Interview | Treasure Fingers
With over a decade of experience in music production, there’s no wonder why Ashley Jones, a.k.a Treasure Fingers, is one of the most sought after producers in the scene right now. Having cut his teeth in various genres, including drum and bass, tech house, disco, techno and more, the Psycho Disco creator boasts expert sound design and production in every record that he touches.
Lucky for us, Ashley agreed to chat after his special disco set at District Inferno in D.C. two weekends ago. Read about his journey into music production, where the idea for Treasure Fingers & Psycho Disco came from, his experience in D.C. and more in our exclusive interview below!
What led you to want to produce music?
It came from growing up with a strong love for music in general, learning to play instruments and then later, realizing I could create my own music. In my early teens, my father taught me to use a 4-track recorder and how to program midi & drum machines. I’ve pretty much been experimenting ever since. I got more serious about it after discovering the club and rave scene. I thought DJing was cool, but my main interest was making whatever was on the records the DJ’s were playing.
How long have you been producing?
Professionally since 2008, but I started learning digital production around 1998. It was a lot of trial and error through tons of different programs and gear up to today, where I’m still not 100% sure what I’m doing.
Were there any artists in particular that inspired you to begin a career making music?
The main inspiration I had came from acts/producers that really confused me, like it was a puzzle to try and figure out what they were doing. Zapp & Roger was the earliest moment I had with this, relating to Roger Troutman’s talkbox and synth programming work. I also got really into Squarepusher, Aphex Twin, Venetian Snares – lots of IDM/experimental stuff like that. I never really considered or tried to make music my main career, I figured it would just always be a side hobby. Once it took off, the gig offers started coming in. I didn’t have any vacation time left at work, so I quit my job and started touring.
I saw that you are originally from Oklahoma. How did you end up in Atlanta, GA?
I had been working on music (remotely via internets!) with the other two guys in Evol Intent. Nick (Bro Safari) lived in Atlanta and Mike (Gigantor) was still in Tuscaloosa at the time. As soon as I graduated, I moved into Nick’s basement & started grinding in Atlanta.
You have created everything from drum and bass to your own unique sound that melds disco, breaks, house and more. For an artist, creating a distinguishable sound is a huge feat, especially among such a saturated dance music scene. How did you find your one-of-a-kind sound?
I’m not sure about the specific origins of my sound honestly, and it constantly evolves. I either get bored easily or am just more attracted to experimenting with new sounds. As I get older, I’m learning to dial it in to a certain cohesive vibe. I think the key to building a unique sound is also attributed to having a very wide range of musical interests. The jump from Evol Intent to Treasure Fingers started with me making disco and house on the side for fun, then having some friends push me to actually release it. I remember having no strategic plan, or even a logo, when “Cross The Dancefloor” first hit blogs. Everything just organically snowballed from there with remix offers, shows and labels reaching out for releases.
In 2015, you took this diversified sound and created the label ‘Psycho Disco’ in its image. Can you elaborate on where the idea came from and how PD became a reality?
The idea was basically to take where dance music nightlife culture first started (DISCO!) then fast-forwarding through the years up to the edge of current production and club trends. I also wanted it to be a club night, so the name Psycho Disco! made a lot of sense from an event standpoint as well. It’s a crazy discotheque at it’s heart. The specific inspiration for the name came from Parliament/Funkadelic’s song, “Aqua Boogie (A Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadoloop).” I may have been slightly under the influence of THC but how it said “Psycho” on the beat one and “Disco” on beat three kept looping in my brain, and it sounded really memorable the more I thought about that as a name.
You just recently played a special all disco set in DC for District Inferno’s event. That’s different than your typical vibe. How did the event go?
That was awesome! It was sort of a return to my roots. I’ve always been heavily influenced by boogie disco and funk from the late 70s and early 80s. I pulled out some my first tracks and remixes ever, and also got to play a ton of groovy shit I hardly get to play at most events.
What was a favorite memory or song from the event?
There were a few times where the crowd could sense what I was mixing in or about to drop and hearing that excitement always gets me hype. A big standout song to me was Juan Maclean’s, “Happy House.” It’s such an incredible record that will forever stand the test of time, so many good moments throughout that track that you have to let the whole 12+ minutes play.
Do you have any exciting releases that fans can look forward to in the near future?
I just released a remix of MK’s “Body 2 Body” and I’m finalizing an EP to drop this fall. I also recommend everyone go follow and keep an eye on Psycho Disco! We have a steady release schedule of some really interesting, outstanding tracks throughout the rest of the year.
The next few questions are just for fun… If you could pick one venue/festival in the US to play that you haven’t, where would it be? (In other words, your “dream” booking.)
I’m super grateful since I’ve played nearly every venue I’ve wanted, but I’d really love to do Friendship or Holy Ship. I’ve always eluded their booking radar but HMU when you guys are ready, I got tons of boat party vibes on deck 😉
What is one artist you’d love to collaborate with?
Mariah Carey, I’m also very down to work with Bootsy Collins if Mariah’s too busy.
If your life had a sound track, what would be the title?
Hennessy & Sunshine. I made a DJ mix under the same name years go, but the name still holds up.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Follow me on every social media platform and like everything I ever post. Also, lets get fucking funky as fuck Saturday night DC!
Check out the latest DJ mix from Treasure Fingers, recorded live at Envy’d Lounge in Charlotte, NC: