His house track,‘My Love’ went straight to number one in the UK earlier this year. Chanelle Tourish catches up with Route 94 ahead of his Dubai gig at the Media One Hotel to see what’s next.
There aren’t many 21-year-olds who can say they have a number one hit to their name (unless you’re Miley Cyrus or Arianna Grande) and if they did, they’d probably be on cloud nine. But for Rowan Tyler Jones aka Route 94, it’s ‘no big deal’. The South West Londoner achieved commercial success earlier this year, with his club anthem ‘My Love’ featuring Jess Glynne. Now, the talented DJ is coming to Dubai on Thursday October 16 to perform at the Warehouse event in the Media One Hotel. The line-up includes Toyboy & Robin and Warehouse Dubai’s resident DJs Gavin Foord and Benni T for a night of house, bass and beats music.
Rowan recorded his first song when he was just 13, and by the age of 17 he was producing dubstep tracks for Skrillex’s OWSLA label as his alter ego Dream.
‘I downloaded a demo to my computer as a kid and since then I just carried on making music from there. My mum’s really into music so I just grew up listening to what she listened to – everything from Bob Marley to soul music. I remember going to Glastonbury and dancing like a lunatic when I was about eight years old. So that’s really where I get my musicality from,’ Rowan explains.
The self-taught DJ and producer, who dislikes being in the media and prefers to opt out of the spotlight, recalls how his first DJ gig was a turning point for him.
‘I was doing a set in a club for teenagers in Camden when I was about 16 and I couldn’t even really DJ back then, my friend was standing next to me helping me do it. That definitely egged me on and it made me think, “Wow this is what I want to do for the rest of my life” and from that moment, it just became my life.’
After years of anonymity and making music under Dream, he decided to step into the limelight and embrace the music industry.
‘I was hanging out and going to parties in London and I just sort of picked up friends in the industry. As a massive Magnetic Man fan when I was into dubstep, I used to follow them around to all their gigs and stand at the front. After the guys realised I wasn’t just some weirdo kid, we became mates and it went from there.
I prefer the situation that I’m in now because it’s my friend’s label. I just put my music out and I kept myself at a distance from signing, because it’s important for me to make music with people that I’m actually friends with. You have to be really careful because you could end up signing your life away to a label,’ he says.
Introducing himself as Route 94 – after the name of the road that runs from Chicago to Detroit, which is the birthplace of house and techno music – the DJ went on to produce remixes for Katy B, Skream and Storm Queen before signing to Rinse.
‘As Dream it started to become more about being anonymous than the music, so it got a bit stupid and so I decided to become Route 94. It’s a laugh being in the public eye but it’s not something I crave, I’d rather just make music. I love being able to travel the world and I would never have been able to do that before, so that’s probably the best perk of the job for me,’ says Rowan.
In February 2014, Route 94 released his debut single ‘My Love’. The deep house track features vocals by Jess Glynne – who found her commercial breakthrough in 2014 with the Clean Bandit song ‘Rather Be’, which topped the UK charts. With powerful vocals and piano riffs, ‘My Love’ was an instant success.
‘I didn’t have a clue how big it would become. It’s just a record that I made in my bedroom, so to come this far is mad. I brought the song to the studio and got Jess to sing on it and it’s really just inspired from my life at that time,’ explains Rowan.
Having spent 2014 touring and performing at festivals across the world, the Londoner is concentrating on his debut album which will be realised in early 2015.
‘I’d love to collaborate with Adele, she’s become so successful but she hasn’t become watered down like most people in the industry. She’s still extremely credible in my eyes. I want to progress and grow as an artist.’
Route 94 looks set to storm the charts in 2015. Watch this space.
Route 94, Toyboy & Robin. Dhs120 on the door. 9pm-3am. Thursday October 16. Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City (04 427 1000).