Get to know DJ and Multi-instrumentalist DateNite
meet the classically trained multi-instrumentalist with an electronic vibe
DateNite is Producer, DJ, and classically trained multi-instrumentalist Jessica Fennelly. Blending beats, Electronica, and dance music, DateNite finds inspiration from driving rhythms, melodic synths, and spatial textures.
Originally from Philadelphia, Jessica moved to Los Angeles 4 years ago to pursue her career in music. She is a regular performer in the LA beat scene using hardware, software, and voice. You can also find her DJing across LA with various local collectives.
DateNite is a Novation and EarthQuaker Devices artist with experience working in sound design and content creation. A Founder of Paradigital—an LA based electronic label focused on House, Techno, and Jungle—she has also hosted her own radio series and is preparing to bring back her live monthly residency Lo Gravity.
DateNite is in the final stages of mixing and mastering her newest album See Me Like This, to be released early 2023.
“DateNite Livestream 4.20 Virtual Rave” Live, 2022
What is the inspiration behind your music?
“I was lucky to have my older sister show me Björk, Radiohead, Aphex Twin type goodies growing up, so they were all huge influences in my overall music journey. In college I fell in love with BRAIDS/Blue Hawaii. Raphaelle Standell-Preston has been a HUGE inspiration as an electronic music vocalist. Same with Yaeji. I’m a HUGE SZA fan…Like I can sing you ‘Ctrl’ front to back perfectly. I LOVE her lyrics and creativity as a vocalist and writer. I want to incorporate those elements more. Kelly Lee Owens ethereal beauty, Getting gritty and fun like Hudson Mohawke/CoucouChloe. Chaz Bear is an inspiration to me as an artist who explores and respects their changing creative energy—whether that’s DJing, being in a band, painting—and doing it all successfully. Lately I’m listening to a lot of different producers and genres to study and learn certain techniques. Hyperpop, Deep House, Soul.”
Do you have any favorite instruments in your collection?
“Right now my TR8 has been a huge game changer in terms of having a readily available drum machine to easily jam out rhythm ideas, especially for dance music. I’m still working on my goal studio setup. I love my Novation Peak but want something more portable to gig with. The Digitone has been catching my eye lately. I’d love a Minimoog eventually… really anything Moog. Valhalla plugins are great, especially for voice. I’m just recently getting deeper into plugins and realizing their value for writing and production.”
“In general I’d say I work best in clutter free, intentionally set up environments where each piece of gear has a place to live, always plugged in ready to go all while also maintaining an interchangeable station for those quick inspiration jams or videos. I have ADD so it’s important for me to have systems in place that work efficiently and on the fly. My desk is a mess half the time so monthly reorganizations are crucial.”
What are your future goals?
“My future goal is that I want to build a solid fan base with my music and performance and be able to tour and write consistently as a well known Producer/DJ. Think Flume, Peggy Gou type status. To be fully immersed in my music and connecting with others through it.”
“I hope to always be in a place to comfortably push myself creatively, to have the resources and time to say ‘OK, how can I keep growing as an artist?’ Oh and travel! I’ve never been on any type of tour, ever. I’d love to be gigging more locally and beyond. I want to travel outside of the country and to be doing it for a gig is the dream.”
“I have labels I want to work towards signing with. Personally I’m interested in that as I do better under guidance. I want to learn more and push myself in production and particularly mixing and mastering for myself.”
“Outside of that, in the future I’d also love to expand on projects like writing for cartoons or video games. (BEE AND PUPPYCAT). Basically I want to be in a space to live and breathe music everyday and really work my creative muscles. I feel like I haven’t fully tapped into my path yet, but I also feel like it’s coming soon…I feel something shifting.”
What projects are you working on now?
“YES, I have SO much unreleased music that I’ve been performing. Club tracks, IDM, and beats. Look out for 2 singles starting December and a full album release in January.”
“My next live show I’m performing is on Jan 26th. I’ll be doing a live hardware club set.”
“I’m performing with an incredible hardware artist/Novation Rep Trovarsi and Ricky Tinez – If you don’t know *look them up now for great gear guides on YT*.”
“No tour dates. I hope to get some NY gigs lined up next year. I’m from the East Coast and always love going back.”
Have there been any challenges you have faced in the music industry?
“I’ve heard subtle and not so subtle comments on my gender, it’s gotten way less but it’s there. Just recently someone said something like ‘Oh female DJs are coming up now so you have a better chance than me as a dude lol’ or someone also implying fans only like you because you look a certain way, or not. Or I’ve been offered opportunities and had the person say to me they basically needed any ‘female identifying’ artist to showcase. The music industry still has growing to do to be more inclusive and really..organically inclusive. Not just trying to seem inclusive.”
“Otherwise—like most artists I know—general challenges are just not already having deep connections in the industry to guide them and not having a strong financial foundation to help their careers in terms of having time and getting higher quality gear, etc. I was laid off last year from a financially ‘OK’ day job that took years to work up to and I am still recovering, looking for something that is enough to afford rent comfortably without different side gigs. It gets exhausting moving around, chasing rent-it can be hard to have the energy to focus on your craft when your work life isn’t really stable or predictable.”
What is the first rave/techno/edm/dance concert you went to?
“The first festival (although smaller) I went to was actually Secret Project 2019. I remember thinking how is it possible that all my favorites- Leon Vynehall, Peggy Gou, Honey Dijon, Four Tet- are on one line up AND also how are there so many people in LA who like dance music like this. It was really exciting. I met some great people there too that I still talk to today.”
What do you think about the current state of dance music?
“I think dance music is getting to be more accessible, at least in LA in particular. Like, I go to a lot of late night warehouse raves and see killer producers/DJs-that I had no idea existed before post pandemic. Most of my IG feed is either DJs, producers, or reel suggestions with dance tracks being exposed to millions of viewers.”
“I also recently saw some local collectives actively trying to make shows earlier for people who might not want to stay out super late too. I like that.”
“In general it seems like dance music is “coming back” to the forefront as a way to reconnect with others again, especially after being cooped up for almost 2 years. A healthy release through music and dance. LA could definitely dance more, compared to places like NY/UK but I see it happening through persistent promoters and local legends, carving a path for up and coming DJs and producers.”
Is P.L.U.R. alive and well or is it just a part of the past?
“Yes! Anytime I’ve gone to a rave or specific night (dnb, techno, whatever) there’s always this tangible fluttering energy from the audience. They’re there to support the Djs but also just the genre itself. It’s been really great getting more into the rave/club scene. It feels like a cool secret society I stumbled upon. Especially in LA. I love dancing so it’s important to feel comfortable and open at any show.”
“Mapamota is one of my favorite promoters/djs in LA. Her nights are always great for hosting a variety of artists from all different genres and backgrounds. The shows are always affordable and showcase really really talented artists that always go together nicely and the community that comes out is always super welcoming and nice.”
Do you think electronic music has become too commercialized?
“Yes and No. I think the music industry in general really has poor systems in place for artists to gain profits from their music without having to find multiple interchanging streams of income. At the same time as much as it’s nice to think creating music should be this totally non profited, pure expression of the soul that everyone should respect and appreciate and artists shouldn’t ‘sell out’ or whatever-it’s still an industry that thrives on numbers, exposure, and sales. I just wish the industry was easier to navigate and in general more profitable for artists. I see why it’s so necessary to have a business-like mindset (and ideally team) if you truly want to profit from your craft on a highly sustainable level. It’s unfortunate that artists are almost forced to do that now in order to succeed but I also feel it can be really liberating in a weird way once you crack that code and can figure out how to play the game.”
What do you think the future of raving will be?
“I think raving is just going to get more popular. Going to shows and dancing with an open mind-I think that’s happening more and more. I’ve seen some really cool visuals at shows too-lighting, lasers, props. I’m really excited to see how that all is going to evolve in the future with the advancement of technology.”
Is dance music important and why?
“Yep, dance music is important as it not only allows for a physical and mental connection through the environment (like clubs, visual fx etc) but also through community. It’s really a special thing to dance with strangers in a warehouse and feel safe and excited. The history of dance music itself promotes exactly that- to come together through sound and dance. To express yourself fully and share an incredibly unique experience that’s visually and tonally expressive. It can be healing to move to music.”
What is the real meaning of PLUR to you?
“PLUR to me brings up feelings of being comfortable, being yourself, and being open. To express yourself safely through movement or sound without judgment or expectation. You can be vibing in the corner, dancing at the front, or anything in between-all while appreciating music with others.”
A Message from DateNite
“You can help support me by sharing my music, show dates, even just a post you like! Online, in person-whatever. It’s easy for any significant post about a new release or tours etc to get lost in the feed. Going to shows is always important, too, so we can connect on a real level and of course if you have the means to purchase music—especially through platforms like Bandcamp—that is really the best way to support any music artist.”
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