When you’re in the music industry, you end up at a bunch of swanky events sipping booze and schmoozing, never knowing who you’ll end up talking to or where the night will take you.
Several years ago, DJ Times Magazine invited me to one of these soirees in Manhattan. It was sponsored by the Pioneer DJ Art Mix Project, and showcased one-of-a-kind art installations made from CDJ 2000s by famous djs and producers to raise funds for the VH1 Save The Music Foundation. As my Partner In Crime and I tied one on at the open bar, I found myself talking to a lovely blonde woman wearing recycled bottle top jewelry named Janine.
We got along famously. I was touched by her sincerity, passion and good vibrations. As the evening wrapped up, she invited us to a diner with her husband and friends. Her husband was Ken, one half of The Crystal Method. Their ride was a black party SUV with neon lights and a stripper pole in the center. It was an invitation we couldn’t refuse. We hopped in and made our way to Union Square. Over a late dinner, Janine and I exchanged information and promised to stay in touch. Always up to something big, beautiful and full of heart, I decided to check in with her to see what’s up.
You and your husband, Ken Jordan of The Crystal Method, are an entertainment power couple. I’ve seen you with your hoops while Ken’s performing on stage. You’ve got great moves. How did you meet?[sc:shn-ad3]
JJ: You’re so sweet, Zoe. Thank you. Yes, I am fortunate that my husband shares the stage with me. It’s fun. As far as meeting…That’s an interesting story. Several years ago, before The Crystal Method had their weekly show on SiriusXM, they had a weekly show on an independent radio station here in Los Angeles. I just happened to be passing through L.A., hanging out with one of my bestie’s, although I call her my spiritual sister, who is a famous author now. Her name is Tess Whitehurst, and she ended up marrying us several years later! Anyway, we heard there was a “free show”, but it was really the guys just broadcasting their radio show live (instead of at the radio station) from the main sponsor of the station’s store which was a cell phone company. So I technically met Ken at a cell phone store. It was a cute night. They decked out the store to be like a Vegas casino because their first album was called Vegas. There was some gambling going on for charity. It was super fun. But since it was just them doing their radio show, it ended early. And, I wanted to keep dancing because I was visiting L.A. and I love to dance. When I went up to Ken, it was so innocent. I thought they would be playing somewhere else or at the very least he would know where I could go.
How long did it take before you knew?
JJ: After that night, we stayed in contact for about six months before anything really happened. I didn’t live in L.A., and he traveled all the time. If I was ever passing through, I would see him from time to time, but I really just thought he wanted to be friends and didn’t think much of it. I liked him, but I was trying to push it aside because I didn’t think it was practical. Plus, I was happy to be friends. One night he made it known that he was interested. I let him know I was, too. He took me on a super magical date to Vegas. We saw the Beatles LOVE Cirque du Soleil, and he took me to my favorite restaurant. We really hit it off. And literally, within a month and half, he had moved me into that beautiful house of his I visited the night we met.
How very romantic!
JJ: The story is okay, but what I think is really important is how amazing a person my husband is. He’s a beautiful soul. He’s romantic but not in a materialistic way, in a chivalrous way. I love it. I love feeling like I have someone that truly loves me and shows me. He has made so many accommodations to me. He had a fully paid off Range Rover that he sold because it was a gas guzzler just so we could be part of the hybrid revolution. He had these gorgeous old muscle cars that went well with that beautiful mid-century modern house he sold because they were impractical, and gas guzzlers. He let me talk him into putting 70 solar panels on our old house so we could have our meter run backward and power our hybrid and electric car with solar. He started to eat vegetarian because I don’t eat meat, and he would not prepare meat for our meals.
And what about now?
JJ: Now, he’s vegan by his own volition. He allows me to work on my passions, writing projects, and of course, my non-profits. He lets me pimp him and his band out to help some of our favorite charities raise money at their fundraisers. He’s game for nearly anything I throw out there. He honors and cherishes me. He inspires me with his energy. I just love him so much. And, I say all that so people don’t get caught up in the fantasy of “Oh, I got lucky and married a famous artist. Who cares if that person ends up being an *%^&hole?” What’s important is the character of the person you’re with. Do they support you? Do they show you they care and not just say it? That’s what’s important. And if I’m lucky, it’s only because I found someone who has great character. And, I am lucky that we are both attracted to each other.
What’s your advice to people out there looking for love?
JJ: I want to urge people not to settle. When he met me, I had come to a point in my life, through yoga, where I honestly realized that happiness did not come from others. It comes from within me. To find someone in life to share your experiences with is just a bonus. A beautiful bonus sure, but a bonus nonetheless. We control our happiness. Loneliness may seem real, but it’s an illusion if we work on ourselves and use tools like meditation and other self love practices to cultivate self-fulfillment. When I got to that point, that is when I met Ken.
And I tell you, that is why he was attracted to me. He liked my light that was radiating from within. He wanted me to teach him yoga and meditation because he, too, believed that is where it was from, and I got him into that, too! That’s our real story. We were two people that did not settle, and we work daily to continually support each other in the best ways we can.
Not only are you both entertainers, but you have a deep passion for community, a consideration for the world around you. What issues are you most passionate about at the moment?
JJ: We focus a lot of our energy, obviously, on our own non-profit projects. I would say we are typically terribly concerned about environmental issues. Ken went vegan a couple years ago now, and so he is more sensitive to animal rights issues as well. Politically, we are concerned about the fast track trade deals, like the TPP, and are rooting for the overturning of Citizen’s United. We need to get the massive amounts of money out of politics otherwise our governing policy will only reflect protections for rich individuals and large corporations.
What prompted you to start Electronic Music Alliance? Explain to everyone what EMA accomplishes.
JJ: Like religion, the experiences we have are so powerful. We become avid devotees. I am one of those people where the scene changed my life, and I wanted to dedicate myself to preserving it. To call myself a visionary sounds a little pompous so I’ll just say at times I feel I have good foresight. If you study history, you know it can repeat.[sc:shn-ad3]
I saw that our scene was growing and we were not unified. I saw that we had run into legal problems in the past (research Rave Act) and that something along those lines could happen again (which it did). I saw that the world was melting, and felt we should wake up and do what we could as a community to lighten our carbon load. I saw others, like me, having powerful experiences and not having a unified non-profit brand they could identify with, that they could channel the love they were cultivating back into the world. I also saw, that through my husband, we had access to important people in the industry, and if we did not attempt to unify the community to improve our industry and the world at large, well, it would be an opportunity missed.
I like sleeping well at night knowing I did everything I possibly could to help change the tide. The truth is we need a massive shift in consciousness. I have hope. I see it happening. There’s a lot of work to be done still. EMA for me is a way to inspire and activate a culture I deeply love to channel their love back into the world in positive ways instead of just going to festivals, for example.
At some point, we should give the love back. Perhaps it is easy for me. The electronic music scene really helped open me up on a super empathetic level. But, it was Costa Rica and yoga that would make me realize I did not want to just live for myself. Everything I do in life, from what I wear to all my social media profiles, I try to take whatever influence I may possibly have to teach and inspire people. My hopes will turn into action that will aid our world.
Who are your partners? Talk about some of your programs?
JJ: We have tried to raise awareness about green initiatives and health and wellness initiatives, and giving back through our Play it FWD concept. For green, one of the things we initially focused on was E-waste or electronics waste. E-waste needs to be properly recycled. And, even when you try to recycle it properly, not all vendors are handling it properly.
When it comes to teaching, sometimes you need to focus on one thing first. I chose E-waste because our entire scene is completely reliant on technology via electronics for the creation and delivery of our music. I feel we should be responsible for the proper end use of the products we are using.
On the wellness side, we often try to educate about partying safe but leave details about specific drug information to our partner charities like Dancesafe. What we focused on originally was hearing health and trying to promote the use of ear plugs. From being on stage with Ken for years, I have some damage myself. We worked with Earpeace who helped us create an infographic and we hope to develop a campaign with our buddies over at Subpac eventually as many of them are passionate about hearing health as well.
Freq Nasty works with Subpac and has suffered from Tinnitus, which can be debilitating for some people. I highly suggest buying a pair of cool earplugs like Earpeace that are on a keychain and having them with you always. It should be as common as bringing a jacket if you think it might get cold outside. It’s better to be comfortable. I think a lot of what we have accomplished is inspiration of our community and action through our Massive Action program.
Are you looking for volunteers?
JJ: I am looking for community organizers! We have a program I mentioned called EMA Massive Action. I am SUPER passionate about it. Over the last year, we have been performing the actions quarterly. I think starting next year we might change the format and do it seasonally instead of one weekend every quarter. I am looking to train people to be community leaders and create an action. I’m really passionate about showing people how powerful they are. I can always use ambassadors or cheerleaders, people just talking about us, tagging us, and mentioning us in social media. Helping us gain exposure is incredibly valuable to us. We have a vision of creating unified efforts but how will we achieve it if we cannot unify first? That takes exposure. People can just contact the organization. I can give them some things to do!
How can djs, musicians and producers get involved?
JJ: We do have two exciting avenues for the music artists and producers of our scene. We have a new relationship I am really excited about that will finally make our long time Play it FWD initiative which was originally about bridging artists of our community to causes that meant something to them.
Our new Play it FWD partner has the technology that has kind of made my dreams come true. So often I have artists that want to do something for EMA, but I do not have enough fundraisers for them to play at. Now, with our new partner, we will be able to work with music artists that produce their own original music. They donate an original song, pick a cause, and get featured on a really slick site and help raise money for the cause they picked and get branded as being part of EMA all at the same time.
We will get an annual report that will prove how our scene is the sound of change, tracking the efforts of the electronic music community. I’m sure you see why I’m excited. The second thing is that we actually have our own music label also called EMA-Global. It’s live, but still being fleshed out. It will be a prestigious thing for artists down the road. There really are so many different things we have going on. We have many charity partners we work with, projects that we endorse through our Empower the Scene campaign where people might have their own idea, and I might allow them to raise money for it, and other campaigns that are launching that will hopefully be something people want to at very least talk about such as the Music as Medicine campaign that will be attached to the documentary “Before We Were Kings”.
What else do you have going on?
JJ: You are the first to know I will have a fictional autobiography coming out by the end of the year of a character I created over ten years ago. This is another effort of mine to inspire my favorite culture to go out and do something good. All efforts for me in my life and anything I create, I always want to try and bring it back to getting people to do something good or give back in some way. I recently created a new “real” facebook profile page that will showcase my hooping pictures, but is mostly to make Trashion and Slow Fashion glamorous.
Last year, I was invited to be a keynote speaker at an event in Louisiana called DigiFest South. I spoke about how music and fashion, mostly trashion within the electronic music scene could “save the world”.[sc:shn-ad3]
I know you travel quite a bit. Where is your favorite destination, and why?
JJ: Well, there are some places I still dream about that we haven’t made it to yet. I haven’t been to Kauai since I was 16, and I would love to visit that island again with my husband. I’d like to get to the Maldives before it’s completely underwater. We often talk of going to Bonaire because we both dive. We are going, and are super excited, to visit India this summer. We both want to go to Machu Picchu. We both love Prague, Vancouver, Alaska, Burning Man…But, I would say the place that really speaks to us is Costa Rica. It’s where we plan on “retiring” in an eco-village we are building, and trying to talk some of our buddies into buying into as well like DJ Wolfie, David Starfire, DJ Janneke, Diggs, and Phu Styles.
Where will we see you hooping next? Are there any festivals you recommend this summer?
JJ: Ha! Well if you can get to Korea or India this summer, you can see me hooping there! There’s going to be some festivals coming up that have some of the same people that throw Lucidity and Lightning in a Bottle. If we are around, we will go check those out. We are really liking the small, intentional, camping festivals. We loved Envision which we got to perform at this past February. It was held in Costa Rica.
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