INTERVIEW: J A X X
Hi J, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Been good thanks, just about getting by with all this chaos going around haha.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Trouble”?
Yeah, so Trouble is the main track from the upcoming EP. It’s kinda written with bar and club audiences in mind due to its party/dance feeling. It’s really catchy, my family always find themselves singing it to themselves randomly haha. Trouble is about always wanting to be out spending time with friends, drinking, having fun, and always being low on cash. It’s a pretty relatable song for a lot of people and I wrote it with the hopes that people could maybe feel better when they don’t have much cash because then can realise that they aren’t the only ones.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Not directly no, but a few moments really influenced its writing. I was at a gig watching an singer called Oliver Tree, and this DJ performed before him called NVDES. It was a sick show, NVDES’s music was really dance orientated and while I was watching him play his track “D.Y.T” which as a really cool dance drop in it, I decided that Trouble was gonna have a moment like that in it. So I went home and the next day I wrote the cool dance part that can be heard after the choruses in the song.
Any plans to release a video for the track?
Yeah! My awesome girlfriend Lauren helped me out massively a couple weeks back with the video for this track. She braided all my hair to give me that stereotypical rapper look, and then put up with like a million takes of the song until I was happy with how it went. It’s a pretty simple video, just me dancing about in an orange overall looking really stupid, it’s gonna be a fun video that people will hopefully enjoy and laugh at!
The single comes off your new album Ghosted – what’s the story behind the title?
Well the term ghosted is usually given to someone who takes a backseat on the internet, like that guy in the group chat that never posts anything but reads all the messages people put in. I’m kinda using the term as it’s more like as the internet and technology keeps advancing, people are becoming more and more disconnected from each other in the real world, so it’s like people are ghosting themselves. A lot of the songs also reference ghosts and changing and things like that so it seems like a fitting title for the record.
How was the recording and writing process?
It was pretty fun to be fair. It was also quite stressful at times as with every creative process haha. I create all the tracks myself and do all the writing and recording on my own. I’ve converted my spare bedroom into a home recording setup that works surprisingly well. Most of the songs took a hell of a long time to finish off as I get quite picky when I’ve been working on a track for a long time, but some of them from writing to finishing a full track took like a few hours. It all depends on my headspace and how much time I have to how quickly I get stuff done. It did feel really great though to have all the tracks fully mixed and bounced. I sent them off to Nathan Bailey who’s a really great producer from Sheffield and he mastered them all up for me and I’m so pleased with the end result.
What role does Castleford play in your music?
I’ve lived in Castleford pretty much all of my life. It’s a pretty small town, but it’s full of life everywhere. It’s pretty much in the middle of the country so travel is easy to various cities which is a really great advantage for gigging. I mainly perform in Leeds which is super close and convenient, but I also play regularly in Sheffield, Bradford, Manchester, Wakefield, and anywhere I can really. There’s not a huge scene in Castleford which is a shame because there are so many musicians from here, it would be cool to bring a scene back to the town.
What aspect of relationships did you get to explore on this record?
There’s quite a few different types of relationships covered on the record actually. As I’ve said, Trouble is more about friends and families and having fun together, where as This House Is Haunted is about confrontations and arguments and people telling me I’ll never make it and I should just give up. So there’s songs about friends, haters, and also songs about my relationship with myself and my confidence and stuff. Hard On Myself is about how I look back at myself and self-criticise probably too much. There’s a big variety of topics covered haha.
Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
I take loads of inspiration from listening to music. My music taste is so varied so when I’m writing, the tracks end up being a big mash up of styles that I like listening to. The biggest inspirations for this record were definitely Oliver Tree, Joji, Lil Peep, Post Malone, Lil Aaron to name a few. Lyrically, I just tend to write what feels right at the time. I typically write the track and then add lyrics right at the end. I’ll play the song and sing along to it with whatever words just come to my head in the moment, sometimes I keep them, sometimes I change them.
Any plans to hit the road?
Well I did have a 5 date tour planned, going to Manchester, Sheffield, Queensbury, Leeds, and Featherstone, but with all this Coronavirus stuff happening, it’s looking very unlikely that it’s gonna go ahead which is really upsetting. It’s happened to every band and artist I know, it’s a really terrible time. I’m gonna look into maybe doing an online set and posting that or livestreaming it instead but we’ll see haha.
What else is happening next in J A X X’s world?
I’m always writing music. Currently all my efforts have been going into Ghosted and spreading the word about it. It’s a lot of work putting out a record haha. Once everything in the world goes right again I’ll be looking to play as many shows as I can to make up for the dry period all artists are approaching. Guess I’ll be using this isolation time to right more tracks and build up my discography even more!