Introducing: Jaden Thompson
Introducing: Jaden ThompsonOctober 24, 2022
Cut Jaden Thompson and he’ll bleed house. It’s been pumping through his veins since he watched his first Boiler Room set on YouTube when he was 12, and he’s been living it ever since. The media have him down as a wünderkind — he’s fabric’s youngest-ever resident and the youngest person ever to release on Martinez Brothers’ Cuttin’ Headz imprint. But there’s actually not that much wünder involved — anyone who spends the best part of 11 years committed to perfecting their art will climb to the top pretty pronto.
And the top is where Jaden is perched today, as he chats from his room in Manchester. There’s a suitcase on the bed behind him with clothes spilling out of it. Tomorrow he’s jetting off on a US tour, ready to submerge North Carolina, Illinois, DC, NY and LA in his crisp, UK house selections. This tour is testament to the fact that Jaden’s music transcends borders while remaining loyal to his UK roots. Authenticity shines through Jaden’s productions. You can hear it in his first EP, All Day, released in 2017 on Martinez Brothers’ label Cuttin’ Headz. The title track is full of confidence; a playful production that combines elements of tech house and deep house in a way most seasoned producers couldn’t master. The EP is unapologetic, as if to say, “I’m here, and I plan to stay.”
Jaden Thompson was born on August 20th 1999 in Swindon, and moved to Gloucester when he was 10. There he started developing a taste for hip-hop music, so his dad’s cousin, who was a session drummer, taught him a few things about production. Jaden was instantly hooked, spending his evenings and weekends perfecting trippy hip hop beats then uploading them onto Reverb Nation and SoundCloud. Then one day he fell down a Boiler Room shaped rabbit-hole and emerged hooked on house. None of Jaden’s friends cared much about house music – alternative and indie was more popular in that neck of the woods – but that didn’t bother him. He felt at home with house and assumed his mates would catch on at some point, so school was a means to an end. “I was never super academic,” he says. “I knew all I wanted to do was music, so I just poured everything I had into making sure it happened.”
Clubbing only accelerated Jaden’s career goals. When he was 16 he went to Warehouse Project with his dad, who stayed with him until 4 am despite having zero interest in Martinez Brothers and not much in common with the 10,000 gurning youths. That summer, he went on holiday to Ibiza – this time with mates. Anyone would’ve assumed he was just another raver, soaking up the unparalleled island vibes, but to Jaden, it was business. He saw Armand Van Helden tear Café Mambo a new one and went up to him after his set armed with his latest track and some headphones. Armand listened to it for upwards of a minute and gave him a nod of approval. “Looking back it wasn’t the best track,” Jaden laughs. “But at the time, I thought it was important to get people listening to my music.”
A few months later, Jaden went to Barcelona to see the Martinez Brothers play. Jaden asked a DJ friend to introduce him and waited outside the club for over an hour, headphones and music at the ready. It was worth the wait. “They told me to send them more stuff so we can make an EP,” Jaden says. It was GCSE season, but Jaden managed to write two more tracks and sit the exams within weeks of each other. He was signed to Cuttin’ Headz before his results came in. “That was my breakthrough,” Jaden says. “Pete Tong played it on Radio 1 and from then on it was about maintaining that energy.”
He started DJing shortly after his first release came out – just small gigs around the UK – although production will always be his first love. “They go hand in hand,” he says. “You need to do both to maintain a buzz, there are so many DJs around these days you need to do something to differentiate yourself.”
Jaden’s level of focus is far beyond his years. He prioritizes making good music over partying, which is unusual for a 23-year-old. But he was too young to get into clubs when he fell in love with house, so the music is woven into the fabric of his being. All the stuff that comes with success, he can take or leave.
Jaden’s second EP came out on Material in 2017, followed by EPs and singles on FFRR, New State Music and Material Trax. The productions share an unwavering consistency – fun, vibrant, playful, surprising – and bass that’ll make your insides vibrate. Around the same time his Alright EP came out on Emerald City Music he got a phone call from fabric, asking if he’d be their new resident. He’d just turned 19. A few months later, Danny Howard invited him onto his breakfast show and at that point, Jaden admits, he felt like he’d made it.
So when March 2020 came along, Jaden didn’t let the change of pace phase him. He took it as an opportunity to produce bigger, better bangers – most notably “Closer”, which came out on Three Six Zero Recordings in December 2021, just before Omicron canceled Christmas for the second time running. “That was a really big turning point for me,” says Jaden. “That record got me a lot of recognition, and it got played like four times a day on Greg James’ show and Nick Grimshaw’s show.”
But it’s not all been plain sailing. Seeing success so young comes with its challenges, and Jaden says it’s all about getting the right team at the right time, and not forcing anything. “I think a lot of young artists want to be signed to a DJ agency or a booking agency or get a manager, but it has to come at the right time,” Jaden says. “At the end of the day, it’s all about the music.”
And, frankly, it’s all about the focus. Jaden refuses to get distracted by the glamor and pace of the industry. He lived in London for a few years, but decided to move to Manchester at the end of 2021. “London had too many distractions,” Jaden says. “In Manchester I can be more productive and get stuff done.” That productivity has come in the form of his own label, Midnight Parade, and the first release, “Move Your Body” is pure, clean house music, with that unmistakable Jaden Thompson edge that somehow feels familiar and fresh at the same time. The second release, “Something Else,” is a collaboration with Aaron Pfeiffer, the vocalist on “Closer.”
“It’s a different vibe,” Jaden says. “It’s a lot more chill and it’s more of a cross-over track – I want to make music that’s for radio as well as the club; it’s like a closing track for the end of the night.”
There’s no doubt that talent is a big part of Jaden’s success, but an even bigger part is commitment and work ethic. This man plans to build a legacy, and at 23 years old he’s well on his way to doing it. And, finally, his mates are starting to get it. “They’re asking me for guest list now,” Jaden laughs. “Sometimes for shows I’m not even playing.”
“Something Else” (feat Aaron Pfeiffer) is out now on Midnight Parade. Buy it on Beatport.
Alice Austin is a Tel Aviv-based freelance writer from London. Find her on Twitter.