We’re facing times where we desire music that makes us feel good on a consistent basis. GRAMMY-nominated music producer Jerome Potter aka Jerome LOL, has mastered the craft of creating that exact euphoric feeling with the likes of Kanye West, Khalid, Tory Lanez, and a number of other Billboard heavyweights.
We had the opportunity to speak with Potter and gain insight into the impressive life and mind of this humble creative. Enjoy reading our exclusive interview with the music producer below. For more insightful Q and A interviews with awesome people in the music industry, check out our talk with Marshall Jefferson.
How did you get started in the music business?
I started playing the trombone and guitar when I was younger and eventually, my school counselor encouraged me to join a band. I joined a few throughout high school and realized that no one was making the kind of music I wanted to make. So, I got a keyboard and started making my own music in my bedroom around 16 years old.
I went to college in Minnesota and studied film and media. College was when I started to get a little more serious about making music. I was able to combine music and visuals for school, then started DJing at college parties and eventually, I got a radio show by senior year; I was in the 8pm-9pm Friday night slot.
One day, Spank Rock performed at my school and his DJs Devlin and Darko, introduced me to Serato, which allowed me to DJ the MP3s I had been collecting on turntables.
Fast forward to my post-college days, I couldn’t find a “real job” with my degree, so I decided to go all-in with making music.
Finally, I linked up with Sam, and we made underground dance music under the name DJ Dodger Stadium (now DJDS) on our label, Body High. We had the opportunity to work with a few great artists under that label including DJ Sliink and Daft Punk collaborator, Todd Edwards.
We started throwing warehouse parties to fund the label and got to work with a bunch of amazingly talented artists, both visually and sonically. Everything we were doing ultimately led us to create an album under the production name we went under, DJDS, formally known as DJ Dodger Stadium (we had to change the name before any legal action was action was taken by the actual Dodger Stadium).
Sam and I signed a record deal after with Loma Vista, and after all of the early energy of Body High, we began working on Kanye’s album, The Life of Pablo. Working on that album was an illuminating process.
I have writing and production credits on 5 of The Life of Pablo songs.
You’ve had a career filled with accomplishments and memorable moments. What would you say was the biggest “aha” moment where you thought, “Wow, I’m really doing this. I’ve really made it”.
Working on The Life of Pablo was absolutely it for me. It was a crash course in making music. Four weeks of keeping my head down and making music to fulfill a vision that is supposed to exist; that was incredible. In that time, I understood that I was a puzzle piece to a bigger picture, so my work was really being considered all in real time. Of course, during that process, I knew the entire team working on the album had more tools and expensive equipment, but it was inspiring to see they were determined to get it done with just hard work. Grinding was all it took – seeing that really changed my perspective as an artist.
2018 was also a huge year for me when we released our album Big Wave More Fire. We were able to reach out to artists we respected and collaborated with the likes of The-Dream, Khalid, Empress Of, Charlie Wilson, and more. Being in the studio and learning from them was amazing.
What are you working on these days?
Since we’ve been in quarantine, I’ve finally had the opportunity to look at my hard drive and say, “DANG, I can finally release this!” The pandemic has really put things into a new perspective. Now that I have more time, it feels like I’m able to time-travel when I listen to the old music that I never released. Back then, I was just making music quickly and never had the chance to fully listen to it, because at the end of the day, an artist is often just trying to get by financially. I’ve had a lot of different jobs while just trying to do that, so hearing my old music again has inspired me and encouraged me to release it.
If there’s one thing you would like to leave behind as a legacy at the end of your long and fruitful career, what would that be?
My mom is an immigrant and my dad is from Inglewood, CA. They raised me on good principles; keep my head down and grind. I’d love to find new artists and help them do just that throughout their careers. Sam and I actually helped Khalid put his first album together to create a real story. I’m grateful for times like that. I want to amplify voices that are typically unheard.
Side note – It would be awesome to one day give my computer to someone who wants to make music. It’s full of ideas and samples I’ve recorded and collected, and that would be the epitome of “passing the torch “for me.
Do you have any tips for new creatives coming into the music business or entertainment industry as a whole?
DJing, specifically, allows you to listen to the structure and flow of a sound. No one wants to make boring music, so make music with intention. Go against the grain. Art is an expression. My job is to make things sound good and provide a bed to allow others to speak their truth. Create that space for others.
Also, be wary of others’ opinions influencing your art. If you have a vision and a goal, just put your head down and learn. I know I mentioned it before with my music, but time-traveling can be real, especially on YouTube. Take your time and let your brain follow music.
The best thing to do is to be respectful to everyone you’re in the studio with and simply express yourself.
Would you recommend our services to other music creatives?
Yes. Artists! Stop giving your money to banks and put your trust into to a place that supports art! I used to be confused about finances, but quarantine has given me time to do my own research. I called a debt relief program but decided to keep searching, then came across Sound Royalties. SR gave me a conservative estimate, which I appreciated. The banks give you a fixed interest rate and it piles up before you can even realize it. Sound Royalties has given me the freedom to pay off debts and I finally have a sense of liberation when it comes to my finances.
For more information about Jerome Potter, visit his Instagram page and be sure to stream his latest collaborative single, “Simple Things” featuring DJDS, Tory Lanez, and Rema, as well as the title track from Burna Boy’s latest album “Level Up (Twice as Tall)”.