been part of the collective since it started many years ago. I’m not as active as I used to be due to all the touring etc, but the people running the show are my good friends making sure the brand is doing well. At Copenhagen Fashion Week UFTD showed the amazing new A/W collection.

Q: What does the Future hold for Jonas Rathsman?

A: I’m really exciting for what’s coming up! I have some great shows forthcoming, SW4 in London, Watergate in Berlin, Sub Club in Glasgow with Tiga and returning to the US again in the Autumn. I have been so studio focused over the summer also, so plenty of new music to come!

Including a remix for Tiga and Booka Shade which I am excited for you all to hear. Also, big plans to come for ELEMENTS – make sure you keep following the mix series.

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