An Interview With The British Multi-Instrumentalist, Songwriter & Producer JAX JONES On His Newest Single “Instruction” with Demi Lovato!
Posted On 16 Oct 2017
On the heels of the release of his new single “Instruction,” featuring pop superstar Demi Lovato, British multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer Jax Jones kicked off his North American tour on September 21st in Michigan.
Timucin Fabian Kwong Wah Aluo better known as Jax Jones began performing at open mic clubs around London. He eventually came together with Ripperman, a grime producer from Mitcham, at Brixton‘s Raw Materials Studio, and worked on releases for Big Narstie and Roadside Gs, among others in the scene. His parents encouraged him to go to university at 18. Opting to stay closer to Raw Materials, he declined an interview at Oxford to attend Brunel. Despite a two-hour trip, Jax went from lectures to the studio daily to work on his craft, posting beats regularly on Myspace.
After graduation, Jax rented a studio in Sydenham after not being allowed back in the family home, bought a Mac tower from Gumtree and worked daily to hone his craft.
In 2014, was featured on Duke Dumont’s 2014 single “I Got U“, peaking at number one on the UK Singles Chart, and his 2016 single “You Don’t Know Me” featuring Raye, which peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart.
Learn more about Jax Jones in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you today? Is there music playing in the background? If so, what is it? What music gets you instantly out of a bad mood?
Thanks for taking the time to speak to me! I’m in the studio at the moment so I’m working on some new music. That’s really all that’s playing at the moment and obviously, I can’t really talk about all that right now but it’s super exciting. If I am ever in a bad mood, which is pretty rare, I like to put on my Apple Music and find something I haven’t heard yet. Discovering new music is what puts me in a good mood because it usually helps inspire what I might create next.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
I’ve always wanted to be a musician, I’m a classically trained guitarist so I think I would have always done something in music eventually. As a kid, I grew up in the era of like, Craig David, Usher and all those classic R&B dons so really I just wanted to be like them and make R&B. But UK Garage and later Grime started to become popular and my interests went more into DJing. I think I always would have done something in music eventually.
I am curious to know how you came up with your artist name. Was it a hard decision to make narrowing it down or did someone give you the name?
It’s a UK thing, more so a London thing. When you’re on your own, you’d say “I’m on my Jax Jones” it’s kind of like modern cockney rhyming slang. I’ve always been the type of person to go against the crowd and against what everyone else was doing so technically I was always on my Jax Jones and that’s kind of how I came up with the name really.
I always like to ask artists about where they came from and how that city or town has influenced them as an artist now. So how do you think your hometown has affected who you are as a musician and the art that you create?
London definitely plays a huge part of the music that I make. ‘Instruction’ for example is a great representation of west London and the Notting Hill Carnival, which is the biggest street party in Europe and one of the most recognized carnivals in the world. Getting someone like Demi Lovato on a track with someone like Stefflon Don is usually quite unheard of but that’s a big part of what I like to do; I like to bring these different worlds together to create something a little unique and a bit different from the norm. A song like ‘You Don’t Know Me’ is probably more representative of east London where all the cool kids hang out. London is my home and you’re always going to hear that in my music.
Musically, did you approach this year any differently then you did last year? How has 2017 been treating you and your career?
I’ve treated this year like how I’ve treated any other year and just taken it one day at a time. It just so happens that this time, there’s a lot more people looking at what I’m doing compared to last year! [Laughs] I’m super appreciative of all the support and I know I’m in a different position to what I was last year but I’m also fully aware that the grind doesn’t stop. I’m still out here doing shows almost every night and then I’m back home working on more music in the studio. The best thing about this is I truly love it; I love what I do and I can never complain about doing something I love every day.
What was the inspiration for your newest single “Instruction”? How do you think it compares to your previous music? What was it like working with Demi Lovato on it? What do you think her and her voice bring to the track?
‘Instruction’ is all about having a good time. I’ve heard people say it’s the 2017 version of the Cha Cha Slide or the Macarena, which is great and I can only ever take that as a compliment; I’m so happy people have taken to it like because those are iconic songs and iconic dances. But really, it’s just a great, feel-good record for the summer and now the fall! I never thought we’d get Demi to sing on it, I said to my team that we should reach out to her, not thinking that she’d actually do it but I’m so honored & happy that she did. Stefflon Don is just the icing on the cake; she’s one of the UK’s hottest new artists right now and to have her on it was just as incredible as Demi. They both brought this incredible energy and sass that only they could bring; I’m still so proud of how it turned out.
Do you have plans to release more new music soon and a full album of new songs?
Absolutely! I’m always in the studio cooking up new music and coming up with new ideas so there’s plenty more music to come. Sometimes you get an idea and it turns into a song straight away and sometimes it takes a little more time, but that’s what it’s all about. My label has asked me to do an album now, which I’m super excited to do! But in the meantime, I’m definitely going to drop some more music on the masses.
How do you think that you have grown as an artist since you first started performing at open mic nights in London at the very beginning of your music career?
As a DJ, you get to meet so many amazing people who unintentionally inspire your next moves. I’ve been lucky enough to visit so many different & incredible places around the world and meet so many amazing people that they’ve all played a little part in my growth as an artist. Even watching Demi and Steff on the set of the video, it made me want to up my presence when it comes to shows & stuff like that. I think growth is just natural when you surround yourself with amazing people; I’ve just been super lucky to see the world at the same time. Things like this don’t really happen to people where I’m from so I’m just grateful.
You have worked with a lot of talented artists so who has really stood out to you as the most memorable? Who have you learned the most from over the years?
Like you said, I’ve worked with some crazy talented artists and I could never pinpoint just one. They’re all incredible in their own way that it would be unfair to pick just one so shout out to everyone I’ve worked with because you’re all amazing!
How has your recent tour been going? What have been some favorite venues and/or crowds?
It’s been incredible! There’s been some great audiences so far and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone else on the remainder of the tour. All my shows are just about having an amazing time plus the House Work theme I’ve got going on continues into the live experience. I don’t really like to talk too much about it, I like people to just come out to the shows and experience it themselves because when I do describe it and they come & see the show, they always tell me “Oh my Gosh, I wasn’t expecting anything like that!”
I know this isn’t really a thing to “try” but I got to perform on Good Morning America this summer with Demi which was such an out of this world experience. It rained all morning but I had the most fun just being there and experiencing everything that came with it. Like I said, I’m just a guy from south London, it’s amazing; these things aren’t normal to me and I don’t want them to every feel normal really. I’ll never forget that feeling from that show.
We are living in a crazy and at times rough world right now so I am curious how you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today? Do you think that new music being created today is going to reflect these hard times?
The world is hurting right now and I think as musicians we have to do our little bit to make people feel a bit better. My mate TIEKS – he’s a DJ & producer as well – he recently dropped a single called ‘Say A Prayer’ and it features Chaka Khan & Popcaan. It’s so relevant to what’s happening in the world today and he just so happened to release it as all this madness in the world is happening. Music definitely has the power to heal and I want to play my little part in helping there.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
I’m always inspired by my peers. Fatboy Slim, Martin Solveig, Armand Van Helden, right through to the likes of MNEK, Tinie Tempah, Skepta, Stormzy… they all make various types of music but they’ve all influenced me in one way or another, I’d say.
What do you hope fans take away from your music? Do you think that your music has a singular overall message at all?
Just to have a good time! All my music so far has been feel-good, party tunes and we need more of that in he world I reckon. We need to go back to just having a good time and feeling good about ourselves because y’know, life is short. As long as I can make people feel good and put a smile on their faces, I’ll know I’ve done my job.
What advice would you give to a young person who is thinking about becoming a musician one day?
Be prepared to work hard. Be prepared to be rejected and be prepared to go a little bit broke! But if you love it, and that passion shows, eventually, it’ll all pay off, I promise! It’s not going to be easy but that’s part of the challenge. If it was easy, everybody would do it.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your forthcoming music?
Just a huge thank you to everyone that’s supporting me or even if they’re just discovering me in this interview, I hope they stick around for the ride!