Over the past few years, dance music listeners have heard a number of bangers from British DJ Joel Corry.
Among them are his breakthrough track, “Sorry,” “Lonely,” and multi-platinum No. 1 U.K. single “Head & Heart,” featuring MNEK, plus “BED” with RAYE and David Guetta and “OUT OUT” with Jax Jones, Charli XCX, and Saweetie. These hits come together on Another Friday Night, just released and complemented by recent tracks “0800 Heaven,” “Drinkin’,” featuring MK and Rita Ora, and “Hey DJ,” his latest. Dropping on October 6, the release comes in vinyl and CD forms, and will be available for streaming and download.
“Drinkin’” – an uplifting earworm – preceded its release. The multi-BRIT-nominated producer performed the song live with Ora over the summer at his Ibiza Rocks Residency show. He then unofficially kicked off the release’s tour with a September 30 show at legendary club Ministry of Sound.
Joel Corry sound bridges more traditional pop as well as dance and rave elements. What would you say characterizes you as a producer?
Yeah, I’d say I’d say that my earlier hits that people would recognize as tracks like “Sorry” and “Lonely” and “Head and Heart” were definitely in the pop-dance lane, like piano house – a lot of like M1 piano and M1 organ.
I’d say that that sound I definitely feel like was my staple during 2019 to 2020 and ’21, and since then, I feel like music in general in the dance world has evolved, and I’ve tried to evolve my sound as well. I would say my recent records, like “0800 Heaven, “Hey DJ,” you know, are up there at 140 BPM with more of a trance feeling.
But, then if you go back to like when I first started DJing, and when I was like a teenager, I grew up in the garage era. So my sort of introduction to music was more like U.K. garage and drum ‘n’ bass. So, if you looked at like my like actual sound since I started DJing, the dance world has really kind of changed. But I think if you ask somebody, how would they – what would they say is my sound? I’d probably say that they’d go for like commercial U.K. piano house.
You’ve done a few collaborations during your career, as a lot of dance music producers do. How do these collaborations come about, and what do you look for in another artist?
So there’s two ways that they come about. The first way is, we’d be in a studio together, you know, an artist and a songwriter, and you would just be having, like, a few loops and chords playing, and a record would be written in the room from that batch. That’s one way.
You know, I’ve got a studio in London where a lot of people come down for music sessions, and I have writing camp sometimes where I’d go away and just stay at a studio complex for like 2-3 weeks and invite lots of songwriters and artists down. And that’s how, like a collaboration could be, could be made. Another way would be if me and an artist are talking together on social media, maybe like via the DM’s on Instagram.
Or, maybe you know, I get someone’s number or somebody gets my number, and we chat on WhatsApp, and we fire ideas back and forwards — like an artist might send me an acapella. Or a song idea. And I’m like, I really like this. I take it and then I add my production to it and then a song could, like, be developed like that. So, the songs not necessarily written together in the room. It’s like an existing idea where I can just bring my production to it and develop it with the artist and.
And, yeah, that’s generally a lot of it. As well as me getting busy in the DM’s and reaching out to a lot of people, and from sometimes you don’t get a reply, but now and again you get a reply, and yeah, that’s how it happens with a lot of artists. It’s me just generally going, “I love you. I love your tracks. Like I’d love to work with you,” and then coming back and going to check out this idea.
For your current track, what was your process like working with Rita Ora and MK? Was there anything different that you did for this track?
So I started work on the “Drinkin’” idea in about a year ago, so last summer. It’s a sample from the Chance the Rapper, Knox Fortune song called “All Night,” and I had the a cappella that I just ripped off YouTube and flipped it onto like a dance beat, and it sounded great. And I was like, oh, this could actually be like a really proper banging tune.
Like, the original was a classic, and it’s such a big record. And the sample just felt so good over, like a dance production. And, then, me and MK had been — I’d met MK before, like I’m a big fan of his. He’s one of my idols and I’d always wanted to collab with him, and I’d kind of mentioned it when I bumped into him in a nightclub that, you know, I’ve got this idea I wanna send to you.
You might like it, and the idea was “Drinkin’,” which I’d started. So, I said it to him, and then he hit me back. It was like, “Yeah, I love it. I love it. This is sick.” And I was like, “OK, Great.” And I sent him then all the parts that I’d worked on, and then he added his production to it and then sent it back to me and we developed it from there. And, then the song, the top line had been written, and we had like a demo vocal.
And then I was just like, right, who could, you know, do the vocal on this record and who does it sound like? Who would fit really well on it? And, I just thought Rita Ora was the perfect match for the song. Me and Rita had been friends for a few years. We had met each other at the MTV VMA’s and sat next to each other, and we exchanged numbers a few years ago.
So, then I texted her the demo, and she loved it and recorded the vocals sent it back to me. And yeah, I mean, a long story short, eventually I brought everything together, and here we are. The song is out now, so it was quite a journey to get here. I’m really happy with the final record.
Your album, Another Friday Night, which is kind of a compilation of some of the music that you’ve released so far, as well as new tracks, just came out. How did you select the tracks that you’re putting on the album?
So I wanted my debut album to include like all my sort of biggest hits that everyone loves and knows from me. Tracks like “Sorry,” “Lonely,” “Head and Heart.” And even though these songs came out like three years ago, I wanted to still have them my album.
So, the album is almost like a kind of like a greatest hits, if you want, because it’s got all my all my records I’ve ever released, and then it’s all got my new music on it, as well tracks like “0800 Heaven” and my latest track “Drinkin’” with Rita and MK and my upcoming single, “Hey DJ.”
So, when selecting the tracks, I basically just wanted to create like the ultimate like Joel Corry playlist, and I couldn’t leave out the hits from years ago, so I decided just to bring it all together in one body of work, and I feel like this album it caps off this era in my life and the first chapter of my music career.
Among the new material that’s going to be on Another Friday Night, what should listeners expect from that?
With my new upcoming single from the album — which is gonna be the lead single — is the track called “Hey DJ,” like we touched on earlier, it’s almost like a trance record, and you know it’s faster, it’s the sound that is very current at the moment, especially in the U.K. charts.
So, you know, this is the sound that’s kind of working at the moment. And, you know, I wanted to put my own spin on that. People can definitely look out for, “Hey DJ.” A recent record I released, “0800 Heaven,” is in that similar lane as well. So, I feel like those two records definitely feel very cohesive together. There’s another new track on there called “Do You Mind,” which again is a much more up tempo record, and, yeah, I just feel like these records feel very fresh and feel very current, whereas the other records feel a bit more nostalgic.
So, it’s a nice mix of music that is very fresh and current with nostalgic bangers. So, when you’re listening to the album and the track list, I just wanted to feel like, you know, you’re going from a record that feels like it’s bringing you back some good memories, and then you’re going to a record that just feels really fresh and and current. I like the fact that the album’s got the mix of both.
In general, what’s your approach for putting together a DJ set that connects with the crowd?
My approach is always look at it like a beginning, middle, and end. So, I always want to create that journey however long the set is. I always want it to feel like there was a start, and there was like the middle and then there was the end, and the way I do that is just basically the energy of the music. So, as I said, generally the start of the set definitely has a big impact at the beginning.
So probably the first couple of records are going to be like quite high energy, like so you know, this set really starts with a big impact and a big bang. And then I’m going to incorporate the sort of more commercial-sounding records near the start of the set to get people singing along and get the vibes going, and you know people expect to hear those records from me.
So, I kind of give that to them. And then I like to get more into a groove as the as the set goes on, and that’s kind of the middle section I was talking about where I’ll be playing more techie, more groovy, like bouncy basslines, and just getting the crowd all like dancing and moving together. And then as I said, I always like to finish big so. Once I’ve started to approach the end of the set, I’ll start to up the tempo again.
Probably play some heavier stuff, some more techno, so the crowd really feels like the set is coming to a climax, and then you know, it’s always nice to finish with maybe a few classics — some more like melodic, eclectic sounds, just so the crowd, once they’ve got over that really high-energy section, there’s like a few at the end that just let them chill out. And it feels like the journey is complete.
Whether in terms of touring and performances or new music, what do you have planned for the rest of the year?
And, so after my album comes out, I’m going on a world tour, going to Australia for four weeks. and I go to Canada, North America, Asia, and Indonesia. So I’ve got, like, a really packed winter touring schedule all around the world, which I’m really excited for. Going to places that I’ve never been before, making debuts at a lot of clubs and festivals that I’ve never played at. Really excited to travel the world. And then I’m gonna come home for Christmas and that’s kind of the rest of my year mapped out.
Photo Credit Lewis Vorn