The curse is broken after 108 years. The Chicago Cubs win the World Series 8-7 in ten innings. Jai Wolf‘s Sajeeb Saha takes my advice and buys a Cubs hat, fitting in perfectly with the Windy City crowd that adores him.
I greet Sajeeb and his manager outside The Metro in Wrigleyville with a bear hug. Instead of eating the macadamia nut cookies in his dressing room, he vouched for a few of his most loyal fans. He didn’t just get them into the venue but gave them the VIP treatment.
Jai Wolf’s concert was nothing short of miraculous. The light production was on point. A sea of admirers filled every inch of the intimate venue. Every track Saha spun was intentional, and his “wolf pack” devoured it up. Although, he played older hits “Indian Summer” and “Drive,” he didn’t depend on those to get the masses turnt. Flawlessly fading in new music off of his Nov. 18 release of Kindred Spirits was Jai Wolf’s recipe for a perfect performance.
Sajeeb and his management were beyond humble. I felt like I was kicking it with pals on a couch in the burbs. Only in their mid-20’s, his New York entourage was determined to lead Sajeeb down the road of success. Last winter, I saw Jai Wolf at The Aragon Ballroom during Odesza‘s In Return tour. His spike in confidence and talent since that chilly day in November was enormous. Luckily, he’s only getting bigger and better.
Delight in my interview with Jai Wolf below. You’re in for a good time my friends.
Which of your mom’s Bangladeshi dishes is your favorite when you come home from touring?
She makes the best chicken curry I’ve ever had. I can’t pick a favorite because everything she makes is really good.
Depict your most unforgettable moment touring with Odesza?
I was lucky enough to play The Shrine in Los Angeles, which is an iconic and cool venue. I think out of all the shows I did with them, that was one of the best ones. I think it was because it was the absolute last show on their tour. It was the third night in LA. They kept telling me that when you play multiple times in a city, the final day is always the best day. I definitely felt that at The Shrine show; it was really special. The crowd was absolutely amazing. That was a cool moment. Also, I got to play with them at Terminal 5 in New York. New York is my hometown. That was special too because I went to so many concerts growing up at Terminal 5.
What makes a really good crowd?
A crowd that is there for the music and can vibe to any song that’s playing. Sometimes, you’ll play a slow moment between some energetic moments. If you hear applause and yelling, that’s a good thing. I played a festival in Colorado, and when I ended a song people would clap. Sometimes people won’t do that in other cities, and they’re just standing there waiting for you to play a drop.
Why is your music everlasting?
It could be up to the listener when something is timeless or not. I try to avoid using sounds that are trendy among SoundCloud users. Maybe two years ago I would be using them because when everyone starts out it’s easy to emulate or copy other people. Especially with the EP that’s coming out, in a couple weeks, I make it a personal rule not to. I think that helped out because the EP took it’s own form in life and was influenced by music outside of the SoundCloud realm. I wouldn’t necessarily say my music is the most unique music ever, but I make an attempt to distance myself from anything that’s currently too trendy.
Why was your name No Pets Allowed?
When I was making more EDM leading music, I noticed that a lot of those people had really aggressive names like Flux Pavillion, Skrillex or Excision. I like all those guys, but I didn’t want my name to sound as aggressive. I picked No Pets Allowed because it was super non-threatening. Back when everyone had Blackberries, I would just write in the notepad potential band names. I was doing that for years, so I had a really long list of random phrases. I literally saw a sign that said No Pets Allowed, and I just put it in my phone. I started using that name in 2011. I had the name on my phone for two years. Out of the whole list, I just picked that one.
Who came up with the tour name Kindred Spirits?
I did actually. ‘Kindred Spirits’ is the name of my EP and the tour. I always think about how kindred spirits just means people who share a bond. I think about how when you play a show you have a bunch of strangers who are in the venue together because of music and specifically the music I write. I thought that was really special. It’s cool when people can connect with other people and bond over music. That’s the theme of the EP. It’s a tribute to the fans.
Your music is so dreamy. I want to take a bubble bath in it. When did you figure out that was your sound?
That took a couple years of experimenting with different ideas. When I first started I was still transitioning from No Pets Allowed, so the first three songs were EDM sounding. At the same time, I was doing some chiller stuff; I didn’t know that would get a lot of response until a year later. That’s why I made something like ‘Indian Summer.’ That sound was working, so I ran with it. That was the first solid step away from EDM and towards this sound that I want to pursue.
Who designed your Jai Wolf pillow merch?
I think my manager had the idea, so we had a merch company make them. I’m excited to have them up and running. They are going to be on sale during the tour which will be really cool.
What do you want to accomplish the most by the end of this tour?
I will be playing my entire EP on the tour. I’m hoping that people understand what Jai Wolf is, based off the show. Hopefully, if anyone is bringing friends who haven’t really heard me, I can turn them into fans. I hope they can walk away with something they don’t really get from other shows. I think it’s hard for DJs sometimes to separate themselves from other DJs. I want to make sure the show stands out and is memorable enough that people want to experience the music again. It’s going to be geared towards the sound on the EP, which I’m super stoked on.
Name your biggest “civilian” inspirations.
Probably my parents because they work really hard. We immigrated, so they put in a lot of work to make sure we could come here.
How does MNDR‘s eerie voice complement your musical composition in “Like It’s Over”?
The melodies in her voice are super raw and vulnerable. I wanted to make sure that the music complemented that. I made sure that there is room for her to shine when she has to shine. Then, when the instrumental part comes in it continues to carry the emotional weight that she starts with. It’s an honest song. I wasn’t really thinking about how to make it a radio hit.
The name Jai in Sanskrit means “victorious.” Do you feel like the name “Victorious Wolf” is a personification of yourself?
I remember looking up if there was a meaning. I never really thought that the music embodied anything about that. I would say that maybe ‘Indian Summer’ has a triumphant feel to it. I don’t know if all the music feels that way because “Like It’s Over” is a very sad song. I think it’s loosely connected. I wish it was something more, but it’s just really a name. If I win a Grammy I’ll change my answer. I’ll be like, yeah, that’s what it means.
Jai Wolf is on his Kindred Sprits tour now, with Chet Porter, Khai, Ramzoid, and Billboard. Check out all of the dates here.
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