What started out as a passion project to counteract the toxic negativity of the ‘cool’ music blogs of the early 2000’s, when talking shit about music got you hits, Ego Thieves quickly grew into a powerhouse for positivity, sharing new music, art, and creativity with a simple message, “share what you love, not what you hate”.
Ego Thieves became a platform that launched so many new and exciting tracks from producers all around the globe. It gave birth to a design studio that enabled Jenai & JC to help launch everything from fashion blogs to a gaming media company and so much more. It was the starting point for so many in and around Jenai’s life and he soon realised that it was also an outlet for something deeper and more personable to him.
The website, the mixes, and design became a form of self-therapy, allowing him to channel his inner demons into something more creative through music and art. He now shares his journey into mental health and reveals the realities and meaning behind some of his most popular mixes and the impact music has had on his life and so many others.
Jenai fell in love with music & art from the moment he could walk and talk. He begged his mum for his first pair of decks at the age of just ten years old and soon became obsessed. Before he knew it, he was playing his very first pirate radio set on Chicago FM. He soon became a well-known face in all good record shops around London. Jenai has had the pleasure of DJ’ing all around the world and accumulated millions of downloads on his Ego Thieves website.
Having had a stint in everything from producing, creating artwork for other artists and even running one of the biggest mixtape websites in the UK, his self-taught skills in the world of art, coding and design enabled him to start his own studio ‘Ego By Design’ and he hasn’t looked back since.
With a vast array of successful creative and business led ventures, you can catch him in and around the interweb working hard on his latest and greatest projects.
Illustrator and designer JC Adams was first introduced to Jenai when he fell in love with his then clothing brand ‘Ape Apparel’ and the two quickly became good friends who shared a similar passion and energy for music, art, and design.
The pair started to collaborate on everything from mix artwork for Ego Thieves, illustration projects for some of the scenes biggest talents and then joined forces to help elevate Ego By Design to a fully-fledged, internationally recognised design studio. Since then, Jenai & JC have worked on projects ranging from luxury brands based out of the Middle East, designed for multi-million-pound buildings in London’s Savile Row and even project lead our own video game show on the BBC.
When JC isn’t drawing and designing, you can catch him working on his own in-house brands from his events company ‘Rilla‘ to his independent owned Streetwear brand ‘Apeism’.
For almost a decade, Ego Thieves has been blessed to work alongside an eclectic roster of talent. Journalists, DJ’s, producers, illustrators and more, but without a core team behind the scenes, it wouldn’t have been possible. Whether it was publishing daily articles sharing new music, creating and breaking the latest build of the website or simply lending a trusted ear to Jenai for his latest draft of a mix, Ego Thieves could only achieve the huge success and status it has because of the love, energy, and support from such an incredible team.
Jonatan (Joon) Van Hove and Jenai met through a random shoutout on Facebook, as Jenai was experimenting with new code for the Ego Thieves website and needed an extra hand. Joon has a degree in software development and had just moved to Iceland and was available to jump on board and help out.
Once Joon and Jenai connected online, the two went on to tag-team on a host of different creative projects including one of the first social media download gateways, a series of websites for Borgore’s dad (very true) and soon became an original founding member of Ego By Design. Joon went on to further his studies applying for a Game Design masters in Iceland and while studying, it was a common sight to see the pair online working until 5am, sharing music, art and making dad jokes until the sun came up.
Joon has gone on to achieve huge successes in his career, leading his own video game studio ‘Glitch Nap‘, founded and organises gaming festival ‘Screenshake‘ in Antwerp and also happens to give incredible talks around the world, including his very own TEDx appearance. If you’re really lucky, you might just catch Joon leading Jenai up the odd Icelandic mountain for a hot spring dip too, as the two have remained good friends ever since.
Nathaniel Cole and Jenai have been friends for the past, almost fifteen years. He joined the Ego Thieves team as someone who has an unfiltered passion for all music. He kept the team up to date with the latest and greatest sounds, publishing his unique articles and experiences on his journey into sonic-sounds.
He has since set the world ablaze and hosts an array of fantastic achievements under his belt. He is now a pioneer for mental health awareness in the UK, setting up Swim Dem Crew alongside Peigh, a swimming community who were handpicked by Google for a national campaign, showing the positive impact they have had on so many peoples lives.
He updates and documents his own journey mental health via his Medium blog, providing a personal insight into his struggles, tribulations, and successes. You can also catch him in and around the UK at almost every prolific gig that week, consistently expanding his mind and musical knowledge.
Nathaniel has also recently launched his own podcast, Throwing Fade, where he shares music, laughs, insights and social commentary topics with his good friends, go and subscribe already.
Errol Anderson reached out to via a Facebook post while Jenai was trying to recruit new contributors for the site and the pair instantly hit it off sharing track after track on Skype.
Jenai has always been impressed with Errol’s eclectic taste when it comes to music, there aren’t many people around who like to keep up with the latest tribal jazz tracks and grime drops simultaneously. But what really impressed Jenai was Errol’s professionalism and an intense drive and passion to always better his craft. Errol was studying for his degree in Journalism at the time and had already penned articles for Clash Magazine and MTV. It was a no-brainer that he joined the Eg Thieves team and soon became the editor in chief, assigning projects to the team, organising interviews and securing exclusive drops that received thousands of views.
Since Ego Thieves, Errol’s drive and tenacity has built him an enviable CV in the world of music and culture. He started contributing to Vice’s Noisey platform, had a stint at Virgin Records and has spent the last three years leading Boiler Room as their Deputy Editor. When he isn’t mixing, performing and traveling the world, you can catch him on his monthly radio show ‘Touching Bass‘ live on NTS.
Honestly, I don’t even know where to start. I just wanted to add a personal message to let every single person know how grateful and humbled I am that you all chose to visit my website, a little piece of the internet that is a great significance in my life. I never knew it at the time but Ego Thieves was literally saving my life, providing me with a platform to counter all my inner demons and using my creativity as an outlet to try and cope. It opened my world to opportunities I couldn’t even fathom were possible. DJ’ing in front of thousands of people, starting my own design studio, meeting some of the most important people in my life up until this very day and taking me on adventures all around the globe.
Your messages over the years have always been inspiring to me and something I’ve never truly comprehended. Whether it was to tell me how excited you were for a new mix, sharing your thanks with me as you discovered new artists on the site or how much one of our mixes touched your heart and became the soundtrack to your lives at one stage or another.
To all the team at Ego Thieves, the artists, producers, record labels, designers, coders, visitors, contributors, family, friends and even the haters, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. You’re all such an important part of my lives and my journey so far and please always remember, share what you love, not what you hate.