DJ of the Month March 2018

Jaar was born in New York to Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar and French-Chilean mother Evelyne Meynard. "Jaar ascribes the melancholy in his music to the six years his parents were separated, when he moved at the age of 3 with his mother from New York to Chile, until the family was reunited in New York." In 2007, he met Gadi Mizrahi and Zev Eisenberg who ran the legendary Marcy hotel parties in Brooklyn, New York. After hearing his early works, Mizrahi suggested 17 year-old Jaar put a 4/4 kick drum underneath his largely experimental compositions. This was Jaar's first foray into dance music, documented in his first release on Mizrahi's label Wolf & Lamb, entitled The Student. "Back then, Jaar says, everything D.J.'s [sic] were playing was 128 beats per minute. The stuff he was doing was almost half that speed, with improvised piano haunting the tracks."

Jaar then spent four years in underground dance circles, crafting rough, hip hop influenced house music (examples include Love You Gotta Lose Again and Marks & Angles). Initially made as jokes to make his mother laugh and dance, Jaar made two songs where he sang in his native Spanish ("Mi Mujer" and "El Bandido"). Jaar did not intend for them to come out. He changed his mind in 2010, as he felt the songs were his way of answering what he deemed as exploitative sampling of Latin American culture by white European DJs.

He released his debut album, Space Is Only Noise, in January 2011 to critical acclaim; it received a score of 8.4 and the title of Best New Music from Pitchfork and four stars from The Guardian. It was ranked #1 album of the year by Resident Advisor, Mixmag, and Crack Mag.

Jaar toured the album for three years with guitarist Dave Harrington (later of Darkside) and keyboardist Will Epstein. Jaar was voted # 1 Live Act on Resident Advisor for the three years he toured the record.

In 2012, he debuted a live concept through Clown & Sunset Aesthetics called From Scratch, where, in front of a live audience, he sampled records he had bought that day. The first iteration happened in Queens, New York at MOMA PS1; it was a five-hour concert produced by Jaar and Clown & Sunset Aesthetics co-founder Noah Kraft with collaboration from Will Epstein, videographer Ryan Staake, dancer Lizzie Feidelson and singer Sasha Spielberg. Jaar has also performed From Scratch in Boulder, Colorado, and Montréal, Quebec.

On May 18, 2012 Nicolas Jaar made his BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix debut, which was voted Radio 1's Essential Mix Of The Year of 2012.

On October 4, 2013, the debut album from Darkside, Jaar's project with longtime collaborator Dave Harrington, was released to critical acclaim and a 9.0 score on Pitchfork. The band toured the record for the entirety of 2014.

In February 2015, Jaar released a largely ambient record entitled Pomegranates, which he intended as an alternative soundtrack to The Color of Pomegranates.

Later that year, Jaar scored the soundtrack to Dheepan, a thriller by French filmmaker Jacques Audiard about a family of Sri Lankan refugees living in the suburbs of Paris. It was the winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes 2015.

His second studio album, Sirens, was released in September 2016. Rolling Stone named it the #1 Electronic Album of the year.


Nicolas Jaar