Fool's Gold's Ashley Jones, aka Treasure Fingers, makes music that makes you smile, jump, and regress to days of dancing wildly before you ever had need of any liquid courage. Although primarily known for layering catchy vocals over house and disco beats, he is also part of the drum 'n' bass group Evol Intent. A multi-faceted producer and DJ, he spends his days touring tirelessly behind upbeat remixes of indie and hip-hop artists, as well as notable original hits like "Keep Up" and "Lift Me." All Shook Down spoke with Treasure Fingers a few days before his upcoming show in S.F. about his experiences growing up in Oklahoma, his days playing in bands, and whether he'll finally release an album this year. He plays with The Rapture, Poolside, Fred Falke, Lifelike and more this Saturday at The Factory for Blow Up Forever II.
Hello! Where are you currently in your travels?
I'm currently in NYC, 27th floor in Hell's Kitchen overlooking a drizzly Manhattan afternoon. I'm a bit tired since I took a red-eye flight from L.A. here last night, but feeling pretty nice otherwise.
You are based in Atlanta. How has growing up there had an influence on your music?
I actually grew up in Oklahoma, I didn't move to Atlanta until I was 21 or 22. I'd say growing up in Oklahoma had a pretty small influence on my music though (laughs). I was basically glued to the Internet, ripping live streams of DJ sets in London, Chicago, NYC, wherever else. I was the only person in my town that was into this sort of shit, so I had to teach myself everything and find my own way with electronic music. Luckily I made a lot of good friends online who helped me develop over time.
You started out musically playing in a band. Do you ever miss those days of playing live instruments? Or is electronic music kind of like a giant playground for you?
I really miss live band shows, playing instruments and all that. It's a totally different energy. It's hard for me to fully get crazy while DJing because in my mind, I'm just playing a pre-made song. But when you're onstage with three other band mates and you're creating everything from scratch, it's really easy to lose yourself in the music and let loose.
We heard the drum 'n' bass group Evol Intent started after your house records were stolen. Why do you think the culprit didn't take the drum 'n' bass records?
That happened before Evol Intent formed. I was just doing a solo drum 'n' bass project as "The Enemy" back then, along with the house stuff. He was a house DJ and said he needed to "borrow" them. I was supposed to see him a week later, but still haven't seen him to this day! Once all the records were gone, I didn't have the energy or money to go buy more and the thing was starting to take off for me.
Your tracks under Treasure Fingers have been categorized as "feel-good." Would you describe them so?
Absolutely. All about smiles on the dance floor.
Your career has allowed for you to travel all over the world. What's some international place you can see yourself settling down in?
I'd like to spend some years in Europe at some point. I could see myself living in Holland or Germany. I also really like Seoul, Korea. Almost everything there is open 24 hours or really, really late, which would be amazing for someone with my sleep schedule.
Since you tour a lot, do you find the time to still go shopping for records? Or do you usually get your music via Internet?
I hate to admit it, but I rarely get to buy records. Almost all my music comes from digital promos, or just other producer friends passing along their stuff. I still go digging if I find a good spot with classic soul/funk records, but I don't ever buy new music on vinyl these days.
A lot of your tracks incorporate vocals. What's important to you when using vocals on a track? What's a mistake you see when people use vocals in electronic tracks today?
I'm not too particular as long as they are in key. The only mistakes I really hear occasionally are when the song is too busy with lots of elements; I think if you are going to use vocals, then they need to fit really nicely with the rest of the track.
What was it like having house legend Kenny Dope remix "Keep Up"? Did you approach him to do the remix?
It was an honor! Fool's Gold Records approached him about doing it. They came to me like, "Oh yeah, we got Kenny Dope on a remix for you." Really cool!
Since you're very into technological gadgets, what's one of your favorites that have come out this year and why?
I'm loving the new Blackberry 9900/9930. It's just a really great phone all around. New OS is dope, the touch screen works great, the keyboard is really responsive, lots of good new features. RIM got it right with this one.
You'll be playing with The Rapture, Fred Falke, Lifelike, Poolside, and more. Do you like playing big shows, or would you rather just play to a room of 50, rather than thousands?
I like both really, as long as it's packed. If the room holds 1,000 and there's only 50 there, then that might be a downer [laughs]. But regardless of how many people are there, if the venue is crammed and everyone is super into it, then that's the best scenario for a DJ. I'm super excited for this show in particular just because it's there's so many friends on the bill, I love all these guys. It's going to be a great night of music.
What should S.F. have ready for you?
Out of everywhere I've DJ'd, I'm fully confident that S.F. will be ready. It's always insane there. Lots of love.
And lastly: A question that has been asked many times, but will you have an album this year?
Not this year!