INTERVIEW: Jvst Say Yes + Axel Boy

Jvst Say Yes & Axel Boy join forces to bring you”Firin Shots”, a new collab that fuses potent bass synths with stunning vocal lines perfectly. The pitches rise as the more alarm-like leading tones combine with crunchy drum work to cause a ruckus in the rave.

With the record out now on CruCast, we caught up with them to discuss how it came together.

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Axel Boy – Thanks for having me! Been doing good! Just been trying to make the most of all this free time. Naturally most of it has been spent in the studio! Hoping to come back super strong after Corona with lots of new material.

JVST SAY YES – Now there’s a question for 2020. It’s been interesting, not great from a touring musician’s perspective obviously but we’ll get through it!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Firin’ Shots”?

JVST SAY YES – I’ve known Alex for years, which goes to show how small the world can be when it comes to music. I met him years ago when I was writing articles for Future Music magazine in Bristol. I think it was a studio setup tips article or something like that but it’s been so long I can’t really remember specifics on how we met. Fast forward almost 10 years and it just so happens we’re working on similar music projects in a similar space, it’s just been one of those things that worked great from the offset. I had a rough version of the track but Alex really took it and ran with what it needed to pull it all together into what it is now.

Axel Boy – I always kept an eye on his JSY project & after my resurgence in 4×4 bass music it was natural to use that we make a record together. Rob actually sent the demo & built around it to bring it to where it is now, it was a lot of fun to work on!

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

JVST SAY YES – Not really to be honest. The main hook is was a vocal sample I found that just had a good energy to it, sometimes things just fit.

Axel Boy –  I feel like this track was born to be a solid split down the middle of UK Bass & EDM energy, along with a touch of grime-inspired vocals.  The overall hype of the track is also very grime-orientated.

Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?

Axel Boy – I think that would amazing. Its the perfect sort of track to yield a video from. This is something we’ve brushed ver but obviously with the restrictions of Corona we haven’t been able to travel particularly far to work on any projects. Now things are starting to loosed up a bit I can certainly see this happening.

How was the recording and writing process?

Axel Boy – So yeah it was literally just a two way thing, Rob had a basic idea all laid out & arranged, with the vocals & bassline. However it needed lots of power & detail injected into it & thats where I came in. Its always easier to amp up an idea that someone has already pushed in the right direction. There was lots of layering & sound design on my end, finalising transitions & the overall mix & master. Was a really sick blend of work, Rob always says it the most natural feeling collab he’s done as JSY.

JVST SAY YES – Like Alex says it was a very natural collab. There can often be a bit of a forced situation with collabs where the main motivation is market positioning for one of the acts and people end up making music that isn’t really ‘them’, but that was 100% not the case here. It came together great from the offset.

What role does the UK play in your music?

JVST SAY YES – Both being British, a huge one. I also have a Dubstep alias that has been my main focus over the last decade, and this obviously is also music birthed in the UK. Things morph and adapt over time and you have to go with the flow to some extent, but nobody can understate the importance of British inventiveness when it comes to pioneering music trends.

Axel Boy – The UK is and always has been a huge part of my music. I initially got into Drum & Bass at a young age & then Dubstep. I spent a good few years catering to a more US-based fanbase, but around 2018 I realized that I needed to build on the inspiration I was finding here at home. I decided to take a conscious decision to write off this inspiration so I found myself making lots of 4×4 bass house/bassline stuff. I’ve always been attracted to the more grimier side of UK music, it can more rough around the edges but always retains that swagger that is otherwise focussed on ‘heaviness & colour’ in other parts of the world.

Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather

than working on your own?

JVST SAY YES – I think it’s important not to over-finish a track so that the second person can hit the ground running. Often when I’ve tried to do collabs and I get sent an almost finished track it can be hard to figure out what to destroy to make space. I’m not the biggest fan of the in-person taking turns approach either as I find it impedes the headspace needed to zone out a bit, so the way we did this was exactly how I like to do things. I wouldn’t really make music ‘differently’ though per se.

Axel Boy – Of course but not consciously, its the fact the you can bounce off of someone else’s ideas. It almost free’s up your brain to use the energy more specifically. So as I stated before, Rob had already arranged out most of this track, it was a case of me creating new elements to bring it all together. So I found myself layering and masking his sounds with my sounds. I find this more of a fun way to write music, because you already know the general vibe of the track, its just about getting the best out of the idea.

How did you go on balancing your respective sounds and influences?

JVST SAY YES – There’s a real challenge finding a balance at the moment between the more headsy UK stuff and the more aggressive US stuff that has a lot of energy but is easy to push a bit too far. I think trying to find a balance that works for both camps is the fun bit.

Axel Boy – I feel like with this track it just naturally evolved into perfect blend of our styles. When Rob sent me the initial idea I could instantly hear how my influence would develop this track. It was already quite a maximal sounding idea (which is always how my tracks come out), So it was destined to be a smooth balance.

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

Axel Boy –  I have one more single coming out & the end of the month with a really talented duo. More info on that soon. & i’m slowly building up music for some bigger projects which I plan to release once the world opens up again!

JVST SAY YES – 😉

Any plans to hit the road? Or with covid does that make planning for the future pretty tricky at the moment?

Axel Boy – I really hope so soon! I want to get back to doing shows in the UK & Europe ASAP as soon as the clubs re-open and the events start pouring back in. I will also be making it out the states as soon as possible as my VISA re-application has just been confirmed, so very excited for that!

JVST SAY YES – Yeah nightmare. I’m not expecting things to get back to normal until next year to be honest. Fingers crossed for the vaccine candidates getting approval asap.

What else is happening next in your world?

JVST SAY YES – Bought a house, building a big studio in the basement as I type this. Very excited to finally have a purpose built room after 15 years of producing and not stapling blankets and foam to the walls!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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