His name is Curtis Jones, but we all know him as Green Velvet, the Chicago-based house and techno icon who cut his teeth in that city’s 1980s electronic music scene. Jones, 52, has been spinning and producing as Green Velvet since the ’90s, influenced by everyone from Sly & The Family Stone to David Bowie and drawing comparisons to Gary Numan and Kraftwerk for his unique sound.
The Weekly caught up with the prolific DJ ahead of his EDC set to chat about performing in Vegas, his EDC plans, working with actor/DJ Idris Elba and more.
You presented your collaborative La La Land experience at last year’s EDC, and you’re bringing it back this year. What’s it all about?For me, it’s doing something that pays homage to house and everything that I grew up on, but also being able to be diverse and flexible. I don’t think it all has to be one specific genre—all house or all techno or all deep house. My vision is it can be a whole mixture of whatever, just as long as it’s good and it brings about a good party experience and the crowd likes it. This year at EDC, it’s pretty heavy on the tech house side of things, but I’m glad we got some people who are really at the top of their game in this right now: Eats Everything, Fisher, Patrick Topping, Mason Maynard and Eli Brown … and Idris Elba. He’s a movie star, but I know Idris, and I know he really likes what I do.
How did you meet him? I hung out with him in Ibiza. We were supposed to be working on something together, too, but he got so busy—I think he was attending the royal wedding (laughs). We didn’t end up finishing, but he’s very cool and down to earth.
What’s your favorite thing about playing EDC?The production is always next-level. We’re always going to see something really mind-blowing; from the visuals to the music, everything is always top-notch. And then seeing the outfits that the kids are wearing. I just love the whole atmosphere; it’s incredible.
You’re also playing JEMAA’s EDC week party at NoMad. How do you change up the vibe from playing a giant EDC set to a chill Las Vegas pool party? At the end of the day, the people at the pool are there to have fun and party but not necessarily on the level of EDC. But it’s not like someone’s having a pool party in their backyard. It’s still Vegas, and it’s still going to be on a Vegas level. I tend to play a lot more tracks that have vocals in them, because that helps with the pool vibe as opposed to what I’ll be doing at the festival.
Lastly, what are you working at the moment?Tons of new stuff. Let’s see … right now I have a song out called “Wow.” I also have a collaboration coming out with Eats Everything called “Complex.” And I’m working on tons of stuff for the future.
You know, I’m not as young as I used to be, but I love it. I have a passion, and that’s what really fuels me and energizes me and keeps me laughing.
GREEN VELVET Presents La La Land at EDC, May 17. With Claude VonStroke at EDC, May 18. At JEMAA, May 19.